Our Board of Directors meeting is over. Most of the meeting was taken with budget issues. The Board voted to accept the budget as it was presented. Besides keeping on what we’re already doing, it will allow us to move ahead with the Strategic Plan that we laid the groundwork for. While the Board meetings generally go well, with good feedback, evaluation and challenge, it feels good to have them finished. I always feel a bit tired and drained when they are over. But I also had feelings of pride when my staff presented what each of the departments has accomplished this past year.
One benchmark we’ve been working hard at is high school retention. The efforts seem to be paying off. While nearby schools fight a nearly 50% drop out rate, we still have 38 of the 40 high school students who started the year. The two who left St. Joseph’s Indian School are currently enrolled in high schools back home, and hopefully will be part of a generation that completes school and sets their sights higher.
Our high school students went downtown to church this evening, but all the rest of our Native American students and a good number of staff gathered in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel this morning for mass to begin the season of Lent. The first graders are the ones with the most giggles as ashes smear their foreheads and sprinkle down on their nose. But I sense a seriousness too, about wanting to become a better person. The dark crosses on foreheads were noticeable around campus all day.
My prayer is that I can have more discipline in all the areas of life that will help me to understand and follow God’s will. I get more serious about my growth in the Lord’s ways during this season. Lent is meant to inspire us to overcome sinful and selfish ways and to become more like God. That starts by picking up the daily crosses we are asked to embrace.
I always pick something concrete to give up. This year it is desserts and computer games. I play games a lot more than I watch TV, and with the extra time can spend more time in prayer or doing things for others.
I also try to focus on improving an attitude or a virtue. I get many requests each day from every corner of the campus. Sometimes it feels like a burden rather than an opportunity to serve. I’m reminded of Mother Theresa’s attitude of trying to treat each request as direct from God, and find a way to say yes to whatever was asked of her. I hope to be more generous in responding to what is asked of me.
What did you give up for lent?