My name is Erika Rath and I am the Director of Student Services at the Sacred Heart School of Montreal. I want to thank you in advance for reading and partaking in this forum. The goal is to hear different points of view on various topics that will ideally help our students by enriching their lives in and out of the classroom.

How will the forum work?

First, I will read an article that discusses educational trends regarding female students. Then, I will post my opinions, ideas and suggestions on the highlighted topic with the hope that many of you will engage in an online conversation with the Sacred Heart Community. This is a place for you, the reader, the parent, or even the student to share your own opinions, strategies and tools that may or may not have worked.

I am proud to say that I have worked at this school for the past 8 years in various capacities and am truly honored to call this place my second home. Come join me on this journey of reading, writing, laughing and learning, because by working together we can help our students Be Exceptional.

How Much Freedom Does My Daughter Need?

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A parent shared a story with me about her daughter taking the metro by herself. They had been practicing together during the summer and she knew exactly what to do and where to go; however, one day she took the metro by herself and ended up two metro stops past her stop. When she realized she had forgotten her stop, she got off at the next one and decided to back track. She called her mother and told her what had happened. They did not provide her with any instructions as she wanted to figure it out on her own. She arrived home a bit flustered and upset that she had made a mistake, but her parents were incredibly proud that she had kept her cool and figured it out. She was nervous, but she didn’t let her nerves overwhelm her. She took a risk and it paid off. She is now stronger and more resilient from this experience. And her parents know that she is capable, strong, and independent. 

If you read my blog about taking risks over the summer, then you know I’m not that much of a risk taker, but that I’ll try to take calculated thought out risks that I can handle. With that being said, I’m all for students taking risks that will help empower them and give them the independence that they so often crave. 

It seems only natural that parents worry about their children. Parents often worry about the whereabouts of their children, how they are doing in school, whether they have friends, and if they are safe. 

The problem is that worrying has taken over and the regular concerns that parents once had are now overwhelming. The truth is that our society is pretty safe, and according to statistics from the FBI, safer than it used to be. It might not always feel that way because of our access to news and constant online updates. 

How is it then that our youth have never been safer, yet our worries and concerns are more prevalent than ever before? 

Perhaps we need to look at ourselves and find out why we are anxious and how those worries are affecting our students and children. Do they know that we are worried about them? And if so, why are we worried? We need to figure out how to help our children relax, have fun, and be more carefree. 

According to the article, children need more unstructured time to play and relax. This time leads to the development of positive personality traits like confidence, persistence, and creativity. All traits that we know we want our children to possess. 

We need to back down and let our children fend for themselves and figure it out. They are more than capable if we let them navigate the obstacles that come their way. We cannot protect them forever and we need to help them be adaptable so that they can manage things that are unexpected in life. 

We as educators and parents need to help our students and children explore their independence, but we also want to make sure they do not come into contact with any danger. We can control certain environments so that we both feel at ease, but we also give them a taste of independence. Exposing children to risk in a controlled environment might mean leaving children at home for an hour while you run errands in the middle of the afternoon, or it might mean allowing your children to use the kitchen and bake something unsupervised. Your level of risk and control need to be defined by you. 

“Independence is something that happens when you do less. It can be one of the most difficult parenting skills to acquire but also one of the most necessary—learning how to step out of the way.”


Erika Rath, Director of Student Services
514-937-2845 ext. 121