Dear St. George Families,
"Great hearts and minds to do great things" But what do we mean by the word "great"?
Remember that story from Luke's gospel? A young man, perhaps not much older than you, comes to Jesus and says "Good Rabbi, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answers him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: Keep the Sabbath holy, Honor your parents, don't lie, steal, murder." "I've done these things since I was young," he tells Jesus proudly. Jesus, eying him, says, "There is one thing further you must do: give all your possessions to the poor and come, follow me." And the gospel says the young man walked away sad, for he was a wealthy man.
My take on that story is the young man is basically a good guy. He's following the commandments. But Jesus challenges him to go deeper than that-to be great. I think that may describe most of us: on the whole, we're pretty good people. We're not killing people, most of the time we're not stealing, we don't often take God's name in vain. But God calls us beyond even those things. He desires us to be great.
I read an interesting book a few years back by Jim Collins, called "Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't". He studied many companies on Wall Street, trying to figure out if there were common characteristics in companies that had out-performed the market by three times the general averages-the "great companies" -vs. those who had only done well, "the good". One of his findings is very provocative: "Good," he says, " is the enemy of the great." Listen to that again: "Good is the enemy of the great." What he means is that often the good companies were happy with their performance-"good" for them had become "good enough", so they weren't driven to seek more. Their vision in what they could be, what they could become, was limited, ordinary, and because of that-they remained ordinary.
I think that can be true of all of us: students, teachers or school leaders. We often measure ourselves against others and say to ourselves, "Well, maybe I'm not studying as much as I should, but I'm doing a heck of a lot more that my friend in another school." "Maybe I could be a better teacher, but I'm sure better than _______". "Maybe I'm not the best principal, but I know I'm better than most". That kind of thinking will guarantee that we'll be at most, "better than average" students, teachers or principals, but we'll never be great. We'll never be the true difference makers in this world if being "good enough" is all we aspire to be. We'll always be less than God dreams for us.
One of the things I am proudest about St. George is we have one, simple, ambitious goal for you: we want you to be great. Dare to be great. That's not just a slogan: we think that through God's grace, you really can be great. It's why we want our students -to strive to be good in many things: scholars, athletes, musicians, people of faith.
As we work through the second nine weeks, don't be like the young man who merely does the minimum. Challenge yourself to be more than that. God wants us to use all of our talents to the best of our abilities and he promises us that when we do so, we'll thrive and be happy. Ask him to help you. He will.