Our College Values – Individuality
We want people to understand their gifts, talents and unique nature. We want to uncover them and empower them to be their best self.
Spiritual wellness and personal satisfaction comes from an understanding of one’s unique make-up and place in the world.
In Genesis it says, ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…God saw all that he had made, and behold, it was very good…’
[Genesis 1: 27 and 31]
As Christians, we believe that God has created each of us in his own image and that his creation [each of us] is very good…not just good – but VERY good.
Therefore each of us knows that:
I am created in the image of God
I am created very good
I am created to do great things
Martin Seligman, a pioneer of the Positive Psychology movement, talks about wellbeing and personal satisfaction coming from a use of our signature strengths and virtues in the service of something much larger than we are.
Seligman had this view not simply because of a systematic theory about why happy people are happy, but because he uses the scientific method to explore it.
Through the use of exhaustive questionnaires, Seligman found that the most satisfied, upbeat people were those who had discovered and exploited their unique combination of “signature strengths”, such as humanity, temperance and persistence. This vision of happiness combines the virtue ethics of Confucius, Mencius and Aristotle with modern psychological theories of motivation. Seligman’s conclusion is that happiness has three dimensions that can be cultivated: the Pleasant Life, the Good Life, and the Meaningful Life.
The Pleasant Life is realised if we learn to savour and appreciate such basic pleasures as companionship, the natural environment and our bodily needs.
We can remain pleasantly stuck at this stage or we can go on to experience the Good Life, which is achieved through discovering our unique virtues and strengths, and employing them creatively to enhance our lives. According to modern theories of self-esteem, life is only genuinely satisfying if we discover value within ourselves. Yet one of the best ways of discovering this value is by nourishing our unique strengths in contributing to the happiness of our fellow humans.
Consequently the final stage is the Meaningful Life, in which we find a deep sense of fulfilment by employing our unique strengths for a purpose greater than ourselves. The genius of Seligman’s theory is that it reconciles two conflicting views of human happiness, the individualistic approach, which emphasises that we should take care of ourselves and nurture our own strengths, and the altruistic approach, which tends to downplay individuality and emphasizes sacrifice for the greater purpose.
God has created us to be unique individuals in his image. No two of us are the same and each of us is gifted in very different ways. Where we serve a purpose greater than ourselves [perhaps our community] with these gifts and talents, our lives, happiness and wellbeing are greatly enhanced. This is cause for celebration.
As parents and as teachers, it is our responsibility to explore, discover and celebrate our God-given talents in his greater purpose. More importantly, this greater purpose is our joint responsibility to assist our children/young people explore, discover and celebrate their [sometimes yet to be discovered] gifts and talents that will equip them to a greater purpose, their happiness and wellbeing; their Best Self.