Wit's End...notes from the principal
Takin' Care of Business. Most parents have heard that phrase but probably a smaller number of you know the musical reference I'm making. Canadian songwriter, Randy Bachman, penned the tune in 1973 and it was a mega hit for B.T.O. (aka Bachman- Turner Overdrive). The chorus was quite the rock anthem for many years to come and I offer it today to make a point:
It might serve us well to consider the wisdom of that simple directive. To every parent within the sound of my voice, or more accurately within the sight of this written page, takin' care of business, might well be the slogan to define parenting. It's what we do. We care about and we care for a whole slew of important people in our lives. We care for our kids and our spouse; we care about (and often for) our siblings, our own parents (especially as they age). Add in extended family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends . . . exhausting, right? Take a look again at that chorus. It is "every day . . . [in] every way" and we are never really off the clock.
Not trying to beat anyone up here or leave you looking up to find your feet, but the pace at which we move, and the demands we make of ourselves just might need an adjustment. Parents can only change what we acknowledge, so to begin this school year on a positive note, I ask that you consider that some of what we label as our business might very well be shifted to others and, as a result, we would realign some priorities.
At this year's Parent Night, my comments were shaped around a book I was reading: How to Raise an Adult. What was so impressive to me was that the author, Julie Lythcott-Haims, wrote one of the best treatments of parenting, citing not only its wonder and joy, but also its difficulty and challenge. Her premise changed everything for me: Parents don't raise children. Parents raise adults! And since there are life skills every adult needs to know, it follows that every child needs the experiences from which they will learn those skills. They will learn by doing. They will learn by trial and error, and the error part of that formula is the critical piece. So we must love our children and also redefine that such love does not include constant intrusion and problem solving on their behalf.
Let's first agree that your child, your daughter in this case, will learn considerable things by watching, listening, and imitating what she sees you say and do. As a parent, you are the very first and probably most significant influence in her life. Secondly, contrary to what some believe, kids DO pay attention. From the moment they are born, children are absorbing every sight and sound, adjusting to what each of their senses is telling them. And from a very, very young age, kids learn exactly how to use the information they have. They learn to manipulate those around them, especially when they learn what works. Take for example, a young child who cries when hurt. Normal response you say. Certainly. Every hurt, however, doesn't warrant the same response. So the child learns by studying those around her, whether or not tears and wailing provides any pay-off. Does a 'throw myself down on the floor' get some attention? If so, she is apt to repeat that response. Over time, that little one might indeed offer tears and wailing for every injustice. That is a learned response, what appropriately can be called learned helplessness, and it doesn't automatically change with age. Know any adult who still demonstrates the tantrum? If so, is it still working for them?
The converse is also true. What your daughter does for herself that results in success will cement the thinking and behaviors that brought her to the outcome. When she has solved a problem, no matter how small, she will strengthen what is called self-efficacy, the belief in one's own ability to complete tasks and reach goals. Maybe more importantly, when she encounters setbacks, she will learn that more often than not, success requires sustained effort. This development impacts every area of human endeavor and it is at the center of healthy self-esteem.
Your role as parent and your relationship with your daughter should evolve each and every year. Her growing independence as a teenager requires diminishing dependence upon you. That's good news. She can and should be doing more for herself which means you can and should have some time on your hands. Consider this. What are your interests? What do you do for yourself? What activity feeds your soul? The answers to any of the above cannot be "my children". Here's why? Lythcott-Haims said it well: "Each of us humans is on a life path that ought to be constructed by our choices, paved with our experiences, and aimed in the direction of our dreams. For parents, our path included having children who in turn have their own paths to follow. But our path continues on." (276)
Don't fall into denial that what she says isn't true. Don't accept that "good parents" martyr themselves or that "good parents" sacrifice every aspect of their lives and relinquish every moment of their time for their children. Remember what I said earlier. Our kids are watching us and they are internalizing everything they see. If what they see in mom or dad looks like an overtaxed, frenzied, short tempered, sleep deprived, anxious and over testy parent . . . persons who take no time for themselves but preach that self-love precedes the love of others . . . well, you know the answer. Why would anyone do it?
We love our kids. We want them to develop self-confidence, stamina, resilience and perseverance. Let them watch you having fun and at least sometimes, fun that has nothing to do with them. Let them see you reading a book (and it's not one of their assignments). Let them see you tackle a problem and share your thinking on what you're doing step-by-step, and why. Let them complete a chore while you sit down and relax. We want them to move on, and move out, and one day invite us to visit them. Think of that. Such a future should not frighten us. They will be creative, accomplished, and productive adults, takin' care of business. And we won't quite know exactly when that happened. But oh the joy we will experience!
Mrs. Carolyn Witte, Principal
Lythcott-Haims, Jule. How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2015, Print.
Thanks to everyone who attended the first Mothers Club Meeting of the year! We hope you will all come to the next meeting on Monday, October 5 at 6:30pm in the Media Center. Each month we will have something special to look forward to, so we encourage all moms to attend.
Be sure to check out the Mothers Club home page and calendar for more information about upcoming events and important notes.
Join us to kick-off Spirit Week and the 70th Anniversary & Grand Reunion Weekend!
Thursday, September 24
The Dads Club is also trying to build their database of emails to contact when assistance is needed for events such as this, the homecoming dance, the annual auction, and the senior all night party. If you would like to have your name added to the database please send our membership director, David Langlois an email at email@example.com. He will gladly add you to Sign-up Genius!
Welcome to Mercy!
Student & Staff Successes
Congratulations to seniors Lucy Devine and Alana Sullivan who were named Semifinalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Competition.
Way to go! Mercy Golf Coach Mrs. Vicky Kowalski was named the Oakland County Division 1 Golf COACH OF THE YEAR!
Flu Vaccination Clinic
Once again Mercy will host a free influenza clinic on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015 in partnership with the Michigan Community Wellness Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) and Alana's Foundation. The foundation was established in 2009 in memory of then five year old Alana Yaksich who died of influenza in 2003.
- Clinic Flyer
- Vaccine Information Statements
- Notice of Privacy Practices
- Assessment and Consent Form - Please return to the Reception Area no later than Tuesday September, 22, 2015.
Make a Difference Day
School will start at 8:00 a.m. with a meeting in Adviser group followed by a short prayer service, directions for the day and boarding of the buses.
Students will travel to the location and work with their Adviser and Adviser group from approximately 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. doing a variety of service tasks. Students will earn 3 hours of community service towards their graduation requirement.
The buses will bring the groups back to school. Lunch will be provided.
The day will end at 1:40 p.m.
Students need to wear their Mercy Make A Difference Day t-shirt they received last year. We are asking students to bring these in ahead of time to make sure they have them the morning of the event to wear to the site they are assigned. New students will receive a shirt the day of the event.
Attention Senior Students and Parents (or Class of 2016): Do you have questions about the college application process? Looking for direction on how to support your daughter as she chooses which colleges to apply to and completes her applications? The College Counseling Staff is here to assist you. We welcome you (and your daughter) to attend the following upcoming "College Wednesday" informal meetings. Feel free to drop in with questions. Our goal is to provide a casual and comfortable environment for students and parents to come in and discuss college plans and questions in a small group setting. Please check in at the Reception Area before proceeding to the meeting location. The scheduled meeting date and time is as follows: Wednesday, September 23 from 12:00pm - 1:00pm in the Baggot Street Conference Room.
Last Names (H-O) - Work with Mrs. Arpna Hessler
Last Names (P-Z) - Work with Mrs. Kristen Casey
70th Anniversary Celebration
We are looking for parent volunteers to lend a hand with various duties for events September 24 - 28, 2015. Please use this sign-up link to assist with set-up, clean-up, clerical work, and much more. Many of the volunteer shifts are scheduled on days/times prior to the kick-off of our weekend activities.Contact the Special Events office at 248.893.3535 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any volunteer questions.
The Dads Club needs one additional member to volunteer at Mercy the evening of Friday, September 25 from approximately 6:30pm - 10:00pm at the President' Reception. Dress code is MDC polo shirt and khakis. For additional information or to volunteer contact Tom Pegler at email@example.com or feel free to call at 248.207.1225.
ACT and SAT Testing
- SAT - November 7, 2015 and June 4, 2016
- ACT - October 24, 2015 and June 11, 2016
Although some school staff may work at these administrations, all registration and payment is done through College Board and ACT. Please use links below.
Mercy Day Mass
- a Greek island cruise
- touring ancient Corinth in the footsteps of St. Paul
- Greek dancing lessons
- climbing Mt. Etna
- walking through the Colosseum
- visiting the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel
Summer in France
Monsieur and Madame Campbell led a private tour of 38 Mercy alumnae, parents and students to La France this past summer for 11 days in early July. This trip of a lifetime included visits to Paris, Provence, Monaco and La Côte d'Azur.
The favorite cultural experiences of the group included a French cooking lesson, en evening on the Eiffel tower, an afternoon bicycle tour on the grounds of Versailles, learning about French Impressionism at Giverny and Auvers-sur-Oise, a tour of the Fragonard perfume factory and learning how to play French pétanque with French experts from the south of France. We even celebrated Bastille Day with the French! The best part of the trip students were the complements the student participants received on the quality of their French conversational skills by native French people! Bravo tout le monde!
CHSL Clothing Drive
This year during Spirit Week, not only will Mercy be serving the community on Make a Difference Day, but we will also join the Catholic League in a service project to help meet the ever increasing needs of families.
St. Vincent de Paul is asking the Catholic High School League to team up with them for the 1st Annual Fall Kick-off Clothing Drive. Every CHSL school will be involved in this drive. We will have one week, Sept. 18 - 25 to fill the storage unit to the brim. The school that accumulates the most poundage will be the recipients of the first annual St. Vincent de Paul "Support the Poor" traveling trophy to be presented at the Prep Bowl.
Please help Mercy to become the first winner of this trophy by donating clothing items. Classes will be awarded spirit points. All clothes can be brought to the Athletic Office.
YEARBOOK ADS: The LORE Staff would like to present you with the unique opportunity of placing an ad for your daughter in this year's yearbook! This is an excellent way to offer congratulations and to recognize your daughter's efforts in high school. Ads are available in a variety of sizes. To order, please fill out this form and submit all ad materials by November 6. Parents may also design their ad online at www.yearbookordercenter.com using order # 13826.
Latest and Greatest from the Alumnae Office
Special Invitation for Alumna Mothers and their Daughters
6:00 - 7:30 pm
Mercy Media Center
Pilgrimage to Ireland
"Would you mind not shaking my seat?" Junior Maria Pizzo and I looked up from her iPhone with wide eyes and quickly mumbled an apology to the woman in the airline seat in front of us-who was glaring at us with pursed lips-before quietly giggling to ourselves. Evidently our in-seat dancing and laughter was getting a little too boisterous, though we had hardly noticed. It's crazy to think the first time we had met had been less than two weeks earlier. International travel and a life-changing Mercy experience will do that to you, I guess.
Fall sports are in action! Field Hockey already captured some big wins. Volleyball is spiking their way to the top in tournament play. Golf is finding early success. Swim & Dive stay strong with plenty of meets ahead while Cross Country and Equestrian continue on their courses to victory. Cheer on all your Marlins sports teams! Check the athletics calendar and even get driving directions. Our athletes are always making headlines. Read some sports features here.
- Procedures for starting additional pieces which are appropriate for art scholarship competitions and the A.P. studio art exams
- Procedures to communicate with the art faculty for ongoing critique and support
- Photographing and editing your art in a professional manner to college admissions and AP exam standards
Pizza, Jams and Jeans
Snapshot of Mercy
Mercy girls sure know how to show their spirit during Spirit Week 2015!
If you have any questions or want to submit information for the Mercy MEMO, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Want even more? Click the school year calendar and the Mercy web site. And don't miss all of the latest Mercy In The News articles. Check out the current announcements and browse the home page links to see what's happening at Mercy.