Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Heaven First, Harvard Second

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting a Catholic school in San Diego, California for an accreditation visit as part of a team of educators. ("Accreditation" is education jargon for the process a school undergoes in order to evaluate its programs, plan for future improvement, and then have their work reviewed by an outside committee of educators.) During this process, I was able to meet with members of the school community-- clergy, administrators, teachers, students, parents, alumni-- everyone with whom I spoke enjoyed sharing their experiences with the school.

During one meeting, however, a school parent said something that really impacted me, and I offer it to you for your consideration: "I send my child to this school because it's heaven first, and Harvard second."

Needless to say, I was floored by the simplicity and beauty of this parent's statement. I found this thought to be both an inspiration and a challenge. As both a parent of a Catholic school student and as a Catholic school administrator, these five words-- heaven first, and Harvard second--  will, I hope, keep my priorities straight as I guide my child and my school.  

Yes, the parent in me wants my child to excel academically, and the administrator in me wants to provide the strongest, most challenging academic program we can for our students.

But, eternity edges out academics for me-- both personally and professionally. The faith development of my student/our students has to be number one, with academics being the second highest priority. When we put God first, the rest falls into place:

But seek first the kingdom (of God) and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. (Mt. 6:33)

Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter.

photo credit: Daniel Pascoal via photopin cc


  1. Thank you for sharing Mr. C. I have long felt the same way but have never been able to put it so simply. Thank you too for your commitment to our school. We are blessed to have you. -- L Perry

    1. God Bless you! Thanks for the kind words, too. I am privileged to serve such a great school with awesome families!