Reflecting on Mother’s Day last Sunday I was reminded of the amazing women I am surrounded by. I am eternally grateful that I was raised and cared for by a strong, selfless, loving and devoted mother; thankful that I had a grandmother and many aunts and other adult women who guided and supported me throughout my life; eternally fortunate that I have four wonderful sisters and appreciative of the incredible female friends that I get to share my life with. I am also grateful that I work in a school community where mothers and others continually step up and get involved with aspects of College life.
In thinking about all these relationships, it also makes me realise just how fortunate I am in the way I have had so many positive experiences and very few negative. This I know, is not the case for everyone. There are still too many cases in our community where women we know and love are not safe, not cared for and who have been exposed to instances of violence and abuse in all its shapes and forms.
It is so important as a community that we continue to educate our young people about respectful and healthy relationships, and this is a joint effort with families being the first and foremost educators of our children. At St Edmund’s we have so far this year provided specific education opportunities around respectful and healthy relationships. Last week we had members of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn come to deliver the Healthy Relationships program to Year 10. During these workshops, students explored circumstances which can lead to making unwise choices in relationships which included:
- Impacts of drugs and alcohol
- Peer pressure
- Toxic media influences
- Lack of adult supervision
- The failure to discuss expectations with a partner
- What are considered normal, healthy feelings and attractions
Our boys gave this program good feedback with 96% of Year 10 saying that the program was relevant for them. Boys also learnt a great deal and the main messages that were gained from the program included:
- Making sure you find a partner who shares the same morals as you.
- To be respectful in relationships and communicate openly.
- To consider and think carefully before making important decisions.
- Check in with your partner and listen to them.
If parents wish to learn more about this program and resources that are available, there are parent resources available. Parents might like to explore these resources in order to feel more confident in discussing these topics with their children:
- Toxic dynamics to look out for in romantic relationships (see www.joinonelove.org/act/couplets/)
- Negative impacts of pornography on intimate relationships (see https://fightthenewdrug.org/).
Education about healthy and respectful relationships is an ongoing task for our community in a world with high impacts of social media. From my experiences of St Edmund’s, we are on the right journey, especially as I heard two Year 8 boys tell their mother’s on the phone that they love them as their way of saying goodbye on Tuesday evening. However, as with all young people, they constantly need reminders and support in their decision making and guidance in the way they navigate their world. From what I have seen around the community, especially at our Mother’s Day Mass last week, our boys generally have a great rapport with and respect for their mothers, even though I am sure patience is tested at times. I hope that all our families got to celebrate together on Sunday and recognise the amazing job all mother’s, grandmother’s and other women do to raise our children.
Assistant Principal- Student Wellbeing