Persuasion vs compulsion vs attraction

“There are three ways of trying to influence the young: There is persuasion, there is compulsion, and there is attraction. You can preach at them: that is a hook without a worm. You can say ‘you must volunteer’: that is of the devil. And you can tell them, ‘You are needed.’ That one hardly ever fails.”

– Kurt Hahn of Outward Bound fame and arguably the father of modern outdoor education

Lynsday Simpkin, the founder of Adventure Specialties Trust, quoted the above quote in one of his letters. He continued:

“It is tempting, as Christians serving through outdoor adventure, to try and emphasise a person’s value by saying ‘Don’t you know that you are made in the image of God?’ but what if that person has no belief in God?

We can enforce moral boundaries and standards of behaviour for the duration of our programme, but transference back into real life is never guaranteed.

Maybe, though, with careful and prayerful planning, we can create an experience where being needed becomes self-evident and where the beauty of nature creates enough cracks for something of the truth and source of a person’s worth to seep on through.”

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