If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
– 1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV)
Tod Bolsinger the Associate Professor of Leadership Formation at Fuller Theological Seminary recently presented on the concept of “how not to waste a crisis” at the Christian Schools Australia (CSA) conference in Cairns. His book Canoeing the Mountains outlines this concept and is pitched against the story of American explorers Lewis and Clark, who were given the mission of discovering a waterway that would lead all the way to the Pacific Ocean from the newly settled East coast of the US.
After paddling upstream for quite some time they came across unexpected terrain: the river stopped, and the Rocky Mountains began. They had been technically competent at paddling (the foundation for their mission), discovered good relationship with their team who were in good spirits, but now faced an enormous challenge: they had to lead their team to adapt, to become climbing canoeists!
At Swan Christian College, we regularly reflect on our team and our purpose in our school. In considering COVID-19 and lockdowns we acknowledge that we have navigated this crisis reasonably well with online learning and parents as facilitators and partners. In the post lockdown environment (mostly) as we examine the role of schools, we can conclude that learning can take place anywhere at any time. The question becomes, is the place of classroom teaching and learning still valid and are schools the best place for our young people to congregate, learn, grow, and move towards responsible adulthood.
If schools are only a place to impart and receive content and knowledge, they are probably redundant. We all know that Google is our teacher in many instances. Just ask anyone wanting to complete home renovations. However, if schools are a place where humanity is directly related to who I am with others (team), in community, and where character development is as important as cognitive growth, then schools very clearly have a vital place in society.
This last semester has shown this humanity (with others, in community, developing character) in abundance as we have seen our sporting teams outperform their competitors. Congratulations to our Junior School students who won the WACSSA (WA Christian School Sports Association) cross carnival and our Senior School students who won the ACC (Associated & Catholic Colleges) Athletics Carnival.
Several sporting achievements and events were recently celebrated in our Sports Awards assembly, which was an exciting evening hosting one of our past students and YouTube sensation, Derek Herron. Derek together with Brett Stanford, and Scott Gaunson have become a sensation in achieving success in creativity and innovation by filming unbelievable feats of successful basketball hoop shots. In Derek’s words: I love life, the Lord and How Ridiculous. The acknowledgement of the Lord by Derek and his TEAM in How Ridiculous seem to point to his success and may we say his success in graduating from Swan Christian College.
TEAM, the concepts of with others, in community with perseverance and resilience (character) along with knowing God are part of the make-up of our school. Curriculum and learning of course are the given. Some say that TEAM stands for together everyone achieves more! Perhaps schools are important and relevant after all as they provide opportunities to work in teams.
Tod and Derek say good relationships in teams and loving the Lord are the ingredients to successfully navigating mountains and our purpose. Paul in the verse quoted above, refers to the ability to conquer mountains but that love is our purpose. I trust that at Swan we can capture these truths of working together in community, displaying healthy relationships, and caring for one another with love. In this way we will achieve more for the wellbeing of the children in our care.