Forming Ethical Citizens

This past Monday, the entire staff from Holy Spirit Catholic Schools gathered for our annual Spiritual Development Day. Typical professional development days speak to our minds and impact knowledge on improved practice. This day, however, is organized for the heart of those in Catholic Education and is solely for faith nourishment. This year’s theme, “Taking our Place at the Table,” focused on our call to participation and to put our faith into recognizable action in our homes, schools, communities and beyond.

These types of days remind us of a shared responsibility with parents and the community at large to form ethical citizens. Together, we want to teach our youth to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do! It is not only our goal within Holy Spirit but it is the desire of the province to graduate students who are “engaged thinkers, ethical citizens with an entrepreneurial spirit.” Engaging students and developing an entrepreneurial spirit are well within the single realm of the school, although far more enhanced through partnership. However forming an ethical citizen requires the greatest partnership, one that involves the entire community.

Ethical citizenship requires us to teach our children responsibility for their own actions; not through the harsh hands of discipline, but guided by the gentle hands of love. It demands the teaching of acceptance in the rich diversity we share in our own backyard and throughout Mother Earth. It welcomes the inclusion of all God’s children, whether religious or not. It reminds us to act as good stewards to our environment. And finally, it accepts and encourages multiple perspectives.

Our world contains much sorrow and much hatred as was so evidently portrayed in the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon. The need for forming ethical citizens has never been greater than today, than right now! All educational institutions in partnership with parents and the greater community must work together to ensure that our children learn to live justly, act compassionately and love tenderly. Only then will we have raised truly ethical citizens.

Pope Francis in his Installation Mass on March 19th said the following, “I want to ask you a favour…I want to ask you to walk together, and take care of one another.” His words speak to all of us so that we may raise ethical citizens for tomorrow’s world because it is the right thing to do! 

This article was printed in the Lethbridge Herald on April 24, 2013   

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