In a world that some would describe as a ‘dog eat dog world’, where it is every man for himself or herself, I would love for people outside our community to get a glimpse of what I witness on a daily basis here at Salesian College Chadstone, in particular what I observed last week. Our Don Bosco Oratory Week (DBOW) events emphasised a number of characteristics which I want to highlight that our boys demonstrate regularly as they go about their daily business. The sense of compassion and empathy displayed by our boys for those less fortunate than ourselves in our wider and even global community is remarkable. The sense of community, belonging and a real sense of joy that they bring to life daily was so evident last week as we celebrated DBOW remotely. It spoke volumes of the community spirit that exists here at Chaddy.
Our boys appear to reject the ‘me first’ attitude that is so obvious in the self-centric world in which we live. Fortunately the sense of a fair go for all is alive and well amongst the boys. Their level of care for others in our community has not waned, especially with the marginalised and most vulnerable in our community. While many in our society have appeared to have adopted a position where the sole focus is on ‘self’ we can proudly say we have bucked the trend. This demeanour is certainly not true of everyone in society, as we often see examples of people giving of themselves in the support of others. Examples include the Royal Children’s Hospital appeal, natural disaster appeals, and reactions to human tragedies as seen recently in the BLM protests around the world. All of these are fine examples of humanity responding to others. However, it tends to be the little considerations or the issues that are not in our face that seem to be neglected.
Too often it is only in examples like the ones I have listed, the highly publicised events, that society is motivated to mobilise to support. Whilst any such examples are wonderful and certainly go a long way towards helping people on the margins, I sometimes worry that our motivation to give of our thoughts are limited to these highly publicised events. I would like to see our boys continue to support and rally for the people or events that society is willing to ignore. Events or situations around the world that don’t get the overt publicity, often situations far worse than those I have described. For there are too many examples of tragedies that go unnoticed and unsupported. Too often human tragedies in far off places are forgotten as we take for granted our privileged lives.
After enjoying our Don Bosco Oratory Week, I feel it is a good time to emphasise the need to think of the ‘other’ as we encourage our boys to raise their social awareness of the plight of the marginalised around the world. Whilst our focus has been on raising funds for the people in Cambodia, where our support will offer the chance for many people to have a better life, this is but one example of millions of people who suffer daily around the world. We must remember that the support that we offer is a chance for these people to be given opportunities to access things that most of us would take for granted. Education, running water, shelter, or may be even something as simple as one daily meal. Our small contributions will have a significant impact on their lives.
The Don Bosco’s Oratory Week celebration this year was outstanding, given that we had to participate remotely, making it an even greater celebration of everything community. The way the boys and the staff entered into the activities provided and enjoyed connecting with others, albeit online, was a clear indication of the strength of the community bonds that exist here at Salesian College Chadstone. So, as we bask in the joy of being part of this wonderful community, I ask our boys and all of this wonderful community to continue to endeavour to make this world a better place. To do the simple things throughout their week, to share a smile, to bring a positive attitude, to consciously go about their day with a real purpose of trying to make other people’s lives better and to always be grateful for what we enjoy, even in isolation.