More than Talking - Connecting

More than Talking - Connecting

Thursday, 11 August 2016  | Di - Assistant Principal - Primary
When my Mum, now in her eighties, was a little girl she would sit by her father on a little footstool on a Sunday afternoon. It was the only time in the week when she was allowed to spend time with him. He was a WW1 Gallipoli soldier, a farming man, a hard worker and a hard taskmaster.  Conversing with little girls was not something he thought to be of great import.

This had profound impact upon my mum. She still talks of how she admired and loved her dad but yet felt so isolated by the limited amount of time she was allowed to connect. I contrast this with my newly born granddaughter and how at only a few weeks old her dad peers down at her chatting and singing to her and she kicks her legs and tries so hard to gurgle back with meaningful sounds. Daisy and her dad, Tom, are connecting and communicating; a sense of belonging and deep love is being established.

It is commonly known that good communication is the key to healthy and productive relationships. In our own lives we know that communication that is ongoing, open, friendly and supportive assists us to grow as individuals and to contribute to the wider community. It not only benefits us but it also helps the community itself to grow stronger. Families need good communication to thrive, and strong families that are supported and nurtured by strong communities are so needed in our current day and age.

We also know that being connected helps us to feel valued and have a sense of belonging. On the other side of things, poor communication and lack of connection can make us feel isolated, alone, angry and misunderstood. It can damage relationships and break apart family and community.
At MECS we see relationship as vital to the task of Christian education.

“The Christian school is a covenant community of students, teachers, administrators and parents, joined together to live out and witness Christ’s redemption of learning.

This means committed partnerships, mutually supportive relationships and a relationally nurturing environment reflected in every aspect of the school. Sustaining relationship characterised by justice, mutual respect, compassion, honesty, trust, grace, authenticity and love” Transformational Education p 70.

Our task is to work together as parents, students and staff on developing strong relationships that give Glory to God. How do we do that? We do it by working together on everyday life issues, listening to each other’s stories, working through difficulties and problems and persevering to make our interactions meaningful. As we do this we develop a sense of how we honour God in our office or role. We learn to understand each other, tease out the complexities and face hard things and heal hurts. This takes time, effort and patience.

We all have a story and our stories are complex, rich and sometimes confusing. Sometimes we understand the complexities of our own story and sometimes our stories and their nuances are revealed as we journey through life with others. When those complex stories interact with each other we can easily hurt, dismiss and only see things from our own perspective without true patience, gentleness, longsuffering and perseverance. Being empathetic and seeing the big picture is challenging. In our school community we continually need to strive to develop and maintain those strong supportive relationships with each other.

I am encouraged by CS Lewis’ words that there are ‘no ordinary people’. We are all complicated, wonderful and made in the image of God. None of us are ordinary, we are all extraordinary. I pray we learn to walk together in humility, kindness and patience. 

Practical Implication
Here’s a thought about one form of communication we all use every day.

Emailing is a great way of communicating. It can be quick, easily accessible and direct. We don’t have to wait around for the person to answer the phone. We can send emails at any time and we can get our message across.

The downside of emailing is that there is no dialogue. Sometimes it can be hard to understand the tone of an email or we read between the lines things that may or may not be there. Sometimes an email can come across as curt or even rude when in reality it is just stating the facts. Sometimes emailing can even be destructive as there is no person to engage with. It gives one side of the story only. There is no filter on emotional wording and sometimes the email can be hurtful especially when the email is written in a state of upset with no person present to actually physically see and hear how that information is being received. We need to be careful about how we use email: it is helpful as a communication form for straightforward information; more complex conversations need to be just that - conversations that are face to face.

At MECS our words encourage others and are hope filled.

 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my rock and redeemer."
Psalm 19.14

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