Friday Focus

March 18, 2016

As our Lenten journey prepares to come to an end....

Jesus knew his audience understood images of cultivation and agriculture when he spoke the parable of the sower and the seed. The sower sows far and wide, some of the seed lands on the path where the birds eat it up; some falls on rocky ground where the life is choked off; some is sown among thorns, and some is sown on rich soil where it bears thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold.

Keep in mind that Jesus himself in person is the seed sown. Jesus is the logos that wants to take root in us. This seed is sown far and wide, through all sorts of means. It is destined for the whole world

But one thing that blocks its reception is lack of understanding, lack of education in the ways of the Spirit. The fundamentals have to be in place before the Word can be accepted.

People can be fascinated by the spiritual and the religious, drawn in by a charismatic personality or an intense experience, or by trauma. But when they lack the discipline of a religious tradition, they become in time vaguely spiritual. Nothing in life that is taken seriously subsists without discipline and perseverance.

The Word of God is the central and defining dynamic of life. To know the will of God, to know the mind of God, to understand his purpose and path, is all-important. Without it, you lose your way amidst all of the conflicting voices and inclinations of the world.

When we understand the faith; when we take the time to read theology, to study the Scripture, to feel with the church; when we have perseverance; when we are disciplined and enter into the practice of the faith; when we have our priorities straight, then the seed will take root in us. And it will bear fruit thirty, sixty, or a hundredfold.

--Bishop Robert Barron

The importance of feedback

I took these first two paragraphs from Timothy Uhl, the superintendent of Catholic Schools in the state of Montana (3800 students in 24 Catholic schools in Montana)

We all tend to teach like we learned thus we struggle with people who don't learn like we did. In fact, our schools are filled with teachers who succeeded at school and therefore have trouble relating to those students who cannot. Furthermore, many of our teachers are used to respecting authority and struggle with students who cannot follow directives.

Many of those teachers go on to become administrators and their struggle continues with teachers. Armed with what they believe to be real power, they struggle when teachers don't follow directions and can't accept (the given) feedback. We need to take a step back and analyze how we are giving feedback. Are we trying to coerce? Or influence? We also need to consider how we are giving feedback.

It's mid-March and my guess is teachers have used all their strategies on reluctant students, administrators have used all of their strategies on their instructional staffs, and we're all out of ideas and a bit tired. I thought it might serve us well to explore the topic of feedback: how to give it, how to solicit it, how to receive it, and what purpose it serves.

The last link (after the pictures) is another good reminder to appreciate the many things that we have in our lives.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Carol Dweck: The Effect of Praise on Mindsets