Resilient Leadership: When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Best Practices

I recently visited a newly established school in Fiji on the main island of Vitu Levu. The school, called Naqaqa Adventist Primary School, is located at Burelevu and is just three years old. In February 2016, a category 5 cyclone, Cyclone Winston, hit Fiji. The school was totally demolished. The principal lost his house and everything in it.

How would you respond as a teacher? As a principal? Everything you own gone. All teaching resources gone. All your display charts, your posters, your teaching resources – gone. One of the teachers was a recently retired teacher who was volunteering at the school teaching a class. Her whole life of teaching resources was gone.

Photo: Pixabay

They could have given up, but instead they were incredibly resilient. Within two weeks the school community had rebuilt the school from materials they could find. It is now a block of classrooms from corrugated iron – temporary – but at least housing some of the classes. Two of the classes are in United Nations tents until they get the permanent building completed.

I walked into their classrooms. If I had not known the extent of the damage, I would not have realized the teachers had lost so much. The rooms had displays and wall charts up everywhere. The classrooms looked like centres of learning that were alive and active. There were plenty of student displays and learning visible all around.

I sat and chatted with the principal and teachers over some refreshments. The principal has moved into an unfinished house. It is not ideal but he is not complaining. The teachers are of good spirit. They could have given up. Instead they are counting their blessings.

The community have rallied and with some donations and ADRA support there is a block of three permanent materials classrooms close to completion. They are hoping to have it ready for next year, although it appears that they may come short of the money needed to do so.

They envisage another three classroom block when they can raise some more money. I was amazed at their vision, their hard work and their dedication despite the odds.

I came away with a sense of awe. It drove home to me that sometimes we let the small stuff get in our way and destroy our day. What I saw put things in perspective.

How do I react when things do not go my way?

Do I give it to God?

Do I have the big picture in mind?

Do I get discouraged or do I take the opportunity to give the challenges to God and see what He can do with them?

Note: Article written and posted in English


David McClintock has served as a Bible teacher for most of his professional life. He has also been principal of six schools and a Conference and Union Education Director. He has twice returned full time to the High School Bible classroom from administration and has stepped back from being the Associate Education Director at the South Pacific Division when he was invited to be the principal at Avondale School, Australia, as school land is what he enjoys. He most enjoys engaging learners in knowing, loving and serving God. In July 2019, he was appointed the SPD Education Director.

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