And how it made me what I am today
I dedicated my first book, Tea and Chocolates, to my old school teachers, the Sisters of St. Rosalia School. You might find it odd, but I couldn't help myself. They taught me everything I needed to get through the adversities in life, and for that, my gratitude is endless.
Discipline: In Catholic school, there are no excuses. I cannot remember a single time where an excuse was accepted for being late, homework not done, or a failing grade. The Sisters would have none of it. To be honest, the last thing I wanted would be to make someone with a name like "Sister Servula" angry. If that nomenclature sounds scary--well, she was. Don't worry--the nuns did not use corporal punishment, but they did make good use of their voices, coupled with the power to extract red-faced shame from recalcitrant students. In retrospect, there was nothing they did as severe as the real knocks and bumps of adult life, but the determination to do the right thing or else learned in those knee-knocking days still works well in the real world.
Secondly, they taught us devotion...devotion to something larger than ourselves. A Force, if you will, to guide one's conscience and to soothe one's soul. Personally, I think the worst thing we can do today is remove God from public schools. To whom are we teaching the children to lean on, and to whom are they answerable for their deeds? I think the accountability to a Higher Power has everything to do with preparing one's self for the future. Do the public schools propose to separate from that learning and to teach only what is in their textbooks? Is that possible?
Nihilism is an ugly monster. To see only as far as the tip of your own nose is the most vulgar, self-limiting thing I can imagine. Spiritual knowledge is actually self-knowledge in disguise, and I think that is where the Sisters succeeded. Most of all, they taught me to know myself--to know I could accomplish what needed to be done and to see a shining star in the sky every night offering inspiration beyond life's limits. What better education is there?
Copyright 2006 JO Janoski