My remarks about the red daisies which bent, but did not break as the lawn mower passed by, have caused some interesting correspondence. People have pointed out that several old civilisations realised the wisdom of bending in order to avoid breaking.
A friend tells me, however, that his Latin school motto (at a boys’ school in England) took exactly the opposite point of view. ‘Frangas non flectes’, ‘you shall break, but you shall not bend [me]’ was the school’s proud boast. Perhaps there was an era of British history when this approach seemed admirable or necessary, but it doesn’t seem so now, or at least, not to me. I suppose it means that standing up for a principle is a fine goal, and of course it is. But it seems very sad to try and train young minds in the belief that being flexible is a weakness rather than a strength. Or is this a man-woman thing?