Last year the board launched a five-year strategic plan: Called to Cultivate. We would break the soil, remove hindrances, and nurture strength and beauty. We would prepare for growth and improvements in our classrooms, culture, and campus.
Well, if I used the metaphor of cultivating to process my first six months in Cary, I would say that there is one common sentiment that I have “dug up.” After meeting with over one hundred Cary Christian School families, all of the teachers, and several of our students, I have found that, while you seem committed, many of you have a significant desire for something more.
On the one hand, I am tempted to push back and say that we are doing everything a Christian school should do. Our graduates are well-positioned to earn admission into select schools and to earn scholarships to pay their way. Our children are not only safe, but they are also introduced to the beauty and the power of a Christian worldview. This is a school that others would love to attend.
All the same, I like the sentiment. I like being around people who want more, especially when they are prepared to pursue it.
The power of the word “pursue” and the word “more” is that both speak to our need for something and our willingness to do something about that need.
I know that neither “pursue” nor “more” offer any direction. “More” doesn’t answer the question of what we want and “pursue” provides no help explaining how, in the end, we are going to get what we want. I am glad to admit that “Pursuing More” is a dangerous slogan. Many a monstrosity has been built, and many lives have been destroyed, by man’s unexamined pursuit to gain something more.
All the same, I have found myself continually attracted to a specific type of dissatisfied people.
I like being around parents who want more for their children than wealth and more than the world’s acceptance.
The graduates who impress me the most are not the ones who know exactly what they want. It is the ones who can’t quite put it into words. Do not misunderstand: I have little patience for the modern apathetic inability to launch into the world. The graduates who impress me are the ones who can’t express what they want because they want so much. Again, their pursuit is not for money, power, or fame. They know they want something more than any of these can offer.
I love being around teachers who expect more and who pursue more.
To return again to the metaphor of agriculture, Cary Christian School is like good soil trapped “under the pavement.” I love how Wendell Berry expresses the frustration: “under the pavement, the soil is dreaming of grass” and “the soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest.”
To be fair, it is the predicament of most institutions that have seen success. Success creates expectations such as a higher payroll and maintenance of larger facilities. Success creates a false presumption that what brought us success in the past will lead to future success. When it doesn’t, people start casting blame. Some want to hold too tightly to the past. Others want to throw it all out. Success tends to create three destructive forces: pride from success, fear of messing up, and a desire to rest on one’s laurels. These sentiments are like pavement over good soil.
The only way to start growth is to break up the soil. We need to exchange the sentiments that hinder growth with the desire to pursue more. We need to develop the mindset of pursuit because “Pursuing More” expresses the posture of action and the readiness to act.
Over the next few weeks, I would like to introduce you to our plan for the next four years: how we plan to pursue more and how you can help us. I hope to convince you that moving in the same direction makes life easier and if we are willing to take some risks that we can do some extraordinary work.
More importantly, we might, in the end, find the “more” we are all pursuing. We all want to believe that Cary Christian School will point our children to Christ and that our school will teach our children to flourish in life through Christ.
Know this to be true, that is a burden we are prepared to carry. We are prepared to pursue your children to an extraordinary goal. We are prepared to pursue them toward God’s goodness and truth.