Today is my last class I’m teaching.
Many of my friends and family know that I’ve been teaching 7th graders morality almost every Saturday for as long as I can remember (involved in CCD since 2001). I was a teacher’s aid until formally teaching my own class for well over 6 years. If this a surprise to you, well I did grow up with a tight knit family who went to church every Sunday and then I did go to a Jesuit high school (Go Wildcats!) and college (Go Dons!) :)
In all my years teaching this class that’s on morality, I can boil it down to two lessons. After the food aka sugar we had this morning (Krispy Kreme, cupcakes, and sugared drinks), I reminded them all of these two lessons:
First is to treat others how you want to be treated. Known as the “Golden Rule”, it’s just a tried and true rule that everyone should follow regardless of religion, age, or race. This also works the other way: don’t expect to be treated a certain way if you haven’t treated someone else the way you wanted to. Call it karma or call it paying it forward or whatever, what goes around truly does come around.
The second lesson is to do good by following your head, heart, and gut. To me, these three (head, heart, and gut) form one’s conscious and ultimately shape one’s morals to live by.
Your head is everything that’s learned in class, picked up from the streets, or passed onto by wisdom. Your heart is what allows you to be compassionate for others and what drives you to be passionate for what you believe in and stand by. Finally, your gut is the best tool when your head and heart fail to determine what you’re suppose to do when faced a decision. It just “knows” what’s right and you really should feel it, so don’t ever ignore it.
I remind the kids today that these two lessons will surely take them where they want to be. Just like any teacher, the goal is to instill values and lessons that the kids will absorb and hopefully remember for the long run.
As I looked across the room and at each young face, I am grateful to be at their presence making an impression in their lives for the last time.