Like Bees In A Bottle

Sometimes, human beings behave like bees. If you put several bees in an open-ended bottle and lay the bottle on its side with the base toward a bright light, the bees will keep on flying to the bottom of the bottle towards the light. It never occurs to them to reverse gears and try another direction. This is a combination of genetic programming and learned behaviour.

Put a bunch of flies in that bottle and turn the base towards a bright light. Within a few minutes, all the flies will have found their way out. They try all directions—up, down, towards the light, away from the light, often bumping into the glass and into each other—but sooner or later they find the neck of the bottle and fly out of the opening.

In term 2, you will be faced with many challenges as you seek the bright light of learning. Will you be like a bee and stick to the way you have always done things or like a fly, trying everything you can until you find the answer?

We often allow ourselves to become locked in our comfortable ways of doing things, even if we are getting nowhere and really want to be reaching in a new direction. What we’re doing may not be helping us, but at least it’s familiar.

One of the most important factors in achieving success at school and in life, is the willingness to try things out, to experiment, and to test new ground. In fact, this is a positive way to learn and progress – by trial and error.

Like the fly, try one way and then another until you succeed. Don’t worry about making mistakes along the way. That’s the way we all learn.

Acknowledgment: Adapted from Denis Waitley through Principal’s Digest

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, a Catholic secondary co-educational school (7-12) in the southern region of Adelaide with a total of 1120 students and 140 staff. Marcellin is a campus of Cardijn College. It provides students in Years 10 to 12 with SACE, training and apprenticeships. It has an enrolment of over 155 students and 30 staff. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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