When giving an assessment of an organization for its upcoming strategic planning efforts, I was asked what advice I would give the leader as the organization moved forward. After thinking a bit about the organization, I was at a loss for anything specific.
I really didn’t know the inner workings of the organization, having only watched them from afar and having dealt with some of their constituents. It is a solid, well-led organization that is meeting the needs of its customer base. What I did recommend was the process of a thorough examination of their personnel structure and organizational structure.
I’m on my ninth day of a juice fast. I won’t tell you how long I’m planning to go, because I’m afraid I won’t make it. I’m doing this to lose weight, to detox my body, to try something difficult, and to change my poor eating habits. As I sip my lunch bottle of apple, orange, and kale, I’m still waiting for that claim of energy and vigor to kick in. Nine days without coffee. Nine days without chewing. I miss chewing.
Before you think I’ve lost my mind and am just rambling, I have learned a few things about myself and the world we live in, and I’d like to share them with you.
So far we’ve talked a bit about the idea of critical theory in leadership—the work to expose norms, values, and practices that limit human flourishing, introduced some of the founders of social theory, and recognized the reality that, wherever there is human interaction, there are power dynamics, regardless of the official roles people are assigned. I promised that our next post would focus on some of the factors at play in the arena of power; however, I’m going to break that promise in light of the season we are in.
Instead, I want to share with you how the Advent of Jesus impacts my ideas of power and leadership.
It’s an old joke. The teacher asks, “Do you think ignorance and apathy are big problems?” The grumpy student response is: “I don’t know and I don’t care.” In our current culture, many young people are morally adrift and uncritical. It’s not “This is true; that is false.” It’s “Whatever.”
On a New York street corner, Alexandra, 15, smoked a cigarette while talking to an interviewer: “There is a monotonous undertone of the entirety of life, you know? What is there to do? There’s nothing even to look at.”
Kids today are bored and passive, even with entertainment all around. They are, as one writer described them, “passion-impaired.” Christian school teachers have the antidote: being conveyors of awe. Awe is a practice, a skill that Christian schools ought to teach as rigorously as they do core subjects.
Whom does the Christian school serve? The highest priority within the mission of the Christian school is service to God. We are created in his image and for his pleasure. He desires our obedience. Every aspect of life is worship. In Christian education we seek first to bring glory and honor to his name.
At the same time, there is a second level answer to the question. We believe that God has entrusted the care of his children to parents. God’s instructions to parents are found in his Word. Among the many notable passages are these: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6). “He commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children” (Psalm 78:5-6). “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children” (Deuteronomy 6: 6-7).
Welcome to Voices 4 Christian Ed. Each week, one of four authors will offer his thoughts on topics of interest to Christian school leadership. Your voice is also welcome here; please comment on these posts so that together we can create conversation on the essential issues facing Christian schools.