Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Little Things

The way in which I view the world has begun to change. I have, after all, begun to swim the Tiber (as Bill Vallicella put it). Little things, things that before I would never have noticed, now make me happy. When with my family I walk into Mass, I see families whole and healthy. There is a father, a mother, and there are children well-behaved and respectful. The sight of this makes me happy. It reminds me that there is much good left in the world, and it gives me hope that, so long as such families exist, there is yet hope for the world.

I attribute this change in vision to the 10 weeks I recently spent in a local high school. I saw there the result of broken families. Children of broken families are poorly motivated, and they are disrespectful. The result comes as no surprise: they do poorly in school. (How do I know that the children of which I speak come from broken homes? They told me. As they came to know and trust me, they began to tell me their stories. I did not pass judgment. I only listened. And remembered. And drew conclusions.)

It looks to me as if there is a deep pathology in today's family. I see it in the children. So many are on medication. So many have little or no interest in their studies. So many take no thought for the future but seem content to live a life of ignorance and poverty. So many have little or no respect for their elders. (Should we blame them? The first and most important authority in their lives - parental - failed them spectacularly.) So many flee to those things that will harm them: drugs, premarital sex, gangs, etc. If I were to see only this, I would despair for the future of society. But I go to Mass, and I see that, with some families, all is well; and I am happy, if only for a moment.

(I do not mean to condemn all that I saw in those 10 weeks. There was much good there, too. The teachers that I came to know are extraordinary. The are like soldiers who run to a breach and againts all odds attempt to hold back the attack. Many students are as students should be: hard workers who do what's asked of them. But the pathology is undeniable.)


C Grace said...

I was once one of those children, but we have a Father in heaven who takes care of the oppressed and the fatherless in very real ways. Now I have children of my own who are happy and (mostly) well behaved :) There is hope because the power of Christ works when His people reach out to touch and to heal what is broken.

Franklin Mason said...

In the public school, I feel very much constrained in the ways that I could reach out to a student. Politics, religion, morality, etc. are verboten subjects. There's much that I wish to tell the students that I simply can't tell them (can't and keep a job, anyway).

C Grace said...

I homeschool my kids and often people have the attitude of "Wow, how can you do that!?" as if it is something extraordinary. Personally, I have always thought teaching in a public school is a much greater sacrifice because you have to try to teach with your hands tied behind your back.

Even if you feel like you cannot do much outwardly you can pray and trust that God can work through your presence and love for the students in ways you may not realize.