Everyone gets excited about something that they really enjoy doing or making. You know what I get excited about? Coffee. I love coffee. I LOVE coffee. If you haven't caught on yet, I'll say it once more. I. Really. Love. Coffee. However, I drink only the good stuff. Most people would label me a coffee snob, but I just really enjoy good coffee! I have no shame in wearing that label. I used to drink everyday, run-of-the-mill coffee from anywhere I could get it. Library coffee? I drank it. Commons coffee? I drank it. Bunsen Brew coffee? I drank it. Tim Hortons imported from Canada? I drank that, too (however, I still drink it cause it's good coffee). As I began to make my own coffee, I had come to the realization that what I drank previously paled in comparison to home-brewed, self-ground coffee. Every time I brew a cup a joe, I try to brew it the best I can to make a cup that isn't just "good enough", but a cup that is excellent. I strive for excellence in coffee-making.
People strive for excellence in other things, too. If you're in sports, you strive to become the best athlete that you can be through hours of regimented practice and workouts If you're in theatre, you focus on nailing down your lines and cues to put on the best show possible. If you're an academic (which, honestly, all of us should be, hehe), you put hours into studying to gain the best understanding of what you're learning. If you're a musician or worship leader, you spend time practicing scales and cues and lead lines and chords to be able to put on the best performance or to lead worship in such a way that you can focus on worshipping instead of remembering what the next chord is.
I feel that we've been raised in a culture and society where our parents want us to be the best in whatever we do (eg. sports, academics, music). I feel that we have come to a point in our lives where we've thought about the reason why we've been pushed to be the best. Oftentimes, our parents drive us to do well so that they can have a reason to be proud of their children. However, I think we need to re-evaluate our understanding of why we strive for excellence in whatever we're pursuing. Otherwise, we'll end up burning out.
A large portion of the vision of Dordt as a school is soli deo gloria, which means 'to God alone be the glory'. Well, how does Dordt College do this? By striving for excellence in all areas of college life through the teaching our teachers, of our coaches, and all the rest of the faculty on this campus. Everything at Dordt is done with excellence or strives to otherwise. How do we bring glory to God in the things that we do? Well, we do the best we can in the areas that we're passionate about!
For example, I did an internship this past summer with a company that builds, paints, and maintains water towers. I'll be honest, whenever I see one I always think about if it needs a new paint job. For part of the internship, I worked in a metal fabrication shop, working with a lot of welders and operating large equipment. In the shop, I assisted in the operation of a huge metal press. Before we start, we draw lines, spaced about a foot apart, on the metal so as we send the metal sheet through the press, we press it at each mark. When I first started helping, often as we shifted the sheet to the next mark, my coworkers would either move the sheet too far or not far enough. Soon enough, I was the one operating the press. As I did so, I came to the realization that I can even strive for excellence even in the making of water towers! As the days passed by, I heard comments about how nicely the metal sheets were pressed since they became easier to weld together. I know it's not the most remarkable example, but it doesn't have to be. Striving for excellence in the small things in life, too, is just as important as in the big things in life.
I know that we've been hyping up the fact that Dordt was rated for #1 in student engagement by the Wall Street Journal for two years straight, but that's because it is a huge deal and a large contributing factor is that Dordt strives for excellence, excellence not only in community but in every aspect of this campus.
Peace and love,