BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the day

© John Denney 12 March 2003


The City of Leicester is full of very workaday buildings.  World class buildings have been notably missing.  There are a number of interesting church buildings, there’s the Guildhall.  The Victorian buildings that created modern Leicester are passable, but not great.  Then came the Engineering Block at the University in the sixties, and more recently the two universities have put up good buildings: the Kimberlin Library, the Richard Attenborough Centre.  The National Space Centre has attracted international recognition for its audacious design.


And now Raphael Vinoly, one of the world’s leading architects, has unveiled plans for Leicester’s new Performing Arts Centre.  And the plans are very exciting.  Full marks to the Leicester City Council for having the imagination to commission a top architect.  Let’s hope they can keep their nerve and see that it is built according to his design, without changing the brief, or cutting corners to save a few pounds here and there.  There’s a “buzz” about this new scheme, and Leicester needs something exhilarating like this.


I’m old enough to remember the daring plans put forward by Konrad Smigielski that would have catapulted Leicester into the forefront of modern cities way back in the 1960s.  But Leicester showed its peculiar habit of turning down bold concepts like the monorail that Smigielski proposed.  And it wasn’t so long ago that people were complaining that the National Space Centre didn’t belong here in Leicester.


The fact is, it’s easier to criticise than to be constructive.  It’s easier to destroy than to build.  And on the personal front, it’s easier to discourage someone than to encourage them. 


Saint Paul was a great encourager of the early Christians, in the days when it was dangerous to be a Christian, let alone plant churches and spread the Good News of the gospel of Christ.  In Paul’s letters to those early Christians, time and time again he says “I give thanks to God for you…” and then instances good things they have done – as well as pointing out where they had gone a bit wrong.  His care, his concern, his approval must have made a lot of difference to them.  It’s wonderful what a bit of encouragement can do, when someone’s weighed down and struggling.  An ounce of praise is worth a ton of criticism.


So I wonder, is there someone you could encourage today?  And here’s a wonderful bonus: you’ll feel good as well!


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