Finn and Molly are thriving at the Catholic school they’re attending for their middle school years. I am so grateful for the education and care they receive from all the teachers, administrators, and clergy there. Being members of a small school helps immensely in the familiarity they have quickly been able to gain with everyone else there. It also means they are noticed as individuals and that they play important roles in addition to that of student. They are valuable team players in sports, and they frequently participate in charitable works (such as visiting with residents at local nursing homes, packing meals and other supplies for the needy, raising money for the tuition of another student in Tanzania to be able to attend school). They participate in school “families” in order to connect with other kids both younger and older, as well as particular faculty and staff members. They still recite the Pledge of Allegiance and raise and lower the American flag daily.
Although I had been nervous about putting the kids in a pretty homogeneous environment and under heavy religious influence, I admit that it feels pretty comfortable. We know that most of the other students’ families have very similar (high) expectations of their children academically, socially, and morally. I still marvel at and appreciate the fact that whenever I approach the school when kids are also either entering or leaving, almost all of them step quickly aside, make eye contact, say hello, and/or hold the door for me. It’s just what we teach Molly and Finn to do — just be polite — and something I didn’t see at the public middle school the year Molly went there at all, not even from the staff.
I’m thankful that when Molly and Finn are at their present school, I can trust that they’re accounted for, safe, settled in a calm environment with people all around them who show they care for them in many ways every day. When the kids are absent due to illness or injury, their school family prays for them. It makes a difference for all of us.