The apostle Paul used an analogy of the human body to demonstrate the functions of the church as an organization. He emphasized that every church member is important, as each part of the human body is important (1 Corinthians 12:12-28). The same analogy can be applied to Adventist schools. How can we work together to create healthy schools?
Fitness for the human body includes many different aspects, as does fitness for healthy schools. When any one of these is affected, the body is unable to function normally. Here are three tips for healthy schools.
Regular physical exercise keeps the body active, while occasional exercises may cause muscle pain and feebleness. Similarly, regular staff and faculty worship strengthens a school’s spiritual muscles. When spiritual activities are restricted to the Week of Prayer or special religious events, rather than a regular part of the educational life of the school, they have less value as a spiritual enrichment to the souls of the staff and students.
A school’s spiritual atmosphere molds the Christian character of the students, which is the fundamental goal of Adventist Education. Teachers are role models at school (White, 1913). Administrators, faculty and staff members should set an example by attending and participating in midweek prayer meeting, Friday vespers, Sabbath worships and other religious and evangelical activities. Deficiency in regular spiritual exercises of the school administrators, faculty and staff causes spiritual lethargy in the school.
Social acceptance elevates self-esteem and dignity and improves work performance. Thus, in Christ, there is no race, cast, religion, nationality and gender discrimination (Galatians 3:28). A school’s mental and emotional health is negatively affected when discrimination is common among students and employees.
A “discrimination virus” can be avoided in many ways, including:
- Avoid compartmentalization of course offerings. Encourage students to take general requirement courses with other departments. This creates social bonding among students.
- Encourage group social activities. Involve the maximum number of people in indoor and outdoor games, hiking, camping, picnicking, and small group and club functions. Involving people in activities helps to break class, color and race barriers.
Balancing diets for healthy bodies is a complex phenomenon. However, basic diet principles must be followed by all who wish to maintain a healthy body. A balanced diet for a school means providing fair and equitable care for all employees, including in remuneration, benefits, promotion policies, and guidelines. When these policies are absent or intentionally neglected, employees become malnourished and school health gradually deteriorates. The primary issue is not the amount of funding but how it is used. When the lion’s share of the school operational budget is used for administrators’ allowances and other related benefits, while the basic needs of other employees are overlooked, resentment breeds. Hiring and promoting employees using nepotism and favoritism while dedicated and qualified employees are ignored demoralizes the serving spirit and encourages unhealthy competition and divided grouping among employees and students. The remedy is to practice servant leadership and avoid oppression and power games.
By caring for the health of our schools, we can become even more effective as leaders and as a school family.