Wow what a summer heh? It’s London 2012 I want to talk about. There’s been so much that has amazed, intrigued and encouraged me in both the Olympics and Paralympics.
Olympics first (Paras on my next blog): What a fantastic few weeks to be hosted in our great city. From the opening ceremony which restored a (balanced) pride in what Britain has contributed to global society, right through to every race and medal won. Did you go and what was your experience? What did you learn? I have 3 major observations (not because I’m a preacher – it just happened that way!).
Firstly, how wonderful it was to have people being happy and polite to one another? Chatting on tubes and buses and in the street, with a shared story to talk about other than the weather. The Olympics generated a great sense of community on a very large scale – a very hard thing to do. I listened to a phone in on Radio 5 Live and one commuter said he loved chatting and smiling to people on the tube and he vowed that when the games were over he would continue his friendliness. People were saying how different life was and why shouldn’t it continue? Obviously we can’t be winning gold medals all the time or on holiday, but certainly friendliness and communal warmth goes a long way to generating a good society. If you’re a commuter have you noticed it any different?
Secondly, the sport and the medals. I’ve always loved all sport and my wife, Sally, and I have taken part in lots of the years. Something hit me wonderfully and hard in the face early on, whilst listening to the rowing interviews and commentaries. It slowly came out that Sir Steve Redgrave, Olympic gold medallist at 5 consecutive Olympics and rowing and sporting legend, was mentoring many of the rowers. As a proponent of mentoring in the spiritual realm I was positively leaping in the air over this brilliant example of how mentoring can take a person to heights they would otherwise never achieve. And you could see it in action too: there was Sir Steve in his job for the Beeb as a commentator, but he just couldn’t resist helping people out of the water, congratulating the victors and consoling those who’d not achieved their goals. There were some hugs that lasted ages – you could see that in rowing terms he was their father-figure. I can’t tell you how powerful that was and strong an analogy that is spiritually! It was very evident too in the cycle arena under Dave Brailsford’s (Cycling performance director) leadership and pursuit of excellence (Surely he’ll become a Sir Dave in the New Year along with Wiggo?). The guys that have been there and done it mentoring the newer younger ones. How id’ love to see this more and more. If you haven’t got a mentor, how about praying God would show you who you could ask? You cold have one separate ones for professional life, spiritual life, or everything in general. Perhaps people who are in a mentoring relationship could comment on their experience? And then flip it round: who are you mentoring? Who are you investing in and sharing what you’ve learned – because you have learned a lot I can assure you.
Lastly, what a difference the Olympics made to the National news programmes. I know for non-sports fans it was probably overload and you thought it was all too trivial, but I’ve often thought that we’re not made to be able to take in so much bad news as we get on most news programmes several times a day (I’m not advocating heads in the sand though). What a difference it seemed to make to our national psyche when we had good things to celebrate each day! Millions of acts of kindness are carried out each day in our country alone, but the 1 murder that occurred gets reported. I do think it skews our understanding. We need more good news, I wonder where we’ll get that from post-Olympics?