One of the central purposes that drives my work is the creation of an ecosystem where people can thrive.
This week, I had the opportunity to sit down and have a meaningful conversation with our young people at ‘SCAS for Jesus’. This group of students meets weekly to share their stories and explore the teachings of Jesus. As I shared a bit of my own faith journey, we found common themes that resonated with their previous discussions, particularly the idea of being part of a community and sharing our journeys and hardships. I reflected on how, for me, being a part of a Christian community has been a source of support and growth. Even during the most challenging times, it’s the community of shared values and beliefs that has provided hope and the opportunity to thrive.
In a similar vein, we view our school as a community that nurtures and helps our young people grow in a supportive environment. Unfortunately, we sometimes need to counter influences from the broader society that may not align with our community’s values. Last term, I emphasised that casual racism is not tolerated at our school, highlighting the importance of rejecting negative stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory behavior based on race, color, or ethnicity. This includes jokes, off-handed comments, and exclusion from social situations. It’s essential to understand that racism is about impact as much as it is about intention.
I would like to extend this sentiment to casual sexism and any rude or discourteous behavior that disrespects others, even if there is a belief that there is no intention to harm. The notion that “boys will be boys” or that hurtful behavior is “just a joke” has no place in our school’s culture. We are a community with shared values, but we must also be aware of the values we reject. It is through education and working together in partnership with our parents, that we can influence the lives of our young people and ensure that our positive voices play a crucial role in shaping their expectations and perceptions as they grow to become leaders in our community.
I was recently heartened by a member of our community who publicly acknowledged our students for their help during a time of need. These students saw someone in trouble and stopped on their way home to assist her and ensure she was okay. It is acts like these that exemplify the power of positive parenting and lead me to believe that together, we can provide the community and the values that support and promote growth for all.
I’d like to leave you with a verse from the Bible that I shared with the SCAS for Jesus students that speaks to this notion of fulfilling a positive destiny.
“We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it.” (Ephesians 2:11, TPT)