Competency is not enough

Luca returns to school…

We are told that, through not attending school over the last six months, children are behind in their English and maths. They have missed out on learning, affecting academic competence, progress, exam results, university entrance and getting a job.

We need skilled, competent people: bakers to provide good bread, car mechanics to keep our cars safe and reliable, heart surgeons to operate effectively, bridge-builders to create the new Lowestoft bridge…

But it’s more than that:

Children have missed out on the social aspects of school – being together, playing together and learning together; developing inter-personal skills, experiencing the give and take of life, understanding and caring for each other.

We need people who are compassionate as well as competent: mid-wives who are both skilled and caring, care-home workers who do ordinary things respectfully and well, politicians who can do their job but are not out of touch with ordinary people…

But it’s more than that:

One important skill that has challenged children (and parents) during lockdown has been that of taking responsibility for their learning; developing a personal sense of duty and commitment to both their work and others.

Compassionate, competent people need to understand their responsibility: parents giving their children their best on a bad day, police officers doing their job well despite abuse, high profile celebrities recognising the influence they have on so many…

But it’s more than that:

I’m musing this morning on Jesus washing his disciples’ feet (John 13).

The leader is, paradoxically, a humble servant; in this act of vulnerability he shows his strength and security in his identity. Competence, compassion and responsibility lead to humility in heart, purpose and actions.

I would suggest: to our competence we add compassion, to our compassion we add responsibility, and to our responsibility we add humility. Such humility doesn’t make us bitter; it makes us better.

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