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Guest Blog Post – Bring Joy to Others

Throughout this school year, we will feature guest bloggers to share different perspectives on or experiences with boys education on our Head of School blog. Our next guest blogger is Lori Paredes, Director of Communications at Regis.

1st Grade Student laughing in MakerSpace

“Be humble, be simple and bring joy to others.” This quote by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat is a favorite among Sacred Heart educators. The directive is a simple one, the words are easy to comprehend, but being humble, being simple and bringing joy to others isn’t always easy. Humility and simplicity in life are honed over time, but bringing joy to others is something that can start at a very young age and help the other pieces fall into place. Joy comes in many forms. One way we can bring joy to others is to be giving of ourselves. The concept of giving is not new. Ancient civilizations constructed their societies to include the idea of giving—defined as showing kindness to strangers—and philanthropy into their culture. In its earliest form, philanthropy, which originates from the Greek word philanthropia, translated to ‘love of mankind.’1 Just like these ancient peoples, we all hope to show kindness to others and hope that others will show kindness to us. Benevolence, altruism, generosity—these are all words associated with the idea of giving, and these are words that many of us strive to use as guiding beacons in our lives. There is something inherent in each of us that makes us desire this kindness and goodwill in our lives, but there is also an external factor that comes into play—education on the culture of giving and seeing the impact of your efforts. 

Whether you learned it in school or from a particular experience you had in the past, many of us have a story about when we recognized the importance of giving back. For me, it was early on when I would visit my father’s home country of Guatemala. As we traveled around Guatemala City and the countryside, I would see the poverty that existed outside of the bubble I lived in day-to-day in Houston. Although I wasn’t sure how to be giving of myself when I was an adolescent, I knew that there had to be something I could do—whether it be donating clothes I grew out of or just talking to my parents about what I felt. For me, there wasn’t a built-in structure in my formal education to help direct my energy into an organized effort to ‘give back.’ Madeleine Sophie recognized the importance of incorporating this culture of giving into schooling, and this became part of the bedrock of Sacred Heart education–Goal III: A social awareness that impels to action.

7th Grade Spring Social Awareness

Each fall and spring, our 3rd through 8th grade students leave campus to give back, to show kindness to others, to experience altruism, to effect social change in their community, and to learn what it means firsthand to bring joy to others. Of course, sometimes this lesson isn’t immediate and only truly sinks in after discussion and reflection. I have the benefit each fall and spring of traveling to all of our Social Awareness projects around the city in order to capture our students efforts in action. These are my favorite days of the school year. Witnessing the joy our boys bring to the people they interact with through these projects is humbling and inspiring. One of my favorite service trips our Middle School students go on is to Community Family Centers on the eastside of downtown Houston. It is a simple task our students have—they stand behind tables in a large parking lot, manning a station with a certain food product, and they pass out their specific item to hundreds of people in line. These Middle School students have one-on-one conversations with many of the people traveling through the line and learn a little bit about their lives. For those who are elderly or disabled, our students will help them collect the food as they move down the line. Before their own eyes, they witness that others in their Houston community have different needs than their own, and they experience firsthand the joy they bring to those they interact with.

2nd Grade Social Awareness 2018

Our younger grades experience altruism in a different way. They conduct drives to collect clothing or canned food or diapers, to name a few, in preparation for the day they will get to interact directly with those they are serving. Although they might not see with their own eyes the joy they are bringing to others, the conversation surrounding their efforts opens their minds and hearts to this idea that giving back—of time or treasure—impacts the world around them in a positive way. 

The idea of community service is not unique, but having social awareness built into the foundation of Sacred Heart education is special. Having experienced the social awareness program at Regis for several years, when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, my first thought wasn’t ‘How is this effecting me?’ even though I knew my parents’ home was underwater, but instead ‘Where do I go to help others right now?’ This is the reaction many of our students have too in these situations. This year, as we begin to enact our Action Plan as part of the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals, we are striving to bring social awareness into our students lives even more than it already is. Humility, simplicity and the ability to bring joy to others is a life lesson that we believe can be honed within the walls of our school. Witnessing our students continue to live by these tenets after they graduate from Regis brings joy to every single faculty and staff member, and we know they are continuing to bring joy to those in need in the community around them. To our Regis Parents—thank you for understanding the importance of giving back to your community and for wanting your sons to bring joy to others. Our students—your sons—inspire us every day.

1. “History of Modern Philanthropy,” National Philanthropic Trust,  

Lori Paredes

Bio: This is Lori's 6th year at Regis and second year managing communications. Lori attended graduate school at the University of Houston and undergrad at Louisiana State University. She holds an M.A. in Public History, B.A. in Communications, and B.A. in History. Prior to becoming a Regis Knight, Lori worked at Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Menil Collection.