Dear Parents and CBS Community,
In the early years of the Christian Schools, St. La Salle realized that in order for the schools to be successful, they must be founded in community. For this reason, he invited the early teachers into his home to eat and eventually live with him so that he could teach them the art of teaching. The “Brothers” were to be brothers to one another and older brothers to the students entrusted to their care. The relational component could not be separated from the educational component. In addition, as the years passed and the number of communities increased, he personally corresponded to each Brother on a regular basis regarding the Brother’s life in community and his vocation as educator. Many of the letters are fascinating windows into the communal living the Brothers experienced. They laughed at meals, they argued over methodologies, they gossiped behind each other’s backs. My personal favorite letter of St. La Salle’s comes after some back and forth between him and a Brother over some behavior the Brother was exhibiting. After a few softer versions, De La Salle finally writes simply…”For the love of God, dear Brother, change your ways!” He always reminded them that they were part of something greater.
Likewise, this is how we must view our contribution and position in our Dominican and Lasallian family at CBS. In one of my favorite books on community, Peter Block says that the citizen of a community is “one who is willing to be accountable for and committed to the well-being of the whole.” In his words, accountability is the “willingness to care for the well-being of the whole,” and commitment is the “willingness to make a promise without the expectation of return.” In a true community with actively engaged citizens, these two are forever linked. By being accountable and committed to the entire community we move from a community of constant bandaging and reaction to one of action and possibility—a community in which the vision of the future directly flows from the gifts and capacities of the citizens who make that community up. Unlike the traditional way of thinking, the child creates the parents and the student creates the teachers; the power, therefore, resides in the citizens not in the leaders.
St. La Salle, in the setting of 17th century France, recognized the power of the Brothers and the students entrusted to their care to effect change in their community. And, indeed, they did. We, likewise, are called as members (citizens) of all of the various communities of which we are a part to be both accountable and committed to those communities. Certainly, this Christian Brothers School community could not thrive without you. Thank you!
Michael J. Prat, Jr.
Principal-City Park Campus
Christian Brothers School