Sunday, November 17, 2013

Are You a Steward or the LandLord of your School?

The Small Room by Ken Willers 

A family once rented a room and complained that it was too small.
The people who owned the house thought, 'How dare this family complain about their small room.' So the people asked the family to leave.
The room is now empty--but it is still too small.
Reflection of “The Small Room”
God has entrusted those of us involved in Catholic education with the most precious gift of his love, the families and the children we are called to serve. As Catholic educators we must provide for these children an environment and atmosphere that will enable them to mature and grow in faith and humanity. We must never be satisfied with the size of our “room,” but always seek to broaden the limitations, challenge the status quo, and promote what is best for the children God sends to us. 
Parents are the primary advocates for their child(ren)’s needs and as such parents must always feel free to speak out on their behalf.
As an elementary school principal, I have said to my parents:
“May you always feel free to say what needs to be said. May your words always be spoken in the spirit of what is in the best interest of the whole community. And may we listen to each other so solutions and not the problems become our focal point.”
As Catholic Educators and Administrators we invite parents to take some time to reflect on their family and the ways in which God has blessed them through their children. We must remind our parents that their children are the closest reminders of God’s presence among them and a definite symbol of God’s love they will ever experience. We must inspire them to see their vocation as parents as a ministry so they can view their children as an awesome gift and their parenting as a sacred responsibility!   
As the administrator I must see myself not as the “owner of the room” but as one who must share a room with many families who want only the best for their children.  
When principals, pastors, and “administrators” see themselves as “owning” the room, their perception of ownership makes them focus on the room as being all important. They believe they must protect the room and its contents, as though the room is complete, and that those who inhabit the room must conform to it’s existing structure.
I’ve come to the realization that only by sharing the “’room” with my families can I ever hope to hear their joys and their concerns. Only by sharing the same space with them will I ever understand the shortcomings our current dwelling place (school) possesses. Only together, with parents as my primary educators and collaborators for change, will I find the means to expand our room. As our ‘Small Room” expands so to does our Mission of Catholic Education.
Reflection Questions:
Is your current “Room” too small?
How do you hear criticism?
In what tangible ways does your school live the principle that “Parents are the primary educators?”