It’s a simple question, yet one with so many implications. For the parent of a preschooler, it may be an unending mantra from their youngest inquisitor. Mom, why is the sky blue? Mom, why does grandpa wear glasses? Dad, why do you shave your face each morning? And for the parent of an adolescent it becomes, why can’t I go out with my friends? Why do I have to be home before 10 p.m.? Why do I have to listen to you?
As adults our inquiry gets more personal or more somber. Why can’t I lose that extra 5 pounds? Why can’t I be on time? Why is there evil in the world? Why can’t our government ‘fix’ our community problems? The list is endless. Why?
This week I asked the leadership staff of Holy Cross Lutheran Academy to contemplate the simple question of Why?
Why do we do what we do? Why do we exist? Why does God want us here? Why has God put us in this place at this time? Why should anyone want to identify with our mission and work? Why am I doing this? Why will anyone care? Why will I make a difference in the world? In short, Why should I get up in the morning?
These are general questions, but do take us to the very core or essence of our organization. Why? It is the ultimate question.
In his book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek notes that all inspiring leaders start with their why. They may not realize it, but they all communicate by following a naturally occurring pattern that Sinek calls the Golden Circle. At the center of Sinek’s circle is the WHY. The why is the heart, passion, the cause and belief that defines your reason for existence. The why is surrounded by the HOW, which describes the actions you take to bring the why to life. The how is what sets us apart or makes us unique. Finally, the WHAT follows. The what is the result, the product or service which can be expected or delivered. Identifying the why enables us to maintain our clarity and focus as we make decisions and set priorities.
So I challenged our staff to think about their own personal WHY and how it intersects with a Golden Circle for HCLA. For myself, I would articulate my Golden Circle as follows:
WHY am I here? I am here to honor, praise, and give glory to my God. To God the Father who created me, to God the Son who saved me, and to God the Holy Spirit who guides and directs me.
HOW I do that is by utilizing the gifts and talents with which God has gifted me to work in education, striving to provide quality Christian education for children and families.
WHAT results from that is our community is blessed with a school where all subjects are taught from a Christian perspective in an environment of love and acceptance. A place where students can be themselves while being encouraged to achieve to their highest potential, and can be nurtured in their faith to better understand themselves as people of God.
That is MY why. What’s yours?