Welcome to an exciting week at RCS! Today is the only ‘regular’ day for the RCS students this week, with our dress rehearsal for the Arts Celebration tomorrow, then the actual Arts Celebration on Wednesday, followed by the A&P show on Thursday and ending with a day off school on the Friday. It should be a great week!
I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for all the hard work they are currently doing. Kendra has been doing a wonderful job of organising the trip to the A&P show, Emma had the daunting job of organising the senior camp with Dennis taken out of action with his injury, Emily and Gabby are leading the way with the organisation of the arts celebration, and Mandy has managed to get a Nature Group up and running, so we are seeing the introduction of no-wrap-vember and lunchtime gardening occuring, and the leadership team are busy preparing for next year. The staff are also currently writing reports and trying to ensure that the bee related projects are all a success. It is a busy time of year! Please remember that your prayers and words of encouragement make a huge difference to the lives of our staff, and in-turn the lives of your children.
Last week I had the joy of spending some time out at the Senior Camp. What I enjoyed most was seeing the growth that has taken place in many of the children. Things that may have once caused arguments were dealt with through conversation and negotiation, and situations that could have resulted in an emotional melt-down were avoided through the encouragement and support of the other children. We did one team challenge that I have seen many a group dissolve into frustration over, but I was incredibly impressed by the communication skills, negotiation skills, lack of blame and genuine encouragement that the children demonstrated. Seeing growth is probably the part of education I enjoy most, so the two days away brought genuine encouragement to me.
I think seeing this was also particularly encouraging when I think about how disappointed I have been feeling when reading the comments people have been making on social media about politics recently. It has made me really question how the people in our country deal with differing opinions. As a result I have been thinking carefully about how we teach and model to children ways to deal with differences.
In my family growing up we were taught to ‘own our statements’. We were not allowed to say “Broccoli is gross”, instead we had to say “I think Broccoli is gross”. Having grown up with this very strict expectation I am particularly sensitive to noticing when people express a strong opinion that they don’t own. My mother will still tell me off for not owning a statement! Another thing I have learnt is to be curious about where a person is coming from. Get curious not furious. So when someone expresses their opinion, instead of getting angry and making assumptions about where the person is coming from get curious “What is it that you don’t like about broccoli?” Another important lesson I have learnt from a leadership mentor is to avoid ‘global language’. These are generalised words that have quite large meanings and could be interpreted differently by different people, for example respect is a word that might mean quite different things to different people. For me another important one is to discuss the issue and not the person – this is something that we get taught as teachers.
Judging from the many comments on social media over the election season, it seems that we really need to be coaching our children and modelling to them how to work through a difference of opinion in a way that keeps everyone’s mana upheld and allows thinking and idealogy to be discussed in a way that means good things are able to come from working together to move forward.
I’m glad that our Living Christianly, Circle Time and LIGHTS programmes all allow for the children to explore these types of skills in genuine situations. I pray that like our seniors, all our students would grow in these skills so we can see a generation of people stand up that have the skills to grapple with differences in a positive way in order to see great things happen.
Have a wonderful extra long weekend with your families. I pray God will bless this time richly!