Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Over the weekend I watched with my family the film adaptation of Victor Hugo novel “Les
Miserables”. I have seen the stage adaptation at least three times but as a film the story became
more personal. It was a story of forgiveness and charity, and also honour and responsibility, but
I think ultimately it was about forgiveness and how not being able to forgive can lead to you
being eaten up inside.
The Jean Valjean character has served 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his
starving nephew, upon his release he is put on a ‘parole’ which means that for the rest of his life
he will be a watched and discriminated against man. Shown kindness by an elderly clergyman
he repays the kindness by stealing from the Priest. Quickly he is caught and brought back to
face his victim, however the priest insists not only that he gave Valjean what he had stolen but
that he should have taken more. This idea of paying it forward has been dealt on before and in
Jean Valjean we have an extreme case but the point is he learns from the old Priest about
forgiveness and he learns that true charity is done with no thought of recognition nor reward.
New Zealand in a recent U.A. study has come under criticism for the high rate of our children
who live in poverty. Obviously education is one way to confront and defeat poverty—as a wise
man once said “give a man a fish and you feed them for a day, teach them how to fish and you
feed them forever”.
So schemes like the milk in schools scheme are great because they ensure that children are
able to enjoy their learning with a nutritious drink inside.
Have a great week.
Mike Brosnahan

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