Popemobile when it passed by 15 hours later. The excitement in the air surrounding this humble Pope makes him seem even bigger than Madonna, The Rolling Stones, U2, or any other rock star.
Pope Francis seems to personify goodness, fairness, and tolerance. So many people - in interviews and informal conversations- openly discuss how they have hope in their hearts because of this one man. In the tumultuous and violent times in which we live, as we bear witness from the TV news in our living rooms terrible acts of barbaric decapitations; pilgrims' deaths from stampedes on the way to Mecca; stories of child abuse and child pornography; wretched poverty and contagious global illnesses, it is not a surprise that such a gentle soul coming to earth in the form of a Pope has captured our attention.
I am not a Catholic, but I like this Pope. I like his lack of pretension and his outreach to children and the poor. I like his genuine and smiling demeanor, as well as his way of listening and accepting. His tenderness with the sick, frail, and with children forces me to tears. He authentic self and genuine spirit come forth- and I really like the way he actually practices what he preaches. (Sorry for the cliche, but I simply HAD to use it in this blog! Couldn't resist!) Pope Francis exudes goodness.
Pope Francis also offers real and sincere instructions for the entire world. Some of the lessons I have heard include: take care of others; tell people you care about them, but more importantly, don't just say it, show it with your actions; don't show off with your material "stuff"; be kind to those who have less than you have; be kind to those who have more than you have; in fact, be kind to everyone.
Just as Pope Francis extends these real life lessons to all of the world, every day, classroom teachers have the privilege and responsibility to impart similar lessons to their students. Just think of how much better our nation's schools would be if everyone were teaching lessons of humility, tolerance, caring, and acceptance. I like thinking about that improved world, and because I am an optimist who believes in the goodness of others, I do think it is within reach.
Just as the Pope is a role model for the citizens of the world, classroom teachers are role models for the citizens of their classrooms and school buildings. We must remember that we are not just teaching subjects, but that we are teaching human beings, and that helping others to do good and to see the good in others makes the world a better place for all.
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