…..This morning, while watching the students arrive at school, I remembered the days that my own Dad dropped me and my 5 other sisters off for school in the morning on his way downtown for work. Each morning, Dad would kiss each one of us goodbye and give each one of us a little message. I am not sure what he whispered to my other sisters, but what he said to me every day was “Melanie, have fun in school.” Can you imagine sending your child off to school every day with the exhortation to have fun? Of course, as a result, I took him quite seriously and had the time of my life at the Rosary—let’s just say, probably way too much fun! That said, I have been blessed with lifelong friends and a love for learning that has led to a lifetime of advanced academic study.
When I reflect on that memory, I realize that my Dad was giving me a real treasure. He was gifting me with not only the assurance of his love, but also with the encouragement and permission as a young person to ENJOY everything that I do–to love it and to have a wonderful time doing it.
As an educator, I reflect that he did not tell me to “get good grades” or to win the next competition” but he told me to LOVE what I was doing and he believed that I would do my very best. I think that the insight of this memory goes directly to the spirituality of our Sacred Heart tradition and, that is, that one’s true brilliance in life emanates from your joy.
This idea that the pursuit of education be a joy-filled one was central to St. Madeleine Sophie’s spirituality, the foundress of the Society of the Sacred Heart, and to her educational philosophy. Academically gifted herself, Madeleine Sophie was rigorously trained by her brother Louis, a Jesuit, so she learned the value of discipline in study, but she also understood that love had to be at the center of it. ….
-These remarks were prepared for one of the Parent’s Orientations that occurred during the past week.