Witnessing the spectacular creative and performing arts presentations at our Stage 4 & 5 showcase ARISE last week has to be the highlight of my year, so far, in working with our secondary students. It was not only the incredibly high standard of work that was produced that made this event such a delight to be a part of, it was seeing our students’ passions lived large and real on the stage and display boards.
The common theme of comments from parents and staff was that people were not aware that particular individuals possessed such talent and love for their craft; many were surprised to see students in this new light and discover this truth that their creative arts teachers have known for some time. It is opportunities such as this event that allow our students to share a rich, often vulnerable side of themselves with others. Through taking healthy risks and challenging their fears and insecurities, our young people are leaning towards finding their purpose. Thomas Edison is known to have declared, “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” How often do we hold ourselves back from discovering what we are truly capable of because we are paralysed by fear – of failure, criticism, ridicule, exposure? Norwest students proved their bravery at this event. Mrs Keogh framed her approach to the Canon Photographic competition as “lifting the lid on small thinking.” We indeed lifted the roof off that night!
In truth, our students did not arrive at this night alone for their talents are God breathed. Romans 12:6 reminds us, “ We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith.” In this season of subject selections in the Secondary Years it is vital that students explore their God given talents in the subjects they choose to study further and not be misguided by other social influences into choosing subjects according to peers / teachers / myths on scaling/high paying career options. When we pursue our unique interests and strengths and tune into who we are at a soul level, our success in any endeavour will be inevitable.
For each of us, when we work at something that we love it ceases to be a chore and rather becomes a labour of love. Ask any musician who played at ARISE and they will tell you openly about the hours of practice invested in their skills, followed by how much they enjoy playing and feeling accomplished when they nail a piece! The same is true for students in any subject. When we tune into our God given talents we start to uncover our purpose. It is this that should drive our decision for paths of study and ultimately our career choice. As adults, how often are we asked, “What do you do for a living?”, the inference being that our job defines who we are and how the world will judge us. The better question that our young people need to ask is “Who am I? What are my God given gifts?” for it is in knowing this that they will discover their purpose learn to define themselves by who they are at a soul level, and not just what they do. What they do should be an extension of their authentic self, not an artificially imposed and socially constructed label.
As we are all made in the image of God, it is important that the conversations we have with our children about the decisions they are making for study and career options continue to uncover their authentic self, and not be constricted by a vision for their life that they believe others have for them; “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10).
Director of Secondary Teaching and Learning