Principal’s Message: Term 3, Week 10, 2021

“If we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship with one another.” 1 John 1:7

To the family and friends of St Edmund’s College,

Last week I shared with you an extract from of my favourite books, The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet, written by Benjamin Hoff.  The extract from last week focused on the many wonders of just being still, immersing ourselves in the joy of silence and surrounding ourselves with nature.  These are experiences very much needed at this time.

This week I would like to share with you another of Hoff’s concepts as he continues to explore Taosim through the stories of A. A. Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh and the qualities of its characters. Most of us are familiar with the character of Eeyore.  He is generally characterised as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed donkey who is a friend of Winnie-the-Pooh.  We all know an Eeyore in our lives – those friends, family members or colleagues of ours who are afraid to risk any positive emotional expressions and instead relish on dwelling on the negative.  Eyeores are very good at complaining, with an expertise in mumbling and grumbling.  Hoff says that Eeyores are whiners – they believe the negative, not the positive, and are so obsessed with the wrongs that can happen in life that the good things pass them unnoticed.  This is a very recognisable scenario especially with the amount of negative news flooding us at the moment.

“Hallo, Eeyore,” said Christopher Robin, as he opened the door and came out. “How are you?”
“It’s snowing still,” said Eeyore gloomily.
“So it is.”
And freezing.”
“Is it?”
“Yes,” said Eeyore.  “However,” he said, brightening up a little, “we haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

Hoff explains that Eeyores reside in a negative reality and they feel they are powerless, hence their grimness.  They feel they have no say in anything and no power over anything. Their sense of powerlessness forces them to bring themselves down as well as others around them.

“Piglet had got up early that morning to pick himself a bunch of violets; and when he had picked them and put them in a pot in the middle of his house, it suddenly came over him that nobody had ever picked Eeyore a bunch of violets, and the more he thought of this, the more he thought how sad it was to be an Animal who had never had a bunch of violets picked for him. So he hurried out again, saying to himself, ‘Eeyore, Violets,’ and then ‘Violets, Eeyore’, in case he forgot, because it was that sort of day, and he picked a large bunch and trotted along, smelling them, and feeling very happy, until he came to the place where Eeyore was.
‘Oh, Eeyore,’ began Piglet a little nervously because Eeyore was busy.
Eeyore put out a paw and waved him away.
‘Tomorrow’, said Eeyore. ‘Or the next day.’”

How deflating for Piglet to have been brushed away so quickly after what he had done for Eeyore. There is a very strong message emerging here that we need to be open to the positive; we need to allow ourselves to be in the company of the positive and immerse ourselves in their positive spirit, sometimes perhaps even when we don’t really feel like it.  It is so easy for us to become an Eyeore, to wallow in the bad and not see the good.  But we can easily overcome the Eeyore within us by looking around us and by doing what Piglet does best – thinking of others; serving others and wanting to make others happy.  This in turn does the same for us.

We have been informed by Australian Schools’ Rugby Union that Baden Godfrey (Year 12, College Captain) and Shane Wilcox (Year 10) have been selected to the 2021 Australian Schoolboys ‘A’ Team. The title of Australian Schoolboy is synonymous with players of high rugby skill and outstanding personal character. Baden and Shane were able to rise above many hundreds of boys who participated in trial days and selection matches held all over the country during the year.  We congratulate Baden and Shane on their wonderful and exciting achievement, and wish them all the very best.

Congratulations also to Jesse Borghouts (Year 8, Treacy) for being awarded the U13s ACT AFL Leagues ‘Best and Fairest’.  We are very proud of Jess’ achievement – this is reflective of the many strong qualities we see in Jesse every day.

If you feel your son is struggling at the moment, please find a link below to an excellent resource for parents and carers who want to support their young person but may not have the tools or the confidence to do so.  This document is from batyr (a preventative mental health organisation, created and driven by young people, for young people) and The Happiness Institute.

Important Notices:

  • Return to school in Term 4: The ACT Government announced yesterday (Tuesday 14 September) the nature of the return to school plan for Term 4. We will email parents specific details of this in the next day or so. I was very disappointed with the plan, especially given that fact that students in Years 4 – 10 will not be back at school for face-to-face learning until Week 5 of next term. I firmly believe that our students need to be back at school as soon as possible for a number of reasons, first and foremost being their mental wellbeing. I am also very frustrated that the ACT Government has given no thought to what parents are to do in the two week period between the planned end of lockdown (Friday 15 October) and school commencing for Years 4 – 10 (planned for Monday 1 November).
  • Year 12 AST: The Board of Senior School Studies (BSSS) has postponed the Year 12 AST until Tuesday 12 & Wednesday 13 October.
  • ATAR: The BSSS has also announced that the release of the ATAR will be delayed until Thursday 20 January 2022. The delay is due to the postponement of the NSW Higher School Certificate examinations. The ATAR and therefore University offers for ACT and NSW students are processed at the same time.
  • Year 12 Formal: This has been postponed from Friday 17 September to Friday 5 November 2021 at The Arboretum (dependent on the nature of restrictions at the time)

My very best wishes to all of you for the school holiday break and I look forward to our community being able to be together soon.  I am aware that we have quite a number of people in our Eddies community who are suffering illness at the moment or who have family members quite ill.  We offer our prayers to these people and sincerely hope for appropriate care and speedy recoveries.

Lord Jesus,
You told your friends not to worry about the future.
You showed them how to have the attitude of simple trust that young children have, so that they could place themselves into the caring hands of your Father.
And so we ask for the power of your Spirit that we may remain positive throughout all that is ordinary in our daily lives.
We know that your touch can change people and situations, and so we ask you to join us in offering to our Father not only the good things of this day but also the suffering and sacrifices that we want to offer cheerfully and lovingly, and in a quiet and hidden way.
And so may any difficulties and frustration and pain of this day be transformed in your presence for the benefit of other people.

Blessed Edmund Rice, pray for us
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever

Joe Zavone
Christus Lux Mea