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Loneliness and Student Wellbeing in a Catholic School

November 12, 2019

The irony of modern social media use for young people is that it promised vast new layers of connections yet loneliness and student wellbeing remain massive challenges in most Catholic schools. In this episode I want to share a great quote with you about how every Catholic teacher can help to address the loneliness and isolation that impacts so many young people.

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How To Be The Presence of Jesus To The Lonely

Well hey everybody, Jonathan Doyle once again for The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Greetings to you wherever you are in the world. I just want to send you a word of encouragement today for the amazing work that you do in Catholic education. I want to share with you a really interesting quote. I was reading an article yesterday on the CERC Blog, that’s the Catholic Education Resource Center. They’re worth looking up. If you do a Google search on CERC or Catholic Education Resource Center. That he’s been putting out this I think weekly or fortnightly sort of blog of articles on Catholic education stuff. It’s very good.

So I read this wonderful article yesterday where this Dominican priest, his name is Father Peter John Cameron, and he was writing about loneliness in young people and how it came through the recent sort of centered on youth. But listen to this beautiful quote he says, “Sometimes young people can be carrying very hefty burdens and even their best friends don’t know what they’re going through. These issues are never talked about and these young people feel completely isolated with this burden that they’re forced to carry along.” Isn’t this one of the great ironies of the whole social media thing? That the promise was always about connection, right? The promise was always about deeper levels of connection, but yet we see our young people often feeling more isolated and lonely than ever. It’s such a strange thing.

So all I want to say in this short message is to remind you that as you walk into any classroom today, that loneliness and disconnection can be a reality for any number of the students there today. So you really are God’s hands and feet. You really are the person that he has placed there, you know? And it could just be a question that you ask or a moment where you just sit and listen.

I remember when I was teaching I sort of had really good relationships with the students and if there were new kids or kids that were really struggling, I was often able to leverage my connection with some of the cool kids or the popular kids and say, “Hey, can you do me a favor? Can you check on this kid? Can you just make a bit of an effort to reach out to them?” And so sometimes it’s just a question of helping to make that connection. I mean, because a great Catholic school is a community, right? It’s a community. It’s a group of people united in a love for Jesus that create a very special kind of place.

So I think it’s not as if you as the educator have to kind of meet the deep internal needs of every student. Of course we can’t do that, but maybe it’s just about pointing other kids in their direction and building that relationship. So let’s be reminded that today as we go about our work, that this loneliness and disconnection is a reality and God is healing people. Jesus is healing people through you, through these relationships, through your sensitivity. And why the Holy Spirit is so important is because the Holy Spirit will prompt you. You will get an insight, you’ll have a thought, you’ll notice something that you would not have normally noticed in a student because the Holy Spirit will be prompting and guiding you.

So I’m going to pray for you. Father God, I just pray for every teacher listening to this right now. I thank you for them. I ask you to guide and direct them today as they go about their work. Help them to be sensitive to the needs all around them. Holy Spirit, fill them, and prompt them, and give them the grace and energy and capacity that they need to be the hands and feet of Jesus in every moment. All right friends, that’s it from me. Let’s be attuned to the challenges all around us. Do me a favor. Instagram, if you’re on Instagram, come and find me, jonathandoyle47. just type in jonathandoyle47 you’ll find me there. The Facebook group, Passionate Catholic Teachers., love you to come and join that group. Just do a search for Passionate Catholic Teachers and you can find about booking me to speak or the Going Deeper Program all the stuff that we do is on the website BeingCatholic.com.au.

And make sure you’ve subscribe to the podcast wherever you’re hearing this right now. Just hit subscribe on Apple podcast, Spotify, wherever you’re hearing it. That would be fantastic, and please share this with some teachers. All right. God bless you friends. Let’s get out there. Let’s get amongst it. Be encouraged. God sees everything you do. He’s so proud of you. Press on. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, and I’m going to have another message for you tomorrow.

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About Jonathan Doyle

Life offers us so many possibilities. I’ve always been interested in why some people live amazing lives of contribution and success and why so many struggle with lost ambitions, unfulfilling relationships and the status quo.

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