One way that we live a life together in a community is by developing the habit of dealing graciously with others while becoming more introspective about ourselves. By “graciously,” I don’t mean that we give others excuses for bad behavior, but we begin with a posture of assuming the best in those around us. This means that we avoid making assumptions regarding the intent behind that email or the reason the person failed to respond to our text. I call this a habit because it is something that does not come easily in humans since the Fall and requires focused attention in order to overcome. We sometimes must capture those first thoughts to make them obedient to the Holy Spirit’s desire for unity rooted in love.
In a school setting this means that rather than overlook areas for improvement, we approach those involved with a “problem-solving” mindset. God is the God of order and beauty, therefore, He desires that we fix broken things. It is His job to fix those individuals who are broken; it is ours to bear His image in fixing the rest of the stuff of this world. This involves approaching our fellow brothers and sisters with the grace that assumes the Holy Spirit is working in their life while looking at the “problem” as something we can fix together. This approach takes the focus off the individual and his/her wrongness and puts it on the issue that we often both want addressed.
Our first job should always be to seek understanding. This might mean finding out all the facts. It might require listening to the goals of the other individual. It might entail evaluating the other forces that have led to the problem being solved in a certain way. We then can discuss other factors that may be seen by one individual (say…the parent) that was missed by the other individual (say…the teacher). This could be the fact that, due to scheduling, the child is overloaded on a certain night with important activities that make completing homework difficult. At this point, the teacher has the option of dealing graciously, understanding that parents have to decide between two competing, but equally good choices. When we deal this way with one another we cease standing in judgment over decisions and work constructively to move towards our goals as members of the same team.
Let’s work at Calvary to be on the same team, working towards the same goal, with the intent of honoring Christ with our little part. Let’s strategize towards that goal together. No one ever likes the member of the team who blames the others on the team for missed shots. Whether winning or losing, it is better when we do so together.
–Dr. Troy Wathen, Head of School