“We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.”
We all have talents and gifts, some that people know, some that we do not show to people, some that are not yet known to us. All of these gifts give; they bring benefit; confidence; joy; they build relationships and positivity – they are a net gain for the individual and the community.
This weekend provided a perfect illustration of this in the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award expedition. 15 4th form boys took part on a two-day assessed expedition the real aims of which were team work and the growth of individual resilience. Each group was responsible for planning their own route across two days, planning meals, sharing the burden of carrying the team kit, tents and stoves in addition to their own, cooking for each other and supporting each other.
During the weekend the 15 boys revealed or discovered gifts and as part of their de-brief were asked to share their thoughts on the gifts/ strengths/ contribution of each other. Some boys showed the gift of navigation, steering their group along the path to the promised land of Letcombe Regis; some, like St Philip, revealed the gift of joy in remaining positive and keeping their group entertained and in high spirits; some were blessed with organisational brilliance, planning the routes, the menus and kit; some discovered how to cook.
We saw boys serving their group by working together and serving other groups additional food (mostly bacon);we saw boys teaching each other how to use a map or a compass, or a stove; we saw boys encouraging each others when foot sore and weary, and getting them to the end; we saw boys giving – sharing food with those who did not have enough or loaning equipment; we saw some excellent leadership acknowledged by the whole group and we saw “cheerful mercy” from the assessors who cut the routes by a couple of kilometres on day two and from one young man who swapped rucksacks with another member of his group so that he carried his friend’s heavier pack, allowing his friend to carry the lighter pack.
This was a highly positivity experience, evident from the attitude of the boys at the end of each day. They stepped up and accepted a challenge; working together for the benefit of the collective so that all succeeded. In so doing, they enjoyed the challenge and learned new skills and discovered gifts that they can use in future.
Step outside your comfort zone; try something new; find and use those gifts. These 15 boys did and they will have another positive experience to look back on from their time at school. The old adage of the more you put in, the more you get out is worth listening to.
Congratulations to: Rufus, Luke, Tok, Ben, Harry, Oliver, Arnauld, Oskar, Harry, Tim, Tony; Ben, Tom, James & Ignacio