There was a time during Term 3 with online learning where we briefly considered the value of a parent contribution to the School Report for the end of the year. We started discussions about guiding parents in considering the learning attitudes and behaviours of their children; but since we regard the Report as being “to parents”, it seemed unhelpful.
When you look back and have to make a decision about the achievement or progress of someone, including yourself, it is important to have criteria to work toward. I really hope that very few people feel like this year has been a failure for them or their children. In fact, I suggest to each parent of the College (as I hope has already been expressed to each student and staff member) that making it to this point of 2021 with a forward-looking and positive attitude means you have succeeded regardless of the journey to this point. So how do we reflect on the last year when it has been so difficult because it has been so different? What should we be feeling now? What is the appropriate emotional level right now or what should we be feeling? I think the starting point is looking back with gratitude.
A 2003 study titled ‘Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Daily Life (Emmons & McCullough, 2003)’ found that “…gratitude is effective in increasing well-being as it builds psychological, social, and spiritual resources” and I hope that this encouragement can bring these benefits for you. The College staff will be participating in an annual Thanksgiving Service in our time together after students finish for the year that will be based on Psalm 136.
Psalm 136 has been written to celebrate a time in history of the nation of Israel and God’s presence with them and it is written to bring an attitude of gratitude in the people who read it (in fact it was written to be used as a song or chant). It was written by a leader and contains reflections on God’s character, power and presence.
So here is a list of things for which I am thankful from what has been a very challenging 2021:
· Cooking new things
· Much more walking
· Answering questions from my children about learning
· Internet shopping
· A glimpse into how my children learn
· The air-fryer at home getting a workout (and the selection of frozen foods at Coles)
· A tolerant dog who received heaps of love and attention
· Good internet connection at my house
· Staying employed
· Staying healthy
· Living in a society where people follow the rules
And here is a list provided by staff on the morning of students returning:
· Cousin baptised
· Return to school
· Thriving through lockdown and children realising God is faithful despite having to go back to school
· Thanking God for providing everything we need right on time
· Continued health for myself and my family
· Rich family relationship time
· Protection from disease
· Praise God that the hospitals weren't ridiculously overwhelmed!!!!
· We prayed a lot for playgrounds to open
· Whole class staying relatively engaged in learning for the whole time of online learning period! Praise God!
· Peace and comfort for my family
· Family reunions and the vaccinations that we had access to
· Connecting with families more. I will finally be able to see my grandparents this weekend!
· Refreshing and sustaining in the flat/hard times
· Seeing new things in God as there was time to hear from him and others
· Deeper connections with my family, and my students as life became simplified
· Family reconciliation and restoring justice
· Encouraging word from student
· Seeing a friend recover from 50 days in hospital under sedation with lots of health complications. She is now awake and on the mend. Thank you, Jesus, for her healing!
· Slowing down and taking in the special moments with family
· Health of family both here and overseas and for God's providence of a new home.