A few years ago we chose the motto Faithful Learning, Faithful Living for our Senior School at MECS.
I think the joy of any catchphrase, motto or vision statement is that depending on how you look at it, it can be meaningfully interpreted in a wide variety of ways. To me, there are a number of layers to this statement.
It reflects our desire to see students actively learning and living for God in the here and now as well as preparing them for a life of glorifying Him beyond school.
Faithfulness can be considered in terms of a commitment, dedication, or constancy in something. It also has a sense of being an ongoing action, not simply a characteristic that once achieved can be set aside for the next thing. Additionally, there is an implication of responding out of faith or belief.
In stating that we are aiming for faithful learning, we are inviting students to take seriously their commitment to the educational task before them. This isn’t something to be measured merely in the attainment of pleasing marks. It even goes deeper than the common encouragement to 'do your best'. It speaks of an ongoing, deep commitment to take up the mantle of learning with responsible and thoughtful application of the resources available to us, be they academic capability, artistic flair, sporting prowess, mental discipline, or social discernment. For those of a Christian faith it is also an encouragement to ground this as an outworking of belief in God. As it says in Colossians 3:17, ‘whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Practically speaking, faithful learning in the Senior School could involve behaviours such as: consistent use of the study centre, choosing the assignment topic that is a stretch rather than the easiest one, persistence in overcoming a challenging subject or assignment, or applying a growth mindset when faced with disappointing outcomes.
Faithful living is deeply intertwined with the notion of faithful learning, but it seeks to encourage the broader outworking of faith in the day-to-day experience of schooling (and beyond). We hope to teach students that God is Lord over all parts of life, and as such, in all areas we need to try to respond to that. In the school context faithful living could be seen in many different ways. It might be the student that actively seeks to make new students, or those who struggle to interact socially, feel welcomed and important. Or it could be the student that regularly looks for ways to assist others in class because they usually get through their work quickly. It may even be the student that goes above and beyond in helping keep the school clean and promote sustainability and recycling. In all cases it demonstrates a responsiveness or acting out of faith to contribute to a world that reflects the ideals of God’s Kingdom, and in a more immediate way, the school community.
Thank you to former Senior School Coordinator, Emma Tresidder, for her contribution to this editorial.