When at the World Schools Debate Tournament in Canada in the early 90’s, I became captivated with the art of debate. This forces me to reflect on what caused me to become so engaged in debate, as I have been fully dedicated to debating ever since.
Was it the ease in which the students shared their understanding of geopolitical issues, or was it the share splendor and charm of the participants? Was it the nuance of the ‘points of information’ or the brilliant closing arguments that had the ability to take your breath away?
Was it the variation of style each debater had or was it the strategic maneuvering that meandered throughout the eight speeches which made it difficult to decide in your mind, who won that debate?
Was it the opportunity to meet new people from around the world, or the lasting friendships that have evolved, or the brilliance of the opening ceremony or the visit to the winter Olympic facilities, or …
To answer my many questions, the answer is – all of the above! I have had the opportunity to travel to five continents and in each location I have made lasting friendships and have grown in my knowledge of debate as a result. I began my quest in debate as a coach and now I am engaging at the adjudication level. I have adjudicated throughout South America, the Caribbean, in Canada, and now in Europe.
Debating has caused me to expand my thinking and how I relate to everything that I do and experience. I was born and raised in the beautiful island of Bermuda. Many only know about Bermuda because of the stories related to the ‘Bermuda Triangle’, and I will provide you with a triangulated view about myself.
Three realities about me are that I am a family man, a pastor and a principal. As a family man, debating has allowed me the opportunity to fully enjoy my wife, children and grandchildren. I have learned to listen more and talk less. Everyone has a point of view and I have learned to respect my family and their values, even when they differ from my own.
As a pastor, I do a lot of speaking. Debating has provided me with the opportunity to listen to and observe some of the world’s most prolific orators and their examples have allowed me to grow.
And as the principal of St. David’s Primary School, debating has shaped my ability to be prepared in academic pursuits. As a principal, I fully engage in professional development. I am always researching something and willing to read, seek for clarity and provide evidence for what I believe is best practice. As a result, I encourage my staff to be reflective practitioners and to fully engage in professional development at all times.
Debating continues to shape my thoughts and actions. It has given me the privilege to engage with many members of the world community and most importantly of all it keeps me in contact with the world’s most precious commodity, our youth.