Last Wednesday I went to a course in London. I wasn’t sure what the weather was going to be, but it had been raining the night before. I packed my waterproof coat, but I also packed my flip flops. I packed the flip flops because I knew that if my shoes got wet they would be uncomfortable so I had something to change in to.
When I do the washing up at home I pile up everything in order. Glasses, mugs, bowls, plates, cutlery, pans. Then it’s much easier to just get on with it once I’ve started.
When I cook, I chop everything first, before I even put a pan on the hob. Then I know that I can just focus on the cooking.
My parents met through scouting, I grew up surrounding by cub and scout things, I was a brownie, then a guide. It is no surprise that I am very familiar with the scout and guide motto ‘be prepared’. When Baden-Powell wrote about what was meant by the motto he said that it had two parts. Firstly to be prepared in the mind which means to have disciplined yourself to be obedient to orders, and to have thought out any situations. Secondly to be prepared physically, meaning to make yourself physically strong and active. Both of these are to then enable you to be able to do the right thing at the right time.
The reason that I pile everything up in that order when I am washing up is because I still remember doing an interest badge at brownies, I think it was housekeeper or something, and I was stood that you always wash glasses first, as they are to most delicate, and pans last are they are usually the dirtiest and the most robust. It’s probably common sense, but I still remember being taught it.
To do the right thing at the right time. That’s quite a daunting prospect, but actually it’s about developing the necessary skills to be able to deal with situations.
To be prepared doesn’t mean that you necessarily know what your goal is and exactly how you are going to reach it, it is about building up a set of skills to help in any situation. You probably don’t think about this on a daily basis but one of the principle aims of school, in my opinion, is to prepare people for the big wide world. Not only does it teach core subjects such as maths, English, science, but it enables people to develop social skills, whether that’s through friendships, but also working with people who we don’t necessarily get on with. Skills such as accepting all people, team building, following rules – after all every work place has them. Opportunities to volunteer, and taking responsibility. Then at Archbishop’s we also have our motto of enter to learn, go forth to serve, and our values of love, service, faith, perseverance, and forgiveness.
The bible verse for this theme comes from Ecclesiastes 11:7-10 and it aka about enjoying everyday, enjoying your youth, knowing there will be darkness and knowing that there will be judgement.
Being prepared is not just about packing your bag for school with the right equipment, or having a goal and doing everything you need to reach that goal. It is also about recognising that even if you are prepared things aren’t necessarily going to go smoothly. Scar recognised this in the lion king and his son be prepared. There were lines such as ‘a shining new era is tiptoing nearer’ but this is only going to come with hard work of ‘meticulous planning, tenacity spanning’. Scar also recognised that to get that final goal there has to be a certain sense of responsibility “of course quid pro quo, you’re expected, to take certain duties on board”.
You may have a certain goal in mind, of what you want to achieve, but it’s not just going to fall in to your lap. You have to take responsibility for it. In Christianity there is the belief of a reward of eternal life, but also of a day of judgement. Yes there are rewards but with rewards comes responsibility.
Benjamin Franklin said “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail” this is both for specific events but also for life generally. Preparation may be boring but it is the groundwork we need to build on.
When I was in Brownies I enjoyed playing the games, singing the songs, spending time with friends, going on day trips, going camping, but the one thing I remember is to wash glasses first! It takes time to be prepared, but it leads to more enjoyment and less time in the future.
Challenge: what skills do you have that will help you to do the right thing in the right situation? Are there any skills that you think you need to develop?
Prayer: Father God, we thank you that you provide people who help us develop the skills to be able to do the right thing in the right situation. Help us to listen to the advice given, and to take it on board, that we may be prepared for whatever comes up. Amen