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Reflecting on the Simple Things

Lives are full of surprises, and one of the real gifts we can be a part of is the gift of new life. Without being too self-indulgent I would like to briefly mention the birth of our third grandchild, Patrick Alexander Sprenger. It was no surprise that Patrick came along to bless us all after watching my daughter Dani carry him for nine months. What is always a surprise is the opportunity to feel the depth of experiences you get at times like these.

As our third grandchild it certainly doesn’t diminish the thrill for me. Seeing your daughter now as a young mother, seeing the ‘new’ parents as doting parents head over heels, absorbed by their tiny bundle of joy and seeing a baby who will in time, have the opportunity to grow into the young man that his parents hope he will be, are all priceless moments that I am very grateful for. It leads me to ponder on what is the role of parents today.

Parenthood is both an easy job and a difficult role. It is a tension we all grapple with. There has always been and will always be, a tension between wanting to make our children happy and putting limits on their behaviour: too much love and affection and a child becomes spoiled, expecting their every need and want to be met regardless of other people’s needs and wants; too much discipline and control and a child develops a low sense of worth and a lack of self-control.

The reality is that our innate parenting instincts are good ones. If we use our head and trust our heart, then, we will mostly make good decisions. Our aim should be to teach our children to understand their own behaviour, to be responsible for their choices and respect themselves and others. Maybe we need to seek refuge in the adage, ‘all things in moderation.’ We need to have a well balanced approach to parenting where we set high standards, firmly enforce rules and encourage independence; we need to be able to be good at two-way communication – having our say and listening – and be able to give and take. In return our children, hopefully, will be responsible, independent and aware of the needs of others, have healthy self-esteem and confidence and know the importance and benefits of self-control.

NAIDOC Mass and Activities
Somewhat belatedly this week we celebrate NAIDOC Week at the College. NAIDOC Week is traditionally celebrated in the first full week of July and with this falling in our school holiday break we have decided that we will celebrate this important event week at the College this week. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians. This week is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

The importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be the focus of national celebrations marking NAIDOC Week 2017. The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song. Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the continent at first (significant) European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these languages would have had several dialects, so that the total number of named varieties would have run to many hundreds. Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on. National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair Anne Martin said languages are the breath of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the theme will raise awareness of the status and importance of Indigenous languages across the country.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages are not just a means of communication, they express knowledge about everything: law, geography, history, family and human relationships, philosophy, religion, anatomy, childcare, health, caring for country, astronomy, biology and food. Each language is associated with an area of land and has a deep spiritual significance and it is through their own languages, that Indigenous nations maintain their connection with their ancestors, land and law,” Ms Martin said.

This Friday we will celebrate as a whole school community with a mass in the College Hall at 9.20am. After morning tea Years 4 to 7 have an activity planned to help our students gain a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. I would warmly welcome you to join us for this significant community celebration.

P & F Trivia Night
I would encourage all parents to join in on the fun at the annual ATC Trivia Night which will be held on Saturday 29 July at 6pm in the Nudgee Junior Hall. The theme this year is ‘Countries’. If you need to join a table, contact your Year Level Parent Liaison. Tickets are on sale now for $25 pp by clicking here. If you have any queries, please contact Be Yeo-Bradshaw, Trivia Night Coordinator. I would like to thank Be Yeo-Bradshaw and her helpers for organising the Trivia Night. An event such as this does not just happen, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes and it is greatly appreciated by the ATC community.

State of Origin
The roller coaster of life is always evident in the annual State of Origin series. From a journey of growing up watching interstate rugby league series before the State of Origin concept, where Queensland were demoralised every year, I must admit that like many Queenslanders, it is a must see event. Watching our Maroons conjure up a victory from an underdog position, was once again priceless. Whilst it is only a sporting contest I feel that the Queensland economic productivity is dependent on the outcome of this game. In the day following the deciding game there is either a bounce in our step or a lethargy that means getting started for the day is somewhat difficult. Crazy – all over a game of footy!!

Whilst it may only be a simple game of footy and without trying to see more than there is, there are often lessons in life that can stand us in good stead. One simple observation I would have is that the Queenslanders have a simple way of understanding that talk doesn’t win games, hard work wins games. The notion of the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) was very much evident in their game plan as they definitely didn’t get ahead of themselves at any stage. To read in the press where New South Wales believed that they were at the start of building their own dynasty after game 1, was puzzling to say the least. The reality I believe in is that you don’t create a dynasty, rather you imagine what is important, you live the moment and experience it in hindsight. For us as a community this is our responsibility to build our ‘dynasty’ here at ATC, to imagine the values that will underpin our culture, to live each day as if it is the most important thing and then to take time to reflect and celebrate what we are doing. Once again, in a parallel to our State of Origin experience, it is understanding that our culture will be more of a reflection of the simple things that we believe in and a result of the communal effort we all put in rather than some artificial right we have to be a ‘great school’.

With best wishes
Michael Senior