29 Oct

Love one another.  It is such a simple commandment.  We teach this to our pre-school preparation students who are under the age of three.  We teach this each and every day in religion lessons, at Mass, by example and with love.  It is perhaps what distinguishes an education rooted in the Catholic traditions.  And yet, each day presents new challenges to simply love one another.  Our days are filled with successes and failures in following this simple commandment.  And we are continually invited by our God to do better, to love more, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Like the commandment to love one another, the carpool routine at Saint Mary’s is simple.  Stay in line.  Wait your turn.  Those dropping off in the back parking lot (Middle School and ECDC) use Marywood Lane to enter and exit the property.  Those using the front (Gayton Road side) entrance enter from the West Gayton Road entrance and exit from the East Gayton Road entrance.  Those stopping to pick up children use the “no man’s land” between the two carpool lines by parking in the spaces in front of the Saint Joseph statue.  No child should ever cross a carpool line of traffic.  Sidewalks around the front and back lead to the Saint Joseph’s parking area.  The system is simple and safe – until we forget to love one another.

When we have patience, we love one another.  When we don’t park in another location and cross the carpool lines, we love one another.  When we forgive the “visitor” who may not follow the rules, we love one another.  We love one another when we don’t try to “win” some extra time by using the back carpool line but exiting via Gayton Road.  We love one another by caring enough to keep our children safe at the expense of expedience.  We love one another when we understand that special circumstances require some families to have access to the parish hall side driveway without wondering why we should not be using that route.

Each and every day, we have the opportunity to reinforce our children’s learning of the commandment simply by following the carpool pattern. Imagine how confused children can be when we teach them all day long to love one another, to respect one another, and we demonstrate tolerance and love – only for students  to witness drivers who off-handedly place others in jeopardy.  Time constraints, rushed schedules, impatience, lack of tolerance, and anger challenge our beliefs and resolve to follow the commandment.  A quick decision to “cut out’ the front, to comment on another’s poor driving, or parking in the middle school lot and crossing lines because it save 30 or so steps unravels all of the teaching about the “golden rule”.

I have been asked why I don’t buy cones, put up caution tape, admonish drivers who break the rules, and generally take actions to enforce the carpool rules.  It has occurred to me that enforcement works best when dealing with people who are not committed to the commandment to love one another.   We at Saint Mary’s are indeed committed to loving one another.  It is such a simple commandment …