What is the Value in the Work We Do?

Greetings JCCS Community

I attended a meeting this past week at HDCH (Hamilton District Christian High School) with other OACS (Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools) Principals from our Lower Grand Region. One of the items of discussion was related to a trip that many of these principals took to Finland about 1 month ago.

The Finnish education system is amongst the top ranked in the world in every important education related category. The purpose of this trip was for our OACS leaders to better understand what has made their education system so successful.

At the end of the discussion, the reality sunk in that the Finnish government and culture allow their education system to thrive in many ways that would be impossible here in Canada, and more specifically, Ontario. However, what was evident to all of the principals in attendance, is that we have an ability in our individual OACS schools to make changes and mimic some of the incredible things that Finland has been able to accomplish.

There is one particular facet of our discussions that I want to lay out to you, my squawk readers, and have you rattle around in your mind. It involves your own view of education and its purpose in our development as people and whether it really has importance. You see, one of my fellow principals laid out an idea surrounding the view of education and how that transfers to one’s job/career.

For many children, attending school is much like an adult attending a job. We go into work, perform the tasks that we are required to and then go home and spend time with our families and do some other activities. However, for many children this is the same. They go to school, perform the tasks that they are required to and then go home and spend time with their families and do other activities.

However, this view of work/school is just one perspective and, quite frankly, does not sound like the life that God really wants us to live. In the Finnish education system, children are instructed that their schooling and eventually their jobs are contributions to a greater good; that the very mathematics that they are learning contributes to greater purpose. If each child buys into this, and all of them do (this is the culture piece that I mentioned before), they are all part of a team and what they are learning is directly tied to something outside themselves.

Our culture sends us subtle messages about surviving work weeks and getting to the weekend in which the “real fun” happens. We are told to “consume” our jobs just to have greater satisfaction outside of working hours. In other words, work is a necessary evil that we all must endure to pay the mortgage, buy groceries, etc. However, when we learn that the very job that we do has meaning and that our very work contributes to the Kingdom of God, this should change that perspective.

Our children are sponges that absorb so much more from us as parents and teachers than we realize. How we talk about our work or school will directly impact their understanding of its purpose. Is work something that has value, or is it something that we just need to get through?

Ironically, the Finnish culture is entirely secular and socialist. Yet, in many ways, it encompasses a lot (but not all) of what living in Godly community looks like. We are the church of Christ and we need to live our lives intentionally and realize that “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.” (Colossians 3:17)