For and with others, an Ignatian saying, ideology, and lifestyle. God has called us to not only work for those in need, but also walk the path along with them here at Loyola Academy of St. Louis (St. Louis, MO). Whether it be in the classroom or in community, the nature of giving is always very prominent. In all this giving though, it often easy to forget to take and when I say take I mean squeezing this experience for all that it has to offer.
We all strive to be selfless individuals, giving of our time and energy to a cause that we so heavily believe in, education. We spend hours upon hours prepping lesson plans, giving lectures, attending school functions, and lending our hands wherever they are needed. In that, we sometimes forget to sit back and reflect on the growth that is happening within ourselves. We are surrounded by world-class educators who have seemingly mastered the art of teaching, as well as students who have experienced the world in a way that only they can. We work with them, speak to them, and learn from them. They, both students and staff, offer us support and guidance in our educational and spiritual journey. The classroom is a very familiar environment to us all, but the view and expectations on the other side are certainly different. Every day presents a new challenge and another chance to grow as an educator, a professional, and as a person. The opportunities to grow are endless, and we should take full advantage of them.
This growth does not stop at the doorstep of Loyola Academy of St. Louis, though. It is deeply-rooted in the foundations of our homes and communities. Living under the same roof with people who come from similar educational experiences, but very different backgrounds, presents many opportunities for growth. We have those conversation beyond just, “Who is doing the dishes tonight?” We view the world through others’ eyes and with that, grow. In living among and with others, it would be a disservice to take nothing away from the experience. There are fews times in life that we can live in community, so it is privilege and gift to be able to do so over this year. It is both refreshing and challenging at times, but it all a part of the pilgrimage.
Regardless of where we are during this experience, we are learning, growing, and most importantly, talking. We are acquiring knowledge from the many different perspectives in our educational settings. We are learning to live in harmony, and sometimes distress, within our own St. Louis ASC community. We are broadening our worldviews well beyond anything we thought previously through the people we are interacting with. We are growing closer to God in the memories we are making and the stories we are creating. We are givers this year for sure, but also takers as we continue to navigate this year for and with others and for and with ourselves.