Principal’s Perspective: To Be Wholehearted
One of the most watched “Ted Talks” has Dr. Brene Brown sharing her research that has led her to believe that pain and suffering can create wholehearted individuals if addressed properly. Dr. Brown posed the question, “Do you believe that you are worthy to be loved?” It seems to be a simple question, but Dr. Brown struggled with it to the point that she sought counseling to resolve her self-doubts. Another psychologist, Dr. Wm Kilpatrick, shared in his book The Psychological Seduction, that he had the same revelation, and it was so problematic to his secular worldview, that it pushed him to find the answer. He believed his patients were not worthy and they lacked the resolve to be healed of their emotional problems. In frustration, Kilpatrick sought answers and he writes, that in the revelation of Jesus, he found his answer. Dr. Kilpatrick now believes that Jesus has redeemed each person, and He makes all who come to him worthy to be loved.
I do not know if Dr. Brown has discovered Jesus, but I hope that she has. She did share that her psychotherapist told her she stumbled upon a spiritual quest. In her research, she describes people who believe they are worthy to be loved as wholehearted. She describes them as having the courage to be imperfect. To be compassionate to oneself and then they are able to do so to others. Worthiness comes as a result of authenticity. Being willing to let go of who you think you are, to become who you really are, is the only way to be truly connected with others. Healthy people fully embrace their vulnerability. She discovered the vulnerability found in suffering and sorrow can lead to shame and defeat, but it is also the core from which comes love, joy and peace. What made these people vulnerable also made them beautiful. Brown says wholehearted people are willing to say I love you first, with no guarantees of being loved in return. Dr. Brown has discovered the heart of Biblical philosophy.
Through her six years of research, Dr. Brown unknowingly has uncovered the foundation of the Christian New Testament. Through a Jesus worldview, we see everyone as broken and see everyone as the sole reason that Jesus suffered and died. We are to embrace this eternal truth and look at others, and ourselves, with the same eyes of empathy and love. Jesus has offered forgiveness and an identity of self-worth to the whole world. It’s my hope that we will look at everyone as people worthy to be loved. Where false religions measure people by their efforts and condemn their failures, the truth of Jesus agrees that though we are all failures, He offers to us the truth that He has made us worthy to be loved. I shared this truth with our students that I see them as the very treasure that Jesus came to seek and recover. I see them as so important that Jesus died for them. Any misbehavior they may engage in only serves to strengthen my resolve to convince them of their true worth as the eternal children of God.
Consider what Jesus, Kilpatrick and Brown have spoken. Wholehearted people embrace suffering and failures, and allow those experiences to transform their thoughts, to see Jesus’ sacrifice as the only way for mankind to become worthy to be loved. As we observe those around us struggling with sin, we should encourage and pray for them. We should tell them we all sin, and Jesus came to rescue us. We should realize that as we patiently respect and guide people trapped in sin, we are both transformed into the image of Jesus. Last year, we observed two groups of children transformed through the struggle of discipleship. Children demonstrating self-defeating behaviors were consistently guided by children who were a little stronger, with words of encouragement and patience. The child receiving correction sensed love, and those who offered the loving correction developed compassion for those who struggled. Both groups came to understand that Jesus is compelling everyone to accept the self-worth He offers and then pass it on to others.
In recent years, students who believed they were “losers” began to believe Jesus’ words that they, in fact, were worthy to be loved. One alumni student, who struggled with clinical depression, joyfully expressed that she was delivered from despair by the truth that Jesus is real and that all His promises are available to her. She acknowledges the love of her family and classmates enabled her to embrace her true identity. Her classmates began to understand their role as being used by God as servants to bring God’s hope to others.
This message of wholeheartedness will continue throughout the year. We will share this truth in both large and small conversations, that though problems are normal, the grace of Jesus will bring us through the pain to discover that He has made us worthy. A culture that does not prepare its children to understand suffering, or the responsibility to bear the burdens of others, will disappear into the memory of history. There are many voices today warning us that we must rediscover the biblical truths that made our ancestors wise and strong.
Recently, our faculty read How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott Haims. Haims has a Harvard law degree and has worked at Stanford for many years. She sees first-hand the damaging effect our progressive culture has had upon America’s children. Haims believes the traditional mindset of our ancestors accepted problems as a part of life, and as an opportunity to lend a hand of support to our neighbor, as the key to healing our culture. She warns that unless we model traditional values during adversity, our children will fail to grow into emotionally and spiritually wholehearted people. Haims speaks for many others when she concludes that becoming wholehearted will equip this generation with the resolve to respect our fellow man, and overcome adversity with God’s grace.
Here is this year’s hope: When your child faces a problem this year, realize that if you add God’s word and God’s people to the dilemma, it will become a great opportunity for your child to grow into a wholehearted person. Wholeheartedness will touch a life for eternity.
Julie Lythcott Haims How to Raise an Adult: Breaking Free of the Over Parenting Trap
Why My Child Will Be Your Child’s Boss -http://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-my-child-will-be-your-childs-boss/
Dr. Brene Brown, Wholehearted, https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en