In amongst the chaos of the stop start nature of last week, we were able to make a positive start to the term in what was a very short week. We took the opportunity to participate in a very moving and solemn ANZAC ceremony to mark this significant anniversary. On Wednesday the whole school community took the time to reflect and remember the sacrifice many men and women made for their country, to protect the lives and values we all enjoy and perhaps take for granted. We were privileged to be joined by a former student of the College and now senator, Mr Raff Ciccone.
Occasions such as these can stir up many thoughts and emotions, some quite obvious, but others not necessarily directly related to conflicts or war, but rather ideals or thoughts that branch off from our original thoughts. Most of our thoughts run along the lines of trying to imagine what these people endured and how they dealt with their traumas post service. I couldn’t help but be moved by the way these old diggers reflected and talked about their experiences, but more importantly their mates, some who didn’t return and others who did only for father time to eventually catch up with them. They consistently spoke of the loyalty and the comradeship they enjoyed and how their encounters and their experiences had impacted on them so profoundly. It was this message which inspired my tangent following our gathering with the boys last week. My thoughts were taken down this path by the presence of our guest Senator Raff and his reflection on his time at the College. Raff reminisced as he mingled amongst the staff, catching up with those who were here in his time, sharing old stories and highlighting how they collectively had shaped the person he has become. He spoke in particular of two staff, Mr Ray Sestito and Mr Mark Donoghue, their shared passion for politics (despite having very different political leanings) and how their banter and passion first ignited in him his interest in politics.
This led me to contemplate how our encounters and experiences impact on the person we become. There is always going to be degrees of how much of a person or an experience may impact on us, but the guarantee is, each does have an impact. Some will be quite profound, whilst others barely cause a ripple. The impact may not be immediate and only come to light many years later whilst others will change our lives the very moment we encounter it or them.
With this thought in mind, I want take this opportunity to remind all of us of the need to reflect on how our daily dealings with people will impact. Whether it is minimal or profound we need to be aware of how we treat people, and always be conscious of our significance in the lives of the other person; as the greater our significance, the greater the impact we are likely to have. As parents our kids will hang off our every word and action, as teachers we are likely to have a significant impact, as a friend we will have more influence than an acquaintance, as a senior student the role modelling we do is more likely to be copied. Thus for whatever station we hold in life, we must ask ourselves, are my actions or my words likely to have a positive or negative impact on the lives of those we deal with? The more conscious we are of our words and actions the more likely we will be able to limit the damage and increase the positive influence we have. As adults we can all share thousands of stories of people who have contributed to who we are. Whilst most of these will be positive, it is interesting how vivid our memories are of the negative interactions we have had and how quickly they surface, in particular in uncomfortable situations.
With this in mind, I ask all in the community to reflect on the interactions you have with classmates, mates, peers, teachers, colleagues and most importantly with friends and family. Consider the impact you want to have on those in our Community, working to be a positive influencer who people will remember and admire in the future for the right reasons.