Letter from the Headmaster
Casting a Vision or Following a Path
Being, by instinct, an engineer, business person, and a problem solver does not readily equip one to do much vision casting. People like me see the world in which they live, and perhaps a few years into the future, but have a really hard time seeing over the horizon. We know that as leaders we have a responsibility to provide guidance, direction, and goals that inspire those around them to invest into ‘a vision’, but how?
Years ago, I did catch ‘a vision’ cast by someone else.
Louisville, KY, the city of my birth, had something that was really appreciated by its citizens, very large natural parks. The most beautiful park was Cherokee. A wide stream ran the length of the park with large, very old trees all around. In the spring of 1974 a tornado swept across the city, destroying houses and buildings, and the trees of Cherokee. The destruction was almost total, nearly two thousand trees. A small group of citizens organized an effort to replant the park. They borrowed some words from an old Greek saying, “It is indeed a wise man who plants a tree under whose shade he will never sit.” The effort was successful, the trees were replanted, and the words have stayed with me ever since.
The idea of planting a tree that will live beyond one’s life, and even the lives of the next and following generations instills a sense that we, all of us, can do something that transcends and gives a greater meaning to our existence.
As Christians, there are many other things we can plant that will transcend and give greater meaning to our lives. The Psalmist gives us direction. He starts with:
“My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth with a parable; I will utter hidden things, things from old- things we have heard and known, things our ancestors have told us."
G. K. Chesterton, the English writer and apologist framed the same idea in different words,
“Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another."
Cornerstone exists to do this – to teach the next generation. This is, after all, what we do every day; teach the things we have heard and known, things our ancestors told us. But if we believe that we are just one generation passing to one more generation we see ourselves too narrowly.
We are part of a long progression that began before the Psalmist wrote and will extend into a future whose length we cannot know. We are passing a torch lit long ago, and we must not let the torch fall. That torch carries not just accrued knowledge, but also the faith that emanates from the Lord God, affirmed by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“We will not hide them from their descendants; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, His power, and the wonders He has done."
Cornerstone’s vision must extend beyond us, our present generation, and our present children. Our future must be set on a solid foundation, in a permanent place. It must extend over the horizon.
“which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children." Psalm 78
Over that horizon awaits the children of our children, the generation yet unborn, and their children. God has called us. We will answer the call.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried." -G.K. Chesterton