It’s Catholic Schools Week! I’m gushing this week about why we love it so and dishing on five questions every parent should be asking the principal, a letter to prospective Catholic school parents, the very best gala class project ideas and there’s even an interview with my own kids in the works. Fun week! Let’s hop to it.Dear Veteran and Prospective Catholic School Parents,
I could yammer on and on about all the benefits of Catholic education – it’s high graduation rates, likelihood of graduates to pursue a religious vocation, the academic rigor or the community-service minded students it produces. And yes, Catholic schools do more for less.
But, I’d like to visit about something greater than that: your role in your child’s faith formation.
I’m the proud mom of six children, five of whom old enough to attend Catholic school. When our eldest (currently an eighth grader) began his first day of kindergarten, he gave us a quick glance over his shoulder and said, “You can go ahead and go, I’ll be fine.” That was right after he was 20 minutes late for his first day of school. Ever. We’re gunning for parents of the year.
And that pretty much sums up our Catholic school experience. With each new milestone, each new thing learned, he’s been fine, despite our shortcomings. More than fine, actually. We’ve been active participants in his education – meeting with teachers, agonizing over drama in the principal’s office, crying in the school parking lot and commiserating with other parents on the latest science fair project. But, it’s been a process of letting him go, while standing in the wings, sometimes to emerge and assist while other times stepping back to watch the show.
What I wish I would’ve known? How awesome it would be to see our son lead the school’s Eucharistic Procession as the lead eighth grader. How quickly my kids would be to offer prayers for a friend because of the habit they formed praying for classmates each day at school. How a community of parents we barely knew would rush to our aid – shuttling kids, bringing meals, offering a shoulder to cry upon – when our son spent 44 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. How a principal would reach out and offer to right a wrong. How a teacher would grab my shoulder and pray with me as we navigated a difficult situation.
You see, Catholic education gets it. All that money you spend? Vacations you don’t take and cars you don’t buy? It’s worth it. Because at the end of the day, I’m seeing generous hearts being formed by teachers and staff who can openly worship God and teach about Him in the classroom. He is the reason they teach. There is no line between my house and the school’s front door.
What a gift, y’all.
I can share smart questions to ask or tips on saving money, but the bottom line? Catholic school is teaching my children virtues that will transcend this life and carry them into the next.
I’d say that’s money well spent.
My kids on the last day of school (no uniforms!) with Sister