By Kendra McGuire.
Another summer has come and gone and we find ourselves quickly settling back into the school year routines. As we begin this new school year, our school communities share similar hopes and expectations.
Our faculty, staff, parents, and students all long for a successful year with great growth in learning. We hope for positive relationships that are cooperative and share common goals. But above all, we long to be part of a school community where everyone is welcome, everyone is loved, and everyone feels that they are an important part of the school.
In order for our school communities to meet these hopes and expectations, we have to recognize that Jesus Christ must be the center of all we do. In the book of James 1:17, we learn that “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above.” Together, we must put our faith first and be willing to serve where God calls us. By serving Him, we will become instruments through which God’s gifts of peace, love and joy will flow and fill our schools.
In early August, the teachers in our Catholic schools gathered together to focus on putting our faith first. We learned about the importance of prayer in our lives and discussed new ways to increase prayer in our classrooms and in our schools. We studied Sacred Scripture through the lens of a teacher to learn how Jesus, the Master Teacher, models great teaching. And we learned how we are all called to invite others to choose a relationship with Jesus Christ.
As I reflect upon the learning our teachers experienced, I believe it is helpful to think about this as parents too. We should stop and think about how we pray in our homes. Is it only before meals? Do we pray together as we head to school? This year, resolve to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) in your home and with your children.
Our homes should also include the study of Sacred Scripture. We are called to live as Jesus lived, to model our actions after Him. Reading a Bible passage together daily or in preparation for Sunday Masses would be a great way to learn about Jesus and open the door to conversations about God and how He works in our lives.
As parents, the primary teachers of our children, we have a responsibility to call them into communion with Jesus. How often does Jesus come up in our conversations? When our children are struggling with the daily challenges of life, do we invite them to pray, visit with Jesus in Adoration, or go to Mass? Do we take them to Mass every Sunday where we can remind them that we go to give glory and praise to God for all the good gifts He has given to us?
This school year, let’s keep our expectations high and hold on to hope for great things. The faculty and staff in our schools are already working hard to help their students learn. We know they will lead our children in prayer and worship and create Christ-centered classrooms.
As parents, let us also make a commitment to strengthen our school communities further by making our homes Christ-centered too. When our communities are united in Jesus Christ, both at home and school, then they will reflect the love of Jesus Christ and become places where all will be welcomed, loved, and filled with great joy!
Kendra McGuire is superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Covington, Ky.