From a ‘rigorous’ mindset to a ‘body of Christ’ mindset

If the word was out that Catholic schools embrace all children and teach them according to how God made each one, there would be no enrollment problem — the lines waiting to get in would be miles long. — Credit: SR. NANCY MUNRO, CSJ

As I noted in last week’s (March 14) article, I am encouraged to see that the L.A. Archdiocese includes the following in its Catholic schools’ mission statement:

“Understand Their Gifts: We encourage all students towards excellence, but most importantly to use their gifts and talents in service to others.”

The question is how to do this — what will it take?

It will take shifting away from the “rigorous” mindset to a “body of Christ” mindset. We are all different and we have different gifts. It is our Creator who designed us that way.

So why are we not honoring that and helping each child to truly discover the gifts God put inside him or her? Perhaps it’s art, or humor, or building things, or working with animals, or sky diving!

At this point, someone always says, “Well, they have to learn to read and write and do math!” Of course, they do. But they are not all going to be tops in every skill or subject. We can teach them the basic skills through their learning styles as each child is developmentally ready, so all students will become competent in these areas.

Beyond that, let’s show our students that all gifts are valuable by giving them equal weight, because God himself put them inside of us.

This is what I believe would truly set Catholic schools apart. If the word was out that Catholic schools embrace all children and teach them according to how God made each one, there would be no enrollment problem — the lines waiting to get in would be miles long.

One of my favorite lines in Scripture is from St. James (3:1): “Not many of you should be teachers, my brothers, for you will be held to the stricter account.”

What is the stricter account? Does it have to do with “rigorous” academics, or higher test scores? Probably not. I believe it has to do with the number of Catholic school students who grow up truly knowing who they are in God’s eyes, who practice their faith by contributing their God-given gifts to the world. I don’t think any Catholic educator can take this lightly.

Lent has begun. Most people have thought of what they will “give up.” I propose that Catholic parents and Catholic educators consider giving up the traditional, secular way of viewing education that is so damaging to students, and replace it with a vision that truly focuses on “understanding their gifts — encouraging all students towards excellence, but most importantly to use their gifts and talents in service to others.”

 

Mariaemma Pelullo-Willis is a California credentialed teacher and holds a Master’s Degree in Special Education. Write to her at: m@learningsuccessinstitute.com.


Voices

Seeking the face of God in the Scriptures

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Prayer is seeking the face of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church recalls the story of how St. John Vianney once found a peasant praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The saint asked him what he was doing, and the man replied: “I look at him and he looks at me.”

Events

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February 13, 2016

  • Saturday, February 13

    World Day of the Sick Mass, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, 12:30 p.m., Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels,  555 W Temple St, Los Angeles. Archbishop Gomez presiding with other bishops and priests. Special section designated for those in wheelchairs with volunteers available to help. Limited parking available for $8. Carpooling is encouraged. For more info: Chuck Huebner at cjhuebner @gmail.com or Jim LoCoco at flavialococ0@msn.com.

     

     

    Bosco Tech’s Yurak Memorial Run & Kids’ Fun Run, Check in begins at 8 a.m., Memorial Run at 9 a.m., Fun Run at 10 a.m., Bosco Tech, 1151 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead. Race registration is $35 per person. For school groups of 10 or more, the cost is $30. To register online, go to www.boscotech.edu/events or www.yurak.eventbrite.com; same-day registration available at check-in table. Included: racing fees, finisher medal, goodie bag and BBQ lunch. Plaques will be awarded to the top five male and female runners and to the fastest runner under 18.All proceeds to benefit Bosco Tech’s Yurak Athletic Center (YAC). 

     

    Cabrini Literary Guild “Sweetheart Bingo” Meeting, Sat., Feb.13 at Oakmont Country Club, 3100 Country Club Drive, Glendale. Meeting starts at 11 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. ($30/person), and bingo social at 1 p.m. Bingo cards are $5 each, or $20 for five cards. For reservations, call (818) 790-3485.

     

    Footprints: Making Tracks for Neighbors in Need, 8:30 - 11:30 a.m., Bishop Amat High School track, 14301 Fairgrove Ave., La Puente. Catholic Charities San Gabriel Region will present this annual walk/run fundraiser to increase awareness about poverty, hunger and homelessness in the San Gabriel Region. Proceeds benefit those lacking basic needs, such as food, clothing, transportation and shelter. This is a come anytime, leave anytime event, with the first lap around the track to be led by Bishop David O'Connell. For more information, visit lentenfootprints.yolasite.com or contact Mary Romero at (213) 251-3582 or mromero@ccharities.org.

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