For scholars, being called to the principal’s office is something that we all can recall; a moment in time where you can feel your entire body tense up, your heart starts to race, and you wonder, rather deeply, what it is that you’ve done, maybe even did as you walk to the main office for your ultimate demise.
For parents, that phone call from the main office stating that the principal wants to speak to you often promotes this same level of stress, a moment in time where your palms get sweaty and for many parents a moment where your posture becomes more straight and you’re at the ready to defend your beloved child by any means necessary.
For principals though, at least for myself as principal, those calls to speak and connect with parents and scholars are valuable, for they provide an opportunity for relationship building. It is in these sessions, where the trifecta of power is manifested as a collective force of greatness between scholar, parent, and admin. It is here that these individuals are brought together to learn more about one another in order to promote the most just and humane outcomes for all involved.
This is something I like to remind myself of daily, especially when working alongside the parents of the beloved greater southeast DC area. Its during these moments of meeting with parents that one is able to learn that there is more to a person than meets the eye. As a principal in the “hood” one realizes that the parents of these often marginalized areas are no different than their designated “societal glorified” counterparts, for at their core, being apart of a school community rooted in the Gospel is an act not only for academic success, but one of both spiritual and physical survival.
In countless meetings within the STM community one learns of the constant struggle parents face in order to promote a better experience for their scholars. For many, being a parent in the hood and a member of a school community rooted in Christ, provides daily acts of building a strong faith. From the constant navigation of dangerous neighborhoods, too and from school, to the holding not one but up to three jobs to make ends meet, parents within the “hood” are living examples of what it means to be rooted in the word of God. In many instances, parents within the STM community work daily to provide the best for their scholars, not because of the high tech and spanking new classrooms that we have, but for the innovative practices, the presence of God, and the love from faculty and staff that extends beyond their nuclear families. For parents within the “hood” of southeast, STM exists as a space and place not that they see as a beacon of hope and light that they didn’t think they possessed within themselves; rather STM exists, for them, as an extension of their hearts filled with light and love.
When parenting in the “hood” is done, parents like those within the STM community are doing the work of Christ; carrying their crosses of struggle, doubt and fear, not as burdens but as the true work of our Lord and Savior, knowing that through their storms comes grace, mercy, and ultimate salvation.
One might remember the old saying of the Church that goes “God doesn’t give more than we can bear.”
It’s evident that the parents of STM are constantly given heavy loads, but what’s more apparent is the strength of their conviction and spirit. One that is anchored in Christ as they stand on the shoulders of their gigantic ancestors and hold the hands of those within their village in solidarity.
The work of any parent is inspiring; at STM we know the work of our parents is the work of time fulfilled to gain the glory of God within the Kingdom of Heaven.