I was adopted and first met my parents when I was 7 days old. Couples who adopt children do something profoundly loving. They unconditionally accept children in need as their own. God adopts people who recognise that they are sinners in need of Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that our school adopts children, each time I enrol a student at the school it somehow feels like an adoption. I want all boys and girls who join our community, regardless of their personality, abilities, interests, race or socio-economic status, to feel like they are a part of a family.
I grew up in a working-class home in the 1970s. My parent’s modest income meant that holidays involved staying with relatives in the country and a private school education was out of the question. However, we always ate well and had the opportunity to participate in sport. While I am sure that there were times when I felt deprived because I compared myself to other kids who came from wealthy homes, I look back with thankfulness that I was able to enjoy simple things and largely be content with God’s blessings.
Fast forward to 2020. The coronavirus has suddenly forced many people in Australia to enjoy the simple things. Those who have sadly suffered a loss of income may be substituting their weekly brunch at a café for a home-made sandwich and a walk at the beach. People currently living in Melbourne during the lockdown may be connecting with family members in their own homes in a way that they haven’t for some time – chatting, laughing and reflecting more deeply on their lives together. At one level families connecting with each other through basic activities might seem simple; however, at another level it is quite profound. People like to feel that they are a part of a family where they are valued and can contribute to the needs of those close to them.
The government’s coronavirus restrictions have challenged our school family to consider how we can enjoy the simple, yet profound, interactions that build care and relationships. Our teachers have invested a significant amount of additional time in meetings to brainstorm effective ways of supporting and guiding students in their spiritual, social and academic development. This doesn’t necessarily result in a sophisticated or complex program. Quite often the best way is something specific and targeted to the needs of individuals. I trust that our families are seeing the fruit of these interventions.
Being a part of any type of family structure, including that of a school family, is never perfect. This side of heaven all of us will struggle at times with our own sinfulness. Our words or actions may unintentionally hurt others. Students, teachers and even parents can sometimes struggle to perceive a situation accurately and may take actions that don’t always help resolve the issue at hand. This is what leads us to pray that our Heavenly Father will help us to think clearly and act wisely.
As we continue to face the challenges of 2020, let us be united in prayer. Please pray for:
- those experiencing financial hardship,
- people suffering fear and anxiety,
- Year 12 students who will sit their exams next term after a disrupted year,
- school leaders who are investing many hours to try and maximise every opportunity for students while being compliant with government regulations,
- the Shire Christian School community, for the continued development of a caring, Christian environment that feels like family.
Mr Brett Hartley
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