Throughout my years as an educator, I have always found one ingredient that is very important for success - and that is, teamwork. Let me illustrate the power of teamwork with a story that you may be well acquainted with.
In the Oscar award winning animated feature film, “Finding Nemo”, a clownfish named Marlin lives in a quiet and sheltered part of the Great Barrier Reef with his only son, Nemo. Fearful of the ocean and its dangers, he tries to protect his son while Nemo, like all young fish, is eager to explore the mysterious reef. Unfortunately, one day Nemo is unexpectedly taken far away from home. Marlin then begins a heroic journey with a friend named Dory to rescue his son.
The story is full of delightful adventures and many useful lessons we can learn from. Throughout the journey, Dory’s optimism continually forces Marlin to find the courage to take risks and overcome his fears. In one scene towards the end, when Marlin is reunited with his son, a trawler’s fishing net catches up a shoal of fish together with Dory. Nemo, remembering a lesson he had learnt earlier, convinces his father that he can save Dory. He goes into the net and together with his father, tries to encourage all the frightened fish to swim down together. When it gets tough, they keep encouraging one another to “keep swimming”. Eventually, with the aligned effort of everyone, the net breaks free from the trawler and all the fish escape.
What a wonderful and vivid lesson on teamwork! The message is simple – if we work together, we can do better than if we each do it alone. Indeed, the fish swimming randomly to escape actually dissipate the effort of everyone else. It is only when there is harmony in the effort that success is assured. As with any endeavor, there will always be times when the going gets tough. It is at these times that we must not give up, and exercise what members in a team can do that individuals can’t – help and encourage one another.
So let us remember and apply the lesson that little Nemo taught us – that “we must swim together” for success.
Wishing you all a great year ahead!