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It's about educating the whole person

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

January 30, 2019

God has blessed me with more gifts than I deserve, but artistic ability is not one of them. I can barely draw a stick figure, let alone create great works of art.

Yet, in a momentary lapse in judgment, I agreed to join a friend for a workshop in clay mug making this past weekend. It turns out, clay is not my forté. I struggled to get my clay slab thin and even without tearing it. I struggled to get the pattern I wanted imprinted correctly. I struggled attaching the handle.

A couple years ago, I joined a few friends for a “paint and sip.” We enjoyed sipping wine while following along with an instructor to create paintings. Like my mug-making experience, my finished “work of art” confirmed what I already knew: I’m better at sipping than painting.

Both the paint and sip and the clay class were sources of stress for me. Why? Because I hate failing publicly. I hate when my weaknesses are on display.

Why would I agree to participate in a class I knew would be a source of stress? It’s good for me to get outside my comfort zone. It’s good for me to learn new skills. It’s even good for me to fail publicly (though preferably not too frequently).

It’s Catholic Schools Week. While my sisters and I attended public school, my niece, Emma, attends one of the fantastic Catholic schools in our diocese.

Emma, age 11, is extremely shy. Until recently, she wouldn’t speak in front of several members of our family, let alone strangers.

Emma’s Catholic school has embraced her. She excels in the small-class environment, where her shyness doesn’t allow her to be overlooked. She has been given numerous opportunities to participate in group enrichment activities, including crafts, music and robotics. She has been encouraged and given the support and skills needed to perform in plays and school events.

Emma’s Catholic school has embraced her whole person – her brain, her spirit, and her quirky and amazing personality. She’s encouraged to step outside her comfort zone bravely and with support. And she’s loved, even if she fails publicly (which she has yet to do – this kid is amazing).

This ability to educate the whole person – mind, body, spirit – is what makes our Catholic schools outstanding. It’s why we celebrate them.

It’s also why Emma likely won’t be afraid of art workshops when she’s my age.

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