The Aiglon College We Remember

...a school where friends learned so much, loved so much, and went on to do great things.

Recollections of Aiglon College Alumni

Photos courtesy Line Stump Magnin

Influence

What you think, what you say and what you do has tremendous power over other people. Something you say to someone or something which they overhear you saying, may change that person's life completely—and most of the time you don't know what you have done. You may suggest that someone read a book which contains immoral or anti-Christian ideas, and that person may be influenced by that book and adopt some of the immoral ideas in it. What have you done?  It is a grave responsibility, isn't it? Or you may speak of courage and wisdom and compassion, and inspire someone who hears you so that his whole life is changed and he becomes a new person. 

What have you done? Something tremendous—something with such power for good that you would never believe you possessed, and indeed you may never know of its effects except by chance. And what a responsibility this is—for you might have said something that dragged someone down.  Your words can do tremendous good, or tremendous harm—your actions too— because your actions express your thoughts, and people will be influenced by your example. So watch your thoughts, your words and your actions, because you never know what effect they may have, and you are responsible for them.

Fear

This morning I want your minds to dwell upon the subject of Fear—the emotion or feeling of being afraid of someone, of something, of some idea, of being afraid of loss, of criticism, or of something which you believe to be a threat or menace to you or to something which you value.
 
Fear is the most destructive of all the emotions, and most of the other emotions which destroy the soul, such as jealousy, hatred and avarice, spring from fear.
 
Fear destroys happiness. Fear destroys peace of mind.
 
Fear eats into the heart and mind and spirit, and gradually warps and twists and finally destroys it. Fear is the enemy of life. 
 
How can we overcome fear?
 
We can find the answer, as we can find the answer to all our problems if we will, in the teaching of Jesus Christ.
 
Jesus said, "Perfect love casteth out fear." What did he mean?
 
Fear is rejection. When we are afraid of something we reject it, we try to run away from it, whether it is a person, a thing, a duty to be performed, or an idea. Fear is an absence of faith. We have no faith in the thing of which we are afraid.
 
You can easily see this if you consider, as an example, the fear of failure. For fear of failure is really a rejection of the idea of success, it is an absence of faith in success, an absence of faith in yourself and in your ability and will to succeed. If you have faith or confidence in success you cannot fear failure. Faith and fear are opposites. Faith brings life; fear, death, and faith and love are the same thing, for you cannot love a person or thing or idea unless you have faith in it. And if you have faith in it and love it you will not fear it. "Perfect love casteth out fear."
 
Why is this? How is this? Whilst your fear rejects things, pushes them away from you, love does the opposite. Love embraces, draws things to you. What then must you do, when you are afraid, to overcome your fear? Instead of rejecting, running away from the thing which you fear, you must, by means of an act of faith, go out to meet it, to embrace it, to draw it to you in confidence and affection, in other words you must love it. And if you do this you can see that fear will already have disappeared. Fear cannot live where love is, because you cannot reject and run away from something whilst you are embracing and drawing it to you. "Perfect love casteth out fear."
 
And do not imagine that you can only feel the emotion of love towards people. You can, and must, love everything that is.  Not only must you love everybody, but you must love everything you see, and touch, and know. If you do this, not only will fear disappear from your life, but both you, and the  people and things you love will be transformed. For love is life, where fear is death. And "perfect love casteth out fear."
 

 

Our Lives Are What We Make Of Them

Within a few years all you people will be leaving school and setting out on a new chapter in your lives, and it is not going to be as different as you think.
 
However, this is not what I want to talk to you about this morning. What I want to draw your attention to is the fact that an awful lot of so-called grown-ups, many of whom are really only children with grown-up bodies: an awful lot of these grown-ups spend an awful lot of time complaining about their own lives, how uninteresting their lives are, how they never meet any interesting people, how dull their jobs are, how small the pay is, how silly their wives are, how idiotic their children, how unreliable their cars, how tasteless their food.
 
Well, all this may be true, and a lot more, but if they are complaining to other people, and invariably they do, they are complaining to the wrong person. They should be complaining to themselves, for they are themselves to blame.
 
Our lives are what we make of them, and if they are dull and uninteresting, frustrated, colourless and unsatisfying, it is because we make them so.
 
Our lives are what we make of them, and it is no good blaming those mysterious people 'they' at whose door we like to lay so many of our misfortunes. It is no good blaming God, who is only too ready to help us to put our lives in order and to see us enjoying them if we will let Him. As Shakespeare says in Julius Caesar, 'the fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.'
 
What then must we do to lead full and fruitful lives about which we will not wish to complain?
 
The first thing (and this is the first step in being really grown-up) is to understand that our lives are what we make them, and the credit for a good life is ours, just as the blame for a bad one is ours also.
 
The second thing is to know ourselves. We are not all the same, we are all different. We have not all got it in us to be leaders, nor should we have. Most of us will be followers of one sort or another, and to be a good follower takes just as much character and courage as to be a leader. We have not all got the kind of mind that makes a scientist, the sensitivity which makes an artist, or the coördination and quick reactions which make a sportsman. But there is no one who has not got qualities, gifts and talents of one sort or another, and we must find out and know what our own talents are.
 
If the second thing we must do if we are to lead full and fruitful lives is to know ourselves, the third thing we must do is be ourselves.
 
It is astonishing how few people have the courage and self-confidence really to be themselves. Yet, unless they are, they can never have full, fruitful and happy lives; for a full, fruitful and happy life is a life of self-fulfilment, a life in which the qualities, gifts and talents we possess and which are our own, are developed and used by us to the full. So many people spend most of their time and energy trying to be somebody else, trying to keep up with the Joneses. Never mind about the Joneses, they are somebody else. You can never be like them. Do not try. Be yourself, and you will be a much better person than you will ever be by trying to be like someone else. Know yourself, and, with God's help, fulfil the nature of your own being; be yourself.
 
Our lives are what we make of them.

This site is not affiliated with Aiglon College, Switzerland, in any way. All the opinions expressed are those of Aiglon alumni, and all costs incurred in maintaining the site are borne by former students.