From the Principal

As we enter Week Eight we acknowledge that we move beyond the middle of the term and begin closing out the semester. This is a very important time in a school year for many reasons. We know that we have accomplished much, however, if we are honest with ourselves we know there is still a lot of work to be undertaken. Some of us will let ourselves down, as we mentally take our foot of the accelerator, forgetting the work still to be done. This is of particular importance for our senior students, who, having completed nearly all their semester one outcomes may become complacent, not paying due attention to their upcoming exams or final outcomes for the semester. It is also an important time as we may be feeling a little weary or the stress of the constant work may be taking its toll, or for some, the fear of exams may be paralysing. In each of these cases we need to look within and find the courage and the energy to battle through these hard times.

Last Tuesday the College celebrated the feast day of Mary Help of Christians with our annual Mass. Our Mass focuses on the great work of Mary as mother of Jesus, as patron of Australia and St John Bosco and the Salesians. We focus on her commitment, her love and her dedication to everything that is good. Mass this year was particularly special as we recognized these qualities in four of the Salesian priests in our community and acknowledged and celebrated their significant anniversaries.

We celebrated Br Joe Ellul’s 65th anniversary of his Religious Profession, Fr Frank Bertagnolli and Fr Oreste Cantamessa’s Golden Jubilee of their ordination and 60th anniversary of their Religious Profession. We also celebrated Fr John Gandini’s 40th anniversary of Religious ordination. These are significant celebrations of men who have devoted themselves to their communities and their students over a prolonged period of time. The Salesian College Chadstone community thanks them and congratulates them on their life time of commitment.

As I pondered the achievements of these men I could not help but reflect on what a wonderful achievement they were and ask myself the question what drives men such as these? It lead me to something I have always believed and that is the need for everyone to find their purpose in life and even more importantly do what you love doing. These men found a passion in their lives providing them with their vocation which they have joyfully carried out over many years.

In 29 years of teaching I have come across many students who struggle to settle or focus on the job at hand. Invariably when you scratch the surface with these students you discover a lack of direction or sense of purpose in their lives. Now this is common in many young students, in particular boys who struggle to know what they want to do with their lives. This is not a crime in itself, however, it does seem to have a fairly negative impact on many of these students ability to focus on their studies. The point I wish to make to the boys and their families is the need to search for the things in life that we enjoy doing, the things we are good at because it is amazing how clear things become if we are able to achieve this goal.

Life tends to throw many things at us that can distract us from knowing what we love. The media is full of people telling us what we should be doing, what will make us happy and successful. Even our friends and family can sometimes impose their views on what we should be doing in an attempt to help us find our direction. I remember a bit of poor advice I once received from my father after telling him I wanted to be PE teacher. His response was not very encouraging with a retort that went something along the lines of “what do you want to be one of those for, they’re a dime a dozen.” Now a simple comment such as this directed me away from subjects I loved and enjoyed doing, subjects I was good at. After making a poor attempt at undertaking the traditional maths/science course through my HSC it took a few years to get back to what I truly loved and that was teaching Physical Education and working with young people. Something I have continued to do with great joy for the past 29 years. So it is with this dilemma in mind I offer the following advice.

It is important for us all to discover the thing in life that we are passionate about, the thing that is life giving. Sometimes it may be obvious to us, however, for many of us we have to search, to ask questions before the answer presents itself to us.

I suggest using the following simple steps offered by John E Engle as a means to help identify the things you are passionate about.

Write down “Talents I’m Good At!”

Next, write down everything that you feel you are inherently good at. Don’t limit this to your play time, think of everything to include work, and at home.

These can be things that come naturally to you, things that you don’t have to work too hard to accomplish, things that others have told you that you are good at.

Next, add to your list any skills that you have developed either for work, school or for your personal life.

Last, but not least, write down anything that you are interested in learning about or may want to pursue.

When you were a child, did you dream about being a policeman, or a firefighter? If you can recall what you thought about, write down what you wanted to be when you grew up.

Now… with your list of each item that you wrote down that you are good at, inherently talented in, or skilled at, ask yourself the following questions and write down your answers:

  • DOING THIS – gets me excited so much that I can talk about it all day long?
  • DOING THIS – makes me excited to get up in the morning?
  • DOING THIS – I would be willing to do it for FREE?
  • DOING THIS – can make me lose all sense of time?
  • DOING THIS – gives me extra energy?
  • DOING THIS – makes me smile?

Answer them in this manner, replacing the word “DOING THIS”…

Question #1 – “Watching the progression of my friend losing weight gets me excited so much that I can talk about it all day long.”
Question #2 – “Working at the hospital makes me excited to get up in the morning.”
Question #3 – “Designing websites is so much fun I would be willing to do it for FREE.”
Question #4 – “Working with animals can make me lose all sense of time.”

Follow Your Passion to the Future

In this next step, imagine your future 5 to 10 years from now. Write down on your pad of paper, in as much detail as possible, what this future looks like using the following questions.

  • What does your typical day look like?
  • Where do you live and what does your house look like?
  • Who are you keeping company with, who are your friends?
  • How much money do you have in the bank?
  • How much are you giving back to the community? (could be your time or your money)

Hopefully you can see your vision clearly.

You get the idea for the remainder of questions… hopefully your subject will be the same in front of each question. Spend a good amount of time reflecting on your list and these questions. Once you have discovered what really puts a smile on your face and makes you lose all track of time, the next step will be to brainstorm for ways that you can move towards your desire, passion and purpose.

I follow with some quotes from some famous people as a form of motivation or focus.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.Confucius

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle”. Steve Jobs

“If you can… fall in love, with the work, with people you work with, with your dreams and their dreams. Whatever it was that got you to this school, don’t let it go. Whatever kept you here, don’t let that go. Believe in your friends. Believe that what you and your friends have to say… that the way you’re saying it — is something new in the world”. Robert Krulwich

I leave you with the beginnings of the Holstee Maifesto which is well worth a read.

This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.

I wish all in the community good luck with this task and remember life is too short to not be doing what we love doing.

God Bless