Thornhill Community Academy’s straight-talking headteacher Jonny Mitchell showed the world what life in the classroom is really like in the award-winning TV documentary series Educating Yorkshire.
Now he writes exclusively for the Reporter Series.
Every week he will give us his take on life in and outside school from his hometown in Dewsbury.
There has been a great deal reported about the industrial action recently taken by some members of the teaching profession, in dispute over their terms, conditions and pensions, amongst other things. Now, I don’t wish to engage in a debate about whether strike action is the right way to go or not, as I do think this has to be a personal decision. But it would be fair to say, on behalf of everyone who works hard, in any profession, often under challenge and heavy accountability, that it is important to set some perspective in life.
I cannot claim credit for what follows, and I don’t know where the story came from, but I think it sums up a very prevalent attitude towards life and work.
(Please replace “Dad” and “Son” with “Mum” and “Daughter” as you see fit, of course…)
A man comes home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his five-year old son
waiting for him at the door.
SON: “Daddy, may I ask you a question?”
DAD: “Yeah sure - what is it?” replied the man.
SON: “Daddy, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “That’s none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.
SON: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?”
DAD: “If you must know, I make about £50 an hour.”
SON: “Oh,” the little boy replied, with his head down.
SON: “Daddy, may I please borrow £25?”
The father was furious. “If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow
some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I am disappointed at your behaviour.”
The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door. The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy’s questions. After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down and started to think: Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that £25 and he really didn’t ask for money very often.
The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door. “Are you asleep, son?” He asked.
“No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.
“I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier” said the man. “It’s been a
ong day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here’s the £25 you asked for.”
The little boy sat straight up, smiling. “Oh, thank you daddy!” He yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up notes. The man saw that the boy already had money and started to get angry again. The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.
Why do you want more money if you already have some?” the father grumbled.
“Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Daddy, I have £50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early
tomorrow, I would like to have dinner with you.”
Without being morbid, if we were to die tomorrow, we can be replaced at work within a matter of days. But the family and friends we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives. Please take some time to be thankful for what you have, and what you might be missing out on.
I am sure you know plenty of people who would willingly give £50 for just one more hour with a loved one.