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“Empowered” for Our Why

“Empowered” for Our Why

By Chad Riley, Ph.D.

During the summer, I facilitated a discussion for the Bishop Lynch House System student leaders in choosing our “word” for the new school year. Based on the book One Word That Will Change Your Life (Gordon, Britton, Page), our reflection process led us together to choose the word “empower” as our “word” that serves as a clarifying and unifying theme for the school year.

This exercise of choosing our “word” is a way of narrowing our focus on how we will live, work and play together at BL this year in light of the school’s mission. Through this process, these student leaders exercise agency, or self-advocacy, in molding the culture of the school by adding their own voice to how we are going to journey together as a school community.

It is impossible to talk in a meaningful way about our how without recalling our why. There are many things to distract us from our why. Daily responsibilities as well as unforeseen circumstances can divert our attention away from why we do what we do at the individual level or at the level of any community. Every once in a while, we should return to our why. At BL, our Core Focus, the why, states:

Purpose: Truth for mission.
Passion: We believe in people and challenge them to grow because we love them.
Our Niche: Cultivate belonging.

The why of any endeavor or vision is what ultimately inspires people. However, it must also be stated that making decisions in alignment with a why often means saying goodbye to certain options or opportunities that do not support the why. This reality is part of the lesson that students learn in choosing the “one word” for the year. Their groups debate and wrestle with the word for the year, our how. They often ask if they can use phrases or multiple words. In the end, though, these student leaders are successful in choosing their single word that provides a theme for how we will live out our why at Bishop Lynch this year. This why is what makes BL special, connecting our Friars to this community both during this school year and for a lifetime.