|Where Is the Evidence?
VCS Insights Volume 2, Issue 12 Jan 2010
Where is the Evidence?
Dr. Dennis Demuth
Each year parents invest a huge amount of money to send their school age children to Victory Christian School. In return they are expecting their children to receive a quality Christian education.
As more and more families face increasing financial demands for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation, to name a few basics, they look for more evidence that their investment in a Christian school education is worthwhile.
Parents are looking for confirmation similar to Thomas. As you recall, Thomas, one of the twelve disciples had heard the good news of the resurrection of the Lord; still he declared, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand in his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)
Eight days later, Jesus appears unto Thomas and says, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side and be not faithless, but believing. “ (John 20:27)
Jesus provided the evidence that Thomas needed to affirm the resurrection.
Evidence of Excellence
It is time for each of us to look at what we are doing in our roles at Victory Christian School and ask the question, “What is the evidence my(our) students take home that would allow parents to conclude that the extra financial investment is worth the sacrifice?” Likewise, “What evidence exists in my classroom that would persuade parents that their children are receiving a quality education?”
More than Expected
If what students take home on a daily basis is the
normal expectation, it is not sufficient. They must take home more than the norm. When students go beyond the norm, parents get excited about their investment, similar to an investor whose stock selections out perform the expectations of Wall Street.
Average performance for a student who is capable of much more is not acceptable. There are too many students getting along doing an acceptable amount of work for a reasonably good grade. We need to be setting our expectations high and then working at moving our students to accomplish more than they expected.
The Holy Spirit and Evidence
It is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that provides motivation for a mind set for excellence. The release of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our classrooms will result in cleansing us from tendencies to accept less than expected. The awareness of his presence will cause us not to let things go, to do more than expected, to go the extra mile, to be on time for meetings and classes, and to care about enforcing the rules of conduct. When parents see staff taking the extra time to follow up on missing assignments, returning phone calls, grading papers and providing immediate feedback to students, these add evidence to their investment in Victory and help reinforce an environment of excellence.
Not being Content
If we are to provide an environment of excellence in our rooms and in our school, we must come to a place where we will not be content with mediocrity in behavioral, academic or spiritual areas. We can not accept sloppiness which is nothing more than laziness.
It is this kind of laziness that prompts staff to overlook students who are in hallways without a pass, students who are disrespectful, use rude vocabulary, throw papers and pen parts on the floor, leave pop cans in a
detail contains a seed that can potentially make the difference between success and failure. Therefore, if the benefits of hard work are to be maximized, attention to detail is a must.”
Fostering an Environment of Excellence
Fostering an environment of excellence is more than teaching academic content. It is consistently training our students to respect authority, to pay attention, obey willingly and immediately, to apply themselves to the task at hand, to learn rules and apply them, to do their best, to finish the job, to work hard to get the right answer, to love wisdom, to choose things that are excellent, to develop habits of orderliness, carefulness, alertness, obedience, persistence, honesty, accomplishment, cooperation, discipline, industry and confidence.
Intensify Your Efforts
The indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit ought to intensify our desire towards this training. Failing to work towards improvement in these areas results in low aims, low standards, and under performing students. If we, who are the prime movers towards improvement, put forth little effort, students will stop improving. They will feel comfortable in settling for less than God’s best in all of life.
In order for us to move our students forward in excellence in all areas, we ourselves must have a passion for improvement and be in earnest about the serious business of training. When these values are perceived by students as being important for life, they will see the importance of being led towards excellence by the voice of the Spirit of God.
Compliance towards excellence must be more than a response to memos and verbal directives; it must become an inner spirit, then a learned act. The impulse for moving staff and students towards excellence must stem from a Spirit-filled heart with its underlying motive to please God. When this becomes the case, excellence will spring from love in the heart.
Having a passion for excellence is nothing more than zeal (Titus 2:14). Zeal replaces apathy and gives us a “want to do” attitude. This attitude is activated by the Holy Spirit speaking to us and it is the Holy Spirit that infuses us with a deep sense of responsibility to move us, ourselves, towards excellence; this then makes it easier to move our students towards evidence of excellence.
corner and drinking cups on the grass.
Whenever we see something that the Spirit says is not proper and fail to take action, we are a “hearer” and not a “doer.” Being a “doer” of what the Spirit is saying will cure sloth. Failure to act on those things brought to our attention allows laziness to find a foothold and provides the wrong kind of evidence than we are looking for.
Attention to Detail
As an example of moving students towards excellence, consider the goal in our handbook that says, “a job worth doing, is worth doing well.” The directive is to require a student to copy over a sloppy assignment submitted in every class, not just in the English class. As our staff begins to require this, students will rise to a new level of excellence in penmanship. The neater students are in their work, the fewer errors they will make.
Gary Ryan Blair, President of The GoalsGuy and the author of Everything Counts said, “Relentless attentions to details are essential markers of excellence. Quality work and an appreciation for the importance of details benefit not just the clients a business serves; these attitudes and habits also bring joy and peace of mind to the person who delivers the work. To know how to do something exceptionally well is to enjoy it.”
He goes on to say, “I can tell you this with confidence: No matter what business or personal activities you are engaged in, you will be continuously challenged by larger problems that could have been prevented if you had paid closer attention to the details at the beginning.
“The details of your work affect your company's ability to compete and prosper. A careless or cavalier approach to details is the kiss of death to progress. Those committed to excellence know that the real threat to success isn't the Armageddon of some huge and horrible slip-up; it's the much more insidious danger of being nibbled to death by the smallest of mistakes or oversights. No lapse of judgment, taste, or quality can be shrugged off by a true professional. Successful people know that everything counts.
“It's not that the devil is in the details, but that every