There is a New Zealand saying that comes to mind when I think of how we are to approach our role as educators. It goes he tangata, he tangata, he tangata – What is most important in the world?: The people, the people, the people. Maybe my connection to this philosophy is merely just the Kiwi living deep within me. Or maybe it’s just because, the words from this expression make perfect sense. The funny thing is, this saying has been common in New Zealand for years, yet it is still relatively new in the world of leadership. In Simon Sinek’s latest book “Leaders Eat Last,” it is not surprising to see that chapter two is titled: ‘Employees are people too.’
So, why all the fuss about people all of a sudden? Great question. You see, for us – the team here at Carmel Adventist College – we have, like you, seen the value in investing in people for some time now (people before policy). While at first, it appeared that the investment wasn’t paying off, almost overnight – it did.
The lightbulb moment, for us to be able to be all God called us to be, was realising we could only achieve it as a team and as an authentic community, a concept that sounded so great to me from the start. Right away, I wondered what these authentic communities were and where could I find one? Upon delving deeper, I soon discovered the solemn truth that these authentic communities are not found but rather, are created. And before you can even begin to create one, you first must get the correct ingredients.
The ingredients consist of God-centered people who need each other. People who not only accept that they can’t make it alone but people who don’t want to make it on their own. What’s the fun in that? There is also the aspect that true joy comes through giving, not through getting. This very idea can be applied to the gifts and opportunities that God gives us day by day.
Here at Carmel, we kicked off the year with something we had wanted to do for a number of years. We began by living out our motto: ‘Greatness through Service.’ Through our intentional choices, we were determined to demonstrate lives associated not with a religious act but rather a Biblical act. So, one day, our entire staff moved outdoors and began to wash each other’s feet, right there on the beautiful grounds overlooking the Bickley Valley below. That was the sacred moment that we as a school came together to create the “New Carmel.”
Following this pivotal point, we are now in the process of gaining further blessing as we take the principles of good living – leading us into master planning for the spiritual family – to our wider and non-church community. We feel that the journey we have embarked on is one that is worth sharing and has now been requested by those who daily walk through our gates. Authentic, Christ-centered communities really do exist. The ingredients are all around us but as school and community leaders, it is our moral imperative to mix all of these together and share the glorious blend with all we come in contact with. At the heart of it all is where we will most find God’s blessing.