School leaders know that many things are contagious, especially at this time of year. But it’s not only the flu, pink eye, the yawn, or even complaining that catch on; positive things can be contagious too. One act of kindness can spur on another until we have a line of generous people paying it forward: generosity, authentic and beautiful, is the gift that keeps on giving! 

Simple Acts Inspire 

As a Catholic elementary school principal, I’m blessed to witness this generosity in action in countless ways throughout the day, especially through the witness of my faculty and staff. Their own daily generosity of “showing up” each morning, especially after a long busy week, grading the seemingly endless stack of essays or science lab reports, or patiently redirecting that student who needs multiple reminders to raise their hand before speaking… all of these “insignificant” acts of generosity inspire me to joyfully be generous with all that the Lord asks of me, too. 

Answering God’s Call for Daily Self-Gift 

As disciples of Christ and particularly as school leaders – or whatever may be our vocation and current task – God asks our daily self-gift, the virtue of generosity. He stirs within my heart, asking me to give an encouraging word to a discouraged parent, a helping hand in the cafeteria when I’d rather use the time to clear out my inbox, or an open ear for a teacher who wants to share a new project idea with me.  

It becomes easier to give when I notice the everyday generosity of my teachers and staff, the sisters, priests, and students around me … and hopefully my witness will also inspire them to “pay it forward!” The giving keeps giving! 

Reflecting on the True Spirit of Advent and Christmas 

This Advent and Christmas season, as we reflect on THE greatest act of generosity of our Lord Jesus Christ, may we take some time in silent prayer to thank our Infant God for the countless witnesses of generosity among us each day, those unsung heroes of virtue who inspire us to practice “contagious generosity.”  

May we have the eyes to see and the heart to live a deeper, more joyful generosity so that our gift may inspire others to “pay it forward” and give the gift that keeps giving! 

Sr. Maria Christi, O.P. is the principal of St. Jude Catholic School in Peoria, IL. 

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