I believe in embracing the diversity of the children entrusted to my care. I wish to ensure that their unique gifts and talents are cultivated to make our world a better place. As a Sister of Charity of Seton Hill, I try to internalize this by endeavoring to live out the founding Rule of my congregation, that is, “to honor the sacred childhood of Jesus Christ, in the young persons whose hearts they are called to form to the love of God, the practice of every virtue, and the knowledge of religion; whilst they sow in their tender minds the seeds of useful knowledge.” This mandate challenges me to look beyond the externals, to discover the Christ Child in all children and to be respectful of their human dignity, regardless of race, culture, ethnicity or learning ability.
As I face the challenges of diversity in education, I look to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a model of one who embraced diversity. Imagine how she must have looked upon this remarkable child with tender love and devotion who, I am sure, displayed many gifts and talents. Little did she know, the child she tenderly embraced would embrace the entire world – “every race and tongue, every people and nation” (cf. Rev. 5:9). I wonder if Mary was overwhelmed with the myriad of abilities possessed by this unique child. As a teacher, I too am sometimes overwhelmed by the diverse needs of my students. It is then, that I remember that the Spirit of Christ dwells within each child whom I can look upon with tender love and devotion, knowing that I am embracing the world – one child at a time.
Will I consistently live up to this challenging mandate? Of course not, I am a frail human being who makes mistakes; however, if I adopt a stance of humility, I can learn a lesson from each mistake. Many lessons can be learned at the service of children with diverse needs. May I wholeheartedly be of service to these children who bear the image of the Christ Child I am called to serve.
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