Saturday, May 31, 2014

What's in a Name?

I began homeschooling my children when Casey was 4.  In those early days of homeschooling I worried about so many things.  Am I doing it right?  Am I making a huge mistake?  What if I miss something?  Those were the big questions.

I also struggled with the idea of loss of identity.  When I was in elementary school, we had a school song.  In high school, there was a mascot.  What would my homeschoolers identify with?  I wanted a name for my school so I joined and opened discussions about it on various homeschooling boards.  I found that most people just used their last name paired with School, or more often, Academy.  I didn't want that.  My children have a last name by which they are identified.  "Last Name Academy" wasn't cutting it for me.  So my quest began for a school name.

After thinking, wrangling, researching, and having ideas shot down - by my husband, friends, and online communities - I settled on a name:

Gratia Plena Academia

It was perfect for us.  Do you know what "gratia plena" means?  It means full of grace.  For my non-Catholic friends, it is the beginning of the Hail Mary prayer.  "Ave Maria, gratia plena...." Hail Mary, full of grace!  (When the angel appears to Mary to tell her she will be the mother of Christ, the angel greets her with those words.)

I've always loved the word "grace," the name Grace, the quality of grace.  Being graceful - not being clumsy - is a quality I long to possess.  Being in a state of grace is a place I constantly strive to be.  And what better example of grace and motherhood and as a teacher could I hope to find than Mary?

My school's name is a constant reminder to strive to be so worthy - so full of grace - as to be chosen for amazing things!  My school's name is a prayer for understanding, guidance, and protection.  And the face of my school is the Mother of mothers.  Yes, I chose the right name!