I am the real deal!
That’s what the Reverend Lennox Boyce told prefects from secondary schools across the island they should always tell themselves, as he addressed them this morning during Barbados Prefects Body Seminar 2012 at Mount of Praise Wesleyan Holiness Church at Tudor Bridge.
Their selection from the wider student population, he pointed out, was a clear indication that they were in fact the real deal and they should not be ashamed to shout it.
“It means they somebody saw potential in you,” he said. “Somebody saw promise in you. It means that somebody would have watched qualities over the years that were developed … and would have said ‘Here are some aspiring leaders. We need to select [them] as prefects at our schools’.
“I believe that you have what it takes to be outstanding young men and young women who will provide the type of leadership that we need in our schools among your peers [in keeping] with your theme, Setting an example through outstanding leadership.”
While noting that he had never been a prefect while he was at secondary school, the guest speaker nevertheless admonished those present to not just see their elevation as a chance only to feel good about themselves, but an opportunity to give quality service.
“Let this be a launching pad to build character and to develop yourselves toward excellence in all areas of your lives… I believe all of you possess the qualities to become excellent leaders,” Boyce told the gathering.
After presenting four scenarios that highlighted individuals with different strengths and weaknesses, Boyce asked the students which individual they believed would make the best leader. In response to their selection he said:
“Just about any one of the four can become a good leader. The thing about it is that all of us need some work… Leadership attracts criticism. Any time you are asked to be a leader somebody will criticised; if you have not found that out yet, you will find it out pretty soon.
“But you need to see yourself as a work in progress… Don’t ever believe that because you have been selected as a prefect that you possess all the qualities that you will need, that you have all the skills you will need and you are just ready. You may be ready, but you are still a work in progress.”
He also suggested that the students see their leadership roles in schools as the perfect opportunity to prepare for the similar roles they may be called on to play in the wider society in later life.
“So set an example,” he advised, warning the students that they should first demonstrate the ability to lead themselves, if not they will find it impossible to lead anyone else.
“So the best way to lead is to lead by example,” Boyce noted. “And example has to to with habits, which really define you – what you are like and who you really are. Habits are hard to break, so when you cultivate good habits they stay with you, and when you cultivate bad habits they also stay with you.” (RRM)