Thursday, February 09, 2006


I watched this morning as the school director gave another talk to the children assembled in the courtyard. The school dress code offenders were first sent away, then the rest took part in the shouting of the school creed. Her talk had to do with the proper way to greet someone. Not a long drawn-out flat, "Buenos Dias, Madre" No that's not respectful. It's to be delivered crisp and precise: "Buenos Dias, Madre." punto! She made the children repeat over and over until she was satisfied.

I find myself delighted that respect is being taught. I was sitting there is awe of this little fireball of a woman tell those kids they way it's supposed to be. It was amusing and amazing to watch the command she has over these children. Believe me, no child looked oppressed or sullen under her charge. It helps too that the student body is small, maybe under 200. She sees every little face so there's no snickering or mischief. Besides her natural charisma, her authority is supported under the umbrella of Catholicism. You behave because God said to and he entrusted these nuns to help you do it. End of story. Punto!

After years in American public schools this attitude I find appealing. In the context of schooling I think the method works well. Granted, there's plenty to argue about if you want to. But for now, I'm content to let the nuns have a crack at guiding my daughter. Maybe I'm just tired of theorizing about the correct way to raise children. What I see at this dusty village school is pure simplicity of order. An old-fashioned way of guiding children in the ways of living peacefully within society while giving them a sense of purpose and duty. So stand up straight when you say Buenos Dias.

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