Friday, April 21, 2006

Lord Have Mercy...I am crossing myself and speaking in Latin

My roll is changing in the employment arena. For the last several months I have been a Johnny on the spot substitute teacher for the pre-eminent Catholic High School in this fair town. You may or may not know this is quite a culture shock for this boy. Not the gainfully employed part but the professional academic and the Catholic part of the equation. Now I have taken on a post for the rest of the year teaching Latin for first year and fourth year students. Since it has been 40 years since I have graced the inside of a Latin class I am moving slowly as you might expect. Sum, es, sunt...

Frankly the school is really quite good with strong attention to the current world of academics. I am constantly impressed with the skill sets of those who are instructing. One of the science teachers is a professor emeritus from the University of Florida and each of those who I have the pleasure of conversing with have exhibited strong credentials and fine backgrounds in their field. I do enjoy being around those who genuinely show a passion for their world and for their life.

The High Schoolers themselves have no or little perspective concerning the quality of instruction they are encountering. My youngest son, my beloved's baby boy, attends public school and will continue to do so because of the advantages he has in honors classes and being fully involved in a mature and focused athletic department. For example, just two days ago a young man who has played two years on the football team was offered a full ride scholarship to the University of Mississippi worth about $160,000 if one was to do the math. Yet, academically it might be reality that the parochial school where I work has real advantages over this larger public domain. Yet those who I see every day, students and faculty alike, at both facilities don't seem to be aware of the quality of the product offered to those priviledged kids. Perspective in life, as it is personally, is difficult to conjure on a consistent basis. Educationally the private school has lots of advantages discipline being primary. However, at our public school the work of the Arts and Athletics do not lack and are in the realm of the excellent.

I am refreshed daily by the ability to pray in the classroom, although few of the youngsters at the Catholic institution seem to care much about the practice. While students who are Christian at my son's school rally around the flag pole before school enduring comments and slander aimed at their obvious mental faults. It is a constrast I find quite odd.

As a non-Catholic I do find the Catholic symbolic ritual of crossing one's self after prayer and during mass a bit uncomfortable at times. I wonder is it so obvious that I am not a Catholic at that moment. I don't feel like I have any rhythm for such things. I am like a white guy at a Spinners concert the way I am fumbling through the process. I must admit I like the idea of the cross over my flesh. It is my flesh that will die while my spirit lives on but I do like the idea that my body can have something to do with what Christ did on the cross. So, I fumble through. I just wonder. Is there anyone watching to check out who does this properly anywho??


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