Recently at a meeting I chose to show a video entitled, “Flourishing.” The video keyed on staff to work towards flourishing. From a series called, “Wisdom For The Way” from Christian Schools Canada, these videos encourage Christian schools to engage their staff in devotions during this pandemic. It was engaging, relevant, and something that I thought the group would resonate with.

After the five-minute video was over, I looked around the room…what I saw were nervous glancing eyes and one person actually weeping.

O boy…what should I do now?” I thought.

And it was then that I realized that showing a video about attaining a flourishing environment was not appropriate during this time. People are truly just working to survive. I realized how insensitive it was for me to think that our staff could and would be engaged by someone telling us how to flourish. No, our staff needs support on how to survive right now—flourishing is something we discuss when we are not in a pandemic!

I’m a slow learner.

It’s Worth It

Ten years ago, mental health would not have been the title of a lead article in any of our publications, let alone be the main topic for an entire blog. But life is quite different now.

Regardless of a pandemic, I am proud to take this opportunity to share with our community about ways we are working at providing solid mental health support for students and staff at ACS in the context of mission and vision.

There was also a time when schools wondered about whether it was worth pouring time and money into the mental health component of our school. However, as our strategic plan lays out clearly, we believe strongly in healthy relationships as being foundational to excellent and innovative education. Relationships between school and home, student to student, student and teacher, staff and admin, and in a broader sense between school and the community (corporations, business leaders, our grandparents, our churches), and ultimately with our Lord. Pouring resources into stabilizing these relationships is at the core of who we are.

The pandemic has only heightened our awareness of the need for paying attention to the mental health in our community. There is an underlying sense of never really being through to the other side of this pandemic “malaise.” We are becoming weary; we are becoming jaded, and our “shadow sides” are somehow rising to the surface way more than we normally allow. In many ways, talking about significant flourishing and shalom during a pandemic seems to appear “out of touch” with the current reality. Trying to accomplish new dreams and ideals just doesn’t sit well right now.

For His Glory

When we chose our theme for the school year (Hebrews 12: 2), we intentionally chose it out of a need to keep our ultimate focus on God—as our strong tower—and we have used this metaphor multiple times throughout the last few weeks. Yes, God is our refuge and our strength, and He is the one to lean on in these times. But God has also made it clear that He works through His people and His people need mental health support during this time to accomplish His works for His glory.

I am proud of our community for embracing this need and desire for supports in this area.