Thursday, June 07, 2012

Who are the Most Successful People?

Sean brought home an "Op-Ed" piece he did in school. The topic was his choice, his points are simplistic and I believe were pieced together from Brian's retelling in a nutshell of what he learnt about Mary & Elizabeth in Grade 9 World Civ. But the conclusion is apt for leaders to think about eh? Open-mindedness and tolerance; if everyone could practise these, the world would be a much better place. I told Brian he should now tell Sean about the Enlightenment thinkers he recently learnt about like Hobbes, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Locke, etc whose thoughts on government systems were so different from those already in place at the time and were such a revolution in political thinking. I believe learning about historical figures like these teach our kids to question status quos and not just accept everything we're told as fact, and that's always a good thing. Right? haha.

Who are the Most Successful People?: Sean (Grade 4)

Who are the most successful people? Smart people? Imaginative people? Courageous people? Personally, I think that the most successful people are people who can tolerate others' beliefs. Another way of saying it is that you need to be open-minded to be successful. There are many examples of this, like ones from the past.

In medieval England, there were two sisters (who were princesses) and two religions. The sisters were called Mary and Elizabeth. The religions were Catholics and Protestants, and the religions were against each other. Mary was the older one. Her father, King Henry VII died, so Mary took over the throne. Mary was a Catholic. Not just a Catholic though, she was a Catholic who couldn't tolerate Protestants. Since she couldn't tolerate them, she tried to burn all the Protestants. However, she failed. Politically, she was unsuccessful. After a few years of ruling, she died.

After that, England needed a new ruler. So they chose Queen Elizabeth, Mary's sister. Elizabeth was different from Mary. Firstly, she was a Protestant. Secondly, she could tolerate the Catholics, and she didn't burn them. Queen Elizabeth stayed on the throne for 45 successful years.

Now, if you had a ruler who wasn't open-minded and couldn't tolerate you, they would treat you unfairly, because they can't tolerate you. No one wants to be treated unfairly, right? So you get your rights back by rebelling. That makes that ruler politically unsuccessful. However, if you had a ruler who was open-minded and could tolerate you, they wouldn't treat you unfairly, which means you would have your rights. If you have your rights, there is no need to rebel. Therefore, you don't rebel. That obviously makes that ruler politically successful.

So what do you think? How did Mary behave? Was she successful? How did Elizabeth behave? Was she successful? Think about these questions. I am not saying that open-mindedness is all you need to be successful, though it's an important start. Maybe you should think about that. Finally, remember what Dr Seuss said, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."

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