The Green Dragon Within.

The Green Dragon Within.
James Hatch

The new year arrived in Japan with a ringing of bells and a falling of snow. In my home country of Ireland, it arrived with rain and many people setting off fireworks in their backyard. Indeed, across the globe, while many celebrate the new year, regardless of the calendar we use, we nonetheless share in a sense of renewal, putting the past behind us and moving into new potentialities. The coming year in the Chinese zodiac is fortuitous, as it is the year of the Green Dragon. The Green Dragon represents Wood, which signifies growth, renewal, and vitality. This combination of the Dragon and the Wood elements is potent, as it is believed to bring a strong force of positive energy. Wood is associated with expansion and development, while the Dragon symbolises strength and good fortune.


Therefore, in 2024, the Green Dragon signifies a period of growth, innovation, and opportunities. It’s considered an auspicious time for taking on new challenges, initiating projects, and embracing positive changes in various aspects of life. As we look across the globe, we seem to face numerous crises. War, famine, hate, division and even natural disasters have already raised their spectre in 2024 and show little signs of abating. Despite our awareness of the ravages, those who can often will not intervene to stop such destruction and suffering due to self-interest and pride. Despite all we know through science and religion, too often, people disregard the reality that we all belong to a human race and occupy the only planet and ecosystem capable of supporting us for the foreseeable future.

Yet I find comfort and hope (as a verb, not as wishful thinking) in what we as a community aspire to be here at SIS. We have young people actively participating in understanding and exploring multiple perspectives respectfully. They know that humanity is a rich tapestry rather than a monochrome coordinate. Our parents, guardians, and staff have committed to thriving in a complex world of multilingualism, multiple perspectives, and various cultures and ways of being. All recognise the value of international Catholic education in formatively shaping youth’s future opportunities and life trajectories. Within the intentionality of such aspirations comes the hope for the future to build on mutual thriving, respect, unity and divergence. John Donne, the English poet, once stated, ‘No man is an island unto himself’ while the Banthu word of Unbutu boldly asserts translated as “humanity towards others” or “I am because we are.” As we look into 2024, we would do well to remember such insights and act according to their brilliance. We would do well to recall that within us all lives a green dragon.

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