CHISZ CHAIR LETTER TO PARENTS FEB 2015

Dear CHISZ Parent

UNDERSTAND THE BIG PICTURE

There is an apocryphal story that the headline in April 1912 of ‘The Dundee Courier’, a provincial newspaper in Scotland, stated: “DUNDEE MAN DIES AT SEA”. The fact was true, a Dundee man did die at sea, but the incident to which it was alluding was the sinking of the Titanic, the most unthinkable, impossible disaster imaginable at that time. The headline is seen to be a perfect example of the parochial view that many people have of life; they just do not see or care about the big picture.

John Wooden, one of sport’s most well-known and successful coaches, often spoke on the fundamental principle that we must ‘Understand the Big Picture’. In this regard he made three important points. Firstly, Values Come First – values are more important than skills or knowledge. In this regard, the educationalist William Ralph Ingeagreed:“The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values.” All too often we can forget that. Secondly, Wooden states that The Star of the Team is the Team. Abraham Lincoln understood that more than most when he became President and appointed his famous ‘Team of Rivals’, bringing in all his rivals for the position of President onto his cabinet, reasoning that “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends.”Thirdly, Wooden warns Don’t Look at the Scoreboard; if we do, we take our eyes off the game and we lose our focus.

It seems to me that these thoughts are crucial for all of us as parents in our ATS schools right now. My child’s education is not simply about gaining good results. My child is just a tiny part of a bigger picture. My child’s team is just a tiny part of a bigger picture. My child’s school is just a tiny part of the bigger picture. Indeed ATS and CHISZ are just a tiny part of the bigger picture. We must not lose sight of those facts. ATS/CHISZ may be seen as a ‘Team of Rivals’ but above all every ATS school is part of the team. Abraham Lincoln, on the same topic, spoke with discernment when he noted “A friend is one who has the same enemies as you have.” ATS/CHISZ schools are friends and we are wise to remember the star of the team is the team; we do well not to refer to the scoreboard all the time; we do best to remember that values come first.

Whatever personal feelings there were, the issue was ‘how can we get this country through this time of crisis?’” Are those my words? No, they are the words of Abraham Lincoln again but they apply to us today. ATS/CHISZ declares that “In the interests of public good, our schools seek to contribute to the development of quality education for all children in Zimbabwe.” That is the bigger picture we must all (staff and parents) keep before us. We must keep our child’s education and our school’s reputation in perspective and context. We must work and stand together. We are not competing against each other but co-operating with each other for the development of our children and the future of this country. That way we can avoid another unthinkable disaster happening to an unsinkable (fellow)ship.

We as ATS/CHISZ commit to providing educational excellence for your child in your school. You are committed to your school; your school is committed to ATS/CHISZ; ATS/CHISZ is committed to Zimbabwe and beyond.