Saturday, January 25, 2014

Stand Out-Together-Strong (Inspired by my 8th Grade Students)

Catholic School Sunday

Reflections by Ken Willers, Principal
Jesus called out to them, saying: “Come with me!”
There must have been something unique,
something that stood out about these individuals
for Jesus to be compelled to ask them to follow him.
Stand as One in the radiant light….Paul writes,
there must have been divisions in this Church community and Paul was asking them to stand together.
Lord, you have made your people stronger,….Isaiah proclaims,
as he gives testimony to the people about God’s favor upon them.
Jesus called out to them, saying: “Come with me!”
         Stand Out
Stand as One in the radiant light.
Stand Together
Lord, you have made your people stronger
Stand Strong

Wow—Stand Out-Together-Strong…
Without knowing it,
last spring,
our current 8th grade chose a theme
that wonderfully reflects the readings we hear today for Catholic School Sunday.
Thank you class of 2014
for this wonderful gift to the  community.
Jesus called out to them, saying: “Come with me!”
How do we reflect on our call
on this Catholic School Sunday?
What was or will be the net that captures us?
You know boys and girls –
when I was in 8th grade I knew God as calling me
God was calling me to follow St. John Bosco—
to be someone who would work and minister to and with the young.
Look at me now at 52—
soon to be 53 on St. John’s Bosco’s feast day…
I’m still –trying my best—to live that call.
What about you boys and girls.
What is God calling you to BE? Not DO…
What life is God calling you to embrace?
What problem is God calling you—preparing you to solve.
What cause will need your gifts—talents and passion?
How will you Stand Out to answer this call?

How do we reflect on our call on this Catholic School Sunday?
For many of you it was your call to marriage.
Your vocation to see and experience God’s love,
Christ’s love
in and through your spouse.
Your call to be parents—your vocation to create and share that bond of love with your child—your family…
How do we reflect on our call on this Catholic School Sunday?
For some of us
it is our vocations…our call to Catholic education.
Simply put—to be teachers.
Our call to respond to the needs of the young
by inspiring their hearts, their minds and their dreams.
Staff here today—are grace-filled men and women who have answered that call. (lets give them all a hand).
How do we reflect on our call on this Catholic School Sunday?
For all of us…
         It is by demonstrating our commitment as a parish to the Mission of the Church.
And the Church’s Mission of Catholic education.
We do that today…
By supporting and showcasing
the educational bond that exists between
call of the parent and the vocation of the teacher –
It is this partnership
That the US Church is celebrating today—
because it was this partnership
that over 200 years ago
founded the first Catholic Schools in America.
Stand as One in the radiant light.
Boys and girls—parents---teachers---parishioners—
St. Paul makes it very clear that our families,
our school, our parish and our Church
must be united
if want to live our Mission of Catholic education to the fullest.
Jesus is the best teacher—Jesus shows all of us—
How to be Good to One Another…
and Jesus challenges all of us,
To Pass it On! 
What better way to live our Mission.
Lord, you have made your people stronger
A Catholic School like the Madeleine thrives
because we have all answered our call to Stand Out
To Stand out with our gifts and talents.
A Catholic School like the Madeleine thrives
because we choose to Stand Together
To Stand Together and offer our gifts and talents
to the entire community.
A Catholic School like the Madeleine thrives
because we Stand Strong
We Stand Strong
trusting in the Mission of Catholic education
and believing in the presence of the Holy Spirit
alive in our School and in our Ministry.

Jesus called out to them, saying: “Come with me!”
         Stand Out
Stand as One in the radiant light.
Stand Together
Lord, you have made your people stronger
Stand Strong
Stand Out-Together-Strong…
Thank you class of 2014
for this wonderful gift to the  community.

For this wonderful gift on this Catholic School Sunday.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Where are You at the Intersection of Opportunity & Action?

I Could Do That!
 by Ken Willers

       Once Upon A Time, a man, who believed himself to be both a lover of art and an artist, went to an art exhibition to view a series of new paintings. As he stood in silence before the numerous works of art he marveled at their beauty and envied the talented artists who created them. On his way out of the museum he noticed a large painting in the center of the gallery consisting of only blue and yellow stripes.

            He gazed at it and with disgust and said, "What kind of art is this? I could have done that."

            The artist of the painting, overhearing the man's comment, leaned toward him and said, "That may be true, my would-be artist, but you didn't. And, that is why my painting is hanging here and yours is not."

Reflection by Ken Willers
Leadership is not merely having the 'thought' or the 'idea' of something that 'could' be accomplished--Leadership requires the 'will' to actually 'accomplish it' and make it reality.

This type of willful leadership takes place at the 'Intersection of Opportunity & Action.'  The cross-over at this Intersection takes one to a place that owes its very existence to the leader's will to act and to make something from the opportunity presenting itself at the moment .

Regrettably, this Intersection is not heavy with traffic. One may spot passers-by from time to time or see those who are lost and arrived at the intersection by accident.

When the willful leaders arrive their pause at this Intersection is brief. They move swiftly and act with intention. They seize the opportunity before them, cross-over to their new domain and continue with the genesis that stems from their willful leadership.

Those who lead with 'coulds' stand on the corner where the light never turns green.

Those who 'act' lead by never standing on the corner.  

Where are you at the Intersection of Opportunity and Action?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Victim of the Past or Creator of the Future-Which are You?

The Wounded Child
 by Ken Willers

       The Wounded Child sinks with tears behind the other forgotten refuse outside. His eyes are heavy and his heart is empty --all he feels is fear--so he must hide. If he speaks, if he stands, will he be heard or seen? Out of fear of rejection he stays slouched down but he is grounded with the earth.

            At the fence of the soul stands a man--content with his success as he looks over his shoulder at the glory he has made for himself. Yet, he stands at the fence looking into the darkness that he knows possesses something he needs to hold. He calls out--no response. Voices from within the house call him back to his world, but he struggles he refuses to go back into the house just yet. He must find what he is lacking. He  stands and ponders the darkness--he quiets the noises within him and he begins to hear a whine--a sigh. Soft, yet, distinct--there's something out there in the darkness. He calls out again--the sound of silence returns.

            He wanders back into the house--the wounded Child slouches closer to the ground and is almost absorbed by the grass. They both sleep--content in their own worlds and yet afraid and curious of the other they don't know how to enter or attain.

            In the morning the man brings a saw, a hinge and a latch. He dismantle part of the fence and makes a gate. The gate he builds swings in two directions and can be locked in position only if latched. He leaves the latch open. Standing by the gate he peers again into the darkness--he wonders what calls to him to go--he wants to calls out--but he thinks his volume may frighten away what's out there. He opens the gate and walks out.

            He immediately encounters weeds, high grass, there is mud and muck--'how can anything live out here' he thinks. Slowly and carefully he treads--he hears the whine and the sign again and the farther he goes the thicker the weeds, the grass, the mud and the muck. He stumbles upon a disregarded memory and when he looks down to pick it up he begins to see an array of children's toys tossed about, ruined and beaten by weather and neglect.

            As he picks up a stuffed bear he notices the mouth has been ripped off and its fur has been frayed. The longer he gazes at it the easier he recognizes it as his own. The Child is watching from a distance. This bear was taken away from him because he was told he was too old to pay with such toys. He was hurt and confused and he couldn't speak--no one ever knew how much that Bear meant to him, then, The man started to cry as he recalled the painful memory.

            Off to the left, turned on its side, was his bike. Once green, now faded rusty yellow. The pedals were missing and the tires flat. He remembered how he and his friends would ride around for hours feeling so free. When the bike broke he asked that it be fixed--it never was. Would he ever feel free like that again--he thought.

            He started to pick up clothing and records that he used to have, that one day he found missing from his room and nothing was ever said. And yet, he realized he lost track of all these things as he grew older because what other people wanted him to be was more important. But now, the longer he stood and looked around the more he noticed the more he remembered things from his childhood that had been disregarded and forgotten: a card he once made, a box filled with old pictures and gifts lying out by the trash.

            The man went around with the box and collected all the items he could find. He held them to his heart and felt stronger at least that his memory was coming back. After he collected all the disregarded pieces of his childhood he went back through the gate and into his house and closed the door. He had not seen the Child in the darkness. He went through each item one at a time--he saw their broken pieces, their dirty parts, their ripped edges and yet, he remembered and could still see their beauty through their ugliness.

            When he finished he stood at the window and looked out over the fence. The Child could see him in the distance through the darkness. The man then said to the darkness--"Tomorrow I will search again. . ."

Reflection by Ken Willers
We are not victims of our past we are creators of our future. We must hold our experience as sacred and in doing so we become compassionate leaders, educators and 'healers' to those who lives we touch.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2015: Who Will Make Your Destiny Happen?


by unknown

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! If you must—but never quit.

Life is strange, with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won if he'd stuck it out;
Stick to your task, though the pace seems slow--
You may succeed with one more blow.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of clouds of doubt--
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit--
It's when things seem worst that YOU MUSTN'T QUIT.

Reflection by Ken Willers 
The virtue of perseverance is truly a virtue all of us must embrace. To persevere means to continue on in the midst of struggle and adversity. Perseverance is an essential quality of character for leadership. Much good that might have been achieved in the world is lost through hesitation, faltering, wavering, vacillating, or just not sticking with it.

If you give up now...who will make your 'destiny' happen.