Evaluation

I find myself these days back in a place far removed in own life – elementary school.  And I am attending parent-teacher conferences to hear how my children are doing.  I also find myself doing the inevitable comparison, “How is he/she doing compared with his/her classmates?”

We want to “rack and stack” everything in our lives.  What’s the best sports team?  What’s the best restaurant?  What’s the best automobile?  On Facebook, you can even vote for the best country (I wonder how many people vote for a country other than their own first – but I digress).  But should we really do this with people?

The natural response to this is to revolt in the end, especially when it comes to people.  We think about our own flaws and failures (and the times perhaps others have been “ranked” over us) and we wonder what the value is after all.  We want to say, “Everyone is good and everyone has value.”  God so love the world that he gave his Son for all of us, right?

But then, is it ok when people are lazy?  Is it ok if a child doesn’t try?  Is it ok when people produce substandard work (even if they are capable of more)?  It is ok when people break the rules and do evil?  These questions will make us want to swing back and think evaluating people isn’t so bad after all.  We kind of have to do it.

But I wonder if there isn’t some form of evaluation that is being left out.  How often do we grade people on their ability to work well with others?  How often do we recognize children for being willing to sacrifice for others?  How often do we grade members of a class for working for the greater good of the class rather than just for themselves?  And how often do we recognize individuals for unique input that is a blessing to the group as a whole?  I believe not often enough.

Like them or not, we do need evaluations.  But maybe we can stretch the envelope as time goes on regarding what we are evaluating.  Maybe some of the things we currently evaluate aren’t so all important as we have thought.  Maybe also there are things we could be evaluating that would tell us more about people.

Maybe God calls on us in each generation to wonder how we might do things better tomorrow than we are doing today.

Just some food for thought on a Monday.

All the best,

Tom

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