As we come to the end of another term it is nice that we can reflect positively on all that has happened and all that has been achieved. The end of a term is often a time when we recognise and acknowledge the many wonderful achievements, and possibly more importantly, the efforts of members of the community that have taken them above and beyond what could be expected of them under normal circumstances. My blog this week focuses on some of these achievements but also explores the concept of when one should give and expect acknowledgement, and when we shouldn’t.
Term Three has been filled with a number of events and activities worthy of recognition. We have witnessed many fine achievements; we watched the College production of Godspell, we enjoyed the boys competing on the hockey field, battling it out on basketball courts and sweating it out over table tennis tables. We celebrated the Feast of the Assumption, and we have participated in many fundraising and social justice activities to name just a few happenings that have taken place this term. All of these undertakings require dedication and commitment on behalf of staff and students and we thank them for their efforts, in the knowledge that they have added positively to the Salesian Community.
Two weeks ago, we acknowledged the gifts that fathers bring to their families at our Father’s Day Mass and Breakfast. We were joined by many fathers, grandfathers and other significant males in the lives of our boys for this wonderful gathering. Whilst it would be easy to become a little cynical about the commercialisation of days like Fathers’ Day, I want to reflect on the importance of acknowledging people in our lives who go above and beyond what should be reasonable expected of them. Whether it’s our mothers or fathers, our grandparents or our teachers, we should take time out of our day to recognise all they do for us. Whilst I acknowledge that this is something we should do on a regular basis and not wait for these pre-ordained commercially driven days, at least these days remind us to do the right thing, at least a couple of times a year.
Fathers’ Day is a day when we are reminded to reflect on the importance of the role of our fathers or other significant males in our lives. Just as we would do for the significant women in our lives on Mothers’ Day, or teachers on World Teachers Day. These days sprinkled throughout the year can be tokenism, and if this is the only time we recognize these important people in our lives, then we have missed the point.
Mothers, Fathers, and teachers for that matter, for the most part, don’t want or expect much, most are satisfied with the knowledge that they are loved, respected and appreciated by their children or students.
I also believe as significant adults in our children’s lives we should never lose sight of the things we can learn from our kids. The influence our children can have is widely under-rated. I know that I’m continuing to learn and change through my experiences with both my own kids and the boys I care for each day.
There are sure to be many other examples of times and places we should acknowledge, however, I want to also make the point that, through our example we should be teaching our kids that they shouldn’t live their lives looking for recognition, especially for things that they should be doing. In our society today, more and more, I witness people wanting to be acknowledged and thanked for things that they are either being paid to do or things that they simply should be doing. Our students should not be looking for acknowledgement if they complete an assignment or a piece of work they were expected to complete. I hear regularly that students ask, “Can we rest for the last ten minutes of this lesson, because we have worked hard for the period?”. I would challenge their thinking, as shouldn’t they be expected to work hard for every minute of every class for their own sakes? Adults can be guilty of similar behaviours when getting disappointed when they are not thanked for doing what they are paid to do. Amy B. Lyman once said ‘Paying people a fair wage is a sign of respect and acknowledgement of the value of people’s contributions to the business.’ Shouldn’t that be enough recognition? Now I am fully aware that we all like to be appreciated but the point I am trying to make is that we shouldn’t spend our lives expecting it, as it will only lead to disappointment and resentment. Instead we should do what is expected of us and enjoy the recognition when it comes. I will take this one step further and say that if we are to develop the leadership in our students and ourselves we should reflect on the wise words of Simon Sinek who once said that “Leaders don’t look for recognition from others, leaders look for others to recognize.” To finish off this point I share Ernest Hemingway’s wisdom, “You must be prepared to work always without applause.”
The end of Term 3 has seen the end of school based outcomes for our Year 12 students, and it is important that our senior students realise this is not the time to sit back and relax. Using a football analogy to make a point, a side going into the three quarter time break with a lead cannot afford to think the job is done, they need to continue to work hard to either ram home the advantage built up in the first three quarters or hold on to finish the game in front. This is also true for our Year 12 students, whilst some may think they are in front having completed all or most of their internal outcomes they still have the last quarter to play. They need to use the upcoming two week break to prepare for these as there is still at least 50% of their marks to be assessed. We encourage them to use their time wisely so they get a break and freshen up, as well as make a good start to exam preparation. This is an important time for our boys not to be looking for accolades for the preparation they are doing for their upcoming exams, rather they should reflect on the benefit to themselves their hard work will bring.
I wish everyone in the community a wonderful and relaxing break and look forward to finishing off the 2018 school year with much enthusiasm in Term 4.