Welcome back for Term 2 and whilst it is a start we could never have imagined, we’re trying to make the most of it here at the College.
This time has been interesting on so many levels. Prior to this pandemic you could say that we lived in the most distracted time in history. Electronic devices have significantly changed the way we live our lives and care for each other and our environment. We have become distracted from what is going on with each other and across the world.
For most of human history this has not been the case. Our brains once had a downtime. A considerable amount of research now makes the case that silence, solitude, and even boredom can be extremely important for wellbeing and creativity. Our brains do not perform at their best when they are endlessly stimulated and over-stimulated. We need to regularly disconnect if we want to bring our best to life.
And then COVID-19 happened. It has given us downtime in the form of isolation, no longer being able to visit people, attend events or social gatherings but it has also increased the amount of time we now find acceptable to spend on devices, purely because for our boys to learn or for us as adults to work, we have to be. This dichotomy has raised in many, fear, anxiety and perhaps even despair at times, as whilst we yearned for a simpler life prior, we now yearn for more complexity in our daily lives.
But what if we see this pandemic as an opportunity to turn to our beloved Savior in trust and complete abandonment so as to rest in His merciful hands. To rest in the hands of God means we are secure, despite the uncertainty of life. It means we are free to love God and others, despite the challenges we face. It means we raise our eyes to Heaven, rather than look down in fear.
Solitude and silence are essential skills for all of us to develop. We needed a break – a break from noise, from people, from too much of everything. No matter how much we may like the company of others or how much we may dislike boredom, we do need to make time for solitude and silence.
The Christian tradition has also been the story of vast numbers of men and women who stepped away from the busyness and business of the world to encounter the presence of God. I have written about this before in relation to the boys and their mobile phones. It seems that moments of silence, stillness and solitude are a doorway into encountering the divine. There is a great story in the Old Testament about the prophet Elijah ending up encountering God not in the noise and chaos but rather in the stillness:
The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”.
The story of Elijah amplifies the point that God waits for you when you can find the time for stillness and silence.
Take this moment to consider seeing COVID-19 as the point where we reset our lives and see the beauty of each other and our world, where we see kindness and care of each other as something simple, easy and worthwhile. I’ve attached here a video the boys may like, The Great Realisation. It tells our story, their story now of the need to stop and to just be, to listen and to gain the wisdom that we are all made in the image and likeness of God.
Mothers Day 2020
I’ve been asked if I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day this year, as it will likely be the first one where I’m not standing on the side of a soccer field somewhere across Sydney on a cold Sunday morning. I’m in two minds about it; yes, I will cherish the sleep in but I do miss seeing my son play soccer with his team. I’ve watched him over the past 6 weeks move from thinking remote schooling will be great to “I just want to see my friends again, I’ve had enough”. I think many mum’s are with me here - the routine of ferrying them to training 4 or 5 nights a week and then to the game on the weekend, whilst seeming onerous at the time, actually brings great joy as you watch them develop in so many areas. To see them laugh and joke around with their mates again in person and not over a gaming console is now something I’m very much looking forward to.
So, this mother’s day I hope that all our mum’s have a lovely day with their son’s and daughter's; I hope they do something for you, even if it’s only making a cup of tea. Enjoy the slower pace because before we know it, we’ll be back at it again.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Return to Face-to-Face Teaching
It has been lovely this week to see Year 12 return to the classroom. We look forward to seeing all our boys return to the College grounds over the coming weeks.
Health and Hygiene Reminder for Returning to School
Ensuring the Health and Hygiene of our school community is paramount upon the students and staff returning. To do this, the following measures have been put in place:
The College is being cleaned twice daily, including attention given to high touch surfaces such as doorknobs, desks, bathrooms, and sinks.
Hand sanitiser is available in every classroom and the front office
Soap dispensers in toilets will be refilled twice a day
Yard at recess and lunch will be restricted to one year group only at the moment
Students should bring a water bottle to school; there will be a water filling station available for student use
No large gatherings i.e. assemblies, House meetings, MCC sport to take place until further notice.
Students are reminded to:
- wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (see video), or use hand sanitiser at regular intervals throughout the day, particularly before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- cover coughs and sneezes with their elbow or a tissue
- place used tissues straight into the bin
- avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth
- not share food or drink
- mobile phones are regularly touched and breathed on they should be cleaned regularly.
Please talk to your son’s about the importance of their personal hygiene and ensuring they adhere to the guidelines above. They must be respectful of others' space and as much as possible, keep 1.5m distance from staff and other students.