At Loganville Christian Academy, we’ve often heard it said people love the atmosphere or culture of our school. We recognize it isn’t something that just happens, but rather we must be intentional in our conversations.
So again, this year, we’re asking: What does it mean to set the tone and how do we continue to make it great to be at LCA?
Tone, or atmosphere, is simply the general character or attitude of a place. It’s what causes people to want to be there or not want to be there. Similarly, our personal tone is what causes people to want to be with us, or not want to be with us. Our personal tone also contributes to the overall atmosphere. In order to determine the health of the atmosphere, it’s important to take the temperature.
There are generally three ways to take a temperature using a mercury-in-glass thermometer. But these three ways are only reliable to the extent you understand the temperature reading once you have it. As surely as there are three ways to take a temperature for your body, there are three types of people that contribute their tone to any atmosphere.
• Under The Arm: Once an under the arm temperature is taken, it’s necessary to add a degree in order to get an accurate idea of the actual body temperature. Similarly, under the arm people are those people that are always “good.” (“How are you?” “I’m good.”) There is no drama with these people. Everything is downplayed and almost nothing riles them up. In any atmosphere, these people are great to have around. They will dig in, be committed and do well. They say very little. Consequently, if one of these people does say something, bring up an issue or expose a problem, it’s usually necessary to add a degree. Chances are, if they’ve said something, things are worse than they’re communicating. A word of caution: As an under the arm person, don’t let things get out of hand before you speak up. Speaking up about the right things at the right time contributes to a healthy atmosphere and avoids a lot of “fevers.”
• Under The Tongue: This is the most accurate method of temperature taking. No need to add a degree here. Under-the-tongue people tell it like it is. They don’t add drama, but they don’t usually downplay things. These are great people to identify in any atmosphere. This is the go-to place when you need to know how things really are in your atmosphere. A word of caution: As an under-the-tongue person, telling it like it is, while valuable, must also be helpful and well-timed. Just because it’s true doesn’t always mean it should be shared.
• South Of The Border: The third way to take a temperature is south of the border (ahem). This is the most distasteful way. Once this type of temperature is taken, it’s necessary to subtract a degree since this area has an already elevated temperature by nature. South-of-the-border people have an already elevated temperature. Everything that happens is the worst thing that’s ever happened. There will always be a reason to complain, find fault or criticize. Where there’s no drama, they can be counted on to create it. When these people are involved in communicating something, people generally subtract a degree (or more) from what they’ve communicated. Sadly, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a fever, but it usually means it won’t be taken as seriously. A word of caution: As a south-of-the-border person, people need to be able to see and appreciate the real value that you bring to the team, not be distracted by a communication-style that is off-putting. Avoid escalation in the way you receive information and then relate it to others.
At LCA, we strive to be highly regarded for the standards of excellence applied to a student’s educational pursuits. But just as importantly, we are striving to create and maintain a healthy, thriving relational atmosphere.
It’s an easy way to remind one another that we want to keep the temperature in check so that we maintain a healthy atmosphere.
This is all part of our mission to prepare students academically, spiritually and socially for God’s call on their lives.
Shannon Scott is the director of student life at Loganville Christian Academy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.