I like this word. Funny how it’s been around for a few years, and it takes a comment at the John Calvin Schools Conference to bring it into the spotlight. But it’s great to meet it, and even better to use it.
Upstander: one who stands up for what is true.
We know how it goes. Students can quickly put others down. They know exactly how to make someone else feel of little importance. They can use bad language, foul language, and sometimes blasphemous language. Their conversations can spiral downhill faster than water spirals down a spout. They can slander others, both fellow students and teachers. And, of course, never in the hearing of parents and teachers!
But the bystanders hear. And they stand by and do NOTHING. They’re too embarrassed at what others might think. To do something, or to say something is TOO HARD.
The upstander, however, stands up for the truth. The upstander realises that it isn’t hard to say two words: “excuse me!”, or maybe a few more: “that’s not appropriate!”, or, “we don’t speak like that”. Sometimes the upstander just needs to say one word: “upstander!”
In the context of bullying, it is a known fact that when the upstander speaks, 50% of bullying is prevented. This statistic comes from secular environments. It would be fair to say that within our context that statistic would be far greater.
At our opening assembly this week, we connected with the drama in Thailand and the rescue of the 12 students and their coach. The point was that all those involved in the rescue had one purpose, and one aim. All worked towards it, without exception.
Similarly, there is oneness in life’s purpose which is carried over to the school. Using the words in Ephesians 1: All to the praise of His glory! That’s what we want to do here at school also. And to give this arms and legs, so to speak, when we adopt the upstander principle, we are doing exactly that: to the praise of His glory.
If you are a parent, encourage your children to be upstanders. And let the word be part of your normal vocabulary.
If you are a student, remember that being an upstander will be to ‘the praise of His glory!’
M Plug, Principal