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If you don’t make a mess . . .

Michael Rudder

If you don’t make a mess . . .

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One impulse from a vernal wood

May teach you more of man,

Of moral evil and of good,

Than all the sages can.

– William Wordsworth


THAT STANZA FROM Wordsworth’s The Tables Turned came to me as I read reports of an alleged matter of discipline requiring a student to pick up after others had had lunch in a covered space.

We could not eat lunch in the classrooms or the school hall. We enjoyed the outdoors and although it may not have been a vernal wood it was wonderful to get outside.

What I don’t understand is how come after years with primary school teachers admonishing students not to litter, how could secondary students leave litter behind after lunch?

So much for the teaching of life-long habits in primary school.

Well do I remember that during a Scout Jamboree in Trinidad, Commissioner Sherman Ramsingh came through the Barbados Academy camp site with the then governor’s wife. As he passed through the outdoor uncovered kitchen area he stooped to pick up an orange seed and admonished: “If you don’t make a mess you don’t have to clean up.”

Would that all our people, especially those in school, took that comment to heart and practice.

– Michael Rudder