Sunday, 27 July 2014


July 27, 2014
AVEC organized its first Teachers' orientation program for 62 Teachers of St. Mary's Convent High school. Thanks to Sr. Smitha, Principal of the school for making the booking well in advance. Sr. Smitha welcomed the two guest speakers to the school community. Floral bouquets were also presented. The session began with an interfaith prayer song to invoke God's blessings for peace, abundance, health and joy in the lives of everybody. The prayer song added a spiritual touch to the entire program
 Mr. Rochwyn Fernandes, AVEC Project coordinator, thanks the management for the warm welcome. He guided the participants through a moment of personal meditation and relaxation through rhythmic breathing. The teachers found this whole exercise very calming and spiritual. Mr. Fernandes, then spoke to the participants about AVEC and its contribution to the promotion of Value education in the Archdiocese of Mumbai. He then introduced Fr. Glenn and incidentally, today happened to be the third anniversary of his kidney donation.
 Fr. Glenn drew the attention of the teachers to more 'soul searching' and introspection rather than mere knowledge. "I have not come here to give you more of the same! This session is not about inviting you to make more 'quantitative changes', it is about making small 'qualitative changes", he said. Every invitation to change is painful and unwelcome. But those who have the courage to make it, in the bargain, also create ripple effects. Teachers are 'gurus' and one's who dispel the darkness. Value education enables the process faster and better.
 The participants spent a lot of time focusing on the importance of making 'perspective changes'. The insight into 'Career' and 'Vocation' was deep and thought provoking. "Careers are only a human adventure; a partnership with self. Vocation is a Divine-Human adventure; a partnership with God-Others-Self", he explained. The participants were invited to shift from 'prison to palace', 'referee to coach', and from 'career to vocation'. Small qualitative shifts necessarily results in quantitative shifts too.
The many examples of Kia Scherr, Malala Yousafzai, Immaculee Ilibagiza, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa were sufficient evidence of people who chose to live by a 'higher value'. Most of us choose to live life by embracing the lower values. We opt for violence over peace, corruption over honesty, filth over cleanliness... Our session today if to manage our lives by Values. Once were are aware of our core values, we begin to learn to live on a higher plane.
 The world of the young and the mindsets of our young students are important aspects that every teacher has to focus on. Very often we only focus on the 'syllabus for the student' and forget the 'student of the syllabus", he said. The six pain points of our youngsters today are real and need immediate attention. They need to be discussed in class and the right values be proposed as a path to living a significant life.
Due to the limited time, the Brian Hall-Benjamin Tonna Value map was left out. Normally the AVEC sessions are for a 4 hour duration. But we hope that a second session will be organized in the next term. The final part of the session presented the four life styles we find ourselves in. Shifting to a higher lifestyle, necessarily means also embracing  higher values and reflecting it in our WORD too.
 At the end of the session, a number of teachers wrote their appreciation in the AVEC log book:
"Thank you for the enriching program and for sharing all your insights and experiences. I'm sure that enriched by the same, we'll seek to be the light to dispel the darkness and bring significance to our lives. Can we have more of your sessions please? They were rejuvenating indeed." - Mrs. Philomena Fernandes
 "Thank you for this short orientation program. It was very enriching and you have broadened our perspective and gained knowledge about the youth. God bless you We wish to have more of such programs" -  E Monis
 "A well prepared presentation. very Good at the start of our educational year. Will surely be of a great help to me as teacher. thanks for the contribution" -  Prasanay
"Thank you for the enriching and enlightening session. As teachers, now and then, we need to be shaken off our lethargy and old mind sets. You've been successful in doing that at least to some extent" -  Juliana Pinto
 "Thank you Fr. Glenn for the short and enriching session. Thank you" -  Sr. Christine CJ

Thanks to all the teachers and management of St. Mary's Convent High school - Mulund for giving us this opportunity to speak to you all on 'Management by Values" 

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