2. Reactor Dr. Jett Lu, MD

2.Dr. Jette Lu MD

CONVERSATIONS ON THE GLOBAL COMPACT ON EDUCATION        Superior General, Reverend Mother Graciela Francovig FI,

General Consultors,

Provincial Superior of the Indico-Pacific Province, Sr. Emelinda Falsis FI

Our dear Hijas de Jesus Sisters

Brothers & Sisters in the Family of Mother Candida…

GOOD AFTERNOON.

First of all, I would like to thank the organizers for the invitation to speak in this Online Forum. As one Family of Saint Candida, we seek together today on how we can respond to the urgent concern put forward by the Holy Father.

My personal reflections, as a Parent-Alumni are centered on Commitments #2 & #4.

$11.      Listening to the voices of Children and Young People in Building Together a Future of Justice, Peace and Dignity;

$12.      Family as the First and Essential place of Education

We live in a different world today than as we were when we welcomed the first day of 2020. This evolving COVID Pandemic has surrounded us with deep uncertainty. It has overwhelmed my sector in health care. It has gravely impacted our economic, social, academic and family’s way of life.

From a busy Pediatrician, COVID-19 has taught me to PAUSE. It gave me more time to focus on what is important – MY FAMILY. What is remarkable, as I continue my work in the hospital, I encounter parents and teenagers with serious concerns on mental health…

I realized that most parents are worried about the impact of social isolation on their children, regardless of age. Remote learning, as we all know is not developmentally appropriate for children or teens, and most kids miss the social interactions that are part of everyday school, foremost, they look forward to the after-school activities. It's hard for kids to sustain excitement about learning under these conditions. And as the pandemic continues to ravage, many youngsters are battling anxiety, loneliness and depression, just as adults are. 

In the light of the pandemic, its effects, as well as post-pandemic, what can be our response to Pope Francis’ Commitment #2 & #4? I have 5 points in mind.


1

A work-family life balance helps parents and children spend time together.

In order to grow and be brought up happy and healthy, children need an adult (a couple) to love them and take responsibility for them.  This means that, in a society that considers children growing up happy and healthy to be a priority, everything possible is done to make it easier for parents and children to spend as much time as possible together.  Freeing up work time in order to meet family responsibilities is a must rather than separating the two generations of the family so adults can carry on working.

2

Active Listening is Connecting with our Children.

Families today juggle on work schedules, parenting, household chores…. And parents are feeling stretched to the limit and disconnected in the fast-paced, high-tech world we live in. Many feel they have to continue that hectic pace at home.

We all know that listening to our kids is important. Actively engaging in conversation, patient listening, and allowing them the time to express themselves at their own pace creates a safe place for them to speak up and find their own voice which will be very important in later years.

We must start early and commit to a no cellphone and no Television policy during some part of our daily home routine, especially when eating together at the dinner table. This helps develop well-adjusted children who are less likely to experience anxiety and depression throughout their lives. Maintaining this regular connection allows parents to gain insight as to what is going on in a child’s daily life. When a child feels he or she is a priority, self-esteem and dignity grows.

3

Family-Home and School Partnership as an Environment of Holistic Learning.

Family is the most important informal agency of education. It is in the home that the child learns the basic functions of living and where the child’s whole personality grows and develops. Moral and spiritual values are also imbibed by the children at home. However, in our modern complicated world, it is not possible for the family to impart all the essential education to our children - we must partner with formal school.

“Education,” Pope Francis said, “is meant to be transformative” but first our educational practices must be transformed itself. Educators have forgotten that the objective of schooling does not just have to be students’ marks but rather their Learning. In this time of pandemic, maybe the F.I. Academic Committee can look into one of education’s successful learning model from Finland.

Finnish students usually only have a couple of classes a day. Less stress, less unneeded regimentation and more caring. Finland's educational system doesn't worry about artificial or arbitrary merit-based systems. There are no lists of top performing schools, teachers or students. It's not an environment of competition – instead, kindness, respect, solidarity, cooperation is the norm. The overall system is not there to ram and cram information to their students, but to create an environment of holistic learning.

Hopefully, this innovative educational model will give birth to a new culture of peace and justice, kindness and goodness and social harmony for our children and young people in the future.

 

4

Family Time must be valued and not sequestered by School demands.

Never before has so much been required of the family as regards specific tasks assigned whether by the school or extra-curricular activities. It seems as though families have to continue whatever the children may be doing in other contexts. We have ignored and neglected that Private HOME LIFE with our Family (shopping, cooking, household chores, hobbies) must be cherished.

We assigned afternoons for the students’ Asynchronous Learning yet we bombard them with tons of homework. Rest and family bonding were meaningless during the Semester break as students crammed to complete their school projects. Teachers, likewise, were not able to rest. School officials must realize & respect the value of FAMILY TIME.

Again, in Finland, they have the least amount of outside work and homework than any other student in the world. They spend only half an hour a night working on stuff from school. Finnish students also do not have tutors. Yet they are outperforming cultures that have toxic school-to-life balances without the unnecessary stress, without the added pressures that come with excelling at a subject. Without having to worry about grades and busy-work they are able to focus on the true task at hand – learning and growing as a human being.

If we adopt this model, injected with our unique Hijas de Jesus Catholic education, we can paraphrase this new goal: “Learning and growing as a CHRISTIAN Human Being.”

5

Parents & The Alumni as Hijas de Jesus’ Significant Lay Partners in Education and Evangelization.

The Hijas de Jesus in their General Congregation XVII has affirmed that: They collaboratively work with the laity, “recognizing their identity and their specific place and role in this mission” and “placing them on equal footing and in co-responsibility with them” (OCWE 149).

For nearly 150 years, we have been witnesses of God’s faithfulness and the Immaculate Mother’s constant protection. The growth of Hijas de Jesus Sisters & the Family of Saint Candida is exponential. Yet this needs to be extended and multiplied. Beyond teachers, it must enrich its relationship with their students’ families and the Alumni. The Alumni-Parent, is deeply seated in our society, is a vast network and untapped resource by the FI Sisters in their education and evangelizing mission. This big group, I’m sure, will be more than willing to rally around the Congregation and bring about an important and meaningful change in the family-school relationship and to Society.

Schools must focus on effective collaboration with them, with more positive interactions, infecting them with “Mother Foundress’ Charism.” Communication must be two-way in order to build trust. Schools must SHARE THE PATH - encouraging one another, growing together.

These are my humble suggestions.

 

Finally, we can't completely mitigate the risks of this pandemic to Education. But the good news is: Kids are resilient, this Pandemic shall pass, and kids will eventually regain ground on the social and educational losses they're suffering now. And so should we, the Hijas de Jesus Laity.

In closing, let me leave this quote by Dr. Charles Raison:

 

"One generation full of deeply loving parents would change the brain

of the next generation,and with that, the world."

Thank you for your kind attention. Hope to see you all soon!