Our theme this year, Radical: Living a Life of Conviction, has two distinct components. The word “radical” is rooted in the idea that we want to challenge our students to live a life that “departs sharply from the usual or ordinary.” In this way we want them to be radical.
We don’t, however, want them to just be different for difference’s sake. The second aspect of the theme directs the challenge to how they can depart from the usual. We want them to be “radical” because they are living a life of conviction. In today’s world a person who truly lives a life of conviction is unusual and extraordinary. Someone living according to their convictions today, by definition, is a radical.
In trying to define what living a life of conviction means, I asked some people what they thought it meant, and I heard the same words mentioned a number of times. The words repeated by different people were commitment, character, and integrity. I found it interesting, that though I did not clarify at all what “convictions” people should live by in my question, people gravitated towards these three words.
The actual definition of the word conviction is “the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth; a strong persuasion or belief; the state of being convinced.” So why would it be that the words commitment, character, and integrity are associated with living a life of conviction? I think it might be that in some way they all relate to how you would live a life of conviction. To live a life of conviction, you need to be a person of commitment. You need to know what you believe, what you will stand for, and then be unwavering in those commitments. To be a person who can stick to your commitment you would need to have integrity and a strong character.
In the coming weeks I would like to look closer at each one of these words and what they mean to us in striving to live a life of conviction. Next week we will start with the word “commitment.”