Because I grew up in a large Irish Catholic family (nine children), I am conditioned to expect to see decorations of shamrocks, pots of gold, and leprechauns every March 17th.
And because of my job, I am able to see how this tradition is being passed on in schools, even when the students are not all Irish Catholic. Schools today use St. Patrick’s Day as one way to discuss the culture heritage of this holiday in America today.
When I walked down the hall this morning, I saw how the teachers had used the motif of luck in their hallway decorations. There were construction paper rainbows attached to construction paper pots of gold. On the bow of each arch was the statement, “I am fortunate because of my ….” This statement was completed by each student with a different sentiment: a puppy, a friend, a nice house, or lunch.
On the opposite wall, there were the leprechauns and additional shamrocks with even more student writing. Students wrote that they were lucky because of favorite foods, favorite books, and recess.
Then, I found the one shamrock almost hidden behind a dancing green leprechaun that touched on a fraternal nerve:
“I am lucky because my report card was better than my brother’s.”
Reducing academics to luck? Sibling rivalry with a brother? A confession?
How much does that statement sound like someone who could relate to growing up in a big-maybe even a big Irish- family?