Before we dip into this months wePRAY, I’d like to begin with a thank you. It seems that last month’s thought really connected with some of you and I was greatly encouraged to receive several emails checking in with me to see how I was doing. It’s hugely valuing to know that people are both interacting with and taking the time to touch base about what’s being written/shared. Thank you, it means a lot.
I was also asked whether I was happy for people to share these thoughts around their friends and colleagues. If you feel that these wePRAY’s would be useful or beneficial to others, please do share. We can either arrange for others to be added to our mailing list, they can access via the blog page on our website www.easttowest.org.uk/blog or you can simply forward it.
Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement.
This month, we’re exploring #5 on Dan Rockwell’s ‘7 Universal Competencies for Success’: Think Critically…
7 Universal Competencies for Success: 5 – Think critically
When was the last time you felt really challenged mentally? I’m not talking the hardest level of Sudoku or the Times crossword, but where you’ve had to wrestle with a challenge or problem? One of the joys we have in the east to west office, is that we’re all different people with varying opinions and ideas. Ant describes it as one of his favourite times of the week, because we challenge each other, we respect each other’s ideas and opinions even if we disagree, we tease and laugh with one another and we can have heated debates, safe in the knowledge that we’re safe and secure with each other… and we cover a widely diverse range of themes and topics.
It feels, given the way modern society is headed, that the ability to think critically and to challenge someone else’s ideas and opinions is becoming dangerous ground. I recently did some training about young people where they were described as ‘individual hypocrites’. They are actively encouraged to be anything they want to be, embracing a range of identities and sexualities which are as diverse and wide ranging as they are complex and confusing. But they are hypocrites because they demand that people don’t question their behaviours or choices but feel that it’s perfectly OK to be openly critical to others. If young people being ‘individual hypocrites’ is true it makes for an increasingly challenging playing field for the work we’re doing.
The key to critical thinking is the collection and evaluation of information which allows you to make an informed decision. This decision may be to start a project, amend existing work or draw something to a close. It helps you determine whether someone is right for a job role, or whether an existing employee is having a negative influence on your organisation. It enables you to have a discussion with someone and formulate a plan which is better than both your individual ideas.
I wonder if people tend to shy away from the idea of critical thinking because of the idea that we’re being critical – they hear this word and the defensive barriers go up and we become emotion driven and precious. All of a sudden, our self-worth and self-esteem becomes wrapped up in our thoughts and opinions. Others challenging this viewed as a personal attack and to change our minds means to submit, and lose something of ourselves.
At its heart, critical thinking is a tool to help progress people and organisations and when used well, it’s done from a place where everyone realises that they are seeking the same thing… the best for those around them or the organisation. The sign of a good organisation is how they manage the emotions and responses of those within the process and still step out in faith.
The joy of the discussions we have in the east to west office is that we seek to outwork these critical thinking ideals when we debate things. It requires bravery and trust to stay in hard conversations, but ultimately, when you see the outcomes of what you’ve done, the quality and impact it has, and the differences it makes, it proves the value of sticking with it.
This month we’re praying for Clare Hale. Clare joined east to west in January to head up the Counselling provision at Hoe Valley, a new project based in Woking
Personal Prayer requests:
Please pray for us as a family; for encouragement, clarity, guidance and unity. Prayer that God would speak clearly into the next chapter of our lives, lead us safely to the next phase and reveal to us His great plans for our future and how we can honour and serve Him.
Prayer please for Alex (my husband) and I as we seek to work on our relationship after 16 years together! Pray for strength and wisdom for us as parents as we steward 2 young boys as Christians in a troubled world with many challenges. We give thanks that God has blessed us with a successful business and has been the compass by which we have navigated our path in the rough times and the smooth.
Prayer for our sons; for their schools, friendships, mental health, and support for them in their learning.
For our eldest son Josh to be reminded of his identity in Christ, to be brave and to stay positive in the face of adversity, knowing that God will guide his steps and uphold him.
For Ralph, our youngest, to be un-burdened, to feel joy in his life, a resolution to difficult class dynamics and that he would have a happy end to year 6. I pray for him to receive comfort and strength and to know that Jesus loves him and walks with him always. I pray for him to hear from God and grow closer to Him again.
Work Prayer requests:
I thank God my Father for the improvement in my health, for the second chance I have been given to work with east to west and that I am able to work as a Counsellor at Hoe Valley. I feel so blessed and supported here at east to west. To work for a Christian organisation, with such friendly, loving and genuine people who have been so welcoming to me is more than I could have wished or prayed for and I am grateful, thankful and praise God that His mercies are new each day.
Please pray for Hoe Valley School and the staff there as they struggle to meet the needs of their students. Pray I’d be an asset to them; I’d be the bearer of God's light in that place; be the bringer of Hope to both students and staff and also represent east to west and God justly as I go about my daily work there.
Father God, may this be the start of a wonderful new relationship in our community and it may this tiny acorn grow into a mighty Oak.