As I write this article, the Auckland region has just returned to Covid-19 alert level 3.
Before the announcement had even finished, my phone and computer began to ping with messages and questions about the sudden change. Time was of the essence, and strategies needed to be implemented quickly for our school community. Fortunately, we had a tried and tested plan.
In a conversation with ERO following the first lockdown last year, I was asked how the school had decided on our successful strategies, and how they had been implemented so rapidly; they were impressed with our caring and well-being-focused approach.
I remember saying something along the lines of — the main values underpinning decisions in times of uncertainty were to model the certainty of Christ, the certainty of love and compassion. They were interested to know more, and we discussed the Good Samaritan; the person who picks others up where they are, without judgement or question, and who helps them to where they need to be.
They really liked this philosophy, and felt others could learn from it, although later, when I saw it in print in a good-practice publication, some of the wording had changed, as you can imagine, but the principles were the same.
For anybody working in a school responding to the needs of those around us, with Christ as a model, especially at times of stress or uncertainty, decision-making becomes straightforward and provides us with confidence and certainty. This is not solely for big decisions, it is for everyday decisions; in the classroom, around the grounds and in the office.
Being the Samaritan, the face of Christ for the big things and the little things, in turn provides those around us with certainty and confidence. It’s an easy formula. Being the Samaritan empowers others to encounter Christ and be empowered to grow, in seeing that way of being modelled, and to be vehicles of empowerment for others. When we see the growth in others through encounter then, naturally, we encounter too, growing together in Christ.
So let’s remind one another to be the Samaritan, a model of certainty of the merciful and enduring love of God. More and more, over my time spent in schools, I see the need for everybody in the school community to be the Samaritan; the person who picks others up where they are, without judgement, and helps them to where they need to be. The person who gives unwavering and unconditional support. The person who provides comfort and care. The person in the eye of the storm. The person who is the face of Christ.
Dean Wearmouth is principal of Marcellin College in Auckland.