Demanding Redefined Greatness

Published: 
August 16, 2018

Source: eJewish Philanthropy

As the rhythm of the Jewish calendar transitions from a month of self-pity (Av) towards a month of self-assessment (Elul), Jewish schools should follow a similar path. As a teacher, a counselor, and as a student, I have been incredibly fortunate to be a part of schools and organizations that have internalized this message and the difference is palpable.The concern quickly shifts from one of greatness as defined in traditional tems (class size, placements, etc.), to one of greatness as defined more innovatively (impact, advocacy, empowerment etc.). Although demographic challenges are threatening, challenges of relevance and resonance are more fundamental and more profound. If our schools do not strive for individual and collective flourishing and self-transcendence, our problem will not be in the number of our graduates but in the impact of those graduating. We must demand greatness but can no longer settle for its traditional interpretation. So long as we continue to gauge our success by the quantity of students in our Kindergarten rather than the ethical quality of graduates, we will remain trapped in a cycle of mediocrity. We must aspire for more.

Maslow initially wrote “What a man can be, he must be.” He never disassociated himself from this idea, and yet he also never felt trapped by it. He realized that one can go beyond that and began to teach that what humanity can be, we must be. This aspiration is the greatest challenge and the greatest opportunity for today’s schools.

Read the entire post at eJewish Philanthropy
 

Updated: Sep. 02, 2018
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