It’s the start of a new half term, and I sit my class down for the double-whammy of a new sport and a new value! I introduce our sport of tag-rugby, and our value of gentleness.

“But that’s really odd,” one child piped up, “because rugby is so rough! How can the two work together?!”

I am a massive of fan of this conundrum, but I feel that gentleness needs to be taken in the same context of “Muscular-Christianity”. For too long, the concept of gentleness has carried an effeminate quality, when really being gentle is the display of true strength.

Gentleness is all about the management of our power, the control of our strength, authority with fairness, a strong-criticism carried with love. Gentleness is the necessity of having the ability to destroy, but using a delicate touch.

If we consider gentleness in this way, is teaching rugby alongside gentleness a conundrum? Not for me. As we display strength and intensity in our sport, we care for our opponent and our team-mates, we play within the rules while display a strong desire to win. That is gentleness.

When we consider the character and person of Jesus, we see a man who was a carpenter, who was most likely strong and broad of shoulder. A man who saw people desecrating the temple, and drove them out with a whip, but in the next moment had the little children playing around Him, and spoke to large crowds with eloquence and intelligence.

Even in the Old Testament, we see the Lord speak to Elijah, not in the Earthquake or the fire, but in a quiet whisper.

What does this mean for us in our personal contexts? We each have the power to destroy, tear down, and upset others with our words or actions. But we are taught to behave with a gentle spirit. To deliver feedback softly and with encouragement, to love one another and treat others as we would like to be treated.

Andy Dutton
Sports Quality Lead