As a non-Catholic, I did not know or understand what it was that my Catholic schoolmates had that made them so grounded and happy in our mission school and junior college. They saw life differently, had a wider vision and were not afraid of challenges. I noticed they were kind and cared for me and others. They seemed to live life in a different dimension, assured of who they were, and at peace with life. It was a mystery to me, but I knew I did not have it, and I wanted to find out more.
So whilst I enjoyed my school years, I was restless and searching for a way to make sense of the purpose of studying or applying myself. Surely, it was for more than getting good grades, a good job and a good life? Yes, all that was attractive, but not enough. What was missing?
Who am I? What is my life for?
In university, I began to pursue looking for meaning in earnest, and decided to learn more about the Catholic faith. I asked a Catholic student whom I knew was serving at lunchtime masses at a nearby parish about where I could find someone to teach me about the faith, and he introduced me to the priest who would connect me with a wonderful nun. Every week, I went to visit her and thus, I received vital and very personal formation in what it meant to be in a right relationship with self, others and connect to the bigger question of “Who am I? What is my life for?”
I was baptised a Catholic as a young adult and to this today, continue to discover that I am a child of God the Father, that I am never alone with Jesus in my boat of life, and that the Holy Spirit within me will always inspire, if I listen.
“Life makes sense and is meaningful now: I see daily life as a gift. Love, serenity, a spirit of service, and trust in God’s marvellous plan for me has replaced fear and inadequacy. My life is for God and others.”
I will never forget that my journey of faith began with encountering Christ through my Catholic friends, the teachers in my Catholic schools, and the Catholic ethos that permeated those schools. Now decades later, most of my classmates have become converts – how amazing! These days, connected through social media, we continue to pray for each other and the world.
An Intentional Choice
And as parents today, many of us have chosen to put our children in Catholic schools. From personal experience, we know that only a sound relationship with God will set them free from fear – of the future, of not being enough, of life itself – and help them be truly happy.
Today, I teach in a Catholic Primary school and I am reminded daily that all children, no matter what their family’s faith tradition, try to be good, and yearn to be seen, accepted and loved. They love their parents and friends, and are looking for so much more than academic and CCA excellence.
Yet, most schools are conscious of educating children only from a physical, intellectual, emotional, psychological and social dimension. What is missing is the spiritual dimension which unites and animates all the other dimensions. Very few schools truly offer such a holistic education, but Catholic schools do.
God as the Good Teacher
I believe a Catholic school recognises the spiritual capacities of everyone in school, staff and children alike, especially with its culture of prayer. When we pray in school, we teach children the joy of thanksgiving for blessings we receive, the humility of asking for what we need, the exercise of mercy and compassion in forgiving others, and the stillness of silently contemplating that we live in the holy presence of God. Even at school, we can “come home” to ourselves in this sacred space, and experience the deep love of our heavenly Father.
What is your deepest desire and hope for your child?
Is it happiness, flourishing relationships and a meaningful, successful life? If it is, give your child the gift of a Catholic education. Give your children a chance to experience a holistic education where their gifts can be called forth, and a safe space where they can learn to love themselves, their friends and their family more. Lead them to the place where they can encounter the One best friend they will ever have, who loves them more than anyone, including you as a parent. Lead them to Jesus.