While listening to the latest CD from the Mars Hill Audio Journal, I heard a reference to an African proverb that caught my attention. It read, “I am because we are”. I have since learned that this proverb is called Ubuntu and its full description is better stated as “I am what I am because of who we all are”.
According to Ubuntu, we all share a common bond and it is through this bond―through our interactions with our fellow human beings―that we discover our human qualities. Ubuntu is about sharing gifts, resources and relationships so everyone is enriched. Ubuntu asks the question, “How can any one of us be happy if others are sad?”
Doesn’t this sound like the covenantal relationship that we often refer to in our Christian circles? We believe that we are bound in relationship with God and live within His promises. We live in close community with others as fellow believers. Christ calls us to care for one another. We are our brother’s keeper.
As we begin a new school year, let’s embrace the spirit of Ubuntu in our school communities. Teachers working together with each other, with support staff and administrators. School boards working together with committees, staff and principals. Students working together on learning projects and extra-curricular activities. Rather than being self-focused, let us be group-centred. Rather than striving to win, let us be better together.
I further believe we need to think in Ubuntu terms when we consider our OACS school family. Some of our schools have been blessed with great leadership, great programs and good locations. They are flourishing schools that are growing in size and diversifying in local leadership. Other schools are not doing as well as they would like.
The OACS has always known that our services are used more by schools with urgent needs and that this list changes significantly from year to year. For years, OACS member schools have understood that their good years contribute valued membership resources for those members that may need the OACS more. Ubuntu in practice!
Let’s continue to practice the value of Ubuntu in our school communities this year: both locally and across our OACS membership!
Happy New School Year!