A few weeks ago, we discussed the concept of resilience, as our students continue to press through to the end of the school year. As we now know, the end of this school year will look very different, and it may be more difficult in many ways to obtain closure. It may also lead to a certain level of frustration and a sense that things are unfair, as many of our regular events have now been cancelled, postponed, or will take on an unusual format.
When we face difficult situations, of which COVID-19 certainly classifies as one of those, we can respond with very different attitudes that will inevitably determine the trajectory of how we will emerge from the crisis. In the book, Good to Great, Jim Collins shares the story of Admiral Stockdale, who was a 3 Star officer who spent 8 years as a POW (Prisoner of War) in Vietnam. In order to survive countless hardships, including seclusion, torture, and the uncertainty that he would survive to see his family, Stockdale held on to 2 important principles: You must retain the faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties and you must confront the most brutal facts of your current reality to deal with them.
During difficult times, it can be easy to set up arbitrary timelines in our minds to create a false sense of optimism. For example, COVID-19 will be done by Easter, which was clearly not the case and very deflating to anyone who believed this would happen. Instead, we have to face our current reality that we cannot control the timelines. Jim Collins explains that “Life is unfair – sometimes to our advantage, sometimes for our disadvantage. We will all experience disappointments and crushing events somewhere along the way, setbacks for which there is no ‘reason’, no one to blame. It might be disease, injury…What separates people, Stockdale taught me, is not the presence or absence of difficulty, but how they dealt with the inevitable difficulties of life.
The reality is that things are out of our control, but are still in God’s control. As we recognize that He has already written a beautiful ending for all those who believe and trust in Him, we can confidently emerge from our difficulties not weaker, but stronger. In Matthew 26, we are reminded that Jesus faced the ultimate brutal reality of having to accept the decision of dying on the cross and being rejected from His father for carrying our sins, but remained faithful to his mission knowing that the victory of the resurrection was yet to come.
George Couros sums it up well in that, “Change will come our way. We can go through it or we can grow through it. We grow when we seek out solutions rather than let obstacles hinder us.” I hope that this will be an encouragement to you and your family, as we learn and grow from these current challenges to emerge stronger.
Click here for my short video update for this week.
J-D Lussier, Principal