This was a post for class discussion and I wanted to post it here too. We’re beginning a class on School Leadership/Teacher Leaders.
I didn’t have much desire to identify myself as a leader when I finished high school. I’d been an officer of the Bible Club and a member of my Youth Group’s leadership team, but I still saw myself more as a follower, a disciple, and not one who lead or discipled others.
Immediately after high school I did a year as an intern at a youth organization, and we took 3 classes each week outside of chapel: Perspectives, Character Development, and Leadership Lab. I decided I didn’t have to like it but I was obligated to learn some principles of leadership and to lead if the occasion arose… but since I was with 500 other people also taking that class, it was still easier to let one of my fellow interns take the lead! I’ve since forgotten most of the concrete details learned in that class aside from some scenes from Braveheart and Dead Poets Society and an awareness of the human tendency to finish others’ sentences for them (an example of not-good leadership but fun to demonstrate – just say “You know how people like to finish others’….” and wait about 2 seconds). As we start this course I kind of wish I remembered more!
I still don’t like to step forward and take the lead unless it’s an area in which I feel confident myself. From what we are learning in Victory Over the Darkness in morning devos, I can see that’s a sin when it keeps me from playing a role I am being asked to do by the Father, whether or not I feel like my own skills are adequate.
Moving from leadership in general to the book we’re reading (Successful School Leadership by Guthrie & Schuermann), it would seem the authors define a good leader as a strategic leader, and to be a strategic leader, you have to be good at organizing like MacArthur, good at motivating like Churchill, and good at observing the world outside your school, analyzing what you see, and making wise changes in response to it.
I was staggered by what the authors claimed on page 20. In my own paraphrase, education (and the teachers/leaders who provide it) now has an unprecedented effect on the comfort and joy of each child’s future life. It reminds me of Lewis in (I think) The Abolition of Man when he claimed that each generation wants the power to affect the most possible people not just in the present but in the future by the wars, ideas, inventions, or other things they begin that will carry on to the future. (In that way of measuring, Jesus certainly had the biggest impact since Adam, but others such as Aristotle, the USA’s Founding Fathers, Ford, or the creator of the silicone chip were also immensely powerful.) It’s scary to think that the schools have the power to make someone’s entire life comfortable and happy or to make it miserable.
Which brings me to the question of where my beliefs meet this book. SHOULD education have such power? DOES it really? As Neil Anderson says in Victory Over the Darkness, looks, money, power, relationships, none of it equals happiness. “The only identity equation that works in God’s kingdom is you plus Christ equals wholeness and meaning.” In society’s search for a happy and fulfilled life, education is a dangerous substitute for Jesus, perhaps more so than the the substitutes that obviously leave you empty such as drugs or escape into the world of an MMORPG (video game).
I also paused over the “constant scanning of external environment and applying to internal” – I can see that either as good (being ready for and lovingly engaging the hurt and destruction in the world; learning from positive new developments) or detrimental (for example and at risk of getting controversial: the push in America now for the LGBT agenda to be treated as any other minority group).
That’s where I’m at today. Talk with ya’ll tomorrow!