Hope is a word that we use a great deal in ordinary conversation and has consequently lost something of its power—” I hope you can join me for lunch” or “The children hope that the school will be closed by snow tomorrow!”
At a much deeper level, hope is a universal human phenomenon which sustains people in times of great personal difficulty .
People hope for peace in time of war; for food in time of famine; for justice in time of oppression and this hope can sustain them and give them energy. Where there is no hope society spirals downwards. For some people, hope is so strong that it inspires self-sacrifice to turn their hope into reality.
Some people might ‘place their hope’ in technology or modern science, as they see the improvements that these make to lifestyles, at least in the developed world. But these advances have not brought progress in the human heart—there is still war and terror, disease, and self serving leaders who neglect their people.
Christian hope is more than a general expectation that things will get better. It is grounded in the Christian’s understanding of the nature of God: God is known to be loving and faithful, and there is a confidence that His promises can be trusted. This confidence in God supports Christians through the greatest suffering. Christians’ hope is a future hope, to be with Christ, it is based on God’s promises and salvation through the death of Jesus. Love and goodness ultimately will; in fact already have; overcome all evil.
Hope is linked with faith and love as one of the three gifts of the Spirit in I Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13.
Hope in School
- How does the school give children hope for the future by recognising their potential and encouraging them to fulfil it?
- Is the school a place which offers a new start to those who need it? What if they need a second or even a third chance?
- How does the school create a climate of positive optimism?
- What do the children in your school hope for? Does it relate to Christian hope?
- How are pupils encouraged to hope and dream in worship—and to bring these hopes to God in prayer and praise?
- Does the presentation of the Christian message in collective worship give people a basis for hope in their own lives?
- Are your school’s links with other areas of the world an active way of supporting / bringing hope to others?
- Do pupils have the opportunity to learn about those who inspire others and work for a better future as examples to emulate?
- How are pupils encouraged to see the potential of scientific discoveries for changing the world for the better?
- How are pupils helped to see that their contributions can make a difference to the world?
- Which curriculum areas encourage pupils to form a vision for a better future for themselves and others? How can they share this vision e.g through the creative arts?
- Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the life chances of your children? If pessimistic, what can you do about it?
- What is your vision for the school and its future? How was this vision grown? How is this future hope shared with your wider community? How do you become a community of vision builders?
- How do you deal with difficult situations which lay any school low— including problems within local families and the community which have their ramifications in school?
- How does the school work with other agencies to bring hope to those in difficult circumstances (locally, nationally, globally)?
- Are your hopes for the school distinctive in any way because it is a church school? Why not? Should they be?