After the cumbersome summer this year, the portals of our institutions are opened again to welcome the academic year 2019-20 with much excitement and exuberance. I am sure that the Heads of the institutions are adequately equipped and teachers are sufficiently oriented to make the journey of our students smooth and pleasant who are stepping into the year with great expectations and deep aspirations. At this juncture it is to be remembered that our task as the educators is to lead them towards fullness of life that can transform them to be great, noble, honourable, and upright citizens of India.

When Pope Francis met the students and teachers from Italian and Albanian Jesuit schools in Rome in June 2013, he said, “May I speak directly for a moment to our educators – Jesuits, teachers, school staff and parents? Do not be discouraged by the difficulties that the educational challenge presents. Educating is not a job but an attitude. It is a way of being. To educate well, we need to step out of ourselves and be among young people, to accompany them in the stages of their growth, placing ourselves at their side. Give them hope, and confidence for their journey in the world. Teach them to see the beauty and the goodness of creation and of humanity, which always retains the imprint of the Creator. Most importantly, be witnesses with your lives. Educators convey knowledge and values with their words but they make a difference when they back up words with their personal example; that is with the coherence of their life. Without this coherence, it is not possible to educate.”

Pope Francis reminds us, the educators, to walk the talk which is far more impressive than communicating in thousand words. So let us guard ourselves from anti-values that corrode us and focus on to inculcate among students a sense of humanism that fosters universal brotherhood and sisterhood. Let us ignite fire within them to promote life and uphold what is good in spite of the opposing forces around. Let us interiorly strengthen them to challenge the erroneous doctrines and false ideologies that abound all over. This will certainly result in producing human beings of integrity and value, honesty and veracity, truth and righteousness who can walk with their heads high. If this is not given mission, then months/years in our institution a mere waste. That reminds me of an anecdote.

One day an astrologer and a doctor were going with a fisherman on a boat in the sea. While moving ahead, the astrologer showing the skies asked the fisherman, “Do you know anything about the sun, the moon, the stars and how they work in coordination?” His simple answer was “No, I don’t know”.  Then the astrologer remarked, “Half of your life is a waste”.  Then it was the turn of the doctor. He asked the fisherman, “My dear friend, do you know anything about Biochemistry, how your body functions, and its anatomy?” He humbly replied “No, I don’t know.”  With frustration the doctor said, “Oh my God, half of your life is a waste”.  Just then a strong breeze blew and the boat began to sink and then the fisherman asked both of them, the doctor and the astrologer “Sir, do you know swimming?” They replied “No, we don’t know”. The fisherman said “Your entire life is a waste”.

Dear friends, if we impart all sorts of knowledge and teach all types of skills to our students but fail to teach them the art of living, the art of swimming/coping with life amidst tempest and storms, then we have failed to offer them the essence/core of education. Let this be our constant endeavour as we go along!

I pray God’s blessings on all of you and wish you well. 

Sr Mariette BS
Secretary, BES Mangalore

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