Wednesday 2 January 2019

King Harald of Norway's 2018 New Years Eve Address - English Translation

Explanation or clarification from Gert's Royals is in [Brackets]

We all carry something precious inside of us that is only ours. It is a compass that no one can take from us - and which holds our humanity.

In Proverbs it says:
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
[Proverbs 4:23; I quoted the NIV Bible, His Majesty quoted from the Norsk Bibel 88/07.]

So how we can preserve our heart? We do it by being kind to each other. By having a respectful conversation despite disagreement. By lifting others up.

We also preserve it when we recognize a fellow human being in a stranger.
For then, we realize that we share the most important thing:
To be human on earth.
I think it's important to keep in mind that everyone has an opportunity - every day - to influence both our own and others' sense of value and joy of life. For every one of us matters.

To those who think that no one cares about what you are doing, I would say:
  • Just your smile can make a difference to a person you meet on the street. 
  • Just your kind words can create a better day for another. 
  • And just your thoughtfulness can trigger new good actions.
The author Johan Falkberget writes:
“Every time a person takes a step towards the light, something unheard of happens, new stars are lit, help Stars. They make it easier to take the step next time."
[Falkberget was a famous Norwegian author, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature 36 times, but never won.]

We all know well the light and the dark forces. We carry both in us - and we see them constantly at play in society and the world we are a part of. For the best in us to succeed, it requires action:
  • By contributing to the inclusion of everyone who wants to be a community.
  • By protesting against degrading speech.
  • By standing up for the people, issues, and values we cherish.
That is how we can preserve our society's heart.

I want to highlight all those whose work we easily take for granted - but who help us to have a society with a high degree of confidence in each other:
  • All of you who are in service to Norway in other countries.
  • All health workers, who do their utmost to provide good and kind care.
  • All teachers, who each day go to their work keeping each student in their mind, eye and heart.
  • All service workers, who strive for professional and friendly service.
And with many other professions, you do your best to create a good experience for other people and want well for each other  - through countless daily encounters at different venues.

We also contribute to strengthening our society by engaging in what matters to us - so that local communities and valuable cultural heritage are not lost.

It's about the thousands of men and women around the country that ensures that children and young people can enjoy recreational activities - surrounded by friends and safe adults.

It is also about all the young people who create something in their homes - so both city and country are kept alive.

And it is about all those who work to protect and share our cultural treasure. It shall we know, cherish and pass them on.

Through knowledge of both our own and others' culture and religion, we can more easily recognize what we humans have in common - despite our differences.

This legacy holds much that unites us - even if the expressions are different. I think that is what most of us are looking for. Because we want to know each other. We need each other.

We also need each other when the differences between us seem great. In meeting with others, we learn more about ourselves. We need to be connected to each other.

Norway is founded on the ability to compromise. By coming together to discuss issues, we lay the foundation for a good society. We also see the significance of this ability in the world - not least when nations work together to protect nature and save the Earth. We compromise daily - in the family, in the schoolyard, at work and in politics.

Being able to live well together despite differences and disagreements is perhaps one of the most important things to preserve. Both in our close relations, in Norway, and in the world.

We have good reason to be proud and grateful for everything we have. We see with some concern in developments in countries that are close to us. In the midst of this, Norway is still a country where we can express ourselves, our belief, or thoughts - and most importantly: keep our freedom intact.

These hard-earned values are community property that everyone in our country can have a part in. We must together strengthen this foundation so that we will not lose ourselves and each other - but know that we are one people, that we are one country.

This is the nation's heart - the values of which our country is based.

At the transition to a new year, we happily think about joy, desire, and hope. But, many carry something upsetting. Whether it is in relation to other people or to something we have experienced.

Sometimes it is too difficult to reconcile and find peace. But whenever possible, the reconciliation has a redeeming power.

Imagine if we could all feel a little better if we were able to lift some of our burdens. If we can manage to deal with ourselves and each other - where possible.

As adults, we have a special responsibility for the way we interact with each other. Children and young people learn from adults what to do and say. We, through our behavior, convey what is acceptable. Therefore, we must behave properly towards each other.

We need to talk to each other in a way that we want our children to take with them on through life. Therefore, sometimes, we have to think carefully.

On this evening, I wish for a joint New Year's resolution for all of us:
That in the coming year, we will meet each other with kindness.
If we together wish us a society characterized by respect rather than disagreement, of openness rather than fear, of warmth rather than distance - yes we can do it.

In this way, we also preserve our heart - which life itself assumes - and which makes us who we are.

Happy New Year!

Back to 2018 Christmas/ New Years Speeches 

1 comment:

  1. I love pretty much everything about this speech. Kindly and wise.