The Last Word

By Lucas Govaerts | Posted: Monday July 29, 2019

Brotherhood. Its a word we use a lot around here. For four and a half years I have been listening to different versions of the word being used but I never really knew the true meaning of it.

In the dictionary, brotherhood is described as a sense of companionship. But to us it’s much more than that. When we enter the archway, we aren’t mates, partners or friends, we’re brothers. Brothers not connected by blood, but connected through the hoops, an infinite circle that has no beginning and no end.

I see brotherhood in Otago Boys’ as a window of opportunity, where we can build relationships with people we might not usually mix with. But most importantly, brotherhood is about always having someone in your corner when times get tough.

Brotherhood means being someone’s biggest support whilst also being their biggest critic. You see it’s easy to tell people what they want to hear. But it’s harder to tell them what they don't want to hear. Brotherhood is the ability to have conversations that make us feel uncomfortable, without passing any judgment.

Over my time at OB’s, I have often seen a lack of these things taking place. We have at times divided ourselves into groups and exclude others from partaking in some events.We ignore others simply because they have other interests than our own. But it’s time to change and through brotherhood we can.

Every Monday at form time, I try to make some kind of effort to influence the meaning of brotherhood. I ask every boy in my form class how they are going and what they’ve been up to in the weekend. 95% of them will say good thanks and spin a yarn about how they barely survived Saturday night. But it’s not about the 95%, I’m listening for that 5% that say, "You know what Lucas, I’m not doing good, I’m actually struggling."

If you see someone drowning would you save them? Of course you would. But how can you hear them if you don’t give them the chance to call out? And how can you see them if you don’t open your eyes?

Keeping tabs on each other is probably the most powerful meaning of brotherhood out there and it doesn’t have to take a lot of effort.

Now I would like to finish with a story about making an impact to just one OB’S boy.

One day, an old man was walking along the shore, he looked down at the beach and saw a figure moving in the distance.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young boy. The boy was reaching down to the sand, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

As he met the boy the old man called out 'Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?'

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied 'Throwing starfish into the ocean sir.'

'The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them back in, they'll die.'

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, 'But, son, do you not realize that there are thousands and thousands of starfish on this beach? You can't possibly make a difference!'

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said to the old man, 'you may be right but I made a difference for that one.'

If we can all be there to pick up at least one brother, then true meaning of brotherhood will be forever known.