We Are Family
When your colleagues, students, and their parents feel like family, you know you are home. For 34 years, I have called BSM my home away from home. We are a close community who walk together through the highest of highs, the lowest of lows, and all the adventures in between. We are family.
I have always held on to the idea of BSM as a family in my work as a dean/disciplinarian. Parents often ask (about their student), “Will he/she ever grow up?” My parents also asked that about me when I was a child, and I can assure you, we do grow up. Many “frequent fliers” have spent a significant amount of time in the deans’ offices and gone on to be incredible, thoughtful and productive human beings. Having faith in them as they falter, and seeing their potential as they grow, goes a long way in cultivating their desire to do the right thing.
I have learned that to be successful in working with teenagers, you must do your best to look forward and not back. What defines the student is not the mess they created, but it’s how they clean up afterwards and prevent that mess from occurring again. Casting judgement on the student is so easy to do, especially when the student does not appear to want to be a part of the solution. I am so grateful that BSM has allowed me to work on becoming a merciful being by casting aside the judgement and helping students see the connection between actions and consequences. I know that this concept works because, as crazy as it sounds, students often say thank you after receiving detention.
I have always believed that those who love you most will hold you accountable. I learned that first from my family growing up and later in my many years in Catholic schools as a student, teacher, and administrator. I always knew I was loved when I was getting in trouble, and I have striven to maintain a loving dignity as I have interacted with students. I truly appreciate the people in my life who modeled that behavior.
As I say goodbye, I offer some words to I live by: “Life might not be the party I expected, but while I’m here, I might as well dance and eat some cake.” (source unknown). I learned that from my BSM family, too.
The BSM family will be etched in my mind and spirit forever. Thanks for the life lessons, the kindness and care you’ve shown, and of course, thanks for the free entertainment!
After 34 years of teaching and working at BSM, Mary Andersen will be moving on and retiring from the education profession. Please wish her luck, and reach out by email if you have a story or memory to share.
Thank you, Mary! You will be missed. But remember, “Once a Red Knight, always a Red Knight!”