Tuesday, August 30, 2011


In the fall of 2010, Subaru launched a clever ad campaign tauting the 2011 "Mediocrity". The Mission Statement of this understated way of getting people's attention includes:

"Each and every day, we strive for predictability, unoriginality and no frills utilitarianism for all of your transportation needs. The 2011 Mediocrity will get you from A to B without anybody ever noticing, and that's a good thing" (for more, click here: Mediocrity).

One of their non-commercials states, "Instead of breaking the mold, we went down and found those pieces from that mold, and we put it back together."

Of course, Subaru is playing with us. No one would actually want a car like that- so we are intrigued enough to go in search of one of their models. Average? Ordinary? Middle of the road? Commonplace? Good enough?

How many of us woke up this morning and thought, "I want to be an average _____________ today. I don't really want to make a difference or be noticed"? Fill in the blank with husband, son, principal, father, student, brother, mother, janitor, banker, chef, whatever. No one would actually hope to be mediocre.

Similarly, there isn't a student sitting in their seats this school year thinking, "I hope that in June I have all C's!" Hopefully, there isn't also a teacher standing in the front of a classroom musing, "If I can just reach the students in the middle this year, that would be a success!" The dawn of a new year yields an optimism and positivity that this year will be different. The promise of a new teacher, perhaps a new schedule, even a new school, or a new roster of students (or at the very least a new set of school supplies!) also gives us a new confidence that this will be the year that we do all of our homework or study for multiple nights before a test/quiz, complete our lesson plans before they are due to be checked, make the tough phone calls, and the positive ones, too.

This may last until around September or even through the first round of tests or possibly the end of the first quarter. And as the monotony of the daily grind replaces the life-giving hope of the first few days and weeks, we start to give in to this spirit of mediocrity. We start to settle for good enough. We start to believe that a C is about the best I'll get anyways. We buy into the trap that some students are lazy or too far behind for me to help. We become afraid.

This fear keeps us a long way from reaching our heavenly call. St. Paul tells Timothy, "God did not give you a spirit of fear, but one of POWER, LOVE and SELF-CONTROL" (2 Timothy 1:7). Even the Psalmist writes, "I praise you because I am WONDERFULLY made" (Psalm 139:14). Jesus Himself tells us, "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). A far cry from average, ordinary or even mediocre.

We were made in God's image and likeness and if we are to believe our God is all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing, than we, too, must tap into this royalty. We were made for so much more than middle of the road. We were made for heaven.

So, this year, instead of just being good enough, why not be heroic? If anything stirs inside of you as you read this, it is the Spirit tugging at your heart the same why He did when you were young (or younger). It is God awakening your passion for Him within your heart. If your breath is getting faster, or heart beating more quickly or if you find yourself becoming energized (which is rather presumptuous of me!), go with it. Be the parent you once were and always wanted to be. Be the teacher you set out to be when you first stood in front of a group of students. Be the student who takes ownership of his/her learning and make this the year that puts you back on the path to becoming who God created you to be.







It's a Mold that can't be broken.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


One of my favorite bands of all-time is (or was, as I don't think they're still together) Hootie and the Blowfish. Hootie's was the first rock concert I ever attended. I have all of their albums. I even have Darius Rucker's solo rhythm and blues attempt, which was solo in another way, too- it was his only one.

But, to remain relevant, Darius Rucker evolved. Taking a risk, Darius launched a country music career in 2008. For those of you who don't know, Darius Rucker is African-American. Furthermore, very few African-Americans have vertured into the world of country music; even fewer have found success there. Prior to Darius reaching #1 on the country charts in September of 2008, the last African-American to accomplish this feat was Charley Pride in 1983, 25 years before. Growing up in South Carolina, Darius was no stranger to country music. A singer with a soulful voice, his evolution into country music was not as far of a leap as some may think. But, it was definitely a leap, and one that enabled Darius Rucker to remain "bearing upon or connected with the matter in hand" (from Dictionary.com). Hootie and the Blowfish is no longer relevant. Darius Rucker is.

As Catholic Educators, are we connected with the matter in hand? Do we have direct bearing upon what is pertinent, important, timely? Have we appropriately evolved? Or, do we still teach, solely, from behind a podium? Do we punish entire classes for the misdeeds of a small few? Are we autocratic or authoritative? Are we educating students for success in our world or theirs? Is our educational approach relevant?

As Catholic Educators, the beauty of the message of the Gospel is that it is timeless. It is always relevant, always pertinent. Our Catholic Church is a wonderful example of staying relevant while still maintaining a rich tradition. Its roots continue to get deeper so that its branches can continue to grow taller. The Vatican has a YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/vatican. The Pope even has a Twitter account, "tweeting" on February 8: "I invite Christians, with an informed & responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible" (from http://twitter.com/#!/PopeBenedictXIV). On November 27, the American Church will put to use the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, harkening to a more direct translation between the prayers used during the Celebration of the Eucharist and the Scripture upon which they are based. The Catholic Church is staying relevant while maintaining its firm foundation. 

As Catholic Schools we must use our creativity to stay relevant. We must enlist the help of our parents, corporations and businesses. We must find ways to use state and federal money to our advantage. We must capitalize on scholarship money and grants. We must seek out the most up to date research on planning, instruction and assessment and weave it into our style of teaching. We must market. We must plan. We must teach in such a way that the Catholic Church remains relevant for another 2,000 years. We must be better than the educational offerings at public, private or even other denominational schools. We must evangelize. 

Every aspect of our schools must show the relevance between the subject matters we teach and the only Subject that really matters- Jesus.

Every aspect including our blogs...