“I’m not doing this for you; I’m doing this for your grandkids.”
When he’s speaking with his school’s parents, this remark commonly issues from the mouth of Brent Harken, headmaster at Spokane Classical Christian School. It is intended to offer more perspective than defense.
I appreciate this perspective. As it turns out, doing our work for the benefit of our students’ children is very orienting.
It keeps us from compromise or the allure of temporary success. In a school context, there are quick-fixes everywhere. Do you constantly repair a printer, or do you invest in a new one? Do you make the splashy hire of the teacher with impressive credentials but the questionable testimony, or do you hire the sort of person you want your students to become? Do you tweak the curriculum to pursue the impressive standardized test scores, or do you use the curriculum as a tool to shape souls, knowing that real education is more than (though not less than) academics? Most of these questions answer themselves if we are thinking long-term.
I coach the students to consider the input their grandkids would offer if they got to chime on on weighty decisions. “What will your grandkids wish you would have done?” The chances are high that they will wish you’d done the right/hard/obvious thing instead of taking the easy path.
Further, working for the benefit of the next generation’s next generation requires us to pursue sustainability. We want to make decisions that we can live with thirty years from now, whether fiscal, personnel, curricular, facilities, or something else. Bandaids are fine, but sometimes a new diet or even surgery are in order. Deciding what to do is made easier by considering our children’s children.
Evangel Classical School is working to shape a generation that will effect cultural change and the good of the world as it lives under the lordship of Christ. The idea is this: Fully-trained Raggants will go into their spheres of responsibility and live out their worldview and utilize their education. It will be compelling to the world and bring them blessing (whether they finally trust Christ or not). They may even ask us to explain our hope. But that is not something that happens overnight.
This long view keeps us going. We know that God blesses acts of obedience carried out in faith by fallen people.
Thinking generationally is really healthy, and working for the benefit of future generations is the best way to serve the current one.