Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Grit and Resilience: Success at what?

I heard part of an interview recently about these two words and their use as identifiers of future success adolescent students and the life challenges that await them when they reach early adulthood. I found myself both appreciating how clearly these two character qualities or mindsets were being portrayed and simultaneously unsatisfied with what they were to be used for.

Success is a dangerous word since success at what is very important preliminary point of clarification.  Before we take about developing grit and resilience toward whatever success represents, we need to be clear about the goal. Success at self-promotion? Grit in developing ways to get further ahead than everyone else? Resourcefulness in gathering wealth, opportunity, privilege, and prestige?

Our definition of success speaks volumes about what we value and trust in. The vision statement for our school declares success to be “…a life of faithful, Christian discipleship” as our vision statement phrases it. The simplest meter stick for gauging success may be the question “Am I working for God’s kingdom and his glory, or for myself?” Faithfulness in using what we have been given for God’s glory and God’s purposes, is the definition of success we ought to work with.

Take our upcoming field day for example. Our goal is to attempt to acknowledge every bit of effort that every student invests in the day. Rather than give a ribbon only to the top three or four finishers, our field day structure uses the results of all of events that students complete to achieve an overall score for the day. Students receive an overall total which is compared to standards that earn them a first, second, third, or fourth place achievement. Since every centimeter and second counts, we are excited to see students reaching for their best with a sustained overall effort. We also are excited that students look to better their previous year’s achievement as they practice for the event. The grit and resilience we wish to encourage is to use whatever gifts and talents you have to the very best of one’s ability, within a community of encouragement and fair play. Success here is doing your best, not simply finishing first.

Whether it is playing a musical solo on Wednesday night or playing at all, whether it is looking to set a new track record or to make a first successful attempt – we are excited at LCES to give students a platform to take risks and do great things in His kingdom. God has prepared them for just that! 


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