Power & Importance of Prayer
You have probably seen the hashtags and the social media posts, and it’s hard to miss the TV coverage related to the student initiated walkouts in support of better laws about guns and more help for students who are suffering. It is heartbreaking to know that the impetus behind these public, peaceful student-led walkouts are the senseless deaths of so many young people around the country. This keeps me up at night. As a high school principal I can’t help but feel the pain and suffering that is being expressed by our young people not just in Florida, but across the country.
So what does this mean for me as a principal? First, it reinforces my longtime commitment to ensure that our school is up to date on the policies and practices that are related to school security and safety. While in so many ways it is a sad reality, there is an ever-evolving body of knowledge related to school safety and security that requires our attention. We cannot become complacent or worse yet, naïve about the importance of staying current in best practice.
Secondly, I am reminded of how important is it to maintain and nurture a school environment where students are known and loved. Staying connected to our students is such an important part of keeping our school community safe. When students are hurting or suffering we want them to know they can rely on us to love, support and help them. We send this very important message by both our words and our actions. Every day I give thanks for the strength of our BSM community, which includes the very strong partnership that we have with parents. While it may be cliché, it really does take a village.
Third, I will continue to pray. One recent headline from Florida read, “We are sick of your thoughts and prayers, we want action.” While I appreciate the frustration and pain in this comment, I will not give up on the power and importance of prayer. One call to prayer in particular has been meaningful for me. It came from Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He wrote, “I encourage us to unite our prayers and sacrifices for the healing and consolation of all those who have been affected by violence in these last weeks and for a conversion of heart, that our communities and nation will be marked by peace. I pray also for unity in seeking to build toward a society with fewer tragedies caused by senseless gun violence.”
Finally, as I contemplate the pain and suffering connected to school violence it would be easy to fall into despair and sadness. I will not. I will stay strong and hopeful. Our BSM community is strong and is rooted in faith, hope and love and our young people deserve to experience the many gifts of this kind of community. The night before Jesus died, he said to his followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27). During this season of Lent I cannot think of a better scripture to pray.