Catholic school education is the best gift you can give a child

Catholic Schools Week (CSW) is traditionally a week where the Catholic community within the United States honor and celebrate Catholic schools. It can also be a time when the Catholic schools within our diocese raise their presence amongst both Catholic and non-Catholic parents and students who are not currently attending our schools. This is particularly true this year as the Kansas City- St. Joseph (KCSJ) diocesan schools have commissioned a marketing study directing our immediate and long-term marketing efforts within the various communities of the diocese. The story of Catholic schools within our diocese is not as well-known as it should be.
The KCSJ diocesan schools believe they are both Catholic and non-Catholic parents’ best partner in raising their children. We are on a mission to form students to be respectful, moral, and self-disciplined for the rest of their lives. We not only want our students to be smarter and successful in life, we want them to be wise and good. We do so by grounding our education in faith-based morality and ethics.

Our society believes almost any behavior is acceptable, should be tolerated, and every person should be able to express themselves in any manner they feel. In the Coca Cola commercial “Just Do You”, a young woman professes doing or thinking anything is acceptable as long as you think it is acceptable. It declares a morality based on our own personal experience. It makes no acknowledgement of the value of others, moral laws, or God. There is no “true north”. She indicates each of us chooses our own north. Consequently, there is no right or wrong. This way of thinking requires no discipline, no restrictions or behavioral limitations.

All parents want their children to be happy and successful. Following only their own feelings, children or adults will not discover true happiness and probably not success. Following your feelings may provide immediate gratification and affirmation, but it does not lead to true happiness. Truth is not whatever each individual decides it is. The KCSJ Catholic schools teach God’s truth even though many times life is complicated and ascertaining the truth can be challenging. The KCSJ Catholic schools teach self-discipline to students so they can understand themselves and what is right and wrong. The KCSJ Catholic schools teach wisdom to know the difference between easy and right.

Students in our Catholic schools are often transformed to be wise and good. These same students may have previously been frustrated by life. For example, the grandparents of three children, hoping to find transformation in their grandchildren, enrolled them in one of our Catholic elementary schools. The children’s’ mother was in jail and the father was not in the picture. The children were angry, unsuccessful in school, and without hope. The grandparents took them in and enrolled them in one of our diocesan Catholic schools. Almost immediately the students found success and hope. At first, the oldest, a girl, refused to go to a Catholic school, but after some discussion with the grandparents, she agreed to give it a try. After only a few months, she now says she loves the school and doesn’t want to go anywhere else. The second oldest, a boy, once on a full regiment of behavioral altering medications, is now completely off medication, finding the love extended to him by the Catholic school community being what he really needed. All three children have experienced a school that loves them and helps them understand the truth about life — a Catholic elementary school.

If you are a parent, grandparent, or friend of either, who have or know school age children or grandchildren, I encourage you to discover or re-discover Catholic schools. It is the best gift you can give a child. At our Catholic schools, children are respected for their value as a creature of God and taught how to be respectful to you and others. They are taught how to set and establish a moral compass in their lives, and how to discipline themselves so as to achieve what they want in life. Financial support is available. In most cases, parents give what they can afford. Your children will become amazing human beings and the cost is within your budget. What else can you ask for?

Join me in celebrating Catholic Schools Week by making plans to enroll a child in one of our Catholic schools. It will be the best thing you can do for them.

Dr. Dan Peters is Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph.

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Friday
April 19, 2019
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph