Last night at tea Sam was explaining how cricket was going at morning break at school that day. He explained how he got to bowl and bat and then got quite animated when he told us that little Isaac wanted to join the game. Isaac is a new entrant, only five years old. "You know what I did, don't you Mum." I must admit, I hoped I knew the answer, but I wasn't sure. "I went like this...he was standing here and I stood here and I bowled like this, really gentle. And Jesse (older boy) was holding on to Isaac with the bat like you do with the girls Dad. And he hit the ball!"
Sam did not play cricket at school last year, too afraid to join in, so we have really worked on it this term. The senior boys have been very patient with him and helped him out a lot, just as Jesse was helping Isaac. They haven't always got him out when they could and they've let him have a bat even when it wasn't technically his turn. Now he looks to play cricket almost every day and he fits right in. You can imagine my heart's delight in hearing that he in turn is passing on that patience and gentleness to another little boy.
The single reason why I love St. Pat's (although there are many) is that there is an entire school of children learning patience, gentleness and tolerance for others with differences. I know that teaching values is part of every school's curriculum, but I'm not convinced that many other schools exemplify those values in the true and actual behaviour of the children. I know you could argue that we have a small pocket of children here from really good families who naturally try to do the right thing by others, but I doubt that's true. I am convinced that the principal and teachers have worked hard to create a culture of acceptance, tolerance and kindness and that these values (along with others taught) are going to go a long way towards producing some very fine and admirable young adults.