Message from Staff
Welcome to Week 4 of Term 3. When the staff and I were re-evaluating our values I was an advocate of ‘striving for Excellence.’ I think the challenge of being the best we can be in learning, behaviour and Christian character are all of upmost importance, and I’m looking forward to seeing this value continue to develop in our students this term.
Excellence in this day and age is often perceived as a dirty word, especially here in New Zealand with our tall poppy syndrome. We are more likely than ever before to reward participation and we seldom talk about excellence in Christian circles, but we should: From a Biblical perspective, excellence is a virtue and we should pursue it at all times. Whether we’re washing windows for a living or washing dishes at home, whether we’re running a business or running laps around a track, whether we’re driving a car or an aircraft carrier or a golf ball, we’re called to please God through our efforts. “Whatever you do,” the Apostle Paul tells us, “do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, cf. also Colossians 3:23-25, Matthew 25:14-30).
Sometimes boiling down concepts to one word can tweak our thinking and thereby, alter our behaviour. Strive is the word I like to use when teaching on this subject and it’s a word that’s resonated with my students so far this term. Our role is to strive consistently toward our potential, toward the goal of doing things as well as we can, no matter what we’re being paid and no matter what anyone else is doing (or isn’t doing).
The results of this mindset are stunning. The consummate quality of a Bach concerto or an Olympian gold medal performance or a spelling bee champ acing that last 15-letter word most can’t even pronounce may bring us to tears. When we’re in the presence of excellence, it can be an emotional experience.
With businesses, we might not cry tears of joy over outstanding quality, but the supreme ingenuity of an Apple innovation or a Pixar movie, or even the clever problem solving of the occasional customer service rep who provides extra mile service, can affect us profoundly. “Wow!” is a standard response at such moments. Sometimes what we’ve seen is so remarkable that this one syllable response is all we can manage.
So, if you don’t like strive as a word, how about WOW? Imagine what it would be like if our customers, co-workers, students and family felt that way about our efforts!
This one-word approach may even inspire excellence in those around us as well. I had a jeweler design my now wife’s engagement ring. He was really good at his job but after a few draft design ideas I still wasn’t 100% happy. In the end I said to him “I really want her to look at this ring and say wow!” After that he was on a mission and created a really beautiful ring that I’m sure contributed to my wife saying “Wow” and …….”Yes!”