(Prayer offered on the Public Address system for the entire La Salle Academy educational community on Friday morning, 7 October 2016)
Before I begin, there is a reason that I volunteered to do a morning prayer, after so many years of teaching at La Salle. There is an amazing tenth grader, a former PEGASUS student, that has continually challenged me to do things that I was not comfortable doing or may have been nervous to try. She herself has struggled to overcome many fears and has been a real-life inspiration. So, after I heard her do a morning prayer all on her own last year, I figured that it was time that I stepped up and tried it myself.
So, Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God….
Why are there so many songs about rainbows? And what’s on the other side. Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.
These lyrics are sung by one of the greatest entertainers that the world has ever known… Mr. Kermit the Frog.
Students and friends are always giving me a hard time and making comments to me such as “You’re a grown man. Why do you like the Muppets so much?” I will usually then spend a fair amount of time defending my reasons. But what it really boils down to is I find them to be amazingly entertaining and funny. I found them to be great as a child, and my love for them has only grown as I have moved towards becoming an old man.
There are plenty of other interests that I have that would not be considered adult. I very much enjoy sharing my knowledge of the Autobots and the Decepticons. Each week, I can’t wait to discuss Barry Allen’s latest frustrating muddling with time on the Flash. When students ask me what I would do for a living if I wasn’t a teacher, I tell them that I would want to be a Ghostbuster. Being an English teacher, my favorite literary characters should be people like Huckleberry Finn, or Macbeth. But personally I would argue that Batman and the Joker are just as complex and interesting literary characters.
Why is it that we are “supposed” to grow out of things? Why are some things alright for us to enjoy when we are young but not alright to enjoy after we reach a certain age? Our interests are part of what define us. I know that I am not the only adult out there that still LOVES the Ninja Turtles and can’t wait to see Doctor Strange in the theaters next month. We can all sometimes be uncomfortable or unwilling to proclaim our nerdiness.
Last year my 7th grade class read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The novel shows a very different depiction of what it was like to be a kid, much different than today’s crazy, fast-paced, plugged-in world. These very intelligent children pointed out how different life is for kids today. You are all expected to become more mature at a much younger age. You are asked to start thinking about college by the time you hit middle school. You are told things like “grow up” or “get your head out of the clouds”. But like the legendary John Candy said in the fine film Uncle Buck: “I don’t think I want to know a kid who isn’t a dreamer, or a silly-heart.” One day you’ll look in the mirror and wonder where all those grey hairs came from. Give yourselves time to dream, create, and be kids every once in a while.
Now I may wish that I lived in Neverland, but we cannot live in a fantasy world 24 hours a day; nothing would ever get done. At some point we do need to “grow up”. Go to college, get a job, pay the bills. But growing up does not mean that you have to give up what you love or who you are.
Now my message here is not strictly based around waving our freak flags for all the world to see. It also has to do with our faith. We should all be proud of our faith and wear it on our sleeves. We should be very confident and comfortable talking about what we believe in, about the man that came down here to tell us to just be excellent to each other for a change.
My point also has to do with how we choose and treat our friends. We sometimes abandon certain friends because they aren’t seen as “cool” by others’ standards. I am no saint when it comes to this fact. Even Peter, an actual saint, denied knowing his best friend, after Jesus wasn’t the most popular guy in town anymore.
Too many times we allow others to dictate what is “cool” and what is not. But our interests, faith, and friends are what make each of us unique.
Maybe we can all look to Kermit the Frog as an example of what it truly means to be yourself. He does not care about other people’s opinions of him. He dates a pig. His best friend is a bear that has spent his life trying to be a comedian, but isn’t actually funny at all. Yet Kermit stands by Miss Piggy and Fozzy Bear at every turn. He never abandons his friends. He believes in his dream and never gives up. And just like rainbows, he has nothing to hide.
Let us pray….
Lord, let us never forget what makes us each unique and special. Don’t let us succumb to other’s idea of what is “cool”. Let us be comfortable being who we are, with what we believe in, and what makes each of us special. Let us be proud of our uniqueness, our faith, and our friends. As we grow and mature, don’t let us to give up what makes each of us, us.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle….Pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts….Forever.
Evan Gilroy–English Teacher (De La Salle Middle School)