Kintsugi is a Japanese form of art that takes broken and potentially discarded items and repairs them. The word Kintsugi, in Japanese means “re-joining”. The artist celebrates and highlights the brokenness being remade into wholeness. Rather than trying to hide the imperfections of the broken plate or bowl, the artist fills the cracks with gold in order to fuse the pieces together. The precious metal, gold, welds the broken shards back together and create something beautiful. The kintsugi method conveys a philosophy of awe, reverence, and restoration rather than that of abandonment or replacement. The gold-filled cracks of a once-broken item are a testament to its history and the journey the object took. It is intended to embrace the history instead of discarding it.
Do not confuse excellence with perfection as it is easy to achieve excellence. Excellence paves the way for improvement, while perfection paves the way for stagnation, limiting one’s creativity and innovation. People often fail to deliver goods when emphasis is laid on perfection. However, excellence tolerates mistakes and failures, thus allowing people to explore and experiment, and, in turn, paving the way for excellence. Excellence is feasible and possible, while perfection is a fantasy and often difficult to attain. Excellence is pleasure, while perfection is pressure. Perfection is impossible except in scientific laboratory experiments and mathematical applications. Most of the time, emphasizing perfection rather than excellence acts as an obstacle to progress. Perfection is never achieved. Perfection does not allow for learning from mistakes.
Colin Powell said, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.” Excellence is about being the best, striving to be better, with an eye to delivering quality goods and services. People are not born with excellence. They cultivate it over a period of time through hard work, wise work, and smart work. It emerges from continuous improvement over the past. It is a corollary of passion and performance.
Excellence differentiates extraordinary people from ordinary people. We understand that those who strive for excellence will have longevity in their endeavors. When you benchmark against other achievers, you tend to improve and grow. We want to continue to grow into something extraordinary that God can use for his glory. It is like the kitsuguri artist that takes shards of pottery and makes something beautiful that shows the history of the item. God takes the shards of our human imperfect efforts and does something extraordinary with it. Thus, we believe only excellence can be achieved if it demonstrates that God has artistically pulled it all together as only He can do.
In our pursuit of excellence, Salem Christian School endeavors to cultivate a mindset that achieving excellence is a journey, not a destination. Albeit, the journey is only possible because of God, there are a few things that we have been emphasizing in our constant improvement in pursuit of excellence.
We are passionate: When you do what you love, you don’t feel that you are working any more, as you derive pleasure from it. Hence, we are passionate about teaching a curriculum.
We read and learn: A hallmark of excellence that there is a habit of reading good books and upgrading your knowledge constantly. This is why we spend a significant amount of time in professional development. Continuous learning makes more learned and more effective teachers. We are committed to never becoming complacent with our existing knowledge. As a faculty, we are reading good books that enrich us with the latest knowledge from multiple perspectives. These books provide diversified knowledge, information, and ideas that you can choose and that can help you grow. Constant learning is a boon. Reading good books by great authors will inspire you. If possible, note key points for future reference. Sometimes people think they know everything. There is always something that can be learned from each book, provided you have an open mind to learn and grow. In addition, different authors present content from different perspectives, thus enriching your knowledge.
We encourage feedback: Continuous feedback is essential for excellence. The feedback helps us to know our weaknesses so we can work toward improvement. In fact, continuous improvement paves the way for excellence.
Manage constraints and embrace the pitfalls: There are always constraints and obstacles in the path to achieving excellence. Some of these are internally created by human errors, and many are externally created by forces beyond human control. Hence, we need to learn to manage both external and internal forces and factors that prevent us from achieving excellence. When things are broken, we learn from it and use it to make it more beautiful and better than it was.
The beautiful thing that God does with each of us as individuals and collectively as members of Salem Christian School is that he takes the pieces that he gives us and makes something extraordinary from it. Each time he fuses our effort shards together with his supernatural golden epoxy. We want the world to see the beauty that God has done with the reading, professional development, feedback, and every other effort we do.