On that best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love.
‘Tintern Abbey’ William Wordsworth 1798
These words from the poem ‘Tintern Abbey’ are striking to me, as they encapsulate what is sometimes hard to name, hard to quantify, and is, I believe, summed up in our compass point of ‘integrity’.
Throughout the school year, we want the students to know, that it is what they choose to do when no one is looking that matters. The ‘little, unremembered acts of kindness and love’ which make us who we are. This is in stark contrast to their very immediate online world where people prolifically post their latest achievements and accomplishments. Where you’re only as ‘good’ as your last post. Wordsworth wrote these words more than 200 years ago, just near Tintern Abbey, our namesake and these words are timeless.
Or as CS Lewis, the great Christian writer puts it – Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching. So if your life were summed up not by the qualifications you hold, or the status you’ve achieved, but by the unseen ‘nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love’, would you be proud? Because what we do when no one is watching speaks really to the heart of who we are.
What acts of kindness and love will you do today when no one is watching?