The iconic film ‘Back to the Future’ marked a worldwide cultural phenomenon and was the highest-grossing film of 1985; it launched one of the most successful series in Universal’s cinematic history. In the modern franchise age of the Marvel Superheroes, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, Michael J Fox and the DeLorean car may seem quite insignificant now, but at the time the film trilogy set the pace.
Fox played teenager Marty McFly, sent back in time to 1955, where he meets his future parents in high school and accidentally becomes his mother’s romantic interest. Eccentric scientist Dr Emmett “Doc” Brown helps him repair the damage to history by guiding Marty to cause his parents to fall in love; they then had to find a way to return Marty to 1985.
The whole concept of time travel and whether we can alter history retrospectively is a subject that has proven excellent source material for numerous films, books and shows on screen, stage and radio. There are undoubtedly many occasions we would perhaps like to re-live past successes or seize the opportunity to make amends. Travelling to the future seems to be fraught with moral risk as we would be faced with the uncomfortable knowledge of what lies ahead and whether we change our actions now to affect events yet to happen.
With or without the possibility of time travel, we are all confronted with opportunities and moments we would like to experience again for vicarious pleasure or to act differently perhaps. Times of sadness or shocking events often prompt the much quoted ‘Carpe Diem’ – to seize the day and to make the most of every opportunity we have. This is so important and yet should not be exercised selfishly or recklessly. In school we encourage young people to get involved in all they can, to reach out and experience a range of experiences but we also want them to be reflective.
Self-reflection needs to be as objective as possible and often young people are their own harshest critics. As a school we aspire to develop a culture of lifelong learning in our community. Reflection and evaluation are important aspects of this and we aim to develop these skills in our work and play. Education is constantly evolving and our journey should be richly diverse, full of wonder and fulfilment. There are numerous challenges, some disappointments and difficulties en route but ensuring that you have done your best in all endeavours is always a good place to start.
This time of year we look back on the school year and reflect; we also look forward to the future and plan. Hopefully we can learn from our successes and failures and maybe look Back to the Future for ourselves.