July 16th 1917

The end of the school year approaches and, as is my habit, I spoke to the boys at the last Sunday service of the term. I wished to add my thoughts to those of Mr Fletcher a few weeks ago:

“I do not know whether it is right, but I have tried all through to let the war make as little difference as possible to the lives of you, my boys. We older people feel it intensely; it has turned our world upside down. We have lost some of our best and dearest, and we are always full of anxiety. But we try to keep our anxiety and suffering from you and to save you from all this as far as we can.

You have done your work and played your games and eaten and slept as far from the strain and stress of this terrible struggle as has been possible. You who have relations and friends in danger on sea or land must be always in dread that the news of wounds or death may come, but it is the nature of the young to hope for the best, and I do not wish you to think too much of the dread possibilities that are always present to your elders.

But I want you to feel that the war is very largely being carried on for your sakes. It is in the hope and belief that the world will be better for the generation that is growing up and for future generations – for us, it can bring little but sorrow and loss, however victorious we may be in the end.

But for you we hope for a brighter and happier and better world – a world where you will prepare for peace rather than for war, where love, not hate, shall be the motto of the nations, where helping others, not beating others will be the ideal and aim of life. And for this future do try to make yourselves ready…

Make the holidays happier for others and without knowing it or meaning it you will find you are much happier yourselves.”

I finished with two quotations, the first by Charles Kingsley and the second by Charles Swain:

‘Do the thing that’s nearest though it’s dull at whiles,

Helping, when you meet them, lame dogs over stiles.’

and

‘Be kind to each other ; the night cometh on

When friend and when brother perchance may be gone.’

 

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