Winston Churchill, Sokvannara Sar, and Me?

How would you respond if someone spoke the following words to you? ” Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” This is part of a speech Churchill delivered to teenage young men at Harrow School back in 1941.  The message rang throughout Great Britain: Never give up and never give in. Britain didn’t. They were not conquered by the enemy. They conquered their fears along with their enemies, gaining victory and protecting their freedom.  We’d all do well to apply Churchill’s challenge to our every day lives.

Sokvannara (Sy) Sar is a young man who has chosen to not give up or give in. Have you heard of Sy?

The documentary film, Dancing Across Borders, tells his youthful story.  From Cambodia, Sy was a Khmer folk dancer who along with a troupe of dancers entertained a wealthy group of Americans in a 12th century temple in Angkor back in 2000.  The 15 year old boy was only trained in Cambodian folk dancing, but he was brought to the USA to learn classical ballet.

His story is quite inspiring, and you may want to access the movie and watch it with your family. It offers many life lessons.  Sy (pronounced “See”) demonstrates humility, loyalty, tenacity, selflessness, perseverance, kindness, respect and honor.  I was warmed by his thorough grace and gentle humor. While he has been given amazing opportunities, there is conflict in his heart. Yes, I think this movie would be a great family experience.

At Troy Christian, we define perseverance as “doing a job when it gets tougher than expected, staying with it until it is done.” We’ve also said that perseverance is “not giving up; not caving in.”  If you watch this documentary, you will see Sy live out this definition through his life story.  His benefactor, Anne Bass, has also lived this theme.  Bringing a boy from Cambodia to New York and placing him in a prestigious school was not the end of her work!  She admits that she had to give much more of herself than she had anticipated, so she too grew as Sy was growing and maturing.

What about me?  What about you?  How many times do we find ourselves involved in things that take so much more than we ever, ever anticipated?  What relationship do you have that does not require nurturing like a plant?  None!  What goal does not stretch you?

The Apostle Paul, a most vibrant example of perseverance, said, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men [people], knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:24-25).

If you watch Dancing Across Borders, would you be willing to write a comment on this blog to let us know what you and your family thought and learned through Sy’s story? We’d like that!

*Documentary note: Dancing Across Borders is a long film. You may want to watch it in two sessions. Younger children will enjoy some of it. Parents must determine what best fits their family.

*Churchill QUOTE NOTE:  The opening quotation is from a speech contained in The Unrelenting Struggle (London:Cassell and Boston:Little Brown 1942, and is found on pages 274-76 of the English edition). It may also be found in The Complete Speeches of Winston S. Churchill, edited by Robert Rhodes James (NY:Bowker and London:Chelsea House 1974).

Categories: Parenting, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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