World Thinking Day I Oxford Open Learning
World Thinking Day

World Thinking Day

Okay, so I am sat at my desk staring out of my window at the grey clouds on the horizon. Before I know it, time has passed. What have I achieved? Have I been lazy? Well, actually, no, I haven’t. In fact, I have been thinking, and having time to think is something we often feel guilty for. Our lives are busy, and we feel that we should fill every moment with action. But if you stop to think for a while, the benefits can be huge.

A Quick Guide To The Origins Of World Thinking Day

Now, you might be thinking (get it): this is weird. Why do I need time to think? Well, for nearly 100 years, World Thinking Day has been recognised on 22nd February each year. In fact, all across the world, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts organisations show their appreciation for others by thinking about global situations and how others can be helped. You might be wondering why it is specifically the 22nd of February? Well, it is the birthday of Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the Scouting and Guiding founder. Coincidentally, his wife, Lady Olave Baden-Powell, shared the same birthday – so this day celebrates her life, too, and what she stood for.

Going Global

World Thinking Day used to be just Thinking Day – right up until 1999 when at the 30th World Conference, held in Ireland, the word ‘World’ was added to give the day the much-needed global focus. Nowadays, many Scouting and Guiding groups around the world raise money for worthwhile causes – and all the while this annual day is celebrated with a special theme. Past examples included thinking about water and food. But this year the theme is Our World, Our Thriving Future: The environment and global poverty. It does not mean that this is only a theme for the 22nd of February, of course. Instead, it draws attention to the day and encourages people to spend time thinking about how others can be helped.

Different ways of recognising this special day take place around the world. An example in New Zealand involves rangers climbing Mount Eden before it gets light – and the people who attend spend time thinking about how they are going to help others in less fortunate positions than themselves. Some groups are twinned and they spend time thinking about helping each other. Others focus on writing each other postcards or letters.

So, even though World Thinking Day has its roots in the Guiding and Scouting movement, there is no reason why all of us couldn’t spend a bit more time thinking – not just on 22 February but every day. Who knows where a thought might take you?


Education usually requires a great deal of thinking. If you would like to apply some to the study of an academic subject, Oxford Open Learning offer a variety of courses for study at various levels. You can see which ones are available by going to our home page here. Our Contact page can also be found here.

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