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From Little Things, Big Things Grow

From Little Things, Big Things Grow

Thursday, 5 November 2015  | Narelle - MECS Principal
You might be familiar with the catchy jingle from the superannuation ads, “from little things, big things grow”. I’m sure many of you would recognise the egg-shaped hand gesture that often accompanies this jingle. Strong advertising can certainly stick in our minds.

However, it was on the recent Centre Trip that I was introduced to the Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody song that this catchy tune belongs to. The lyrics tell the story of events that led up to the handing back of Uluru to the traditional owners – the 30th anniversary of which was celebrated last week.

Gather ‘round people I’ll tell you a story
An eight year long story of power and pride
‘Bout British Lord Vestey and Vincent Lingiarri
They were opposite men on opposite sides

Vestey was fat with money and muscle
Beef was his business, broad was his door
Vincent was lean and spoke very little
He had no bank balance, hard dirt was his floor

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

Gurindji were working for nothing but rations
Where once they had gathered the wealth of the land
Daily the oppression got tighter and tighter
Gurindji decided they must make a stand

They picked up their swags and started off walking
At Wattie Creek they sat themselves down
Now it don’t sound like much but it sure got tongues talking
Back at the homestead and then in the town

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

Vestey man said I’ll double your wages
Seven quid a week you’ll have in your hand
Vincent said uhuh we’re not talking about wages
We’re sitting right here till we get our land

Vestey man roared and Vestey man thundered
You don’t stand the chance of a cinder in snow
Vince said if we fall others are rising

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

Then Vincent Lingiarri boarded an aeroplane
Landed in Sydney, big city of lights
And daily he went round softly speaking his story
To all kinds of men from all walks of life

And Vincent sat down with big politicians
This affair they told him is a matter of state
Let us sort it out, your people are hungry
Vincent said no thanks, we know how to wait

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

Then Vincent Lingiarri returned in an aeroplane
Back to his country once more to sit down
And he told his people let the stars keep on turning
We have friends in the south, in the cities and towns

Eight years went by, eight long years of waiting
Till one day a tall stranger appeared in the land
And he came with lawyers and he came with great ceremony
And through Vincent’s fingers poured a handful of sand

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

That was the story of Vincent Lingiarri
But this is the story of something much more
How power and privilege can not move a people
Who know where they stand and stand in the law

From little things big things grow
From little things big things grow

As you can see from the lyrics, Vincent Lingiarri was eventually rewarded for his patience and dignified diplomacy as he stood up to the powerful interests of pastoralists and politicians. His ‘little thing’ of patient waiting, led to ‘big things’ in the way that Aboriginal people were able to manage and sustain this iconic landscape.

This song was a regular on the Centre Trip play-list, with everyone singing along heartily to the well-known refrain. On many occasions it made me reflect on the ‘little things’ we are planting in our students at MECS, and what we hope and pray will grow from these small seeds.

Certainly, we hope our Year 10 students have a greater appreciation and awareness of the issues facing indigneous people across Australia. Their first-hand experience on the Centre Trip is a ‘little thing’ that we hope will grow and mature so that they will become young people of compassion, less likely to fall into the trap of easy answers and simplistic stereotypes.

For the small group of Ranges TEC students who also recently returned from a service project in Darwin, we know similar ‘little things’ were planted as they worked hard to serve others with their practical skills.

As our Year 12s complete their exams and finish off their schooling at MECS, we reflect on the numerous ‘little things’ that have been planted in their lives over time. Truth, integrity, respect, perserverance, friendship, service, knowledge, wisdom, faith. These and many more, are just some of the small things that we believe will grow into big things as they step into adulthood and trust God with their futures.

And for all our students, planting little things is the task of every staff member and every parent! This is what we do! The Parable of the Sower as recorded in Matthew Chapter 13, reminds us that not all the seeds that are planted will fall on fertile ground, but that is God’s work and not ours. Our task is to be faithful in planting the ‘little things’ of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ and the values of God’s Kingdom. We trust Him with confidence for the ‘big’ things that will follow.
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