Dear Catholic Educators,
We wish you great blessings in the second half of the academic year!
The tragic events in Sandy Hook are present somewhere in our minds as classes resume after the holidays. How should we think about this as Catholic educators and what can we in fact do? I would like to offer a few thoughts.
We must think deeply about what we believe about education. It seems to me many of the voices we are hearing right now are from people who are not in schools or do not know what it means or feels like to teach in a classroom. We can use our moral courage and professional influence to speak for what can and should be done in schools and parish programs. What do we want schools to be for the children, young people and families who come there? (Remember, the original idea of school for young children was a garden – kindergarten not the OK Corral.)
As educators we know to look for the possible root causes of problems, complex though they may be. We know to be mindful of students who appear to be loners or who do not fit in. We do not tolerate bullying of any kind, by students, their parents or even by teachers. We keep an eye out for the student who might be hungry, neglected, or overly indulged. We are sensible enough to teach children about safety but wise enough not to cause undue anxiety for children and their parents.
I truly believe violence begets violence. We are called to be people of peace – while being sensible to the realities of life. In times of difficulty and troubles, we must hold on to and pass along the message of the Gospel. At the heart of all our work is our belief in the sacredness of every human person. I suggest we add our voices to those calling for an end to gun violence. Certainly, second amendment rights can be upheld without guns in schools or easily available assault rifles.
As we welcome the Prince of Peace at this time of the year, please combine your prayers with mindful action, as I will, to bring peace to this world,
Karen M. Ristau