Brother Superior recently finished his visit to Japan and is currently in the Philippines, the last leg of his visit to LEAD. In Japan, he was able to visit our schools in Hakodate and Kagoshima. Aside from fraternal interviews with Brothers, encounters with students, alumni, and were arranged. (Thank you to the Brothers working in Japan for all the preparations).
It is an honor for me to be present with you today. I come to you because you are part of an incredible global network of Lasallian schools that trace their origins back to 17th Century France in Europe. You are members of a worldwide network of educational institutions that are recognized for their quality. Within this global network you are members of a Lasallian unit we call the Lasallian East Asian District (LEAD). This District includes Lasallian teachers and students from Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. Think about that for a moment.
Our world today is one of opportunity and conflict, of solidarity and consumerism, of altruism and selfishness, of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Our world is all of these things at one and the same time. The Lasallian mission of human and Christian Education exist in this contradiction-filled world. It exists in nearly 80 countries around the world and every day of the week nearly one million students of every race, culture and religion attends a La Salle school. And in these schools the more than 80 thousand teachers and brothers not only relate to their students as professors teaching them the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful in life; they also relate to them as caring and compassionate older brothers and older sisters.
A Lasallian education, when it is true to the vision of Saint John Baptist de La Salle is conducted not by individual teachers but by a community of educators working closely with one another for the benefit of the students. It is an education of relationships; teachers to teachers, teachers to students, students to students. “The new style of relationship that De La Salle indicated for his school gives life
to the love and tenderness of the educator. He realized that education is above all a relationship of confidence, goodness, generosity and affectionate kindness, and that without love the most skillful techniques run the risk of being ineffective in the stimulation and growth of the person.”1
As students, you have the wonderful privilege of attending this excellent school that offers you a quality education. It is an education that has been valued and desired by millions of young people, parents and family for over three centuries in those 80 countries around the world. During your time here you learn what is true, valuable and important in this world. The “school curricula of a Lasallian school are marked by their concern for the promotion of justice and peace, and the integrity of creation. The Brothers [and teachers] take care to safeguard the rights of children and young people”.2
The education you are receiving comes with expectations. We have expectations of you. For example, you learn that dignity is inherent to human nature; respect and love for your fellow classmates and for all people is essential if we are to live in peace and harmony on this planet that all humanity shares. We expect you to respect this inherent dignity of all persons, including those with whom you may not like or disagree with. If you truly want to enjoy peace and harmony, you must be able to disagree, discuss and argue in a civil and courteous manner. This is what we want you to contribute to our contradiction-filled world – your teachers expect it of you, and more, the world needs it from you.