At the high school where I teach the seniors participate in"Turkey Day" every year on the tuesday before Thanksgiving. We start out at a Thanksgiving prayer service that includes the entire school. At the end of the service the student body extends their hands towards the seniors for a blessing before they leave for the day. They are headed for a day of community service at various programs in Lake and Geauga counties. Their time and talents are used ministering at hospice, food banks, homeless shelters, childcare centers, outdoor parks and catholic elementary schools.
This culminates almost three and one half years of emphasizing the Catholic practice of service to the community and each other. During freshman, sophomore and junior years the students do numerous hours of service as part of their religion studies. The hope is that they will continue serving others after they graduate from high school and many do just that.
It's amazing and heartening to see some students who are not the most responsible or conscientious in an academic setting, come to life when they are interacting with young children, the elderly or the homeless. To see the caring and compassion that you don't always see in the short time you are with them during the school day is very moving.
At the end of the day the seniors come back to school to share a meal together and reflect on their day. Since they are at approximately 18 different locations many stories are shared. The realization of the many blessings that they have is a great lesson learned by all.
When we so often hear a multitude of complaints against teenagers, it's important to remember to appreciate the many ways they share their gifts.
Lord, I am thankful for all our students. Please protect and guide them. Amen.