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  • Devin O'Donnell

Come on, people!

The school year usually begins with a bit of a shotgun blast. We rub our eyes from the summer slumber and drag ourselves to the starting blocks. Someone fires the pistol, and we're off—parents, students, and teachers running and getting back into intellectual and organizational shape. The race begins in spite of our readiness, and all join together in a nine-month marathon of school.  

This year has proven no different, of course, and we are now at the point where this week officially marks the end of our first quarter of school. In light of this, I would like to offer an encouraging word to both teachers and parents. 


Edmund Burke once said that a healthy society is an agreement, some might call a contract, between the members of that society past, present, and future. Not unlike the success of a free society, the success of our school’s society functions in the same way. It is an instruction in virtue and wisdom, under the authority of parents, through the proxied aegis of the teachers and the tradition of the liberal arts, to the glory of God. Lately in Assembly talks, we have been learning about the virtue of "pietas," which was the sine qua non of Christian civilization. Pietas (where we get our word "piety") is the duty, love, and respect owed to God, parents, and communal authorities past and present. 


I think piety ought to be an expected outcome in our student culture, and this is why our partnership is so important. This is why the partnership between parents and teachers is the foundation. A healthy student who is in possession of wisdom and eloquence and who demonstrates habits of intellectual discipline will not be marked by patterns of laziness and complaint. Teachers who are faithfully discipling students through the curriculum of a given subject will not be marked by patterns of frustration or by unclear communication. Parents who are faithful in bringing up their children in the instruction and admonition of the Lord will not be marked by patterns of abdication, indulging their child’s demands, or of undermining the authority of others placed in their life. The problem, however, is that we are fallen people living in a fallen world. Sometimes students are lazy and complain; sometimes teachers get frustrated and are not always clear in their demands; sometimes parents abdicate and overindulge their kids. How then shall we do school? 


We keep the vision of the school by strengthening the partnership we have with families and the school. The most obvious yet often underrated way to do this is simply to communicate honestly with each other in the right way.  If you are a teacher and you notice an issue with a student, go to the parent; don’t be silent and expect things in the student to change. If you are a parent with questions or concerns, go to the teacher first, not someone else who can’t actually do anything about it. If parents and teachers can do this, then students will see a continuity from the classroom to the home. At many other schools today what is taught through the daily life in the home and what is taught in a classroom are often very different things. The continuity between the two is broken. But this is what makes St. Abraham’s unique and beautiful. We simply seek to establish an education that honors God and the family. The school exists “in loco parentis,” which is a Latin phrase that exemplifies the partnership between parents and teachers for the good of the student.  


Here's the agenda for today

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