If you have any school connections you will be aware that school reports usually indicate what level the student is working at.
This has a number of undesired effects:
- The level acts as a label.
- Those with a low level will be convinced that they can never achieve more than their level and may give up before even trying.
- Those with a high level will pat themselves on the back, reassured that they are ok and will not challenge themselves any further.
- Students will quickly learn how to do just enough to get by without getting into trouble.
- They will work to achieve what is expected of them – the level they have been labelled with rather than the best they could be.
The challenge the teaching profession currently have is that they have been told to stop using levels but not told what to replace them with.
This is a cunning move as they are having to use the same principles – they have to come up with methods of marking and reporting that are intrinsically without levels.
I think this has an application to our Christian walk as well – it is very easy to compare ourselves to others and settle for less than God wants us to be.
Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
The challenge is that we should be always learning and growing.
Philippians 3:12 (NIV)
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Part of the briefing I received on life without levels suggested that the key is having the right mindset.
Philippians 2:5 (NIV)
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…
The good news is our mindset can be transformed.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Getting older or retirement does not mean we stop learning or growing – there is more for each one of us.
Image Credit: Reid Wilson