What a beautiful night we had for "Popsicles in the Park"! It was so exciting for me to see our students - and how much they have changed over the summer break - and introduce them to our new students. Watching our kids welcome the new students into their games made my heart happy. We are truly blessed with the most amazing group of people at St. Patrick School and I can't wait to spend the year getting to know everyone better!
Click the button below for pictures from this fun filled event!
Our St. Patrick Spirit Wear store is open through August 14. Click the button below to order yours today!
Please join us on Sunday, August 14 @ 11:00am for our "Back to School" mass. Our St. Patrick students will be leading mass, and we will honor all students in our parish who are returning to school this fall. It's a great time to get back into the routine of attending weekend masses to start off the school year!
**Immediately following mass, our 8th grade students will be hosting a Bake Sale to raise funds for their 8th grade fees.
Please join us for "Back to School Night" on Tuesday, August 16!
5:30pm - All new St. Patrick School families are invited to attend a short welcome meeting in the church. We'll meet the teachers and staff, go over some basics, and answer your questions!
6:00pm - Classroom Visits begin. Head to your child(ren)'s classroom to drop off supplies, meet the teacher, pick up any important information. Then, head to the gym to pay fees, sign up to volunteer, check out the uniform closet, and ask any other questions you might have.
Our PTO will provide a "sweet treat" as you leave!
Click the button below to order your uniform crewneck sweatshirt or other spirit wear items. The Spirit Store closes on August 14, so be sure to oder before then! You will order and pay online, but all items will be delivered to the school when they're ready.
Join us at Penguin Park on August 8th at 7:00pm for "Popsicles in the Park". You'll get to see your classmates and meet new friends, too! We hope to see you there!
If your child is interested in playing fall sports with the Parochial League, please sign up today at: www.plkc.org
The reading at church this weekend was the story of the Good Samaritan which is always one that I pay special attention to. I believe in this to my core - helping others, being a good person, finding the good in people. But for those of us who were privileged enough to be at St. Patrick for mass this weekend, listening to Father Matthew's homily on this reading brought it to an entirely more personal level. I couldn't help but get chills as he spoke, "But this is NOT a story about being nice. This is a story about transforming the world through the power of the Gospel."
He went on to say that there were three types of people along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho: the robbers - "what is yours is mine at whatever cost"; those people represented by the priest and the Levite - “what’s mine is mine— and I must protect it even if it means you get hurt in the process"; and lastly, the Samaritan - "whose motivation, much to the surprise of Jesus’ audience – is love."
It got me to thinking, where do I fall in these groups of people? I could check the "robbers" off my list fairly quickly, but am I truly a "Samaritan"? Do I lead with love and compassion? Do I, as Father Matthew said, lead with the thought that:
My safety is yours - if you need it.
My security is yours - if you need it.
My resources are yours - if you need them.
My health is tied to your health.
My well-being is tied to your well-being.
Or, do go about my life trying to be kind to everyone, trying to be a good citizen, trying to "fly under the radar" and not "rock the boat"? Do I truly go out of my way for the greater good of others?
If I'm being honest, the answer would have to be no. How many times do I drive home from work, open my garage door, pull in, and close it as quickly as I can just because I don't WANT to talk to anyone who might be out in their yard. How many times do I sit in my house, checking my Ring Doorbell camera, and pretending NOT to be home when someone rings the bell? Do I lend a hand to someone in need, or do I keep my windows rolled up and drive right by?
But who can blame me, right? The world is a scary place right now. I'm better off in my own home behind closed doors where I can keep myself and my family safe. I'm better off with rolled up windows and locked doors where I don't have to worry about the harm that could be done to me otherwise. To quote Father Matthew again, "When fear is the motivation of our lives - we tend to cling to our own safety and our own individual rights. When fear is the motivation of our lives - we end up placing our hope in thinking: “It is against my rights.” OR “don’t tell me what to do” as opposed to Jesus’ greatest commandments: “Love God and love your neighbor.”
There is a lot of fear in our world right now. A lot of sadness, grief, anger, too. How do we rise above it all and continue to be the "Samaritan's" God has called us to be? How do we stand for what we believe in, while lifting up those whose beliefs differ from our own? It's no easy task, is it? I love my neighbor, until my neighbor disagrees with me - because then I want to argue with him on Facebook. Do we truly listen to understand, or listen only to find things we can debate? Do we put ourselves in others' shoes before we make judgements?
I wish I had all the perfect right answers and that I knew exactly the right things to say and do. I don't. I do know that I don't want to live a life of fear, and maybe I can't change the world, but I can do my part to change the world in which I live - and who knows, maybe that is a decent place to start. As we prepare for a new school year to begin, I feel an obligation to be that Samaritan. An obligation to lead with love and compassion. An obligation to model for our students who God has called each one of us to be. In doing this, we will do our part in making the world around us a little kinder, a little gentler, and a little more peaceful, too. Our kids deserve that, don't you think?
If you haven't yet, I highly recommend you check out Father Matthew's homily by clicking the button below. It's a beautiful reminder as we finish up the last several weeks of summer break.
I have read a lot about kids experiencing a "summer slide" where they forget things they learned the year before while off on summer break. Experts will give you a million different ways to practice reading and math skills with your children, and while there's certainly nothing wrong with that, there are so many better things you can do.
In my experience, we should worry less about "skills" and more about "curiosity". Summer is an important time for kids. They need a break from the day to day grind just like we adults do. They need time to be kids. Time to play outside, make up stories, make up games, use their imaginations, be creative - and it doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, the most important thing you can do for your kids during the summer months is to require them to create their own fun - with supervision and within reason, of course.
Whether we, as educators, like to admit it or not, kids often lose their excitement for learning during the school months. They get tired of studying, practicing, writing, reading, etc. Summer time is the perfect time to re-ignite their love of learning by giving them the opportunity to find their own sense of fun.
When we were kids, our summers were spent outside. We knew better than to come into the house and profess, "I'm bored!" to my mom who was always ready with a list of chores to be done to cure our boredom. Instead, we were out in the backyard making up adventures, climbing in trees and pretending that we lived in them, riding our bikes in our neighborhood, playing games with our friends. We were at the swimming pool where we'd spend hours pretending to be mermaids or playing Marco Polo for hours upon hours.
Times have changed, for sure. We can't let our kids out of our sight the way our parents could let us roam the neighborhood. We can't just send them off on their bikes for the day reminding them to return home when the porch lights come on. It's sad...but reality. But there are things we can do to give them the same opportunities we had as kids.
The Mid-Continent Public Library has a wonderful summer program and it's all completely free. Your kids can earn prizes for reading books - doesn't get much better than that. The library is the perfect place to lose yourself on a rainy day, then come home with a pile of books as if it were Christmas. Let your kids choose whatever books they want - regardless if they are too hard or too easy. Designate a portion of each day as "reading time" where everyone finds a comfy spot, all electronics are shut off and put away, and the entire family reads!
Composition notebooks and spiral notebooks can be found at the dollar store for one dollar. A brand new journal with some fun pens or crayons can give you hours of creativity. Take a walk, find a place to stop and ask your kids to draw or write about what that see. Go in the backyard, throw out a blanket, lay down and look at the clouds. Ask your kids what they see in the clouds - a dog, a car, a dinosaur maybe? Then have them draw it and write a story about it. Or, simply hand out the journals with some art supplies and say it's "Art Hour" where everyone has one hour to create!
Have lunch outside, picnic style. Find a tree to sit under or any other shaded spot. Make sandwiches, bring water bottles, keep it simple. Let them talk - about whatever they're willing to talk about, because I can assure you the day is coming when getting your kids to say anything will be a challenge.
Hold a "Cooking Class". You can find tons of them on YouTube if you're feeling uncertain. Lay out the supplies (keep it simple) and allow your kids to make dessert that night...or an afternoon snack. Have fun with it! Maybe let them create their own video of their own personal cooking show!
Let them create a lemonade stand! They can earn a little money or give it away for free! Either way, they can design posters, make the lemonade, become little entrepreneurs! Then call up your friends and family and beg them to come by for a cup. Great memories can be made with lemonade!
Summer doesn't have to be filled with expensive activities or fancy trips to make it magical. Staying up past bedtime, watching movies on the living room floor with sleeping bags and pillows, eating dinner out in the backyard under the stars, taking hikes, exploring new places, spending hours at the swimming pool - those are the things that your kids will never forget! And the best part is, you'll be encouraging them to learn, getting them excited to investigate and explore, and making some really great memories along the way!