A Tale of Enduring Leadership – Part 3: Play!

Football on the ice. (Photographer: Frank Hurley)

Football on the ice.
(Photographer: Frank Hurley)

Even in light of the grim forecast for the expedition’s hardships, Shackleton understood the importance of play and the value of morale. This photo shows members of Shackleton’s crew playing football. Their ship, slowly being crushed by the Antarctic ice, sits in the background. With cold temperatures, dwindling food supplies, winter nearing, the hours of darkness increasing everyday, and no end in sight it is marvelous that there was space to play. We live fast-paced, high-stimulus lives. As educators our attention is pulled a thousand ways at once, and yet we also strive to keep it focused on the one thing that really matters in our profession: children. It is so easy to get bogged down in the to-do lists of job and life, in the hard work of working hard…that we forget that play has a very important place in drawing us together, in lightening the heavy load, and in adjusting our perspective. Shackleton’s crew played cards, hockey, produced shows, performed music, sang, and shared company. As a result, Shackleton’s crew enjoyed camaraderie in the face of all manner of physical and mental trials. We must, as educators in the 21st century, strive to keep sacred our time to play together and on our own.

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