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

In our time

Archbishop José H. Gomez

As I write, I’ve just read the sad news that 90 Christians have been kidnapped from two villages in Syria. Of course we were all shocked earlier this month by the news that 21 Coptic Christians were executed in Syria — killed, as Pope Francis said, “for the mere fact of being Christians.” 

The Holy Father visits the Holy Land

Events

February 2015
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28

February 28, 2015

  • Saturday, February 28

    “Catholics and the Civil Rights Movement”: An African American Ministry Forum with Dr. Cecilia Moore, 9:30-11:30 a.m., University Hall, 1775 1 LMU Drive, Los Angeles. 2015 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Selma March, which led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a landmark achievement of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement. With an eye towards the future, a weekend forum will be held to examine the role of American Catholicism in the Selma Campaign, its history and theology, and what it can teach us about confronting today’s social justice issues in the Church and greater American society. $40. (310) 338-2799.

The Tidings - Home Delivery 300x100

Get our news by email

Office for Vocation
Bob Smith BMW 300x250
Bob Smith Toyota 300x250
Bob Smith Mini 300x250