The two most complex and shared questions that young adolescents grapple with today are ‘How do I fit into the adult world’ and ‘Who am I’?
At Concordia we attempt to provide a positive environment where education, connection and conversation allow students the space to develop answers to these questions. Our aim is to prepare students for the world in which they live, and we can start to do this by building positive relationships with them, and by challenging them to take responsibility for their actions and behaviour.
We do not grow to be strong and resilient adults by having everything done for us, or by having someone take all the bumps out of the road ahead of us. Our characters are shaped by those very bumps in the road and how we overcome them. We should try to see these obstacles as opportunities rather than problems.
As we read in Romans 5:3-5 "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
As educators and parents, we should never aim to make the lives of the children in our care ‘bump-free’. We should be building their level of responsibility, raising the standards of our expectations so that they are challenged to work hard, to try hard and to test themselves to achieve better than they thought was personally possible.
Sometimes, we need to deal with the challenging issues and to face the consequences – that builds our confidence and makes us stronger. Often our first reaction to a new situation is to fear the worst, but if our children can be trained to do their own ‘risk analysis’, to accept responsibility and to learn to deal with the unknown, they are learning excellent life skills and building strong character.
Sometimes we need to learn to ‘back off’ and let young people deal with issues by themselves.
The Bible tells us in Matthew 18:15-16 "If one of my followers sins against you, go and point out what was wrong. But do it in private, just between the two of you. If that person listens, you have won back a follower. But if that one refuses to listen, take along one or two others."
We need to give the young people in our care a chance to solve things for themselves; slipping into the background, but being there to give our support should it be needed.
There are many important lessons for students to learn, both at home and at school. Helping them to find their place in this increasingly complex world and how they fit into it, has to be one of the most vital and long-lasting legacies we can give to them.
Head of Middle School