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My Fond Memories of “Fairness”

Mary Rose Bacani Valenti

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

spencer-greenwood.JPGTonight, October 21st, at 8pm ET, the season premiere of “The World I Know: Virtues in Action” airs. The target audience is elementary and high school students, and this has been a year in the making, so I’m excited to see this happen!
The first episode is on the virtue of fairness, and I have so many beautiful memories in putting this together…
Filming the first segment on virtues in action in the school communities was difficult yet very rewarding. This segment, which we titled “Virtues in Action: Where I Am”, was co-produced with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, a school board west of Toronto, and involved going into many elementary and high schools, meeting students and teachers, interviewing them about their personal stories and involvements in making their school community a better place. The heart of this segment was filmed at St. Paul Secondary School. I met Linda Cina, who works with students with special needs, and she introduced me to James, Rodrigo, and all the other wonderful students she had. My cameraman and I actually had to visit them beforehand just so they can get used to two strangers with a strange camera. We watched them in the darkroom in their photography class, joined them in their exercises in the gym and during art class. And somehow, a certain aspect of fairness jumped out at me. Most people think fairness is about sameness – equal rights, equal opportunities, etc. But I learned that fairness is not always about sameness. In fact, sometimes, sameness means getting different things, getting different opportunities.
Filming the second segment on virtues in action in our personal lives was probably the segment that touched my heart the most in the production of it. We called this one “Virtues in Action: The Way I See It”. You see, I had to find ten high school students who had personal stories to share that corresponded with the ten virtues. And when I found them, I asked them to meet me at one school and we did the ten interviews all in one day. But I made it almost a retreat day. We started off with icebreakers and heart-to-heart conversations around a long table. None of them knew each other, and I didn’t know any of them either. But in our morning get-together, we were all sharing personal stuff like relationships, pain over the death of relatives and friends, aspirations for our future. Some also told jokes. Honestly, it was such a heartwarming experience and I felt very close to them. This episode’s star is Spencer Greenwood and he talks about his family life, working at camp, and one of his heroes – Pope John Paul II.
The last segment, entitled “Virtues in Action: Lived Out”, involved interviewing ten young or youngish people in the consecrated life about the saints who inspire them to be virtuous. This episode’s star is Br. Sean McIsaac, B.G.S., a Little Brother of the Good Shepherd. We visited him at the Good Shepherd Centre, a place that feeds the homeless and gives them shelter overnight. I actually volunteered once with my siblings during Lent, to make beds and help sort food in their little warehouse. I watched Br. Sean interact with the homeless people who came his way, always friendly and cheerful.
All three segments move so fast, that we inserted prayers after each one, prayers that help our young people reflect on what they had learned in each segment, and allow that to penetrate into their hearts.
With prayer and action, we can make a difference.

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