Chatting with the PrinciPAL
“Children should be welcomed into a world of love. We want to keep them protected and innocent for as long as we can, but sometimes the world interrupts that innocence (Joyce Meyer, The Poison of Unforgiveness (2018)."
Once again our nation is experiencing a tragic incidence of school violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with the students, staff and citizens of Parkland, Florida. St. Paul School’s commitment to provide a safe environment for our students and staff remains a daily priority. These tragedies underscore the importance of us staying connected with students to understand any possible emotional trauma that they may be experiencing and to provide students and families with as much support as possible. We are blessed to be able to draw upon our faith for the strength to console our children through prayer and forgiveness. God asks us to forgive others and extend grace as we have been shown grace. It can be one of the hardest things we face in life! The pain and hurt others cause us is real and great. But, the pain of living with bitterness and unforgiveness can literally ruin our health and lives. When we forgive others, we are not saying what they did was OK, but we are offering it up to God and letting go of its hold on us. Luke 7:27- 36 writes “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke ends with, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”
Our general practice is to not enter into deep discussions with students regarding tragic mass casualty incidents, but if a question arises, it is important for us to reassure children that they are safe and validate their feelings. We feel that it is most appropriate for parents to answer a child’s question in the context of a loving faith-based family connection. It is further important for us to carefully listen to students and emphasize that we are a caring school community and everyone has an important role in maintaining a safe school environment. There are a number of resources to help parents discuss school-related tragedies with their child. I have included several links at the end of this letter and an attachment that you may find helpful.
In closing, I ask that you talk with your children this weekend about prayer and forgiveness and give them the opportunity to share any of their concerns with you. Please reach out to me or Mr. Hocker if you have any further questions or concerns. We stand with you in faith and prayer to ensure our children are safe, happy, and hopeful as we teach, live, and learn in the Light of Christ.
ST. TERESA of Avila PRAYER
May today there be peace within
May you trust your highest power that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance.
It is there for each and every one of you.
Kathleen Norris, PhD
Principal – St. Paul School