Principal’s Blog

I find the start of a new term always stirs up a mixture of emotions. There is always the excitement of getting back into doing something I love, catching up with staff and students and looking forward with anticipation to what we can achieve in the weeks ahead. On the other hand there are the less positive emotions, the realization that the freedoms that come with being on holidays are once again placed on hold as we enter back into the daily routine of work. This realization can bring with it a sense of anxiety and possibly, a lack of motivation. Whilst real, we must quickly put these thoughts and feelings behind us or at the very least put them into perspective. This time of the year, more than ever, should remind us of how fortunate we are and how minor our issues might be. Thankfully, we are not faced with having to go to war or to put our lives on the line as did our war veterans, and we can only pray we won’t be required to make the same adjustments or sacrifices in the future. However this should not stop us from asking ourselves, in what ways can we display true courage when faced with adversity?

Anzac Day conjures up thoughts, memories and questions of what it must have been like for our service men and women, and it should quickly awaken in us the realisation of how lucky we are and how very little we have to be anxious about. It is near impossible to begin to imagine the anxiety the young men and women felt as they headed overseas to confront their own mortality, or the danger that would besiege them if they lacked the motivation to stay alive. As we reflect on the occasion that is ANZAC Day, it should remind us of the many great qualities and characteristics that all our service men and women have displayed in the multitude of conflicts Australia has found itself embroiled in over the years. Characteristics such as courage, mateship and honesty, to mention a few, which got me thinking, how would I go if placed in similar circumstances? More importantly, how do I go in facing the challenges I face on a daily basis? This in turn led me to ponder questions such as; how are we facing the challenges placed before us? Are we acting with courage? Are we demonstrating true mateship in our dealings with other members of the community, or are we the kind of person who is always making excuses?

Take a minute to think about it. Each time I disrupt the learning of others, every low test score, a missed deadline, a failed project, not being selected for a team or not having a good game gives you the opportunity to try out new excuses. It was a meltdown at home, I had too much on last week, I was sick during that unit, an emergency at work. No one would pass to me, my teacher cannot teach, my coach doesn’t like me, not to mention the traffic and the weather.

Each one of us has been guilty of one or more of these failings and there is no crime in that. The judgement should come on how we react or recover from such situations. I would like to acknowledge how important it is for us to recover from adversity or being knocked off course. What is my resilience like, and how is my ability to return to some sort of normality after a hiccup? Can I show the courage our service men and women showed in returning to their normal lives after their lives were interrupted by war for years (sometimes permanently, in the case of our wounded veterans)? In what ways can we recover from the obstacles or hurdles we face that take us away from our routine or knock us off course, and continue to function and contribute to our own lives and communities.

I was reading an article titled ‘Getting Knocked Off Course’ by a former student of mine, Ryan Waight. In his article he argues that our ability to recover from being knocked off course or recovering from the adversities in our lives will go a long way to us being successful in our lives. He proposes a number of ways in which we can be ‘knocked off course’, some of them avoidable, others unavoidable, and some that are self-inflicted, including but not limited to: Sickness, injury, personal issues and holidays. Not all of these factors are negative, however, they all have the potential to disrupt our routines or daily habits. When our lives are interrupted we can lose our way a little, and may take time to get ourselves on track. He has two pieces of advice to help us to fast tracking the recalibration process when we’ve lost our mojo due to circumstances:

  1. Not allowing yourself to get too far off course during a forced break.

For example, when having a holiday break, enjoy yourself and enjoy the break, allow yourself to unwind and relax, but not at the expense of jeopardising the momentum that’s been built, i.e. study, exercise or diet. If you have established good behaviours don’t allow yourself to fall back into past behaviours during this time.

  1. Get back into routine as soon as possible.

If you feel like you’ve drifted off course, it’s important to go about rectifying the situation rapidly. As we are habitual creatures, the longer you leave it, the more difficult it will be to regain the ground that you’ve lost.

Ryan also tells us to remember two things about getting knocked off course.

One, it is not a matter of if but when, therefore be prepared to be resilient through the recalibration process. And two, try to avoid continuous self-inflicted deviation in your lifestyle.

I finish off with a quote from Jimmy Dean.

“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination”

To celebrate ANZAC Day the College held its annual ANZAC Day service today. We were honoured to have two special guests join us for the ceremony, Mr Simon McMahon, father of one of our Year 7 boys and Veteran of the war in Afghanistan, and Mr Dorian Broomhall, current staff member and also a member of the Australian Navy band, who was bugler for today’s ceremony. It was an outstanding gathering with the boys showing great respect for the occasion, entering into the event with reverence. Thanks to Mr Brendan Douglas, the College Captains and to Patrick McMahon, the son of Simon, for reading. Thanks to Mr Adam Croft and his assistants for providing the sound for the occasion. Well done to all in the community.

Last Friday the Year 11 students headed off to participate in the Year 11 retreat. The boys enjoyed the day’s activities, and got something out of all the work and preparation the staff put into bringing the day to fruition. Activities such as the Retreat enhance the work we are doing in the classroom, however, they do place an extra burden on all involved, so the College thanks the staff who organised the Year 11 Retreat for their students, and continue to give of themselves for the sake of the students in their care.

A reminder to all our Mums that the annual College Mother’s Day Mass and Breakfast will take place on Friday 11 May, and we extend a warm invitation to all our Mums, grandmothers and female mentors to join us for a lovely Mass and breakfast. Bookings can be made by clicking HERE.

God Bless.

Rob Brennan