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Here's a thought for Aug. 19

August 19, 2011
By the Rev. Paul Wolf , Marshall Independent

Holy Redeemer Church

'Back to school'

As a former teacher, principal and superintendent of a number of Catholic grade, middle, and high schools in the Diocese of New Ulm, it is with great hope that the school year begins and has a good outcome; as well as a question, where did the summer go? Students, their parents, teachers, administration, and support staff all over the country are preparing to return to school. For some students it will be to the school they attended last year. For others it will be a brand new experience in a brand new school or the first year in middle school, high school, or college. I state, it is with great hope, because our future is always surrounded in our experiences of what has been and what will be. May it be the best school year ever!

To this end of making it the best school year ever, we might need to keep a few things in mind (there are others I am sure, here are a few): 1. Be prepared to experience something new. Things will take on new meaning and understanding if we allow them to do so. If we are closed or fearful of new experiences we might miss the opportunity that is given. 2. Be prepared to learn. Learning takes discipline, it is hard work, and it is our job as learners and educators to put in good time and effort to get something out of learning. Discipline might mean: getting to bed on time, eating right, exercising, doing assignments, Discipline might also mean persistence; when we don't understand something we ask the questions and stay with it until we understand. 3. Be prepared to respect and care for one another. In an environment of learning all people have an opinion. The teacher or parent might have a more informed opinion due to previous education or experience, but all opinions are welcomed, accepted, and guided to a deeper understanding and wisdom. A classroom, gym, field of competition, or school which respects and cares for all individuals has a greater opportunity for learning. 4. Be prepared to forgive one another. We all make mistakes. Great wisdom is admitting we have made an error, mistake, or hurt someone, and have learned from it. he opposite is also true. If we fail to learn from our error, mistake, or hurt we are probably going to do it again until we do learn. It may take some longer to learn this than others, for we do not like to admit that we have erred, made a mistake, or hurt someone.

The above are not just school classroom preparations but ongoing life lessons that we need to learn over and over again as lifelong learners. Be prepared toexperience something new, learn, respect and care for one another, and forgive one another. For we are all learners, we have but one teacher, our Lord and Savior. We have but a small glimpse of what is possible. We have so much to learn. May we embark on this new school year with hope for the great opportunities that might be given to those who are prepared and ready to learn.

In conclusion, from the introduction to the Order of Blessings of Students and Teachers, from the Catholic Book of Blessings, chapter 5: "it is appropriate that students and teachers alike acknowledge that all human wisdom and knowledge have God as their source." May we be prepared to experience something new, learn, respect and care for one another, and forgive one another that we may learn the way of our God.



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