All but one of my Catholic Grammar School teachers has long ago departed this world. I am sure they made their trip to Heaven in a Nano-second. Certainly, they earned Premier Seating Status immediately to the right hand of Jesus Christ.
As I look back, I am so appreciative on the twelve years of schooling I received from The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica. Those women were saints. They earned their angel wings for enduring the classroom stress of thousands of belligerent, unruly, button-pushing, sometimes naughty Catholic boys and girls.
Despite numerous disruptions, those nuns graduated many well-educated kids who knew the difference between right, wrong, white-lies, alternate truths and “rounding off the edges.”
The Grammar Patrol
Catholic kids excelled in grammar. We knew how to diagram sentences and religiously made sure every sentence had a subject, a verb and an object. We knew where to place adverbs and adjectives. And for gosh sakes, we survived Spelling Bees, Phonics and mastered lists of 10-20 new words every week as we increased our vocabularies exponentially. We knew how to identify a subordinate or independent clause.
And for that I am eternally grateful.
Clean-up Your Mess
I assure you that if Sister Beatrice were still in the classroom, she’d take out her ruler and swiftly wrap the knuckles of politicians that assassinate our grammar and language. The internet and social media expose the good, the bad and the ugly lawmakers daily who should return to grammar school for the basics.
Tweets, photos, and videos have all changed the way we look and perceive our political leaders. They cannot hide, nor can they permanently remove misspelled words, racial rants, and promiscuous photos from the digital world with their “fixers.” Back in the day, offenders had to wash chalkboards and paint over defaced walls.
They do not receive good marks for creativity when they make-up names for countries, rivers or mountains they can’t find on a map. Nor are they rewarded when they attempt to bluff their way through a speech or conversation by misquoting scripture in a pious tone of voice, as if they were Biblical scholars. Folks, if you don’t know what the Big Book says, pick it up and read from it. Life is an open-book test.
And what about the dust-up that would certainly occur when it came time to experience a First Confession? Confession was the time that all good Catholic boys and girls admitted their misdeeds and transgressions to the priest regarding poor judgement, profanity, name calling, and half-truths uttered about friends and family members behind their backs. Sometimes the brazen kids had even taunted and confronted “enemies” on the playground at recess. Those kids were known as bullies. They did not attract many friends.
At confession, we owned up to casting insults and aspersions on someone’s character by creating an embarrassing nickname. Confession came with stiff penalties assigned for lying, making false accusations or ridiculing someone for their physical or mental disability.
The parish priest would not let anyone off the hook with an excuse like “I Misspoke” or a suggestion that the priest should consider viewing the situation from my perspective. Children knew the real consequences for their sins. They had to fess up and say, Yes, Father, I Lied!
And in Arithmetic, when pressured to quantify a problem or add up a column of figures, would Sister Mary Exactamundo allow for an estimated response like “I think the answer is Billions and Billions?”
The Future is Bright
However, do not worry about the fate of children not exposed to the Benedictine Sisters. There’s still hope for those who flunked out of Catholic School. They can aspire to serve in Congress, become a Senator or maybe even President of the United States.
Mary Redmond is a top-rated female professional speaker, author, consultant and business coach. She is a negotiation and body language expert that instills confidence, inspiration and expert knowledge that sets up her audiences for success.