Tuesday, May 20, 2014 – St. Thomas The Apostle Church – Norwalk, CT

Today was a rough day at work. It seemed like everyone was cranky about things that just really are not that important. I needed a little piece of quiet, so I decided to go to church and just breathe for a little bit before going home. Lisa came to join me.

I have been to St. Thomas many times, but I guess I have just never looked closely enough to see how pretty it actually is. The stained glass was really pretty! And I never really paid attention to the wooden ceiling beams! Very nice.

The new pastor said the Mass. I didn’t really tune into the gospel, but something in his homily struck me. He spoke about the fact that the Catholic Church is being undermined and taken over in all parts of the world. He specifically spoke of the insurgence of Muslims into Turkey and that the churches are now mosques or museums. He begged us to “pay attention” before we lose what we know of as our Church.

I should pay attention to what is happening in the “church world” more, I suppose, but a parallel image of “being undermined and taken over” has occurred in the world of education as well! My school world seems so upside down. Laws have been suggested and passed by people who are not educators. Testing is being based on curriculum mandates and changes that are not always right for kids. And, teachers’ voices have come too late to the party to turn things around quickly. It is all so overwhelming. A few years ago, a colleague left education completely. He is a very smart educational leader who I so enjoyed working with. In his “good bye” letter, he spoke of the fact that education was changing in a direction that was “against his moral compass”. He could not stay true to himself and his educational values, in light of the direction education was moving in. That line has rung true to me in almost every aspect of my day today and for the past 2-3 years!! I admire him for having the courage to say it out loud as the rest of us just stood there, chugging along, hoping for the best.

Perhaps, I ended up at this mass just so I would hear the words……PAY ATTENTION!

I have been going through the motions, head down, chugging through the day to day stuff, and not really paying attention to the big picture as closely as I should have been. But, the scary part is I am not the only one. The tides shifted quickly on so many of us educators, while we weren’t really looking. If it can happen in our educational world, it really can happen in the “church” world too! The shift is happening in both worlds!

I really need to figure out a way to pay attention and keep my moral compass focused on the right things.

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