The last two weeks of February and the first half of March can find us “in the doldrums” at school. The novelty, last autumn, of being in a new grade level has long worn off. Teachers are presenting more challenging content and are beginning to wonder how they might be able to authentically cover the entire curriculum assigned to their grade level. Students grow weary of schoolwork; April and May and warm sunshine seem far away. We have all been in the same building closely working together for a number of months. We at times are challenged not only by the content of the lessons but by the imperative to love one another. What should we do to be more Christ-like toward one another? How do we teach the children the lessons of love?
Enter our art teacher. She and the children created a “Gallery of Gratitude.” Students chose an adult in the school to thank. These colorful pictures and writings hang on the wall where the children stand in line for hot lunch. While in line, they have time to read good things about people in our school. To see this Gallery of Gratitude is a gift, one that lifts everyone’s spirit and helps to remind us within our school community of the curriculum outcome that is the essence of our Catholic schools.
”Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” — Colossians 3:12-14.
As we move through Lent toward Easter, we seek in an intentional way to better show God’s love for one another, and in doing so, we move from the “doldrums” to joy. As in all schools, reading, writing, and arithmetic reside in our Catholic schools — but the most important lesson we teach every day is God’s love.
Teresa Matetich is principal of St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Grand Rapids