Dear St John the Apostle families,
In my house at the moment three of my four teenage/young adult children are rostered on to cook for the family once a week. My wife and I are rostered on as well. When you are rostered on you get to choose the meal. You have to be aware of both the needs of others and what we have in the cupboards and fridge. You have to also go to the shop to get any ingredients needed (I still pay for these). At this point in our lives its a system that works really well for everybody.
Last week one of my children suggested we get take away Indian food from our favourite Indian restaurant. I liked that idea a lot and I could also tell that while it was a great idea, the onus was on me, on a tired Friday night, to decide the menu, place the order and go and pick it up. I also knew that we had left overs in the fridge if we didn't want to cook. So I suggested there were plenty of left overs, but, it they wanted it, then they could go online, choose the menu, place the order and go and pick it up (they can drive). The result? About 2 minutes into looking online they decided to go with the leftovers.
I was reminded in this moment that it can be hard sometimes to hold our own children accountable for their needs, wants, choices and actions. Perhaps we find it difficult to watch them be upset or experience difficulty. It upsets us, so we do what we can to alleviate their discomfort or remove challenges. Perhaps we feel that their discomfort or choices might reflect on us as a parent ( believing that 'A 'good' parent wouldn't put their child in an uncomfortable position'). We judge ourselves for their discomfort.
In that simple scenario my child and I both grew a little more. Though I knew my child would be disappointed if we didn't have take away, I reminded them that they are responsible for their choices. If they want something, they have to be the person who does the work to achieve it. Every day, even as a parent of young adults, I have to remind myself that my job is to make myself redundant. At some point in their life they will have to stand on their own two feet, without me. They not only need the practical skills, they need confidence, consideration for others, self-belief and resilience in the face of risks or failure. Every day I am challenged to show love by empowering them to own their own lives.
Thank you to all the parents who completed our Annual Survey over the last fortnight. It has now closed for the year. We had a large number of families complete the survey, which will provide a good cross section of feedback, opinion and thoughts for us to consider when planning for 2021. Students in Year 3-6 also completed a student survey and staff have completed their own also. All of this information assists with forward planning.
While it has been very wet, we are also very thankful for the rain at the moment. It is good for our local farmers.
I hope you have a restful weekend and there's an opportunity to get out and about a little more. together.
Matthew Garton, Principal
ACT Election - Saturday 17 October
There are 7 weeks until the ACT Election and I am sure you are seeing candidates from all parties at shopping centres (or even receiving phone calls from them). I encourage you to approach candidates at the shopping centres and mention or discuss the value of ACT Catholic Schools and quiz them on their party’s support for ACT Catholic Schools.
In the ACT, there are 29 systemic Catholic Schools who educate 15,000 students. In Canberra, Catholic schools are very similar to public schools, with our schools having almost exactly the same average ICSEA score (1077-1076). Our schools are inclusive, support families from all backgrounds, and operate on a modest budget.
Did you know that when you compare the total funding that Catholic schools in each state/territory receive, the ACT are the second lowest funded Catholic schools in the country? This is particularly impacted by the ACT Government’s low funding of Catholic schools.
Have a chat to the candidates and mention that you are a parent in an ACT Catholic School and funding of Catholic Schools is an important issue for you.
What Staff are Learning About
This week at the REC meeting I attended we talked about how to embed Catholic Social Teaching into our curriculum. It was an interesting conversation and one I will continue to have with our staff over the next year and beyond.
I will admit I am more familiar with some than others. I will keep you posted about our journey to deepen our faith by focusing on justice and charity. If you would like to know more information you can start by looking at the Caritas website, https://www.caritas.org.au/learn/cst
What Students are Learning About
Last week we celebrated the Feast of the Assumption. Usually we have mass as a whole school but we were unable to this year. So teachers and students celebrated together in their classroom. Year 6 were lucky enough to also participate in a lesson from Clare, our Youth Minister, about the Rosary. They loved it so much they stayed in to finish after the bell went for lunch.
Catholic Life and Reflection
We also had a staff faith formation meeting about forgiveness. We started with this reflection.
“Two monks were once travelling together down a wet and muddy road. The rain was torrential, making it almost impossible to walk along the path. As the two men were trudging along, a beautiful girl dressed in silk appeared. She was unable to cross the path and looked distressed.
“Let me help you”, said the older monk. He picked her up and carried her over the mud. His younger male companion did not utter a word that night until they reached their lodging temple. Then after hours of restrained conversation, the younger monk exclaimed: “We monks do not touch females; it is too tempting for us and can create a bad outcome”. The older monk looked into the younger monks eyes and said, “I left the girl on the road. Are you still carrying her?”
Forgiveness was the focus because of a story I heard about the Japanese salvage company that helped clean up Darwin Harbour in the mid 50’s. On the 75th Anniversary of the end of the war in the Pacific it was quite poignant to read. You can see their story by clicking on the link below.
If these men and women understood the scripture from Matthew 18:22
Forgiveness21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church[a] sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven[b] times.I reminded staff that it is not only about forgiving others but themselves too! We may be created in the image and likeness of God, but were are only human.
Religious Education Coordinator
Notices from the Parish
Staying the course in COVID times
The impact of COVID-19 is felt differently across the country. Currently, Victoria is in Stage 4 lockdown while other states are on high alert. Not every student is working from home, but most students are COVID conscious, knowing that they’re only a corona cough or virus-filled hug away from remote learning.
Encouraging kids to stay the course when they’ve been denied access to the classroom, peers and community activities is now a common parenting challenge. Denial is generally tolerable in the short term, but the novelty of changed circumstances soon wears off. The following strategies will assist both parents and kids to stay the COVID long course:
Accept difficult emotions
‘There’s nothing so bad that we can’t talk about, but there are behaviours that we won’t accept’ is a mantra that serves families well. It’s okay for children to feel frustrated, annoyed, angry or upset about their change of circumstances due to the pandemic but that doesn’t give them permission to behave disrespectfully, miss school requirements or fail to assist at home. It helps if parents validate how their children feel, then encourage them to focus on fulfilling school and family expectations.
Some children and young people will protest the COVID induced changes that have been imposed upon them. In some respects, it may be admirable for children to push for a better deal, but the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic means that the individual needs to bend toward the greater community good. This is simply a case of accepting and making the best of the situation at hand.
Take it one day and week at a time
On family bush walks my young children would rarely complain when the tracks were windy. The complaint levels rose when paths were long and straight as the finish line seemed such a long way off. In a similar vein during our current times it’s smart to keep kids focused on getting through each day and week rather than look too far ahead. Six weeks of Stage 4 may seem intolerable, so it’s better to focus on getting through each day and week.
Be the hope person
Help children and young people understand that they will get through difficult times. “This too shall pass” is perhaps the most apt meme for our times. If your hope bucket is emptying out, seek out positive friends and relatives who can top it up. Our own resilience needs nurturing if we are to last the distance.
The internal parenting manual that guides us probably doesn’t include chapters dealing with remote learning, lack of peer interaction and kids’ disappointment. Most of us are treading new parenting ground so it’s best to be open to change, accepting of difficulties and forgiving of inevitable parenting stumbles.
Michael Grose, founder of Parenting Ideas, is one of Australia’s leading parenting educators. He’s an award-winning speaker and the author of 12 books for parents including Spoonfed Generation, and the bestselling Why First Borns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change It. Michael is a former teacher with 15 years experience, and has 30 years experience in parenting education. He also holds a Master of Educational Studies from Monash University specialising in parenting education.
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