There were several gems that I gleaned from the presentations. Sister Carol Cimino made sure to remind us that, while the Church appreciates us donating our time and energy, She really doesn't care what we think. We are to teach what the Church teaches and not what we believe. OK, that's fair.
She also said, that in this day and age of instant, global news with it's gloom, doom, and despair, hope is the greatest gift that we can give these children.
I grew up hearing, as I'm sure you also did, this quote from 1 Corinthians 13:13
"So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love." This is what I have always known - that the greatest of these is love. Love of God leads to love of self, love of others, love of righteousness, love of justice, love of all that is good and holy.
Yet hope is the greatest gift?
I think it is. I think that if we love God, if we love ourselves, if we love others, including these children, we must give them hope. We must give them the talent to see the world through lenses of hope, through rose-colored glasses, through the eyes of Pollyanna. When all that they hear in the news is war, murder, rioting, starvation, suicide and hatred, we must give them the tools to see peace, life, justice, solutions, and love. We must teach them that the world is not a terrible place. The world is a wonderful creation, given to us by God, to cherish and of which we are to be good stewards. We must teach them that the world is inhabited by wonderful, caring, loving people who never make the news. We must teach them that every day lives are saved, disasters are averted, food and medicines are donated and distributed, friends are made and hope, in the name of love, in the name of God and His Son and the Holy Spirit, will prevail.
We must teach them that they are not the problem. They are the solution. They are the hope of the world. To do this, we must give them hope.