Redefining Success


A little while ago I was reading through a magazine, and two articles, one right after the other, emphasized to me what our mission statement means: Education for life founded on a Biblical worldview.

The first was an article about the National Football League in the United States. Men who make it to this level are always considered a “success” in life. The level of athletic prowess and skill needed to be on one of these teams is impressive. These athletes are rewarded with large salaries and hero-like status in the American culture. They are superstars and live the life of the rich and famous. Most in the North American culture would look upon them as “successful.” However, take a look at this statement from the first article:

78% of NFL football players are divorced, bankrupt, or contemplating suicide within two years of retirement.

There are many possible deductions you could make from this statement, but one that I took away from it is that becoming rich and famous does not mean you will be a success in life.
The second article told the story of Pete Maravich who is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. During his career, he set over 40 different records and had a big impact on the way the game is played today. As I read the article about his life, the following quote jumped off the page:

“Money will buy you anything but happiness. . .”

Once again we see someone who was at the pinnacle of athletics and people would definitely consider him a success. He had all the fame and fortune many people are striving for and yet he is straightforward in stating that money is not the proper measure of success.

One of the things that is an integral part of the Dalat DNA is that we do not gauge our success as a school, or the success of our alumni, based on their net worth or if they have become “famous.” We believe strongly that success in life is not about what you get or how much you own but more in how you serve. Dalat is proud of the fact that approximately 60% of alumni have gone into development work, medical careers, the teaching field, missions, or pastoral careers. These are the top five careers of our alumni, and all of them are about serving people and having a positive impact on those around them.

Does this mean that Dalat is against people becoming rich and famous? Absolutely not. Did you know that we have a Supreme Court justice (State of Ohio), an off-Broadway/movie actor, former Naval Base commander, and a number of successful entrepreneurs who all are quite famous or rich? We are proud that they are part of the Dalat alumni family, but as a school we do not hold them up any higher than the alumnus serving in Laos and working with orphans or the alumnus rebuilding areas of Japan devastated by earthquakes.

For Dalat, “Education for Life” means that we teach our students how to redefine what it means to be successful, that we do not just use the world’s standards when defining what that word means. If Dalat is successful in accomplishing this, then we truly are a “radical” school.

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Dalat Director

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people to make a positive impact on their world, walk with integrity, and follow Christ. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Dalat Director since 2006.

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