Jann Robinson, Principal | 1 November 2019
I recently read a letter about another Head’s decision to retire. The Chair of Council wrote that the Head had had a focus on the students becoming global citizens and decent people. I found myself responding with curiosity to the idea of becoming a decent person, and how do we develop decent people, and how will we know we have?
The letter‘s arrival coincided with my reading an article about the three things that leaders need today. These are IQ (intelligence), EQ (emotional intelligence) and DQ (decency intelligence). I probed what decency means. Within the leadership literature, decency means having a focus on the good of others. The emphasis of having a focus on others resonates strongly with the St Luke’s mission statement; equipping students to make a difference in the world.
There are challenges for students to being focused on others above oneself. One of the challenges can be the internal dialogue that they live with which tells them who they are, what they can achieve and how they are valued. All of us have an internal dialogue which has been shaped by the experiences we have had, the things that have been said to us and the things that are said about us. This internal dialogue then shapes how we interact with the world.
It is quite hard to shift the internal dialogue. For students it can be even more difficult to shift their internal dialogues because they have so many messages coming at them. How the School seeks to help shift their internal dialogue is through replacing it with the language of LEARNING@STLUKE’S. The language is designed to help students to know that they are competent, that they can learn and that the experiences they have in becoming powerful learners can be applied to their lives outside of school. We want them to know that they have the ability to change and that who they are now is not the final version of themselves. Helping students to know that they can impact on the lives of others for the better and bring about change in the world is vital for changing the potentially negative internal dialogue. Finding inspiration and a purpose will help in this shift.
Change takes effort and hard work. Moving from comparing oneself with others is part of the process. Being comfortable with oneself and accepting oneself is an important stage of development but not easily achieved. The Biblical view of humankind is that every person is unique, made in the image of God and deeply valued. As we share this with students, we hope to move their internal dialogue to being one which is positive, embracing their uniqueness and seeking to be that best version of themselves, seeking the good of others not themselves.
It is already evident at St Luke’s, in the number of students who are involved in serving others. It is not just the Senior School students, but students in the Junior Schools who have been focussed on doing things to make a difference in the lives of others. It is our hope that our students will be decent people but more than this, they will be people who know they deeply loved and valued by God.