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By Design, Not by Accident

As a teacher and, later, head of a high school, I was continually amazed by the multitude of decisions that I had to make everyday. I began to realize that if I had no framework, or schematic, to order and prioritize, I would always succumb to the tyranny of the urgent.

In the book, Schools as Communities, Gordon Brown makes the following assertion:

Faced with such an array of decisions…The real question facing all of them is, ‘By what rationale does one evaluate which courses of action are best?’ Decision making by Christian school leaders should be by design and not by accident. (from the essay “Weighing Leadership Models”)

As a consultant, I develop relationships with many schools. I find that I spend most of my time helping schools develop goals and a framework for making decisions. The point I make is that the urgency is not in the overwhelming details and questions facing you every moment of everyday, but in developing a way to make the most purposeful decisions.

The hallmark of Classical education has always been the pursuit of a telos, an “overall end”, the ultimate goal. Classical education has always been an education of purpose. The challenge for us as Classical educators and leaders is to set overall goals for our jobs in light of the ultimate goals that the vision and mission statements of our schools promote.

Developing goals from the top down is the only way we can escape being confused by the plethora of choices that confront us everyday. It is the only way to build a hierarchy of priorities.

Only then can we make those best and highest choices – purposeful choices – that move us toward our ultimate end.

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