Being a kid today is not easy. But then again, it never was, which is why Catholic schools such as Fenwick teach both ‘résumé virtues’ and ‘eulogy virtues.’
By John Paulett
One of our graduates, currently a student at a university in Indiana, sent me a copy of an article she wrote for the college publication. Her essay told about a college student being transported to the hospital for excessive consumption of alcohol.
“’Four guys carried this kid downstairs limb by limb and they sat him down, and he could barely sit in the chair, and we tried to wake him up, but he was unconscious,’ (a witness) said.”
The article, written on October 10th, stated that, “21 students were hospitalized for alcohol consumption in the fall semester of last year, 20 students have already been hospitalized in the first half of the fall semester this year.”
I am a parent as well as a teacher, and I know these are frightening stories to read. They remind us that young people often face situations that are new and uncertain. Young people can make bad decisions, sometimes because pressures take the place of good judgment.
When I think about young people confronted by difficult choices, it brings to mind a dramatic incident from 2009. On January 15th of that year, minutes after takeoff, US Airways flight 1549 struck a flock of geese. The collision happened at 3:27:11. The plane’s pilot, Captain Chesley Sullenberger (Sully, they called him,) radioed a Mayday call at 3:27:33. At 3:31 p.m., less than five minutes later, the pilot landed the plane in the Hudson River. His recognition of the problem, creation of a plan, and execution of the action happened in minutes. Like most people, I found the Captain’s ability to solve the problem and land the plane in such a short time almost unbelievable. (Actor Tom Hanks portrays him in the 2016 motion picture, “Sully.”)
I read an interview with Sullenberger in which he was questioned about his ability to act so well so fast. He said, “I had to very quickly come up with a paradigm of how to solve even this problem.”
His response reminds me of what happens in Catholic education. Continue reading “If Geese Flock, How Will Your Child React?”