Leaven Blog

We were young once, too

by Anita McSorley

Although it’s difficult to believe it now, Father Mark and I were young once, too.

And long before our respective paths led us to The Leaven, we enjoyed our chances for adventure.

Father Mark studied in Rome for more than five years, with all the casual student holidays that study abroad entails. You know — to England, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, the odd mission trip to Kenya — well, you get the picture.

I — less excitingly — spent my first years out of school working in New England and New York.

So, we get it. We really do.

Young people embrace adventure.

Still, I would think working with Joe Bollig would be adventure enough for anyone.

But, apparently, the siren call of adventure has been serenading our junior reporter, Moira Cullings.

And she is soon striking out to share a house with two girlfriends from college. In Colorado, no less.

Can I tell you a secret? We couldn’t be grumpier about it.

If we were generous and big-hearted, we would be thrilled for her opportunity. We would be proud that she’s landed a job already. We’d hope that they’re able to give her opportunities that The Leaven never could.

We hope she hates them.

I know this is partly because change is never easy — and it certainly doesn’t get any easier as you get older.

But it’s also because we broke all the rules when we hired Moira — and were mightily rewarded for doing so. And we don’t trust our luck.

You see, long ago, Father Mark and I decided we didn’t want to hire people straight out of college. Not because we didn’t want them to fail us, but because we didn’t want to fail them!

Fresh college graduates tend to be enthusiastic, idealistic, and have high expectations of their first jobs — and their first employers.

And all they were going to discover when they brought all this bubbly idealism to The Leaven was, well, us!

When it came time to hire for the junior reporter position a couple of years ago, however, we knew that this time we’d have to go young. Real young.

We needed a digital native rather than a digital immigrant.

We needed someone whose knowledge of social media didn’t begin and end at Facebook.

And we needed someone with a young person’s perspective on our ancient faith.

And, so, somewhat apprehensively, we became Moira’s first employers some 2-1/2 years ago.

But I have to admit, we’ve never looked back.

What Moira learned from us I’ll leave for her to tell. But we learned a heck of a lot from her.

She taught us that you can hire someone straight out of college and — if it’s the right someone — she can pull her weight from Day 1.

She taught us that millennials get a bad rap — we get more drama out of our photocopier than we did out of her.

And she taught us that not all recent grads are all sugar and spice. (We found that out when she started trolling designer Todd Habiger about his playlist — Soft Rock ‘80s Love Songs.)

When my kids participated in Kairos in high school, I always used to include in my letter to them a quote I’ve always loved from Albert Einstein. It seems appropriate here.

“A ship is always safe at the shore,” he said, “but that is not what it is built for.”

So, we wish you bon voyage, Moira, and — because I’m Irish — may the wind be always at your back.

But should the seas get rough — and they might — remember that Father Mark and I are living proof that sometimes even adventurers find their way back home.

We’ll leave the light on for you.

And Todd’s playlist.

About the author

Anita McSorley

Anita, managing editor of The Leaven, has over 30 years’ experience in book, magazine and newspaper editing, including stints as the assistant editor of the “Diplomatic Papers of Daniel Webster” at Dartmouth College and then in the public relations departments of Texaco, Inc., and the Rockefeller Group in New York. Anita made the move to newspaper editing when she came to The Leaven in 1988, where she has been ever since. Anita is a member of St. Patrick Parish in Kansas City, Kan., and in her spare time, she enjoys giving her long-suffering husband, her children and her staff good advice that they never take.

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