I have reflected on the blog that I wrote last week and I’m keen to keep the golfing analogy going this week!
My late father was a scratch handicapped golfer and I remember well his insistence on the importance of practising your short game endlessly. In the room where this blog is being written, I have a picture of where my Dad was brought up and the golf green that was outside his back garden gate. It was on this green that Dad would line himself up with an eight foot putt that he would challenge himself to hole 30 times in a row without missing. If he missed one them he would start at zero again. Now, if I was to do this, I would never get off the green! My memory of Dad, who died nine years ago was that he was still red hot at putting from eight feet, even in his mid eighties!
What I’m saying is that pastoral care (the chipping and putting of golf) requires us to practise, reflect and consult with others. We need to be teachable at all times about how best to exercise effective pastoral care. Like chipping and putting the art doesn’t always seem to be exciting but if it is done it can make a huge difference. As Dad lost his ability to strike the ball he was still an effective golfer until his dying days because of his ability to chip and putt. Pastoral leaders, educators, parents and all those that exercise influence over young people must put in time to practise the art of pastoral care. This investment will affect change.