Summer School this year was a rollercoaster of emotion for me_ with some real highs and lows.
It is tremendous to be surrounded by close friends: Paul & Jen... Yvonne... Jon... Frosty & Tinker... Adam & Karen; as well having space to build up relationships with others like Anne or Martyn. I really fed off the interaction within the staff as well as the engagement with familiar students such as our own kids in Bellshill or the kids in Glenrothes.
This was a real high tempered, unfortunately, with a sense of loss_ I missed my wife and we'ans to bits... and really wished Olly could have been there to share in the experience.
Other highs included the organised fun of "its a knockout" (I lasted 3 seconds on the bouncy duel thing) and the informal games of cricket on the lawn... the freedom to document the week in pictures & observe the progress made was fab too.
I also experienced a level of openness & honesty with the older boys' cell that greatly encouraged me_ their willingness to share & discuss key issues inspired me & reassured me of the progress they are individually making on their faith journeys.
I had the opportunity to meet Anabel Goldie, MSP; Boyd Tunnock & a nurse whose name escapes me for a session Jon & Lorna had organised that provided an opportunity for some of the kids to "interview a Christian". All three were truly down-to-earth inspirations as examples of Christians in society. I found Anabel Goldie particularly engaging because she seemed so inclusive and pragmatic... certainly not how she and her colleagues are presented in the media.
I also got the opportunity to speak with the alove boys :: Matt White, Matt Leeder & Graeme Hodge :: which I enjoyed immensely. They are all talented men of God.
Thing is... all the people I came into contact with were and are gifted men and women of God.
Matt's thought on the Sunday night really dovetailed with the verse we had been using for a focal point :: Micah 6:8
But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously.(The Message)
He really challenged the kids to live as God wants them to.
The opportunity to lead prayers on Tuesday morning & to be involved, albeit impromtu, in the "greeting meeting" were both great pluses too. Helping to guide to young souls on their respective journeys of faith was an awesome privilege as well... maybe, in hindsight, my greatest thrill.
I think privileged sums up my experience_ it was a sheer privilege to be there and I hope to be asked back.
As for the lows_ having the role of "enforcer" went against who I am but worked for the most part_ however, with great power comes great responsibility and I am ashamed to say I lost it on two occasions... something I still regret today... but then kids will go out beyond curfew or do stupid things that put themselves in real risk.
That said_ all things considered_ the kids did us proud... both artistically & as people... and I am inspired for the future.