♬ See you in September ♬ are the words of a popular song that is a June radio favourite. It speaks to the seemingly distant month that beckons a return to school. Questions absent from the breakfast table during the summer months return to homes across the province .Do you have your lunch? How about your backpack? Did you wash behind your ears? Stress! Stress! :( Stress! It abounds as anticipation of a new beginning nears the September 2nd return to school date.
As parents you have clear expectations for your child but as Catholic parents you have additional responsibilities .School is about relationships for Mom and Dad, relationship with Faith and relationship with teachers.
Relationship with FAITH:
Parents as the first and foremost educators of their child (Lumen Gentium 11 from the 2nd Vatican Council) set the example for the child by living our Gospel values as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. He is our guiding light. We pray as a family and participate in our parish liturgical celebrations. Our pastors nurture our spiritual journey through Sunday mass and celebration of the sacraments. School liturgies and prayer services within the life of the Catholic community not only celebrates God’s gifts but also serve as an opportunity to join together at times of success and trouble. Parish, school and home form an essential triad in their faith development.
Relationship with Teacher Partners:
Suntne angeli? “Are they angels?”
It is essential to understand that as first and foremost educators we are not the sole educators. Our partners in the process are our teachers. It is essential that we develop a respectful relationship with them built on respect. They are professionally certified and have the pedagogical skills. Trust must be established through communication which should be on going. When disagreements arise seek to understand not to judge. Clearly enunciate the concern from your perspective and exercise attentive listening. Remember that the Good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a purpose.
“We should be slow to speak and patient in listening to all … our ears should be wide open to our neighbor until he seems to have said all that is in his mind.”
-St. Ignatius Loyola
Be a problem solver by pursuing a resolution through collaboration and consensus seeking. Remember one is either part of the problem or part of the solution.
Participation in school activities enables you to move to engagement. Contributing as a parent helps demonstrate your willingness to assist teachers with their work. It role models volunteering and sets a good example for the child. Home and school are the incubators for the growth of Catholicity under the stewardship of both the parents and teachers with the support of the parish.
It is understandable for parents to fret about their child’s return to school .They are after all entrusting the love of their life to the teaching staff. Let me ease your mind a little. The word Catholic emanates from the Greek word “Kata holos” meaning welcoming everyone and that includes your child as one made in the image and likeness of God.
“For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” says Psalm 139. “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” God loves us as we are because that’s how God made us.
There is a purpose in our children attending a Catholic school. The purpose as described in a publication by the Algonquin and Lakeshore CDSB: “The worthiest purpose of education is that learners might become fully alive human beings who help to create a society that serves the “Bonum commune” (common good)”.
“Latent and sometimes locked within each human heart is a dream waiting to be born.”
-Jacquline Syrup Bergan and Marie Schwan, C.S.J.,
Birth: A Guide for Prayer
Embrace the journey ahead and as the words from a song in the Catholic Book of Worship says:
“Be Not Afraid, I will not leave you orphaned.” Remember, We journey with the best!
Dr. Ashleigh Molloy
Director TransEd Institute
AKA “Dr. Ash”