To See With New Eyes And In A New Light

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 13 December 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Today in Sweden, girls all over the country will dress in white dresses and wear wreaths of candles on their head (yes, that’s right, some little girls use electric candles, but older girls will wear wreaths of real candles on their heads!).  They will visit friends, family, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and pass out traditional Swedish Christmas foods and spread holiday cheer. This tradition is not as well known in the United States, but as a little girl growing up with a Swedish mother, I remember that we always had a special dessert at our house on December 13.

Why?  Well, December 13 in the feast day of Saint Lucy, a Roman girl who lived around the year 300 A.D.  In a time, not unlike today, when it was difficult and unpopular to live according to your faith, she pledged her life fully to Christianity, refusing to be married and asking her parents to donate her dowry (the money that a bride’s family used to be required to give to her new husband’s family when they were married) to the poor.

There are many stories about St. Lucy, two of which are important for us today.  The first is that St. Lucy would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who were living in the catacombs, a huge maze of tunnels and caves underneath the city, because they could not worship God openly.  To light her way, legend has it that St. Lucy wore a wreath of candles on her head as she made her visits. In her charity, she literally brought light to the darkness of these people’s lives. This is, of course, the origin of the present day tradition in Sweden, one of the high points of their entire Christmas season.

The second legend is that St. Lucy had particularly beautiful eyes, and that when she was eventually martyred for her faith, her eyes were ripped out as part of her torture, but restored by God just before her death.  For this reason, St. Lucy is the patron saint of both light and eyesight, especially blindness and other eye problems.

We can follow St. Lucy’s example, then, by being a light to others, especially in the dark times of their lives.  But since she is also patroness of those with problems with eyesight, I also want to suggest that we all have problems with eyesight that we can try to correct today.

What do I mean?  My son has a picture book called Look Again, Thomas! which someone surely got for him because his name is in the title.  The story is about two little boys named Angelo and Thomas. Thomas has never spoken to Angelo, even though they are next door neighbors, until, one day, Angelo invites Thomas to go on an adventure.  Angelo takes Thomas to see all sorts of seemingly ordinary places, but then urges him, “Look again, Thomas!” Upon looking again, Thomas always discovers wonderful and fascinating details of the world around him (like the colorful fish swimming below the surface of a pond, the chameleon hiding in plain sight among the leaves in a forest, or the patterns on the snowflakes falling right in front of his nose) that he missed by not looking carefully enough.  By the end of the book, Thomas also realizes that he has been missing out on a great friendship with his next door neighbor Angelo because he never looked closely enough at the person right in front of him. I don’t know about you, but I know this is something I do all the time.

Let us pray,

Dear Lord, drawing from the example of St. Lucy, let us strive to see the things and people around us with new eyes.  Let us notice when other people are experiencing times of darkness and be a light for them today.

St. John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts – Forever.

Lia Wahl–Teacher of Mathematics

God Will Surprise You Sometimes

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday, 12 December 2018)

M: Recordamos que estamos en la presencia sagrada de Dios.

D: Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

D: God will surprise you sometimes. Throughout the course of history, He often chooses the lowly and outcast to deliver his message of love to the powerful. 487 years ago outside of Mexico City, the Virgin Mary appeared to a Native American Aztec youth named Juan Diego on Dec. 12th.

M: Even though Juan Diego spoke Nuahtl, the language of the conquered Aztec Indians, la Vírgen María spoke to him in su propia lengua– in his own language. This was not the Mary you’re used to seeing portrayed in European Renaissance art-with blond hair and dressed in blue.

D: No. This was La Morenita, a dark-skinned appearance of Mary with whom Juan Diego could identify, because she spoke his language and she looked like him.

M: La Morenita commanded Juan Diego to go to the Mexican Bishop Juan Zumárraga, and have him build a church on Tepeyac hill in Our Lady’s honor.

D: The bishop refused, demanding proof from this native American that he really did see and talk to la Vírgen María.

M: La Vírgen appeared again to Juan Diego and said, “¡Vén aquí, Diegito! Míra las rosas. ¡Llévalos al obispo como prueba de mi aparición!

D: “My dear Diego-come here and take these roses to the bishop as proof of my appearance to you.” He thought that this miracle- blooming roses in the December cold- would be the proof he needed to convince the doubting bishop.

M: Juan cut the roses and carefully wrapped them in his tilma, his native cloak, and took them to the bishop.

D: When Juan unfolded his tilma before the bishop, the flowers had disappeared and had transformed themselves into the same image of the Virgin Mary that he had seen earlier. La morenita, was now imbedded into the threads of his cloak.

M: This 483-year old cloak can still be seen today in la basilica de nuestra señora de Guadalupe en la ciudad de México.  Today thousands of Americans from the Western Hemisphere will come to this same spot to offer up their prayers and petitions to God and Mary.

D: La Virgen de Guadalupe unites us spiritually throughout the Americas, as the patroness of both North and South America.

M: Our Lady of Guadalupe has been adopted as a patroness of the Pro-Life movement and of Latino migrant workers who labor in the fields of California, Arizona and Texas. Saint Juan Diego is a model of persistence. Sometimes we have to work hard to share God’s message with the close-minded.

D: Throughout the course of Christianity, whether at Fatima, Lourdes, LaSalette, or Tepeyac hill, Mary has spoken to us as God’s messenger, to help all peoples in whatever situation they find themselves; with whatever needs they have.

M: Roguemos:

D: Let us pray:

Loving God, you first sent Mary, Mother of God to bring your own Son, Jesus, into the world 2,000 years ago. You have sent the Mother of Jesus to us throughout salvation history to comfort us in our sorrows and to help us turn our hearts to Jesus.

M: Por favor Dios, open our eyes here at LaSalle Academy, so that we may see how you reveal yourself to us today. Help us to see you, Señor, in those we meet today.

D: Help us to see you in the scriptures we read today and in the religious teachings we will ponder. Querido Señor, dear Lord, as we notice more and more your loving presence here at LaSalle, may we be transformed during this Advent season, to be Christ’s light for others.

M: ¡San Juan Diego, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe y San Juan Bautista de Lasalle,

D: ¡Ruéguen por nosotros!

M: Juan Diego, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. John Baptist de LaSalle,

D: pray for us!

M: ¡Víva Jesús en nuestros corazones!

D: ¡Para siempre!

M: Live Jesus in our hearts!

D: Forever!

(M) Mercedes DiMascio (Chairperson–World Languages Department) and (D) David Martinez (Religion Department)

Presents OR Presence

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday, 7 December 2018)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

I am not a terribly good shopper.  I am one of those people who know what they want to buy and buy it.  I am not particularly fond of standing in long lines or of going through items that are misplaced because so many shoppers before me have been searching through the counters for sales, sizes, favorite colors, etc.  So Christmas shopping is not one of my favorite activities.

Recently, I was appalled when, the day after Halloween in a local CVS, there were not only Thanksgiving items but the start of the Christmas displays.  Every newspaper has extra sections with the latest in bargains, and television and radio commercials lure us in by playing some well known Christmas song.  The commercialism of Christmas really turns me off.  Getting up early on “Black Friday” after Thanksgiving, or surfing the web on Cyber-Monday for bargains are not high on my “to-do” list.

I ask myself if I have become an old Scrooge who mumbles “humbug” under my breath, but I know that Christmas and the season of Advent that precedes it are among my most special times of the year.  For me, this is really a season of gift-giving—and I love giving gifts (and, if I am honest, I love receiving gifts).

So where does that leave me?  The stores are crowded with shoppers and the displays seduce us into buying and more buying.  I say to myself: “There is nothing wrong with giving, as God’s grace is His gift to us each day.”  What is wrong is thinking that things given once a year are a substitute for loving, and caring, and being present the rest of the year.  I ask myself and I ask you to ask yourselves as well: “Is there someone on your Christmas gift list whom you only remember with a yearly present?  Is the gift-giving simply a matter of habit—I always get so and so a gift card since that’s easy to do.  Or is it a matter of making us feel less guilty—I never get to see my elderly grandmother or aunt or I avoid going to see this relative or this other relative—so let me buy them a gift and I won’t feel so bad.  Or is it a matter of social custom—my friend whom I cannot stand gives me a gift so I have to give a gift in return.”  Is the Christmas gift a substitute for love and care the rest of the year?  It is so much more difficult, yet so much more honest and sincere to give the gift of oneself regardless of the season—to spend time on the phone or in person with an elderly relative, to perform those small but meaningful random acts of kindness at home, with parents, with brothers and sisters, with friends here at school, to remember loved ones, both old and new, with notes and calls and cheerful presence (that is P-R-E-S-E-N-C-E).

I tend to think that Christmas might be a much more authentic time if our gifts were not measured by cost in money or by uniqueness or by usefulness, but rather by the cost in personal sacrifice and giving of self and real care for another all the year long.  So, I guess it is OK to stand in long lines in the stores (if that’s your thing!) and I guess it is OK to shop for sales and follow the trail of advertisements—as long as the gift given is really a sign of the gift of love and care given all year long.  Gadgets will wear out and we’ll outgrow clothes or the styles will change, but none of us ever tires of receiving love and care.  This Christmas let’s give of ourselves, as you have been doing so generously with the high school adopt-a-family program, the Middle School’s Kids, Cops and Christmas Fill a Cruiser, your volunteering for the McAuley Village Christmas Party and the other ways so many of you are sacrificing time and treasure for those with less.  BUT, also remember that all these others we are helping now need our help and care all year long.  A token gift now to make us feel good about ourselves is just NOT enough!

And so we pray:  Generous God, you loved us so much that you gave us the gift of yourself, your Son.  And You love us so much today that you grace us freely with all the good gifts we experience in life—health, a home, heat in the cold, safety and security, and so many other things.  Help us to be generous with our love, knowing that love given away returns to us a hundredfold.  We ask this in the name of your son and our brother Jesus whose gift to us was his very life.  Amen.

St. John Baptist de La Salle…pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts…forever.

Brother Frederick Mueller, FSC

How Will We Prepare for Christmas?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Tuesday, 4 December 2018)

Let us pause and remember, that we are in the Holy Presence of God.

I love Christmas! It’s not just the beautiful Christmas and Advent music, or the food and family times, or even the animated Christmas specials (although the Charlie Brown one is my favorite).  It’s the chance to celebrate that God fulfilled His promise to send His Son to save us—and not wrapped up in jewels, although He is our King, but as a precious, but poor helpless baby. What a gift and what a lesson!

And this year will be even more special because we are also celebrating the 300th year of our founder, St. La Salle, who still guides us today through his words.  As Mrs. Da Silva said last week, we see De La Salle’s spirit alive in our school especially in the outpouring of generosity toward the poor. Sure, there are a few who are more like the Grinch or Scrooge, but I’m sure as in the Christmas stories, they too, in time, will find compassion in their hearts. In the words of our Founder, “God inspires us to walk in the footsteps of his Son.” (Med. 3.3)

And maybe we see some who are like Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally, who is so caught up in the material part of the season that she wants Santa to bring her tens and twenties, but again from De La Salle, “Example makes a much greater impression than words.” (MTR 10.3 [Med. 202.3]) so how we live and act can help others to “Walk along God’s path.” (Med. 75.3)

When we think of the Nativity story of Mary and Joseph having to travel along rocky roads and Mary in discomfort with her pregnancy, only to find the door slammed in their faces because there’s no room, it is just like any of us when there are difficult times and our faith wanes. But our Founder said, “Throw yourself into God’s arms. He will carry you when the road is rough.” (Letter-Palm Sunday) We need only to have faith as Joseph and Mary had and accept Christ in our lives. I heard recently a quote by Neal Maxwell,  “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!” And again, from De La Salle, “How long has Jesus been knocking at the door of your heart, waiting to enter?” (Med. 85.1 – Vigil of the Nativity)

We need, then to decide how we will prepare for Christmas in our thoughts and actions, for “we are people whom God has called to live according to the perfection of the Gospel.” (Med. 5.3).

Let us pray. Lord God, may we find the true spirit of Christmas in all of our thoughts, words, and actions. May we be among the faithful who come “joyful and triumphant” and be “visible angels” among all we meet.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live, Jesus, in our hearts, forever!

Leslie Martinelli–Science Teacher

The Miracles of Hanukkah

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Monday morning, 3 December 2018)

Good Morning, La Salle and De La Salle.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of G-d.

For those of you who do not know, Advent started yesterday,,, and so did Hanukkah. Where I come from, in my home, one of those is much more exciting than the other.

Happy Hanukkah everybody, and let me just tell you,

I

am

thrilled.

Hanukkah is at the perfect time this year, not too close to Thanksgiving, and not overlapping with Christmas—a perfect break during the painful 4 weeks of school between the Fall break and the Winter one.

To me, Hanukkah means a couple of things. One, a time for food and family and presents and lighting the candles, and then more food and family and presents and candles the next night, and the next night, and the night after that, and the night after that.  Really just a great time! A Rabbi would tell you that it’s a celebration of Jewish victory over one of our countless oppressors throughout history, that it’s about celebrating the small stuff, the gifts from G-d, and the happy little and sometimes rather big miracles, wherever we can find them. See, the story of Hanukkah basically goes like this: roughly 2,000 years ago Israel was occupied by the Greek-Assyrian Empire. The King at this time was brutal and cruel to the Jewish people. Long story short, a very big family known as the Maccabees rose up against their oppressive leaders when they tried to burn down the temple as a means to convert the Jews in Israel.

When they finally overthrew the king and made it to the Temple, the menorah (a fancy 9  branch candelabra that can be found in every synagogue) had been stolen. The Maccabees quickly made a new one, though it was much less fancy and lit the first candle. They soon found they had almost no oil, only enough to keep the candle lit for one day. One of the several miracles in this tale is that the menorah stayed lit for 8 days, exactly how long it takes for new oil to be pressed. No matter how you hear the story of Hanukkah, if you listen close enough, you’ll find a miracle. And that is why Jews worldwide, tonight and for the next six nights will be eating, spending time with family, exchanging gifts, and lighting candles.

Let us pray:

Mr. DeMaria and I will now lead us in the Hanukkah prayers that light our way this holiday season:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

St. John Baptist de La Salle: Pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts: Forever.

Jennifer Isaacs (Class of 2020) and Gregg DeMaria (Architecture Teacher and Academic Resource Center)

To Be Lasallian

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 30 November 2018)

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of a loving God…

You may not notice this on a daily basis as you go about your busy schedule at the Academy, but, here at La Salle, every single day, we are in the holy presence of a loving God. Yes, I know that the tradition is to begin every prayer here with this statement, but we may not always see or feel this with our eyes and hearts wide open. So, please allow me to illuminate that God is truly present in this building every moment of every day.

When the Social Concerns Club shared the Adopt-a-Family lists with our Lasallian community, the response was amazing. Homerooms have been busily collecting donations and shopping for the items on the wish lists. There has been a tremendous response to the call for help on the part of our wonderful students. After distributing these wish lists to all the homerooms and groups of faculty and staff in the building, there were still two families left to adopt. I sent out an email to the Lasallian community to ask for more help from those willing to give of their own money, time, and effort. Within minutes, my G mail inbox was full of responses! I could not help but feel a deep sense of pride and gratitude that I belong to such an amazing community. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

When I walk into the building each morning, people offer to hold open doors for me, warmly greet meet me asking how I am and asking about my daughters. I receive high fives and hugs from colleagues whom I consider more like family than coworkers. I see the same happen with the students in the hallways as I walk up to my classroom. You engage in meaningful conversations, show each other respect and affection, and come together in times of both struggle and joy. A big win for a sports team is normally followed by a morning of congratulations and pats on the back. When I find a student in tears, it is common to find him or her surrounded by loving friends willing to help make the day brighter. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

When we pray together as a community, whether in class or at a school Mass, the silence is reverent and humble. We find so many ways to pray together, regardless of different religious backgrounds or beliefs. In class conversations, we share traditions and beliefs from our diverse backgrounds and I often find so many students listening intently and wanting to learn more about their peers. You ask questions to understand those around you in a deeper way. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

I could name hundreds of ways that God is present every day at La Salle. Service learning trips, Christian Service, the bond between students on sports teams, in Theater, and in our school clubs, the countless inviting spaces within the building where people come together to make true differences, a note of gratitude from a student or a positive and encouraging remark from a teacher, or simply reading the tremendous things our community is doing when I read from the Daily Bulletin in Homeroom. This is what it means to be Lasallian.

There is an indescribable and palpable feeling of love, togetherness, unity, and community in this building. Our traditions, from the start of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools by our founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle, continue to grow stronger and stronger every day.

Today, we begin our commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the passing of St. John Baptist de La Salle, a man who sacrificed his own wealth and status to educate poor boys in France who would have otherwise remained marginalized in society. We keep his legacy alive in this building by remembering that we are in the holy presence of a loving God and sharing God’s love with those around us.

Let us pray,

Heavenly Father, we ask you to bless our Lasallian community and keep our traditions strong. Today, we humbly implore you to help us see, with our minds and hearts, your loving presence as St. John Baptist de La Salle did at the start of the Lasallian Institute. Let his legacy stay alive in our building with the same fire that it has had in the last 300 + years.

St. John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Amanda da Silva–English Teacher

Lessons from French Toast

(Prayer offered for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Wednesday morning, 28 November 2018)

Good Morning, La Salle and De La Salle.

Happy International French Toast Day… that’s right, it is International French Toast Day today!

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of a loving God…

The smell of warm French toast cooking on the stove early in the morning, a true sign of the weekend or even better, break!  How we all long for the days where no alarm needs to be set and getting out of bed is a choice we don’t have to make right away.

To be honest, the smell of French Toast will not get me out of bed, simply because I am not a huge fan. However, I love to cook! And the recipe for French toast is not all that complicated.

Mixing the cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar is the first step to cooking French toast. This is the sweet stuff that without it, the French toast would simply be soaked bread. In life, these are our friends, our family, and all the awesome things we looked forward to spicing up our life with.

Next comes the eggs, milk and vanilla… to me these are the necessities that are not all that exciting. I guess vanilla smells good, but take my advice and never taste it! You’ll regret it every time. In life, this is school, work, and chores; we don’t have the option to change these up much but they are a necessity to a successful life.

And the bread of course! This is you… Are you the sweet bread, rye bread, wheat bread, baguette, or organic seven grain? No matter the difference, this is you and you should be proud.

Now time to melt the butter on medium heat, take your slice of bread, dip it in your mixture, and place it upon the pan. I know it can be tough to wait… we can all be impatient at times. But whatever you do, do not turn the stove to high; this is where the heat takes over and it never usually ends well.

The infamous flip… this can be a major challenge.  Is the timing right? Is it sticking to the pan? Do I put the spatula all the way under the slice of bread and pick it up or just grab the corner and flip? Life is full of questions and challenges. There are some answers that may be better than others but not many wrong ones.

Now pick up the French toast from the pan, place it on your plate and time to drizzle maple syrup and even sprinkle some powdered sugar for aesthetics. This is the good stuff—no matter how burnt or under cooked the French toast is, it is always there. This is Christ in our lives. He is there when we nail it perfectly or completely fail.

Let us pray,
Lord, thank you for our foundation, our necessities of life and all that spice it up. Despite the questions and challenges, may we all recall that you are there from the beginning, in the middle and at the end.

 

Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for Us

Love Jesus in Our Hearts – Forever

Katie Haidemenos–Campus Minister

You Can Do More With the Grace of God Than You Think

(A Prayer offered on November 18, 2014 for the entire La Salle Academy educational community)

“Do not have any anxiety about the future,

But leave everything in God’s hands,
For God will take care of you.
Be satisfied with what you can do,
Since God is satisfied with it,
But do not spare yourself in what you can do with grace;
And believe that, provided you want it,
You can do more with the grace of God than you think.”

– St. John Baptist de La Salle

Founder--4 views

In November of 1691, John Baptist de La Salle found himself and his group of teachers in a dire situation. At that time, he and the Brothers had established several schools that provided a Christian education to all children without regard to social class or income, but their ministry was now at risk as opposition to De La Salle’s work grew and this fragile congregation experienced harassment and lawsuits. It was a bleak moment for the struggling movement that would become the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

We might expect that this overwhelming adversity would be enough for our Founder and the Brothers to quit or give up the schools. However, it was in this new crossroads that in 1691 a strong sense of association emerged among three friends—De La Salle, Brother Vuyart, and Brother Drolin. They vowed to keep together for the sake of the mission even if all others left and they were obliged to beg for alms and live on bread alone.  Together, they would discern what was best for the “Society of the Christian Schools” and what God required of them.

It came to be known as “the heroic vow,” a statement that radically committed these founding teachers to the work they were called to do. This “vow of association and union” pronounced on November 21, 1691, was an act of hope at a time when the work of De La Salle and the early Brothers was in serious jeopardy.

Surely these three men were fearful that all might be lost.  As those around them gave up, they must have questioned themselves and their ministry. Yet, in their dismay, they didn’t avoid their difficulties…they didn’t try to go around them. De La Salle, Brother Vuyart and Brother Drolin were steadfast. They had the courage and faith to step through their fear and into the light as they committed to each other and their shared mission.

heroic vow signatures

We all find ourselves in similar situations on that difficult road where fear and uncertainty blind our way. We face many adversities in our lives. Some of them we seem to bring upon ourselves and others seem to come out of nowhere. Some last only for a short time while others we carry for a lifetime. Either way we find ourselves asking, “Why does this have to be so hard?” “Why is this happening to me?” I am sure that these are the same questions that De La Salle and his Brothers were asking in 1691.

Is it possible that we experience these challenges and adversity because God wants more from us? Just as God knew the fruit that the Brothers of the Christian Schools would bear, He knows the gifts and talents that he has given to us even though we may not even recognize them yet. So God will push us, stretch us, prod us, and sometimes bring us to our knees in order to bring about our gifts that those around us so desperately need. So, when we find ourselves with what seems too much to bear, and we struggle to find our way, let us remember the words of our Founder, “Do not have any anxiety about the future, but leave everything in God’s hands for God will take care of you.” Trust and know that “you can do more with the grace of God than you think.”

5720915

Let us pray…

Dear Lord,

We pray for strength as we face our own adversity in our lives. Grant us the courage and faith to step through our own fears and into your light so that we might do your will.

Let us trust in your Providence. Just like La Salle called his Brothers to see themselves as older brothers to their students, so too we are called to be mentors to those around us so we can build a community of faith and love. We are called to touch hearts and change lives like La Salle and so many Christian Brothers have done before us.  We give thanks for all the Christian Brothers and all those who teach around the world in the spirit of De La Salle.

DLS and young man

St. John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for Us.
Live Jesus in our Hearts…Forever.

Wynter Kelly–Dean of LSA Class of 2015

What Could I Have Done Differently?

(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Thursday, 15 November 2018)

Good morning.

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about car rides home with my dad after sports practices or competitions.

Having four younger brothers meant there wasn’t much one-on-one time between parents and children in my family, so having these brief car rides gave me the rare opportunity for time with my dad.

If it were after basketball practice, we’d have to drop off my friend, Jen, first. If it were after swim, I would be ravenous and barely able to focus on anything other than food. Sometimes we’d listen to the evening radio show with Delilah on Coast 93.3 and my dad would make fun of sappy stories callers would share and Delilah’s cliche advice. There were nights he would relay a comical incident I had missed at home. Often, he’d ask about school. But no matter the particulars, he would always ask about the practice or game and come back to the same question:

What do you think you could you have done differently?

It wasn’t nitpicking, critical, or demeaning. He didn’t ask what I could have done better, just differently.  It didn’t matter that a teammate overthrew a pass, or set a bad pick. All he wanted to know was about my choices and my actions. He didn’t just ask this question when my team lost, or practice hadn’t gone well – he asked no matter the circumstance. And in doing so, my father taught me an important life lesson.  He was training me to think about alternative approaches, to find better ways to communicate with others, and to assess my own actions and worry less about things I couldn’t control in others. Over time I came to realize that the only actions I could control in life were my own. Asking what I could have done differently challenged me to constantly evaluate my choices and my affect on the world around me.

I realize now it was a question he must have asked himself every day.

After he died three years ago, there was much grieving and the immediacy of the loss brought larger memories to the surface more often. But now, after some time has passed, I find my mind returning to simple moments with him which in many ways contributed more significantly to my development and approach to life than anything else.

Now, as a parent, I think about how much I want to emulate him. And maybe asking myself, at the end of each day, “What could I have done differently,” is start.

Let us pray:

Heavenly Father,

When we become frustrated and anxious about events and circumstances around us, give us the grace to recognize and relinquish what is beyond our control.

Guide us, as my father did, to honestly assess our roles in our families and communities and to determine the ways we may best serve others.  Amen.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…Pray for us

Live Jesus in our Heart…forever.

Emily McLean–English Teacher