Strength, Kindness and Gentleness
The King’s Chessboard is both a fable and a mathematical problem. This little story’s origin is unclear; however, the basic format remains the same despite the manner of the telling. Simply put, the gist of the whole affair is that a King agrees to pay a wise man — either because he was a gun chess player or because he invented chess --- it depends on who you listen to — with rice or wheat or a cereal grain of some sort. Living up to his title, the sage asked that his payment be simple. One grain was to be placed on the first square of a chess board followed by two grains on the second square, four on the third, eight on the fourth, sixteen grains followed by 32 grains, 64 then 128 and so on. The number of grains doubling for each successive square on the board.
A good bargain, so the king thought, as by all indications the exchange would result in the loss of only a very modest amount of rice…wheat…barley…what have you. The penny drops, however, when you realise that by the time you reach the last square, the king’s payment has swelled to eighteen quintillion four hundred and forty-six quadrillion seven hundred and forty-four trillion seventy-three billion seven hundred and nine million five hundred and fifty-one thousand six hundred and fifteen grains. In other words, about 2000 times the annual wheat production of the world.
What can be learned here? Do not engage wise men in games of memory, skill and strategy? Do not employ grain-based compensation schemes founded on algorithms that involve exponential increase? Perhaps closer to home; do not take lightly the fact that situations can change, rapidly and unexpectedly.
This week, as a community, we faced exactly this prospect - another change, rapid and unexpected. Unpredictably this year, the flow of life changed rapidly and, some would say permanently. From one isolated illness in a place so far away to a landscape where, here, today, we meet in Teams or Zoom and do not meet in rooms. We bump elbows but do not shake hands or we stop all we do, suddenly, frustratingly yet incredibly necessarily, to stem the spread of an insidious virus. For now, this may be what we need to live with, change, rapid and unexpected.
At Eddies we use the words strong, kind and gentle to identify traits we value and wish to see develop in our young men. So too we should value these traits as we express them to ourselves and to each other. We are strong for ourselves and we are strong for others. We are kind to ourselves and we are kind to others. We are gentle with ourselves and with others, those who stand with us, beside us, around us. These values are expressed despite the expectations, circumstances and situations of change, rapid and unexpected. Put simply, despite everything, we express the Eddies spirit.
In a week where expecting the unexpected actually came to pass, I applaud Queensland Health for their assistance and support and for the work they do in keeping all of us safe. Indeed, I thank all our front-line health workers who put themselves at risk to ensure this virus is held at bay and life continues at as normal a pace as possible. Finally, I thank all in our community for the continued faith and support shown to the College. Strength, kindness and gentleness mark our young men, our community, our Eddies.
Ray Celegato, Principal