Just finished the last week of school 2018…my first at Little Flower and my thirty-fifth as a professional in Catholic Education. During this last week I was asked over and over “aren’t you glad that the school year is almost over?” My response was nooooo!! I am going to miss the kids, the smiles, the hugs, the excitement, the cupcakes, and yes, even the occasional tears! A school is built to have students in it…not to be empty. Well, at least we have LFS Summer Camp starting next week!
So my biggest takeaway the first year at Little Flower is that private, Catholic education is more important than ever. As a society in America, and even in Central Illinois, we have veered way off course when it has come to what our children are exposed to and what they learn from this exposure. Just think about this past year locally and how many schools in our area have had lock downs, evacuations, and bomb scares…even at the elementary level! Our children are constantly exposed to a culture consisting of Harvey Weinstein, Larry Nassar, Bill Cosby, and Dimitrios Pagourtzis.
Think of your twelve year old child as a smart little fish swimming in a big ocean full of waves coming in from all sides. These waves include Fortnite, Snapchat, horrific realtime scenes from Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, and the news that three local educators have been arrested for preying on underage students. In this ocean these waves of influence are often subtle, definitely inescapable, and invariably make the challenge of parents and teachers more difficult.
Catholic education is our best hope of providing children a refuge in these turbulent waters…parents and educators working together in a Christ-centered culture of life. At Little Flower we start and end every day with meaningful prayers, we say The Pledge of Allegiance because we believe in patriotism, we talk a lot about respect for one another, service to those in need, courage in the face of challenges, work ethic, self-discipline, sacrifice, and putting others before yourself. I have been amazed at how our teachers and parents model these virtues each and every day.
Looking ahead to next school year, it is impossible to know how the 2018-2019 year will develop…what our children will encounter. I will assure you that Little Flower and the Catholic Schools across The United States will do their part to provide the right culture, the right messages, the traditional pathways to success, and opportunities for our students to walk in the path of Jesus.