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The Wonder and the Wonderful in Life

Life is always interesting. In the space of a day you can experience a variety of emotions. On Friday evening I was fortunate to share the excitement of our 1st V and 2nd V Basketball teams winning their Grand Finals in their club basketball seasons – each game went to the wire and resulted in close wins and wild celebrations.

On Saturday evening I was with over 30,000 Brisbane Lions supporters at the Gabba to cheer them on in their game against the Giants. Once again it was an exhilarating game and it went to the wire. For the crowd who were in attendance, unfortunately it was not the result we were all wanting and at the final siren there was an eerie silence as the ramifications of the disappointing loss kicked in.

Both experiences were similar in that the games were high class and there was excitement in every minute. All games went down to the final minutes. The only difference was the outcome; Friday night’s wild excitement with two ATC wins and Saturday’s realisation of the season end with the Lions’ loss. As the dust settled and I relaxed on Sunday I started to think about how unpredictable our lives can be and how our highs and lows are often out of our control. Yes, in this case I am only talking about games of sport. But nevertheless there is a rollercoaster waiting for all of us as we navigate life.

The question I pose is this: What gives us our equilibrium to take on our ups and downs? My sense is that this equilibrium lies in the role gratitude plays in our lives. How do we ensure we continue to find the power of appreciating the wonder and the wonderful in our lives? AT ATC we have taken the decision to name ‘gratitude’ as an important attribute / value that we want our young men to walk away with after their ATC journey. Gratitude finds its place in the “G” in our Men of COURAGE Project. We are striving to be very deliberate and intentional in our aim to help you, their parents, form your sons to be the very best young men that they can be.

In discussing the concept the first thing to remember is that developing a sense of gratitude is a choice – a choice anyone can make. I recall reading about Nick Vujicic’s remarkable life. If you can imagine getting through your busy day without hands or legs or picture your life without the ability to walk, care for your basic needs, or even embrace those you love, then you can start to imagine Nick’s world that he encounters every day. Without any medical explanation or warning, Nick was born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, without arms and legs. Three sonograms failed to reveal complications. And yet, the Vujicic family was destined to cope with both the challenge and blessing of raising a son who refused to allow his physical condition to limit his lifestyle. In discussing his remarkably successful life and his steely determination Nick is quoted as saying ‘Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I chose gratitude.’

So what is ‘Gratitude’? The reality is that no one is a stranger to gratitude. And it is fair to say that we have all probably experienced this feeling of gratefulness at least once in our lives. Gratitude means “acknowledging the goodness in our lives” and being thankful for all that we have. It is a powerful, overwhelming feeling that overpowers all other emotions and it is normally accompanied by a deep sense of fulfilment and humility. A mere ‘thank you’ does not suffice in the face of gratitude; you will feel like these two words simply do not represent accurately just how appreciative and grateful you are.

The wonderful thing about gratitude is that it is contagious. When you feel grateful, it spreads like wildfire even into areas of your life you would have never guessed. You start feeling thankful not only for the good but also the bad because, without the negative experiences and problems you have faced, you would not be the person you are today. And gratitude includes being grateful for the person you’ve become. Being happy and grateful just for being alive will make you develop a completely different, often brighter perspective of life. In other words, gratitude gives you a new sense of purpose and direction in life. Research has continually shown that gratitude helps to lead a happier, healthier, and a more fulfilling and less stressed life.

As a person who loves the power of images and photography it would not be surprising to many that I find photos often grab my attention and speak powerfully to me. When I think of gratitude one photo immediately springs to mind, and there are so many levels to this photo below.

In a blog 7 Crucial Reasons Why Gratitude Can Change Your Life, Robert Kanaat talked about how it’s easy to be ungrateful these days and that it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting things that we don’t have. He went as far as to suggest that it’s stitched into the very fabric of our society. Everywhere we turn, we’re reminded of the fact of how little we do have rather than how much we have to be grateful for.

In a society that’s governed by the haves versus the have-nots, where money is all-powerful and helps epitomize the alluring facets of life like freedom, security and power, it’s easy to be ungrateful. When you’re working tirelessly to no avail, unable to get ahead in life, especially after enduring the heartache of failure or financial turmoil, it’s simple to get disillusioned and it’s easy to not be grateful.’

As a self-confessed positive-thinking junkie, Kanaat talks about why we should give gratitude in our lives. He believes that it is important to adopt a life that chooses to find positivity rather than negativity. In part he identifies that following ‘positives’ in gratitude:

  1. — Shifts your focus
    Life is all about focus. Whatever we focus on, we move towards. When we live in a state of lack and negativity, we see more of that. Conversely if we think positive we find positives in our world and our life.
  2. — Improves the quality of your life
    Studies have uniquely linked gratitude with satisfaction of life and it’s no secret that people who are grateful for things are far more content in their lives.
  3. — Makes you feel happier
    When we’re grateful for things, it’s a natural occurrence to be happier about life. You realize the things you have rather than the things you don’t.
  4. — Reduces your innermost fears
    Fear is what occurs when we’re left to dwell on topics that we feel are out of our control. When we’re utterly grateful for everything we have, including our problems, fear has little place to live in our minds.
  5. — Strengthens and enhances your faith
    Gratitude transforms your faith by instilling the belief that you’re not alone and that whatever it is that you’re going through, it will pass, and on the other end you’ll emerge better for the experience.
  6. — Gives you peace of mind
    There’s an inner belief that develops when you’re truly grateful for things. It provides sound peace of mind, the kind that doesn’t exist when you live with the weight of expectation.

So what are you grateful for? I know that I am grateful for the life I have and the family I have been blessed to share it with. I am grateful for the life I have been given and at the moment, the community I share it with at ATC. I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to share the feeling of euphoria in the tightly fought basketball Grand Finals. I am grateful for the promise of tomorrow and perhaps what 2020 might bring for the Brisbane Lions!

Staff News

I believe the strength of the Ambrose Treacy College community lies within the quality of the staff that we have been able to attract and to employ. With the College continuing its growth, staff employment is one of the most important tasks we have in this building process. I am delighted to reiterate that we continue to be very fortunate to attract high quality fields in our advertisements. At the end of this week we will farewell Gavin Baumber, our Head of Learning in the Junior School as he heads to New Zealand with his family. Gavin has made a significant contribution to the learning culture in the Junior School. He has been a great support to our teachers, and students have certainly been the beneficiary of his hard work and commitment. I am pleased to announce Belinda Emmi will be joining us early in Term 4 to replace Gavin. Belinda will join us from the Brisbane Catholic Education Office where she has worked as a Senior Education Officer. She brings a wealth of curriculum leadership experience to this important role and I look forward to her leading the great work of our Junior School staff.

Enrolments

There are often a variety of reasons that parents must make decisions about their children’s education. We have a number of new students joining us next year in Years 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10, outside our regular intake years of Year 4 and 7. As we approach Term 4, I would like to remind parents that should you make a decision to look at another school for your son, notice of withdrawal of a student must be given in writing to the Principal with at least a full term’s notice (3 months). Verbal notification or notification to staff members other than the Principal is not considered due notice. Failure to provide such advice to the Principal in writing will result in a payment of fees of at least one term’s tuition fees in lieu of the required notice. With a waitlist of families looking for enrolment at Ambrose Treacy College any early notification will importantly be great news for an anxious family waiting.

Prayers

I ask the community to please keep Zander Unwin (Ulster 5) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his Grandmother. I also ask the community to please keep Jai Currie (8 Lynch) and his family in your thoughts and prayers following the recent passing of his Nan. 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