I think many of the faculty and staff may be counting down the days til a much-needed extended break arrives in the form of Christmas vacation. Everyone has been working very hard since late August to teach and form the boys here at St. Ignatius to be intellectually competent, open to growth, religious, loving, and committed to doing justice.
I know that I will be ready for the break when it arrives next Friday. I’ve had the added task of actually learning how to effectively help form the boys of this school, never having done something quite like this job before. I feel as if I have only really begun to get a hold on the right path to take to reach this goal. It’s a great piece of interior knowledge to have, to be truly confident that you are beginning to get a hold on what may be a key part of your vocation. I don’t think there are many more satisfying things than knowing you are doing well at something you love to do, and that what you love to do is something that is very needed in the world.
One example of this healthy level of comfort I have right now is my running of Homework Club, my Arrupe after-school program on Wednesdays. Granted, the 3rd and 4th graders I have in this group are generally very well-behaved. However, it would be very less likely for the kids to be so well behaved if I didn’t clearly set expectations for their behavior, and then enforce those expectations by conversations with them later on if the kids were not meeting my expectations. It’s also eye-opening to see how the simple healthy, trusting relationships that we at Arrupe build with the kids make all the difference for their behavior.
As I’ve grown in these skills and relationships throughout the semester, things have been going more and more smoothly for my Wednesday after school group. This past Wednesday, a few eager young programmers who are Ignatius seniors took the reins at Homework club and flawlessly led the kids in learning about the basics of programming and a game of “unbeatable” Tic-Tac-Toe which the seniors programmed. I don’t think the kids have ever been more well-behaved than they were on Wednesday. I was almost able to just completely kick back and enjoy the show the seniors put on, trusting in the good behavior of the kids. It’s nice to see that one’s labor over a long period of time is bearing good fruit. It will be even nicer to have some time off beginning next week to give thanks for the graces in the first half of the year, and to begin planning for improvements in the semester to come.