What did you learn today?

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing." - 1 Thessalonians 5:11

The first quarter has come to a close which gives me cause to be a bit reflective, and I am surprised to find myself continually fascinated by the process of learning.

I remember my mother asking me the perennial “mom” question when I got home from school: “What did you learn today?”

The answer, always, without fail, was: “Nothing.”

I am absolutely sure that the parents of our students have had the exact same exchange with their children. I am also absolutely sure of the utter inaccuracy of this statement.

Obviously, I learned plenty! And I am witness to the fact that our students have also grown in knowledge and understanding.

So why would generations of students answer that question the same way?

Like most instances of growth that happen in our lives, learning occurs in increments, in small, almost imperceptible steps, that eventually result in great leaps of development. The students answer “nothing,” because they are unable to perceive their own sublime progress. Seldom does a child leave the house in the morning knowing nothing about multiplication, only to return at the end of the day a master of the multiplication tables. Growth almost never happens in large, flamboyant jumps, all at once.

However, I am in the privileged position of being an eyewitness to the impressive flourishing of our students. I can see the changes, the great leaps of development, over the course of years, academically, socially, and spiritually. And it astounds me.

On a recent day, in a casual conversation with one of our seniors about growing habits of virtue (namely getting to school on time!) she shared her thoughts about how she hoped to accomplish this in herself. She figured if she could make herself get up on time, she would, in turn, get to school on time. Once she mastered this, she should then be able to turn all of her schoolwork in on time. After attaining this level of discipline, she would then commit to the daily rosary. She recognized that lasting change happens in increments, baby steps, if you will.

It sometimes surprises me how big an impact a small action can have. If a student is struggling academically, a small adjustment like studying flashcards for ten minutes per evening, can bring about immense improvement. Tremendous spiritual growth can occur if we begin by committing 15 minutes per day to quiet prayer or scripture reading.

We need the patience and perseverance to trust the process, that even when we are not seeing great jumps, there are great things happening inside our students.

“Nothing” is not happening. A wonderful “something” is being built, brick by brick, idea by idea, inspiration by inspiration, in the hearts and minds and souls of our students.

Quarter one is in the books! I am looking forward to the growth quarter two will bring!

- Mrs. Lisa Sweet, Academic Dean