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Negative to Positive

Turning a negative experience into positive action

by Helen Gwynne-Kinsey

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To show that a negative experience can be turned into positive action using the example of Richard Parks.

Preparation and materials

You will need the PowerPoint slides accompanying this assembly and the means to display them (Negative to positive).
You may also like to have a look at Richard Parks’ website as the PowerPoint pictures are taken from this:


1. During today’s assembly we are going to find out about a person named Richard Parks.

Slide 1: Richard Parks is a former professional rugby union player who spent 13 years playing for clubs in Wales and France. He also achieved the highest accolade for any sporting person by being selected to play for his home nation, Wales.

2. Slide 2: Richard was passionate about his sport and pushed himself hard, both in training and on the pitch during every game. However, whilst playing for his club, he sustained an injury. Those of us who play and enjoy sport know how wonderful it is to be able to compete, and the inability to play sport due to injury can be hard to bear. Richard took a short time out of the game whilst he underwent treatment, but by continuing to play he caused irreversible damage. After undergoing a number of operations he was forced to retire from rugby. You can imagine how hard that was for Richard. He was a man with energy and strength, but suddenly his rugby career was at an end.
However, Richard Parks didn’t give up. In fact, he overcame the dreadful disappointment of coming to the end of his rugby career much too early and went on to do some highly significant things!

3. Slide 3: Since his retirement from rugby Richard has made history twice. Firstly, he undertook an expedition called the 737 Challenge. The challenge was made up of the following elements:

Slide 4:
- To climb the highest mountain on each of the world's seven continents.
- To stand at the North Pole, the South Pole and on the summit of Everest.
- To complete these journeys within seven months.

Richard became the first person ever to achieve this feat. More recently, he became the fastest-ever British person to ski unsupported and unassisted to the South Pole.

4. These achievements are wonderful in themselves, but what makes them even better is that Richard has been able to raise thousands of pounds for charity through his actions. His 737 Challenge raised over £326,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care. He also raised awareness of the charity to the value of £3 million worth of advertising. Richard certainly turned the disappointment he felt at the end of his rugby career into an opportunity to help others.

5. At some time in our lives, each of us will experience disappointment. How we deal with disappointment is an individual thing, but being able to turn a negative feeling into a positive action is a wonderful way to respond.

Time for reflection

Dear God,
Help us to support each other within our community, to use our skills and talents in a positive way to help others, whether it be through charitable deeds or kind words of encouragement.
Help us to find our own personal ways of turning negative experiences into positive outcomes.

Publication date: December 2015   (Vol.17 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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