So many of us couldn’t give a hoot about the next person. We’re willing to do whatever it takes, and step over whoever’s in the way, to achieve our goals. It’s a dangerous environment because it’s leading to the destruction of something we call community. And a society without community amounts to a bunch of individuals getting caught up in a power struggle.
This has led us to sway too far to the other side. We dare not say or do anything that challenges somebody else because it might offend them. When you get an A in your exam, it’s better not to say anything to anyone. The guy who failed because he didn’t learn, might feel bad. When a few students get awards because they really worked hard during the year, you need to re-evaluate your awards system. Why? Because those students who weren’t interested in working throughout the year, might feel left out. When you select a sports team, you need to make sure that everyone gets an opportunity to play. How good they are and how hard they work on their skills don’t matter here. The important thing is that everyone has a turn! And here’s the craziest one of them all; when you are participating in a sports match, there are no winners or losers so no score will be kept. We don’t want those who lose, to feel bad!
What a load of hogwash. Since when do we reward those who do nothing in the same way as those who are working their butts off. All we are doing is creating a society that just shows up. There is no need to do any work. And we are telling those who work hard and give their all that they are wasting their time. So, those who were working hard, end up doing less because they don’t see the point. Those who were doing nothing, continue doing nothing.
I know I am not artistic. I can’t even draw a stickman. I might improve my art by going to some art lessons but it’s never going to be great. That is why I leave the art to those who are good at it. It doesn’t mean that I can’t draw a picture and enter it into an art competition, but I will never expect to get the same reward as an artist because I am rubbish at it and I accept it. I am better at sport so I focus on that. I won a few sport awards in my time but there were times when I didn’t, because there were people better than me. That’s life and I had to accept it. I wouldn’t want to receive an award if I knew that I didn’t deserve it anyway. That inspired me to work harder!
Every person is good at something. We have all been created with a special gift. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to find that gift, pursue it and use it to make a difference in the world. Don’t try to force a square gift into a round hole. You were given your gift for a reason. Don’t waste it by trying to live someone else’s. Let’s stop creating a mediocre society by rewarding those who don’t deserve it (because we don’t want to hurt their feelings), while those who really deserve it don’t get recognized for their hard work.
Today’s education programs and practices are teaching students that that it’s all about them. We don’t necessarily say it, but we practice it in our schools. We redevelop programs to suit the preferences of students. Now don’t get me wrong… there is a place for altering things when there is a definite need for it in the education of a child, but we seem to find an excuse for every single behavior today. We have even got an accepted condition called DEFIANCE DISORDER. In my day that was called being naughty and you were punished for it. Today you are molly coddled and “disciplined” by doing exactly what that child wants – to be taken out of the class environment and given special attention. That child gets away with not adhering to the rules of the school. And when that student does do something that is expected of them anyway, they are rewarded. This happens while the other students are doing the right thing all the time. And that is confusing for them. So many children who do the right thing have their education compromised, while those who choose not to work are taking up all the teachers’ time (filling in disciplinary forms and following disciplinary procedures). The excuses that are presented for this type of behavior also blows me away. There are so many people in the world that are struggling. I taught in Malawi, where there were 11 and 12 year-old children who lost both their parents to AIDS. They had no income and nobody to look after them. They even had younger siblings to look after. Yet, they walked a few kilometers to school every day, had their work done and had the utmost respect for their teachers. They never needed to build a relationship with their teachers to make it possible to respect them. They never complained about their circumstances and they never used it as an excuse. I taught in schools in Taiwan, where children shared with me that their parents didn’t have time for them and didn’t seem to care much for them. They grew up feeling unloved, yet didn’t use it as an excuse to behave badly. They had the utmost respect for their teachers and worked very hard. I grew up in a dysfunctional family for a long time, I was sexually abused by one of my school teachers and I never used that as an excuse to be disrespectful and hate everyone around me because of my circumstances. I chose to work hard and try to make something of my life. Why do we allow students to act disrespectful and then blame their circumstances for it? It’s a load of crock.
We are told that we, as teachers, need to gain the trust of the children before they will respect us. It’s an issue of waiting for them, until they are ready to accept us. Here is some news for those teaching in Christian schools – there’s no biblical backup for that. In fact, the Bible says the opposite
“For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you.4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.” (Romans 13)
As Christians we love to talk about how we are in a place for a reason and that it isn’t by chance that we are at this school, or living in this town, or experience this difficulty. Well, if that’s what we are saying, then we need to re-read Hebrews 13. Teachers are in that position at that school for a reason. And that teaching position is a position of authority. When teachers understand that this authority is not used in the wrong way, but in a way that benefits and grows their students and in a way that God intended them to use it, it needs to be respected. But that is also something that the children need to understand. Children are treated like adults when they are still children. Children need guidance, boundaries and discipline. Those are not swear words! They are things that we will do if we really care about the children! You don’t have the best interest of children at heart when you accept their actions or think you are disciplining them by having a wishy- washy chat with them. Children, like everyone else, must know that there are consequences to their actions. God is not only a God of grace – He is also a God of justice. There are consequences to the things we do. For God to forgive us, we need to turn from the wrong things and follow him. When I do mess up, there are still consequences.
The consequence of Moses’ was disobedience was that he didn’t get to enter the promised land. I think that was a bit drastic after everything that he had been through and after all the times that he was obedient, but that is God’s justice. God still loved Moses, but he understood the importance of discipline and that it was a way of showing His love for Moses.
The consequence of David’s disobedience was that his sons would drift away and even want to kill their father. This is a bit harsh for all the times that he was obedient. But that is God’s justice. There are consequences to our actions. God still loved David. In fact, He disciplined David exactly because of that reason. He even called him “A man after My own heart.”
God says that He disciplines those that He loves. Who are we to think that we have a better way to do things. When my sons were growing up and they were about to put their hand on a hot plate on the stove, I would pull them away. I wouldn’t plead with them to please not do that and stand by to watch them hurt themselves. As my boys are growing up, we limit their time they can spend on devices. It’s not a discussion or a debate. Those are the rules and that’s what happens. We are a very happy family and our boys can sit and talk at the dinner table with us, without us trying to drag a conversation out of them. This happens because there are certain rules that need to be followed. If you see someone walking across a road and they don’t see a car that is about to knock them over, what are you going to do? I know that, because you care for them as a fellow human being, you are going to do whatever it takes to save them. There is no way that you are going to ask them nicely to step out of the road. You are not going to debate with them what they would like to do in this situation.
Why then, are we seeing the world becoming more and more messed up and we continue to think that things are working the way that we are doing them. We see that juvenile crime is on the rise and we still think that the education system is working. How come, when we see how respect for others is basically none existent, we hope it’s going to improve yet we don’t do anything about it in schools. We are not going to save any of our students by debating with them. You don’t go on an international flight and question the way that customs do things. You don’t refuse to adhere to the rules of the airline because you don’t like it. Those rules have been put in place for a reason. They are there to make sure that all passengers are safe and that all travelers have an enjoyable experience. A policeman doesn’t debate with you whether you are wrong or right when you do the wrong thing. He doesn’t let you off the hook because you don’t like police cars. You don’t play a soccer match and do as you please on the field. You abide by the rules or you get a red card and are sent off. There’s no discussion. There’s no debate. There’s no asking, “What would you like to do?” That’s the way the world works. Why are we creating something in schools that is not preparing our students for the world out there? We are wrapping them up in cotton wool and when they leave school, they don’t know how to cope because people out there aren’t going to make such a big fuss over what they want.
We will never get a different result if we keep doing things the same way.
These days there also seems to be a blur between who is the teacher and who is the student. If the student can be the teacher and the teacher needs to be the student (as seems to be promoted today) why on earth did I waste 4 years of my life at university. Why do you even need to study and pay an exorbitant amount of money to become a teacher. I am tired of walking into classes where children talk to me as if I am a piece of dirt. It is heart-wrenching to walk into a class and kids continue to do what they are doing without even acknowledging the fact that you are there. And when you do reprimand them for their behavior, you are told to “calm down” and told “I won’t do that!” The comment that school is not about the teachers, but about the students is something I also hear a lot. Any successful company’s CEO will tell you that to have a great company, you need to look after your staff. Of course, it is about the students, but for those students to benefit, it must also be about the teachers. Why would I want to give my best if I don’t feel that I have the support of my employer? How can anyone keep going and giving their all when it’s all about emptying yourself every day and you are slowly broken down and degraded by the way you are treated. That might seem normal for modern-day teacher but it’s not the way it’s meant to be and it’s not benefitting anyone.
God has created us with a specific passion. That passion should be the thing that keeps us awake at night because we don’t want to miss a moment, and makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning. When that isn’t happening, it’s time to reevaluate things. I used to love teaching. I used to spend hours connecting with children of all ages. There was discipline in my classes. There were boundaries that children knew they weren’t allowed to cross. There were definite consequences to actions. None of those things stopped the students from respecting me and connecting with me. In fact, those things contributed to it. They made my students feel safe, valued and cared for. I am still in contact with so many students that I used to teach. Many of them don’t have the same beliefs that I have. Many of them are Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist and more, yet they all benefitted from a structured, disciplined classroom environment. I loved and respected each of my student in the same way, but they were all treated the same. I didn’t treat some different because they didn’t like being quiet in class. When there are rules, they need to apply to everyone and there needs to be consistency. As soon as inconsistency appears, it becomes confusing for the students and chaos will set in.
Teachers who struggle to work in many of today’s schools and decide to leave, are seen as weak. It has nothing to do with weakness. It has to do with a choice! The choice to step out of a toxic environment that is destroying their zeal and passion for life. Someone once said that the saddest thing that can happen in life is not death, it’s when your zest for life dies in you while you are still alive.
It’s time to do what’s best for our students and that means showing them love and guidance through discipline and structure.
We all face scary things at some stage in our lives. Sometimes we make a point of doing the right thing, yet nothing seems to be going our way. We stand up for what we believe is right, but all we get in return is criticism and funny looks. Those are the crucial moments in your life. The decisions you make when that happens can determine everything.
The easy way out is to stop fighting, to stay in the situation and just to give up. When that happens we go against what we believe and we conform to what the majority does. When you choose to do that, you will lose who you are, and become who others want you to be.
Rather make a decision to stand up and be heard. Continue to fight for what you believe in. It’s the most difficult thing to do and it will lead to frustration and hurt. It will require faith in your values because you have faith in God. It will require passion, but it will never make you feel defeated. And you need to surround yourself with people who celebrate you. People who have the same values and high standards that you have.
The river you need to cross at this point in your life might be deep, cold and scary, but the prospect of staying where you are and allowing your values to die, is far more frightening.
So… start swimming in faith and continue to swim with passion.
Sometimes the boat you’re in keeps you safe. And sometimes it can be the most damaging place to be. It might just be time for you to step out of your boat. “Why would I do that?” I hear you say. Because it’s limiting you from going where you need to go and being who you were created to be.
We feel good in a place that is safe and dry because it’s comfortable. But comfort can be a very dangerous thing. That obsession with safety and comfort can cause us to miss the life that God intended for us – a life of purpose and passion. And to be honest, I will rather miss that boat than miss my purpose.
It takes faith to get out. It is difficult and it doesn’t always make sense, but if you want to do something that really makes a difference, you are going to have to make decisions that are really different. It’s really “different” to get out of the boat, but it might just be what you need to do, so that you can be who you were meant to be.
Sitting on the fence is not an option if you want to make an impact. It’s an easy way to get through life. It means you’re not willing to risk anything, so you sit with others and play it safe. One good thing about sitting on the fence is that you will never be criticized, but you will also never truly be alive.
You might be afraid to spread your wings, to leave the safety of the fence and to fly towards the uncertainty of your purpose. But here’s the thing: “God gave you your purpose, and He will get you to where you need to be, to be the most effective you.” There will be detours and storms and you will need to go through them. It will require faith… and that’s the whole point. When we realise that getting off the fence requires faith in the One who holds our future, we will start to move towards our purpose with purpose, because we know that God is already there.
We were all born with a purpose. God created every person different because only you can fulfill the plan He has for you. To find out what that is, you need to find what keeps you up at night and what makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.
This world will be a different place if less people were interested in making a living, and more people started living their passion. Making the world a better place, is far more rewarding than making your world a comfortable place. So many people hate what they do for a living, but do it anyway because it pays well. Life is too short to do what you hate, so that you can get what you don’t really need.
A man was once sitting on a beach next to his one bedroom shack, catching fish. He would sell the fish he catches, at the market, to provide for his needs. A man walked past and asked him why he didn’t use the money to buy a boat. “And then what?” he asked. The man told him that he will catch more fish and then he could buy more boats. “And then what?” he asked. Then you can buy yourself a big house and retire. “And then what?” he asked. “Then you can relax and fish!” the man said. “That’s what I’m doing now!” the fisherman replied.
You see, we so often chase after things that are unnecessary, and in the process, we miss the point of life. We miss our purpose.
Find your purpose and pursue it with passion. It will change your life in a way that you never thought was possible. Life is far more than just existing! Don’t waste another moment.
When your fear becomes stronger than your faith, you’re on shaky ground! Faith is looking at the “impossible”, but believing it can happen. Fear is looking at what can happen, but believing it’s impossible! The difference seems small but the result can be huge.
Whatever you choose to feed in your life, will become the strongest. When my logic tells me that something is not achievable, I choose to listen to what God says. That’s why it’s called faith… because it requires belief that supersedes what logic tells you. My dreams are huge because if they aren’t, they’re an insult to God. He wants us to attempt great things. Things so great that they are impossible for us to achieve, so that when they happen – He gets the glory.
What a gift life is. We don’t always feel that way when our day hasn’t gone according to plan. Nobody said that life was going to be easy, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is a blessing to be alive. That heart beating in your chest is an absolute miracle… and it just keeps going. Those lungs that keep on filling up with air – that’s a miracle too.
There are so many people, at this very moment, who will soon be blowing out their last breath, who would give anything for the miracle of life to continue. And here we sometimes are, feeling that life is just one big effort. The fact that you still have a pulse means that God’s not done with you yet. You have an amazing purpose that is only meant for you. God has a plan for your life and so does Satan.
Satan’s plan is destruction, hurt, pain, negativity and heartache. And when we allow that negativity to take root in our lives, we are closing the door that God is holding open for us. God’s plan for your life is good. He wants you to fulfil the purpose that He created you for. He wants you to stand out and to be the difference that the world needs right now. He wants you to listen to your heartbeat and to realise that He has given you life to enjoy and to live to the full. But it’s up to you and me to move our feet and to dance, even in the face of adversity.
Have an awesome day and know that were are born to win!
The world teaches me to be selfish – to do whatever will make ME happy. The funny thing is that the more I focus on my own desires, the less joy it gives me. When I start pouring my energy into blessing others and praying for those around me, I become more joy-filled. It’s a crazy concept, but the more we do for others, the more fulfilled our own lives become.
When Jesus came to earth He made it about you and me! And that changed everything. Let’s show that same, unselfish love and grace to others and in doing so, it won’t only be others that benefit. You will be surprised at what it does for you.
Have an awesome day!
Life is all about making a difference; help us do that!