IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!
For some reason I have never actually watched the Pride of Britain Awards before, but it made compelling viewing last night. It is so uplifting to hear some good news stories for a change with a TV programme which celebrates the achievements of ordinary people doing remarkable things and overcoming incredible challenges. If you missed the programme you can watch in on ITV Player here.
This article by Alison Phillips in today’s Daily Mirror gives a brief review of the event:
Selfless: Flo and Jim Essex receive their award
Ordinary heroes doing extraordinary things giving hope to us all
I bet you all cried, didn’t you?
It takes a hard heart to be unmoved by the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards. And this year was no exception.
It is that extraordinary mix of triumph over adversity and true selflessness which strikes such a deep chord in us all.
For the rest of the year we become used to stories of success built on greed, fame founded on selfishness and crimes fuelled by hate.
And so sometimes we can end up thinking that’s the norm and that we are living in a world where everyone is out for themselves and the values that made this nation great – fairness, politeness, a belief in justice – have gone the way of Woolworths and red telephone boxes.
But by slipping into that mindset we let the bad and the greedy and the feckless win. Because by doing that we forget that the vast bulk of the people of Britain are defined by their selflessness, by generosity and by love.
They are the often forgotten majority.
People like Pride of Britain winners Flo and Jim Essex, who have raised more than £160,000 for good causes by taking up any bonkers challenge they can find.
People like the RNLI and coastguard crews from Hartlepool, who risked their lives to save a young man who was drowning in quicksand.
People like Doreen Lawrence, who fought tirelessly for 19 years for justice for her son Stephen.
And what’s extraordinary about these people is, in many ways, their ordinariness.
They are people as normal as you and me who have found themselves through choice or necessity doing something just extraordinary.
On stage Doreen Lawrence said she would exchange all the plaudits and achievements just to have her son back.
What a totally ordinary emotion from a truly extraordinary woman.
And so, while Pride of Britain rewards the winners’ bravery, courage and brilliance, it is also rewarding the human spirit – for actually we might all be capable of doing something amazing one day.
Bradley Wiggins – a man who exudes coolness through his every pore – said at Pride of Britain that 2012 was a great year to be British.
Certainly we’ve had a string of extraordinary successes – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and victories in the Tour de France and a tennis grand slam.
But more importantly, away from the headlines, we have had millions of ordinary Brits doing their ordinary – yet extraordinary – things that keep our country ticking along.
Some of these have again rightly become winners at Pride of Britain. They were there on Monday night because they are brave and because they care. But they are also there as a reminder to the rest of us that we don’t need to be an Olympian or a royal or a celebrity to be great.
We can all, by following the example of these Pride of Britain winners, be great if we want to be, in our own very ordinary ways.
Article by Alison Phillips published on 31st October in The Daily Mirror