Most Christian school missions say something about training students to become servant leaders. As we train our students and teachers to strive for excellence, school leaders can model a biblical servant’s attitude by simply paying attention to the people around us. In the busyness of our daily jobs it is easy to forget what our families and students rely on us to provide. Time is the most valuable resource we have and the most valuable thing we can share with those we lead.
I have built one opportunity to model servant leadership into my morning routine. I work with grammar school-aged children so I choose to stand in front of the school each morning to supervise drop-off. I shake my students’ hands, call them by name, and wish them a good morning. I can encourage students, tie a few shoes, notice a lost tooth, and remind forgetful students to turn in their homework. Usually, the type of morning a student has had is evident on his face and in his demeanor. Taking a moment to give a hug and a word of encouragement is a highlight of my day. I never know when it will be the highlight for one of my students or will encourage a parent watching from a car.
Assemblies and programs are always squeezed into busy and stressful days. During one of these events, a young girl with a profound hearing loss sang a beautiful song in front of our student body. Her mother arrived late. I found her crying in the back of the building, devastated that she had missed her child’s courageous performance. I asked her to sit back down and arranged for her daughter to sing again. It was a small act on my part that impacted a family and our student body. The girl’s grandparents sent me a thank you expressing their shock that the program was rearranged for their granddaughter.
I am always surprised by the thank you notes I receive from parents who appreciate the time taken in what I would consider my less significant duties. Adjusting a microphone, giving words of encouragement, or calling a student who has been ill are gifts that require only the awareness that someone needs them. Parents who entrust their children to a school whose leaders model a servant’s attitude notice the care with which their child is treated. It is the evidence that our mission is more than just words.