×

  • International Christian School of Vienna is currently closed and our Distance Learning has started in all grade levels.
    We plan to reopen on Tuesday, April 14.
    If you have any questions and/or concerns please email office@icsv.at.

Grit

Angela Duckworth, a former math teacher, has dedicated her life to trying to figure out what makes someone successful. When she was in the classroom, she found herself wondering why a student who was really smart didn’t do as well as someone with average intelligence. She set out to figure out why some people make it through college or military training and others don’t. Guess what she found was the biggest difference? GRIT!

So what is grit? Ms. Duckworth defines it as “the ability to PERSEVERE in pursuing a future goal over a long period of time and NOT GIVING UP…It is having STAMINA. It’s sticking with your future, day-in and day-out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years and WORKING REALLY HARD to make that future a reality.” Simply put, it is PERSEVERANCE and PASSION all rolled into one.

This year we will encourage our students to look at their long-term goals and help them to not get stuck and give up along the way. We will focus on teaching our students that instead of looking at failure as a bad thing, they should choose to learn from their mistakes. Just because a student doesn’t do well on one assignment does not mean that he or she cannot do well on the next. We will ask our students to set goals for themselves and then keep pursuing those goals without giving up.

There are many examples in the Bible of people who had grit. God told Noah to build an ark even though he had never seen it rain on the earth. Noah was obedient and spent decades building this huge ship. Now that’s grit. Moses wandered around for 40 years in the wilderness as he waited for the fulfillment of God’s promises. Again, grit.

It is not easy to persevere when things are difficult. Even the Apostle Paul struggled, asking God to remove from him the “thorn in the flesh.” People have different theories about what this might have been, but what we do know is that Paul pleaded with God to take it from him. God’s response is contained in our verse for the year. God told Paul that His grace was all that Paul needed to persevere. He also told him that God’s power is perfected in weakness. It is God’s power that allows us to persevere in times of difficulty. God promises us that when we are weak, He is strong.

The famous Christian pastor and writer, Chuck Swindoll, explains it this way. When the Apostle Paul was being beaten and threatened with death, when he could barely handle the circumstances he found himself in, Paul focused on God’s ability to handle the problems. He found supernatural strength by looking up and admitting that he wasn’t able to make it on his own. He knew that he had to rely on God alone. The secret to Paul’s endurance was his divine perspective.

Ms. Fitcher showed a short video to the elementary students that explains grit. Perhaps you would like to look at it and see this simple explanation.

In 2018-2019, we would like to ask you to help us show our students what it means to GROW IN GRIT AND GRACE.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon Brobst, Director

Welcome Back!

We have missed you this summer and are excited for the 2018-2019 school year to begin! We hope you are enjoying the bright and clean campus, with new paint and pictures throughout the building. Our facilities crew has worked hard to get things ready for you. Be sure to thank them.

Our theme for the year is “Grow in Grit and Grace.” You will see a new banner in the reception area with different phrases explaining these two concepts. Today I’d like to explain “grow in grace.” Grace can be defined as the unmerited favor of God. Basically, it is getting what we don’t deserve. It’s unconditional love toward someone who does not deserve it. Grace is a concept that we struggle to understand and to accept because we are a society that is built around merit. Shouldn’t we get what we deserve. That only seems fair, doesn’t it?

But God does not relate to us that way. He knew that there was nothing that we could do to bridge the huge gap between Himself and us. We couldn’t earn His approval because God is perfect. And so He sent His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the penalty for our sins. By accepting this free gift of grace, we no longer get what we deserve, which is death. God reached down and while we were still His enemies, Jesus died for us. This was the ultimate example of grace.

So how can we show grace to ourselves and to others this year? To ourselves? Yes. We are sometimes deceived into thinking that we are not good enough or that because we can’t forget the mistakes that we have made that God keeps count. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Psalm 103:12 reminds us that the sins that we cannot forget, God cannot remember. Once our sins are forgiven, they are remembered no more.

As we begin to grow in our understanding and acceptance of grace, we can show this same undeserved favor to others. We can love others unconditionally. This year, let’s demonstrate what it means to be forgiven and free. Let’s extend this same grace that was given to us to others. Ms. Fitcher, our elementary principal, showed a great short video that explains grace during an elementary assembly. It’s linked here in case you’d like to watch it with your kids.

I am excited to see how God works in and through us during this coming year. Stayed tuned for next week’s article where I will explain what I mean by GRIT. Have a blessed weekend.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Saying Goodbye to 2017-2018

As this is our last Eagle of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for allowing us the privilege of partnering with you in the education of your children. We have had a year where we have needed to “Stand United,” as we supported each other through times of great joy but also times of great sorrow.

Last night we ended the year with the lovely celebration of the hard work of the Class of 2018. Adib Zin Alabedin, the class valedictorian, and Ahmad Ibrahim, the salutatorian, did a wonderful job in delivering their speeches. Ms. Emilia Baldovska, science teacher and senior advisor, was chosen by the senior class to be the graduation speaker. She encouraged the graduates to find their purpose in life. I closed out the evening by reminding us all that life is short, and that we should live each day as if it were our last. We are given 86.400 seconds a day to use for God’s glory. Let’s “redeem the time,” taking advantage of every breath, for each and every one is a gift from God.

Looking ahead to next year, please mark your calendars for the first day of school on Wednesday, August 22. There will be an orientation for students entering grade six on Tuesday, August 21, as well. If you are not returning to ICSV next year, we say a reluctant “goodbye,” for this is one aspect of living in an international community that is really hard to do. We trust that your time here was special and that you will remember it fondly. You will be missed.

Thank you again for your support of ICSV. This has been a great year!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Happiness is…

Something I’ve been thinking about lately is just how fleeting life is. This year, we pretty much just blinked, and it’s over. The older I get, the shorter each year seems. At our last All-Staff Devotions, I shared about how we need to remember that life is short. We need to “redeem the time,” as we are reminded throughout the Bible. We never know when it may be the last time that we get to do something or to see someone.

Last week during the Middle School Musical, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, the kids sang a song that I also sang way back in elementary school. The show came out in 1967, when I was in the fourth grade. The song is called Happiness. The cast of the play are all little kids, so their perspective may be a bit different than ours today, but becoming like a child to see things for the delight that they really are is so important. Soon after this came out, a little comic was in the newspaper each week with different ideas of what happiness means to people. My mother used to cut them out for me, and by the time I went to college, I had a whole box full of these sayings. I would color the picture and give them to people as a means of encouraging them.

Today, as you enjoy the words of this song, I encourage you to be thankful for the little things that happen every day that you can celebrate.

Happiness is finding a pencil, pizza with sausage, telling the time.
Happiness is learning to whistle, tying your shoe for the very first time.
Happiness is playing the drums in your own school band,
And happiness is walking hand in hand.

Happiness is two kinds of ice cream, knowing a secret, climbing a tree.
Happiness is five different crayons, catching a firefly, setting him free.
Happiness is being alone every now and then,
And happiness is coming home again.

Happiness is morning and evening, daytime and nighttime, too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you!

Happiness is having a sister, sharing a sandwich, getting along.
Happiness is singing together when day is through.
And happiness is those who sing with you

Happiness is morning and evening, daytime and nighttime, too.
For happiness is anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you!

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

PS. I still love ice cream, crayons, singing together, and having a sister!

One Body, One Voice

Tuesday, May 29, was a packed evening with the Sports Awards, then the Secondary Concert, followed by scenes from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The students were honored for their hard work and dedication in athletics, music, and drama. What an amazing night!

I love the theme of the Secondary Concert: One Body, One Voice. When I first saw the poster, I immediately thought of one of my favorite Barry Manilow hits called One Voice. I had not heard it when I went to my very first professional concert in New York City. The year was 1980. Barry Manilow came out on stage and began singing without any instrumental accompaniment. The words that he began to sing were:

Just one voice singing in the darkness,
All it takes is one voice,
Singing so they hear what’s on your mind,
And when you look around you’ll find
There’s more than one voice singing in the darkness,
Joining with your one voice,
Each and every note another octave,
Hands are joined and fears unlocked,
If only one voice which started on its own
We need just one voice facing the unknown,
And then that one voice would never be alone.
It takes that one voice.

Just one voice singing in the darkness,
All it takes is one voice,
Shout it out and let it ring,
Just one voice,
It takes that one voice,
And everyone will sing!

Out of the darkness came the voices of hundreds of children who joined him. And then came the instruments. That one voice became many, and it built and built until the music was filling the whole auditorium. I will never forget the impact of that night. Ever since, it has been my dream to conduct a choir and orchestra in singing One Voice.

This song reminds me of John the Baptist who is described in the Bible as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord.’” John was just one person letting everyone around him know that one greater than he was about to come. That person was Jesus.

I may be just one person, but it is my responsibility to use my voice to proclaim Jesus Christ to the nations. If one person tells just one person, and that person tells one, the message will be spread from person to person, from family to family, from city to city, from country to country, from continent to continent…until “the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together.” Yes, just one voice can make a difference.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director

Come and See

During the last weekend of April until May 1 I had the privilege of attending the ACSI Administrators’ Conference in Slovenia. Every year administrators from all over Europe and others from Africa and Asia gather together for a time of encouragement, worship, and professional development. This year the two main topics during the professional development sessions were the elements of an effective ELL program and understanding the Bible from the culture of the time in which it was written. Ms. Cyndi Fitcher, our elementary principal, attended with me. She also oversees our Student Support Services, so the ELL sessions were pertinent to what she does on a daily basis.

The last session that we were able to attend on May 1 was by Dr. Richards. He is the Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Christian liberal arts college in Florida. For three days he took us through John’s Gospel and explained it as Jesus’ disciples were experiencing it. He showed us how Jesus very much used a “come and see” approach to teaching. He didn’t explain everything that He did to the disciples, but just invited them to spend time with Him and see what He was doing.

The very last page of my notes written between 2:00 and 3:00 on Tuesday, May 1, included these words: “You will most likely not understand what God is doing. He’s not going to hit the pause button to explain it to you. Just ‘come and see.’ God would like you to grow in maturity and not ask why. Just be obedient. I want to be the tool in God’s hand that just does what God asks without asking why.”

Little did I realize that less than an hour after Dr. Richards spoke those words, I would receive a phone call from the secondary principal informing me of the tragic swimming accident that had occurred. In the days that followed, I looked back over these notes. I realized that I once again found myself in a situation where I would have to learn what it means to trust God when there were no answers. I encourage us all to “come and see” what God is doing – at ICSV, in Austria, and around the world. My prayer for all of us is that our faith would grow to the point where we don’t need answers. We just need Jesus.

Because of His Faithfulness,
Sharon C. Brobst, Ed.D.
Director