A ten-pin bowling excursion has helped a group of Grade 11 learners understand that, no matter what their background, how their lives play out will be based purely on the choices they make.
The trip to GrandWest Entertainment World in Cape Town was the first time that the seven students from Stellenzicht School in Vlottenberg had played the sport – and they found it tricky.
They found it even more difficult, however, when the sides of each of their bowling lanes were raised to expose the gutters along their length.
While previously, the sides had at least kept the bowling balls in their lane making the learners more likely to hit a few pins, once they were lowered, the balls no longer had anything to keep them on the right track and so the success rate plummeted.
But because the students found this situation frustrating and were inclined to give up, their group leader sat them down and presented them with an analogy to put things into context.
He explained that the sides of the lanes, when up, represented the unconscious influence of the students’ families and wider community. This influence, when positive, helped them to stay on the straight and narrow and gave them the necessary guidance to succeed.
When the sides of the lanes were down, however, it meant that either the community was not providing the required support or its influence was negative. In all cases, however, it was up to each individual to make their own choices and take responsibility for their own actions because the final outcome would be decided by such decisions. He was brought up in a family that he felt did not love or care for him, he ended up looking outside of the home for validation. After falling in with a gangster, who gave him the acceptance and approval that he craved, the speaker ended up being in and out of prison on drug abuse charges, before committing murder.
This message was reinforced by a motivational speaker who talked to the Vision 11ers on the morning before they went on their trip about his life and how he had turned it around.
As his life started crashing down around his ears, however, he decided it was time to make change. So the speaker got himself an education and has now turned his life around – he is happily married, has a well-paid job and owns a house and car.
As a result, his key message to the learners was that, although family and community can have a big impact on an individual’s outlook, the life that they ultimately end up with will be based on no one else’s choices but their own.
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