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Viewpoint from Carolyn Cliff 18/10/2019

Licensed Reader, Great Yarmouth Team Ministry


as published in the Great Yarmouth Mercury


I am a teaching assistant, a third-year degree student, and a Reader.  At school we support the children’s learning and behaviour with three words to capture all the rules:  ‘Ready’, ‘Respectful’, ‘Safe’.  Ready to listen to our teachers and each other so we can learn.  Respecting each other and the resources used.  Keeping each other safe from harm, be that physical or mental
dove leftCan these seemingly simple words be a mantra to our whole lives?  As a Christian, I say yes.  Are we ready to listen and learn from each other even if our views differ?  Are we ready to listen to the poorest in our society and what it is like to survive on very little?  What is it like to be a refugee or a migrant and why they are in this country?  What is it like to be a parent of a child with Special Education Needs or to live with a disability? To understand someone who is different from us we need to walk in their shoes.  This opens us up to listening about what it is like to live their lives and the challenges it brings.  This brings understanding and hopefully we can then respect those who are different to us
Dove rightRespect is not just about people.  It is about our world.  The care we take of creation, be it walking down the streets of our towns and villages or enjoying the countryside.  We are to care for God’s creation around us.  So, do we turn off electrical equipment and lights that we are not using?  Do we think about the plastic in our shopping - is it a one-off use to be thrown away or reused?  Do we care for nature from the animals on our farms, the birds of the air and wildlife in the seas and on land?  This leads to being safe
If we are not prepared to look after each other physically, emotionally and spiritually then we are not being safe.  Safety means parents thinking about their attitudes to each other and their children.  The managers caring about the wellbeing of their staff.  Neighbour being friends with neighbour
School summed up its rules in three words, Ready, Respectful, Safe.  Jesus summed up all the law and the prophets of the Bible in the phrase “…love God and love your neighbour as yourself”
In the end the greatest rule is LOVE



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