Context: Lessons Learned

Have you ever looked at a blueprint and known immediately what was worth keeping, what was missing, and what needed to be changed? Do you like to read about the past? Are you happy when you hear the words “best practice”? If so, your strength might be Context. Context is a strategic thinking theme that relies on understanding the past in order to chart a better way to the future. Those with the Context strength see learning opportunities in both success and failure. Often, they love to tell stories about these past experiences. Basketball player Michael Jordan said:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Michael Jordan

This is Context. The ability to look for and understand what can be learned from the past is imperative to success in organizations. When coupled with enduring values, relevant information, and a desire to improve, Context becomes critical.

Another advantage of the Context strength is that the individuals are able to sort chaos into order. Because they are curious and caring, they bring worth to projects by asking critical questions before proceeding. Teachers with Context are often excellent planners, especially when using backward design.

Teachers and leaders can assist students and colleagues with Context by helping them to respond favorably to change as it can be easy for the Context individual to become trapped by a “but we’ve always done it this way” mindset. Be certain to recognize the past journey. It is important to affirm the value of past work by helping individuals to see how it supports proposed transformation. Furthermore, if something has been done multiple times and worked, leaders and teachers must take time to ask why and how something worked – what were the key processes, what were the metrics used to calculate success, what were the best outcomes? Then, help these individuals to learn how to communicate these in clear, succinct means by developing outlines, bulleted lists, diagrams, and graphic organizers.

Context helps us to move forward by avoiding past pitfalls. Be certain to bring it to the table to ensure future success.

God the Includer

– by Andrea Sparrow

Dulwich Picture Gallery [Public domain]

Good Morning everyone! We are well into the season a lent. Praying, sacrificing and giving alms. Lent is about searching within our soul and opening our hearts to God. Giving back to him everything he has given us. The parable of two sons tells of opening ones heart, having compassion and forgiving.  There were two son’s both had received their inheritance from their father, one stay with is father and was faithful, the other took off, spent this money and came back hungry, poor and alone. The father was overwhelmed with compassion, opened his heart to his son and celebrated his return. The other son was puzzled, he was faithful and didn’t get a celebration. His father explain son, you are steady and faithful but your brother has come back from the dead.

Ummm you may be thinking to yourself, that’s a little nutty. How and why would the father do that? The other son should be mad! But the message Jesus was telling us through this parable is perfect for the season of lent. The father of the sons made sacrifices for his children his whole life I imagine and when he passed on his knowledge and goods one son stayed and one vanished only to come back broken. I bet the father prayed the entire time his son was gone, asking God to protect him, be with him and when he was ready he would find his way home.

This story is no different then our faith journey. The father in the story is our God the father, he gives us his love, knowledge and fortune. Some of his children (that is us) stay faithful and loyal to God no matter what. He has blessed us with the strength of belief. We are the people who have those strong core values that are unchanging. Our strength of belief has us remain loyal steady followers. However God made others who also have the strength of belief but also other strengths that are more prominent in their life. I would like to think the other son had a strong strength in Self- Assurance. These types of people are confident in their ability to take risks. The risk being setting out to look or search for something else then what the father has given us. However, people who are Self-assured also have an inner compass that drives their decisions. It is this inner compass that always brings them home. Home to the father. And the father, in the story and God our Father are restorative, forgive and resolve and also are empathic and feel deeply all of our feelings. But most importantly God the father is an includer. He opens his heart and arms and accepts people, his children, for who we are, never casts us off, never forgets us, watches over us and treats us all with love.           This Lenten story reminds us that in our faith journey and journey of life we all have strengths and take different paths but God the includer, always have our paths come home. And he is waiting at the end with arms wide open, ready to celebrate our homecoming.  This Lent call on your strength of Includer, (we all have it) and be like Jesus and God our Father. Open your arms, your heart and your soul to others that may have done you wrong, taken a different path then you and just love them for who they are.  Be the ray of Positivity, get excited and lets welcome Jesus back from the dead and home in our hearts.

Have a great weekend and remember Jesus Loves you!