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Be the Man your Son Needs You to Be

Challenging tradition is not easy and at times it can be controversial when we try and suggest a change to a long-held belief. A couple of years back, in a newsletter piece I made the suggestion that I felt that the term Father sold the responsibility of being a “Dad” short.

A couple of events over the last few weeks reminded me of this suggestion. These moments came with the unexpected opportunity to pick up my grandchildren from day care. Before think that I have finally lost it when I suggest that we don’t celebrate Father’s Day but we celebrate Dad’s Day, I would like to suggest that there is a world of difference between being a father and being a dad (or perhaps a grandfather and a “grandad”!).

By its very nature, a father is more of a biological term than a role or relationship. A father is the birds and bees’ version of a parent. My suggestion is that the idea of a dad is very different. Being a father is easy and requires little emotional investment. Being a dad, to me, is a dedicated, difficult and lifelong responsibility. Being a Dad is work. It’s hard work, but it is rewarding work. It’s hard work over time. It’s hard work over a long period of time. It’s consistent hard work over a long period of time.

To all our fathers and significant males, I would remind you of the important role you play in our children’s lives as “Dads”. Your wisdom is not found in the moments of talking to your sons and daughters, it is found, experienced and taught through the person you are on a daily basis. The priorities you set will give a light into the priorities our children develop, the love that you share will help shape how our children learn to love, and the respect that you show to others will influence how our children learn to show respect to others. It is an important role, parenthood, but the good news it shouldn’t be or doesn’t need to be a difficult job.

Previously I have shared elements of an interesting article by Dr. Peter West who is Head of the Research Group on Men and Families at the University of Western Sydney that gave some simple and provoking advice on what “Dads” can do to have happier sons. The advice he shares is well worth repeating again. In part he gave the following advice for Dads:

1. Show your son that you love him – Smile at and with your son.
2. Listen to your son – Ask your son about his day – the highs and the lows. And then listen to the answers.
3. Talk to your son person to person – Your son wants to know the real you. He doesn’t need John Wayne or Arnold Schwarzenegger.
4. Be positive –Don’t tell him all the things he’s done wrong. Tell him what he’s done right!
5. Don’t fill him with don’ts – Don’t cry. Don’t yell out. Don’t… Show him some positive male qualities: work hard, share a joke, create things, enjoy music, have some great friends.
6. Be there when he needs you – Turn him away, and he’ll get the message Dad doesn’t care.
7. Your son is not your friend – You have your mates; so does he. He needs someone to give him guidance and rules- a rock he can depend on.
8. Love the son you have – And he will love you for it.

A Dad is someone who is there for his children. He watches and actively participates in his children’s lives. He helps his children grow up, he raises them, he nurtures them, he attends their games, and performances. He is present for them and to them.

I look forward to sharing breakfast with our community on Friday morning from 6.30 am on the Westcourt deck as we celebrate or fathers and father figures at the P & F Father’s Day Breakfast. CLICK HERE to order your breakfast and raffle tickets – food orders close at 10pm tonight. Thank you to Donna Densley and her band of helpers for the wonderful work in organising this special event for our families. Donna still needs more helpers to help make this a successful event and as the old adage goes, ‘many hands make light work’ so please CLICK HERE to volunteer. Happy Father’s Day to all our dads and significant males in our lives.

Staff News

It is a reality that we cannot always orchestrate our life’s journey and determine the right timing for opportunities to come up. With this thought in mind, it is certainly with mixed emotions that I would like to announce that Kath Little has taken the decision to accept a new position as Deputy Principal: Teaching and Learning at Mt Alvernia College for the start of 2020. As you would no doubt expect, this decision has not been an easy one for Kath. Given that the right opportunities can often be few and far between, Kath has decided that this is the right time and the right position for her. I know that I speak for all at ATC in saying that we are definitely going to miss her.

Kath has made an enormous contribution to the College and in particular the lives of so many students and staff. The opening of a new school has been a massive undertaking and the development of College curriculum and importantly developing a learning framework and creating a learning culture have been a major focus of this task. Kath’s role as Dean of Learning has realised the development of a new curriculum across our Middle and Senior Schools and a renewal of our Junior School curriculum in line with our new secondary directions. Words would never accurately reflect the profound effect that Kath has brought to the face of learning at the College.

In all my years of involvement in education I have never encountered anyone so passionate and committed to breaking open the mystery of learning for students. Her understanding and knowledge of current directions and initiatives are outstanding; this is only bettered by her astute insight to be able to meticulously unpack and strategically prioritise making theory a reality.

There will be many opportunities in the upcoming months to more formally acknowledge Kath’s contribution to ATC and to thank her for her journey with us. While not formally farewelling Kath now, I would like to thank her for her unwavering leadership across learning at the College and wish her well in her new challenge next year at Mt Alvernia.

In the upcoming weeks we will commence a recruitment process to appoint a new Dean of Learning to commence in January 2020. While they are definitely big shoes to fill we are confident that we will identify the right candidate to carry on Kath’s great work here at ATC.

Suit Coats

Fathers’ Day is generally a signal that the weather is warming up and with the warmer weather comes the change in our school uniform. From Monday 2 September, it is no longer compulsory for students to wear a school tie and a suit coat to and from school. If a student chooses to wear his suit coat to school it is mandatory that he also wears his tie.


I would ask the community to please keep Cam McConnell (Head of Ulster House) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of Cam’s Grandfather. I would also ask the community to please keep Henry Harwood (Year 5) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his Grandfather. We hope that the passage of time will help heal the pain of their passing. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord, may perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Amen.

With best wishes

Michael Senior

‘My father didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.’ Clarence B. Kelland