These days we face so many challenges as we seek to nurture and help our children to grow up in uncertain times. The world in which we live is complex and conflicted. There are so many competing worldviews, ‘agendas’ and value systems, and our children are surrounded by ‘mixed messages’. Australia has its issues as a nation, but compared to the rest of the world we are still relatively the ‘lucky country’. However, even here in Australia, life can be challenging. As parents and teachers we may at times feel that we must protect our children from the troubles and temptations that surround them. I believe that to an extent we do need to do this, especially when they are very young. In the long run though, we just as importantly need to assist them to develop resilience, discernment and essential life skills, enabling them to navigate their way and cope with life’s highs and lows.
Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, and education, even with all the ever increasing regulations and expectations, is not a simple or straight forward process. That said, I think that there are some fundamentals that are worth keeping in mind both in parenting and in education. Children need:
I suggest that these are some of the basic needs of all people. How we help the children God has entrusted into our care to experience these things is not easy. There is no formula. But clearly it involves long term and heart felt commitment. We also need the help of others.
It is also worth reminding ourselves what an incredible joy and privilege it is to be a parent, grandparent, teacher, youth leader etc. I have been involved in education now for nearly 40 years, and for me the best part of my job is the time I get to share with the students. I am glad that I am still a teacher and that I still have the opportunity to engage with students in the classroom, on the sporting field, in the playground, at assemblies and during camps. These are the high points!
I am also a father of two girls. They are both married and have their own children, but they will always remain my treasured ‘little ones’. I am sure I made mistakes along the way, but by God’s grace I am so happy that my girls love their Dad (and Mum of course). While they are very capable and ‘independent’, they also have a security and confidence that they can always find love, acceptance and help whatever the circumstance from their earthly parents and from their heavenly Father.
At MECS there is a genuine effort to foster real partnership between home and school. This is not always an easy task, and there is not always total agreement, however, as we work together with a shared commitment the children are blessed as a result. It is good for us to journey together, and to seek to reinforce with the children that they have purpose and hope, and that life is a gift worth celebrating and sharing.