The Japanese art of Kintsugi teaches that when a cherished object has been broken, the repair becomes a fundamental part of it which should be treated as an important aspect of its history, rather than something to be disguised or hidden. In this way, when a vase is broken it will not be thrown away or repaired invisibly. Instead, it will be repaired with liquid gold, silver or platinum lacquer so that the history of the vase is celebrated in all its imperfection.
According to legend, Oliver Cromwell had a similar idea when he commissioned the painter Sir Peter Lely to complete his portrait ‘warts and all’. I like to think that he understood that even though he wished to be celebrated and regarded as a great leader, he was also prepared to acknowledge that none of us are perfect or immune from making mistakes and that we should therefore celebrate these imperfections and blemishes.
And so here at Craigclowan we also choose to view our mistakes as important parts of our journey. We don’t hide them away, unacknowledged and pretending that they didn’t happen. When we get things wrong, we accept these imperfections as important parts of our lives and ones that we should recognise as being crucial to our development as students and teachers.
In assembly this morning we explored how the kintsugi technique can teach us many things:
That we shouldn’t throw away broken objects.
When an object breaks, it doesn’t mean that it is no longer useful but that the breakage can make it more valuable.
That repairing something in this way to make an object more valuable is the very essence of resilience.
Each of us should look for a way to cope with difficult events in a positive way, to learn from negative experiences, to take the best from them and to convince ourselves that it is exactly these experiences which makes each of us unique and precious.
John F Gilmour