Thursday, December 07, 2006

Right place for your talents

What would Winston Churchill have been without WWII? Just another ho-hum politician with a very mixed record. Who would have known that he had the ability to hold a nation together through its darkest years?

Churchill on Life cover (photo: Yousuf Karsch)

In a way, he was fortunate that his life presented the conditions that allowed his talents to flourish to their fullest extent. How many of us find that our life circumstances do not match our talents? We will never realise our full potential, and the world will not benefit from our abilities, if we don’t seek out the conditions where our talents can be used.

Gemma Sisia is one of the lucky ones. As the youngest of eight children (she has seven older brothers!) growing up on a sheep grazing property near Tamworth in NSW, it was highly likely that her talents would be used in her local community.

But, following her strong desire to help the poorest of the poor, one thing led to another and she now finds herself running a large school in Africa. What would Gemma Sisia be without the School of St Jude? Just another energetic school teacher in country NSW? It’s hard to imagine!
While it cannot be said that Churchill fostered WWII in order to exercise his talents, I can see that Gemma has created the conditions where her considerable talents can flourish. I wonder how much further they will develop? The story is still unfolding.

The result of Winston Churchill’s talents and efforts was the endurance of Britain in its finest hour – the survival of the nation and its culture.

The result of Gemma’s talents and efforts (so far!) is the excellent education provided to hundreds of bright children from poor families. Just as England may have failed without the massive talents of Churchill at the helm, so these children would be condemned to the ongoing cycle of poverty that is perpetuated when children grow up illiterate and unskilled.

Kindergarten class performance for St Jude's Day

So, if you find yourself wondering what particular field is needed for your particular talents to flourish, consider how you might lend them to the task of helping one of the poorest countries in the world climb out of the tragedy of extreme poverty.

You can find out more about Churchill at Wikipedia and The Churchill Centre.

It is not really surprising that Churchill was voted the greatest-ever Briton in the 2002 BBC poll the 100 Greatest Britons, but did you know that he won the 1953 Nobel Prize in Literature for his many books on English and world history!

"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour." -- Speech delivered to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 following the collapse of France.

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