I was asked recently by a parent what my deepest desire is for Whitworth's students. It's a great question, because it forces me to think through the many ways that I pray and hope each day that the Whitworth experience contributes to the development of the incredible young people who have come here to study and live on our campus.
One answer that comes to mind is that I want students to have a great academic experience at Whitworth, one that challenges their minds and hearts while building upon their intellect and reasoning in the various major fields of study they have chosen. Another answer might be that I want Whitworth's students to understand what it means to be in true community, learning to live, lead and love across the many things that can divide and separate them from others, focusing rather on those things that pull them together into genuine fellowship.
Yet another answer to that question could be that I want Whitworth's students to become aware of the deepest needs around them -- in the Whitworth community, in Spokane, and across the globe -- and to learn to reach out with a helping hand, a strong mind, and a compassionate heart in order to change the lives of others.
I really could go on and on with potentially worthy answers to that parent's important question. The hopes I've mentioned above are, in fact, the things that I and so many others who work at Whitworth pray daily for our students and work diligently to realize. The aspects of the Whitworth experience I've just mentioned are certainly a part of my answer, but only a part of a much more profound whole, one that is at the very center of my own reason for being here.
You see, when I boil it all down, my deepest desire for Whitworth's students is this: That they come to a more profound understanding of who they are in Jesus Christ, and, with that identity firmly established, that they begin to discover their important and unique place and purpose in this world.
Identity yielding purpose, and purpose serving to affirm identity -- it's a process that repeats itself for our students over and over again during their time here, a process that everything from our curriculum to our Speakers & Artists Series, and from our community engagement efforts to the programming in our residence halls are designed to support. Whitworth's students get this. They are constantly seeking answers to the questions, "Who and whose am I?" and "What have I been called to do with my unique experiences, talents, gifts, and the education I am receiving?" It's a blessing and a privilege to watch it happen. I've discovered along the way that my own answers to these fundamental questions have become sharper as a result of watching the courageous ways our students lean into them.
Each of our students is at a different point in her or his journey of finding identity and purpose, and it's a thrill to have the opportunity to walk part of that journey with them.
As always, please keep Whitworth in your prayers.