Mentoring and Identifying the Self
As I entered Brother Bob Livernois’ office, I was welcomed with a warm smile and a pleasant “please, sit down.” Upon the first impression, he seemed like an honorable man, with good intentions and a big heart. However, Br. Bob proved himself to be more than just that, by rejecting the status-quo of teaching.
When asked who he wishes to mirror in the mentoring process, he replied, “I don’t want to be like anyone else. I don’t need to be in charge. I just need to be there for the kids when they’re having difficulties in their lives as well as moments of great joy.” His approach is unique, because he strives for individuality and humility, while making sure he is effectively aiding his students on a path that extends much further than the classroom.
The Path to Gilmour
Before his debut at Gilmour Academy, Brother Bob wore many hats. He was a teacher, guidance counselor, school administrator and, most recently, Vice President for Mission and Leadership at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio.
Interestingly, he follows a mechanism he calls his “internal clock.” This “internal clock,” tells him when his time at a school is up. He just knows. By no means is his influence limited following his departures; rather, it tells him when it is time to further extend his influence.
According to him, seven years is the maximum amount of time he stays at any school. After seven years, he finds another community, and recently, he chose Gilmour. Brother Bob’s unforgettable motto of “seven years, new faces, new places” articulates his constant desire for change, for positive growth and expanding goodness and knowledge to as many communities as humanly possible.
Trust – “The Essence of Effective Communication”
With such rich experiences behind him, he has found trust to be the foundation for all of his connections with student bodies. Many even stay in touch far beyond his departure. It is his voice and teachings that remain imprinted in the hearts and minds of many high school communities. If there is no trust between a student and a teacher or counselor, communication will break at its seems.
“Trust is the essence of effective communication.” – Brother Bob
Being open to communicate is the first step. Br. Bob encourages all students to open themselves to the hands of Gilmour’s repository of guidance. It is his intention to nudge students to embrace the realities before them and express their stresses and ideas confidently and kindly.
Gilmour’s spirituality: The Allure
“Each one of our Holy Cross schools promotes [their values] a little differently. I don’t know of any other school [besides Gilmour] that has forgiveness as one of their core values.”
These words are by no means criticism. In fact, having forgiveness as one of Gilmour’s charisms astonishes Brother Bob. He understands that acclimating to this atmosphere is necessary and recognizing the unique sentiment behind this charism is essential to successful student life and identity. Br. Bob believes this charism directly aids in establishing the camaraderie and unity of the student body, resembling a family.
Continually, Br. Bob “finds forgiveness interesting because, in other schools, we don’t work toward forgiveness, we work towards excellence.” The goal for mere excellence contradicts forgiveness because it implies that mistakes should not exist, ergo, forgiveness is not necessary. The charism of forgiveness encourages the mindset to allow mistakes in fueling merit and moral, not the other way around. Gilmour offers Br. Bob an uncustomary school culture in which alone, intrigues him to unveil it.
Crafting Advisory Roles for Students: Spiritual Orienting
Take advice seriously!
Br. Bob said, “There are scheduled times during advisory throughout the year that are designed for leadership. Four to five opportunities are based on habitudes (habits and attitudes). I’ll be planning those advisories along the way. For our regular leadership class that meets weekly, that will be open to a far larger group of kids and depending on the popularity. It’s gonna look a little different. It’s adding structure. I’m in the process of meeting with Pfundshein and Dr. T and Ms. Reidy to form something that is innovative but more intentional. We need to be more intentional in our leadership.”
To all students, a piece of advice: Reach out more and step out of your comfort zones. Realize your full potential. Become the person God intended you to be.
Your high school career is shaped by the energy you invest in your everyday decisions in your classes and beyond those “confinements.” Turn your school, our school, into a place directed by intentional success, intentional kindness, and intentional spirituality, and Brother Bob serves as an excellent resource for actualizing these opportunities.