From a Claddagh Teacher, Ms. Kelly O’Connell
The following two prayers have been said at school with the students. The two prayers
Letter from a Friend and Footprints are something that the children can draw on if they
don’t feel so great. It is a support that they can draw on have available to them if they
felt that it could be helpful to them ( maybe at a time when they feel, stressed, ill, get
injured, or a parent / grandparent falls ill ).
The acclaimed author, Stephen Covey, wrote the following about an experience he had
one Sunday morning on a subway in New York :
“People were sitting quietly – some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some
resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm peaceful scene.
Then suddenly a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so
loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.
The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation.
The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s
papers. It was very disturbing. And yet the man next to me did nothing.
It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as
to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at
all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated too. So finally, with
what I felt was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your
children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a
The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time
and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came
from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to
think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm ( the way we “see” the world
) shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought
differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to
worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s
pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “ Your wife just died? Oh,
I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an
How often do we look at others around us and not know the depth of what is going on
in that person’s life at that moment in time. If we did, how different would we be
Dr Roisin Joyce’s words that life is hard and that we should be compassionate to
ourselves and that we should be compassionate to others comes to mind.
Emotions of the author before speaking to the father of the rambunctious children:
The rambunctious children in the subway ( train ) carriage (Draw them)
Emotions of the author after speaking to the father of the rambunctious children: