Monday, February 07, 2011

Simple Kindness

We took the Chamber Choir to Bowling Green to sing at the two Sunday Masses at Holy Spirit Catholic Church yesterday. We now have bus service—or in this case, van service—to Bowling Green each day, and we’re trying to get more people from that area to come to JPII next year. Our choir, as usual, was amazingly good. Scores of people came up to me throughout the morning and thanked us for adding so much to their Sunday liturgy. But as good as the choral program is, they’re not what makes the biggest impression on people.

In the middle of the week last week, we celebrated the signing of letters of intent of four members of our senior class: Leah Loven to play soccer at Bellarmine, Mary Leonard to play lacrosse at Davidson, Julian Virgo to play football at Austin Peay and Seth Walker to play football at Yale next fall. Members of the media were there, and their pictures and stories have now run in the Tennessean and the Catholic Register. We’ll continue to brag on the accomplishments of this senior class all the way through their graduation, but even so, those accomplishments don’t make the biggest impression on people about JPII.

There are stories on our web site about the four students who’ve recently won awards at a local art contest at Cheekwood: Maggie Finaly, was awarded a Gold Key award for her sculpture, “Balancing Act”, Katherine Roy, was awarded a Silver Key award for her sculpture, “Patricia" , Shelby Turner, Junior, was awarded a Silver Key for her mixed media piece, “Vivacious” and Cassidy Johnson, Junior, was awarded a Gold Key and named an American Vision Nominee for her photograph, “Sanctuary”. Our jazz ensemble played at St. Edwards last week and received rave reviews, as they continue to get better and better. We have a distinguished fine arts program—in the visual arts as in this case, but also theater, chorus and instrumental music—but they’re not what makes the biggest impression about JPII.

Our swimming team continues to get better and better. Having swept the Sumner County meet, both on the girls and boys side, the Knights competed at the regional level and finished tenth. Eight swimmers qualified for the state meet: Samuel Jackson, Nick Massa, John Mainland, Paige Scheriger, Madison Kolbe, Abbie Wood and Brittany Zobl. Congratulations to our swim team. But no matter what kind of success our athletic program has--they're not what makes the biggest impression.

What matters most is not spectacular, not glitzy, not newspaper worthy. It’s simple kindness to one another. Kindness. It’s when the new kid comes through the cafeteria line at lunch with no one to sit next to and someone recognizes that awkward moment and says, “Hey, sit here with us.” It’s about complimenting someone for their new glasses or haircut, or telling a person ‘good game last night,’ or ‘that was an interesting comment in class’ or saying something nice about someone when other people are talking poorly about him, or standing up for someone when he or she is being harassed, or noticing when someone is having a bad day and asking “you OK?”. These things are not profound, but they make a HUGE difference in the lives of the person being treated kindly. And they make a HUGE difference in the culture and aura of JPII.

Our tongues have the power destroy other people, but also the power to heal and build people up. Let's be kind to each other this week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Faustin, I never regret taking a few minutes to read your posts. Thank you for your influencing kids toward the path of kindness. I hope all is well with you and your family. Sincerely, Tom Denton