Anxiety to Anger

By Rod Berg  |  March 25th

In a recent podcast by a group called Rebuilders, they identified the next megatrends that will dominate 2024. The speaker talks about the shift in culture from anxiety to anger that happened worldwide between 2015 and 2024. Built into this shift is a deep underlying distrust for anyone in leadership. This is challenging because that is the arena we live and work in throughout our Christian school communities. Some of these are the parents that come into our schools and are learning to trust us.

Building Trust on the Waves

There is a quote from Dale Carnegie that says, “Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise”. It simply means there is a time and place for blessing someone and tagging good things, and you need to be generous with appreciation if you want to build good rapport and strong relationships. Maybe that is a teacher who went hard on vision this week, a student who rarely gets high grades but knocked it out of the park on a test, or a parent who over-the-top volunteers. Genuine praise confirms and builds up. It pulls people in! It also nudges things in the direction where it needs to go.

Consistency gets a bad rap as boring at times but it is the foundation of trust. A school that keeps a healthy student culture year after year builds trust with parents. No matter what comes at them, it will be dealt with fairly and consistently and will be resolved. Doing the right thing over and over again is golden in calming anxiety with parents.

Point the Community to your North Star

When a leader consistently and passionately points a community to their North Star…which is the most important thing in the organization (think mission statement and core values), over and over again…board members and parents take a collective deep breath and feel that things are in good hands. They can trust better when they know the leader is deeply aware of the ultimate goal. The Wayfinders Training calls this, ‘the next faithful step’. We are not expected to be perfect, but we are called upon to be faithful in pointing the way.

In Closing

There is a great line from C.S. Lewis in the book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe that gives us good insight into well balanced leadership. Lucy asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is ‘safe’. “Safe?”, says Mr. Beaver, “Who said anything about safe?” “Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you!”. 

Lord, please help us NOT to be safe as leaders in our Christian schools. The Kingdom of God is far too dynamic and life-giving to ever go into flat-lining maintenance mode. Rather, help us to stay innovative and hungry by helping our schools be the most breath-taking beacons of light we can be in our communities aiming everything we do to the Father! Do help us to be good leaders. Redeeming, healing, listening, carving out boundaries, dreaming, and making the world a better place…one student, one new parent, and one faithful step at a time!

Rod Berg is the North Toronto cohort leader for Edvance and principal of Timothy Christian School in Barrie, ON.