In today’s episode we explore a quote from well known author Jordan Peterson. How can we help both ourselves and our students deal with the hardships, suffering and tragedy in the world? How do we avoid being overwhelmed by despair when the events of life can seem so hard to carry. There is good news. The decision to love leads to a courage in the face of uncertainty. We also learn that God desires to carry us when we most need it.

Transcript
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Hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle with you.

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Once again, welcome back to the Catholic teacher daily podcast.

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Hope you're doing well wherever you are listening in.

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I got something I'm really looking forward to sharing with you today.

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This is a great quote from Jordan Peterson.

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I know that many of you will be familiar with him, a fascinating figure,

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and a been reading his latest book.

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For those of you that don't know, he's a public intellectual.

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Who rose to prominence, over the last five or so years.

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He's a psychotherapist, a clinical psychologist.

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And a university professor and then wrote some influential books and

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became quite well known for his.

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Work on YouTube.

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Discussing some pretty challenging topics about what it means to be human.

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And I've been enjoying this read.

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It's a quite challenging, I've always been a great fan of deep thinking and ideas.

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And to read this book lately has been really illuminating.

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So if you're looking for something that's going to challenge you and

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push you alone, go and check it out.

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It's cold.

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Beyond order 12 more rules for life.

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I read his first book flying back from.

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Toronto.

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I think I remember reading it at about 30,000 feet and getting a lot out of it.

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So this next one is great.

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So listen, here is the quote.

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Now this is from a chat where he's talking about.

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How you deal with.

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The suffering.

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And arbitrary nature of unpredictable suffering in the world.

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Now, if you're listening to this going, Jonathan, how is this

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relevant for us as Catholic teachers?

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It's very relevant because I think that young people.

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With their level of media exposure, their news exposure.

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They're very much exposed to a world at the moment where.

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Very little as hidden from them.

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So they see the darkness, the suffering, the conflict in the world,

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probably in a way that many of us.

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As younger people may not have seen.

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I was telling my daughter the other day, I've got to that point now.

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And we're having those conversations about the olden days.

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My daughter and I she's 13.

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I take her surfing every weekend.

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It's about a two hour drive every Saturday at 5:00 AM.

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And we have these great conversations and.

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I was talking to her the other day about the olden days when I grew up.

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And Some of you remember this?

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We had three or four TV stations, network stations, and there

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was nightly news bulletins.

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And.

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Occasionally, it might, your parents might have a newspaper around, but a lot of the

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time you didn't get the kind of exposure.

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And to global events and suffering and stuff that was happening.

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Yeah, you definitely.

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You hear about the big things, but I think that our young people are exposed

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to the reality of suffering and war and conflict and disease and in a way that

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He's definitely historically unprecedented, right?

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So what this can lead to for so many young people, is this kind

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of eventual cynicism, right?

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Nihilism despair.

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When you look at the reality of the world and then.

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Here we are as Catholic teachers trying to share this message of God,

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the good news of a God that's with us.

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And I remember many years ago, being asked to come in and speak.

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At a Catholic high school was year 12 retreat that a great principal.

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And he, at that time I was talking about a lot of theology of the body stuff

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and relationships, but he said, look, I need to talk about something else.

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He said, I want you to talk.

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To these young people about resilience.

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He said, I'm finding that they're very fragile when it

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comes to the challenges of life.

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So even, that would have been a decade ago now.

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Just this awareness, that many young people, not all of course,

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as I said, last week, you'll have students in your classroom that are.

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Not struggling with these sorts of things, but many of course are.

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So what Peterson's getting at in this quote that I'm about to share.

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Is that, for many people when confronted with this difficulty

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and suffering at least to despair.

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So it was what are you, do you know, how do you respond?

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How should you respond?

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As a person and for us as Christians.

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And let me read you this quote, we'll just unpack it a little bit.

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He said it is within the frame of that impossible undertaking.

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That decision to love.

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That courage manifests itself.

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Enabling each person.

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Who adopts the courageous pathway.

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To do the difficult things that are necessary to act for the good.

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Even in the worst of times.

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What he's getting at here is that.

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He says that if you decide that you're not going to give into despair, If you're not

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going to give into sarcasm and cynicism.

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He said the other thing you didn't you don't want to go the other extreme,

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which is a naive optimism, right?

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Where we just think everything's going to be fine.

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Everything's great because that's not, we were constantly exposed to tragedy

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and loss and suffering in our own lives.

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The lives of the people we love.

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So he says, what's the correct response.

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And he's saying that the correct response is a decision.

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To love.

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And that if you make that decision in life, To love.

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Then that brings about a certain courage.

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They there's such an interrelationship here.

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Isn't there between love and courage that sometimes she didn't hit a lot of courage.

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You need to be brave and to choose to be loving.

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But sometimes when we make the decision to love the courage follows.

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So the word decision's important because.

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A decision of course comes from the Latin to CCO, which means to cut off from.

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So once we make a decision to love, then we cut off from the other

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options, which has, vengeance judgment.

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Nihilism, as I've said, So what's this all got to do with us as Catholic educators.

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We are going to be confronted multiple times in a day with decisions

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about love and then quickly we'll just unpack love very quickly.

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I spent many years teaching on this all over the world.

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We've got to move beyond this sentimentalize.

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Romantic idea of love as a pure feeling state.

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What

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Moral philosophers.

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Refer to as epi phenomena.

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To love is a desire to will to desire the good of the other.

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So to love is a decision to do what is good for the other.

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To act in a way that is good for the other, regardless of how we

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might feel at any given time.

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Now as educators, of course, that can mean discipline at times.

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That can mean doing things that are pretty challenging, but you are

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confronted multiple times a day.

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With decisions about love.

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And that means decisions about wanting an acting for the good

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of the other four students.

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And of course, for your colleagues, maybe for parents as well, sometimes, I'm sure.

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All of you listening will have people in your own staff room,

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your own faculty lounges.

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It's called for many of my American friends.

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Where.

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They grate on you, right?

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They really rubbed me up the wrong way, but that decision to love.

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Leads to a kind of moral, philosophical courage that we face

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the difficulties of life with her.

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Strong decision to love to be courageous in loving our students and to loving

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the people that God puts quotes in front of us each day in our school community.

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Now the important qualify here for Catholic educators is the relationship of.

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Human action to sacramental grace.

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Jordan Peterson spirituality is a subject of great internet discussion.

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Mona.

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I'm deeply convinced that he's a.

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That he has a genuine Christian worldview.

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But you know where his quote doesn't progress to, which is fine because

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he's not writing a book for a specifically religious audience.

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Is that it isn't just simply about our decision to love.

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Because if it was that only then more of us would do it.

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The beauty of our Catholic faith is I said to my daughter, the other day,

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about how we actually tend to act.

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So we can love, and we can be courageous, but often we were not.

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So what our faith offers us specifically through the sacraments is.

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The grace of God that he gives us this supernatural capacity over time to do

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the things and in our purely human state.

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We would find probably beyond us.

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If that's not true, then the entire sacramental order of the Catholic

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faith collapses and it's nothing other than just a symbolic kind

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of, actions that we go through.

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And, and symbolic actions are important in culture.

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You look at all cultures and symbolic actions significant.

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But as Catholics, there's this whole other layer where God's grace and power

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is manifested through the world, into our concrete circumstances, through the

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sacramental order, through the Eucharist.

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Through the sacrament of confession, sacrament of penance through,

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religious orders, marriage baptism, all these different sacraments.

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So let's wrap this up.

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Not only do we need to find the courage to love on a regular basis.

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We need to open ourselves increasingly deeply to the grace.

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That will allow us to do it.

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But we need to help our students over time to love.

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What does that mean?

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Really?

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It means that firstly, we have to model it.

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So a great Catholic school community is going to be a school community where.

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Young people see love modeled.

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They see staff who care about each other.

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They see staff who care about other students.

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Don't necessarily forget that our students are watching all the time.

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They're seeing how we interact with other students.

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So the first level is that we model it.

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And then I think sometimes you have to explicitly teach it.

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I still got three young kids, so Karen and I are constantly still teaching.

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Our children.

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How to interact morally with each other now.

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I'd like to say that we're as successful at that as Tom Brady is throwing a

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football, but it's not quite the case.

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As many parents will know.

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But.

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We don't get the result.

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We want a lot of the time, but we keep going.

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We keep trying to teach them.

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And again, we model it and our marriage imperfectly, we're

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trying to model it for our kids.

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So you can see, can you see the sacramental order?

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There's the sacramental order of, baptism that Karen and I obviously

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have experienced and there's the sacramental order of marriage.

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And then hopefully there's grace coming into our lives through.

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Through baptism through marriage, through the Eucharist.

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And then this grace allows us in perfectly to model.

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The love of God.

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In front of our kids and we don't do it perfectly.

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But I think we probably do it better than we would if we didn't have that grace.

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We open ourselves to that sacramental grace, we open ourselves to prayer.

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We ask God to help us do.

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More powerfully and consistently what we can't do ourselves

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and our students notice it.

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You mean, this.

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The schools you've worked in or been at or attended where there's

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just a vibe, there's a dynamic, there's a care and an energy where.

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People love each other.

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And again, we de sentimentalize it.

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We need to take it out of that purely sentimentalize concept.

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We don't mean people just run around hugging everybody, but we mean that people

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actually desire the good for each other.

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They desire to push others forward.

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So there's a lot in that.

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I hope it's useful for you.

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So that's the quote for the day.

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All right, friends, that's it.

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Let's get out there.

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Let's get reliant on that.

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Grace.

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Thank you for what you're doing every single day.

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As a Catholic educator, I'm doing an interview tomorrow.

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I've got a, going to have a great guest on the show.

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We're going to talk about her journey as a Catholic educator and her new book.

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So make sure you tune in tomorrow.

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My name is Jonathan Doyle.

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This has been the Catholic teacher.

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Daily podcasts.

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god bless your friends and i'll have another message for you tomorrow