In my previous blog, I referred to the last couple of months of school as being “the sprint to the finish”. Now, here we are in the middle days of June, and the finish line for the school year is clearly visible. Class trips, report cards, activity days, exams and graduation ceremonies fill our days as we pray for a positive end to the school year.
I am not sure if it is the same for you, but for me, each year seems to fly by. There were weeks when the time seemed to be moving slowly, but now that we are into June it feels like just moments ago that we were ramping up for the start of the year. I hardly remember the events—they passed by in a blur, like the landscape on one of my many journeys on the 400-series highways.
For most Christian School principals, June is the time for reflection. These reflective moments arise as we prepare graduation speeches, year-end articles for the school newsletter, a speech at a long time staff member’s retirement or simply while setting the tone at the end of the year staff meeting.
In her book Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Ruth Haley Barton describes “turning aside to look” as an act of spiritual discipline. In an interesting take on Exodus 3:4, she points out that it was when Moses chose to take a closer look at the burning bush that God spoke. ”When the Lord saw that [Moses] had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’.” God spoke when Moses stopped, paused, noticed, and turned aside. In this same chapter, Barton reminds the reader of a well-known Elizabeth Barrett Browning take on the same passage…
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees, takes off his shoes—-
the rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.”
In this final month of the school year, I encourage you to take the time to turn aside and see the hand of God throughout this past year. As you see God in the burning bushes of the year, so too will your community. As you recall the stories of God’s faithfulness, so will the parents, staff and students of your school. God has positioned you to tell the story, to share it deeply and passionately, knowing that He has been at the center of it.
And then when the school halls are quiet—with staff and students enjoying a break—I encourage you again to take the time to reflect quietly, to sit barefoot at the feet of God and restore yourself as you strengthen the soul of your leadership.