Going away was good, why wouldn’t 11 weeks off and 8 500km of interesting travel be good? The number of people that have commented on how much more relaxed I look reinforces that I must have needed a break. (Don’t we all?).
It’s funny coming back to work, especially when people first greet you: jokingly with rolled eyes and comments like, must have been hard to return, bet you wish you were back on the road, worn out yet, brace yourself etc. Of course, there was that sense about three weeks before I returned of, “Oh O, I’m getting towards the end”. Deeper than that though - I’m glad, and I was looking forward to coming back to school, not crying like a baby. In part that is a measure of how good the break was. In other part, it is a measure of how much I treasure this opportunity.
My thinking while away was taking stock, considering future strategies for MCC, what I’m good at and what I need to learn. I did have a lot of time trapped alone inside a helmet.
My deepest conviction, I think, is how important people are and that investing in people is the best investment you can make. There is a sense where all of us, regardless of where we are working, are in the people industry. No matter what you are making, selling, designing, organising or delivering; people are generally at the end of it. For me though, it is much more direct: working with dedicated professionals, parents and the broader community to lay foundations in the lives of young people. I can’t think of anything more worthwhile: even though on any day we are confronted with our frailties and foibles, inspirations and frustrations… and are usually challenged with how well you are doing or how poorly and how much more there is to be done and some suggestions on how better.
Let me relate a profoundly affecting story from my youth. I had just been recognised and promoted into a position of ministry. That evening I was feeling chuffed and kind of self-inflated. Alone that evening, I had a deep sense of God talking to me (please don’t be too alarmed) … “So, Rod, anyone you talk to, serve, affect, come into any contact with in any way… They are so important and valuable that I died for each one of them.”
It really put me back in my box. It was so embarrassingly humbling. I haven’t forgotten that.
So I’m glad to be back, the privilege of working in this school and enjoying being with the kids. It’s only 7 years and 361 days till my next LSL, but who’s counting?
Mr Rod McNeill