From the Principal

It is always nice when we come to the end of another term and we can reflect positively on all that has happened and all that has been achieved. In Term Three 2016 we have witnessed many fine achievements;

  • Watching the College production of Seussical
  • Witnessing the boys competing on the sporting fields
  • Joyfully celebrating community week where were joined by some Old Collegians for lunch, mingled with past staff for afternoon tea, shared international food and walked together to fundraise for Samoa
  • Celebrating everything about our Salesian community with our boys on Community Day
  • Celebrating the feast of the Assumption and Mary MacKillop
  • Participating in many fundraising and social justice activities.

All of these undertakings require dedication and commitment on behalf of staff and students and we thank them for their efforts but most importantly we celebrate them all in the knowledge that they have added positively to the Salesian Community.

The end of Term 3 generally means the end of school based outcomes for most of our Year 12 students, however, it is important that our senior students realise this is not the time to sit back and relax. Using a football analogy to make a point, a side going into the three quarter time break with a lead cannot afford to think the job is done, they need to continue to work hard to either drive home the advantage built up in the first three quarters or hold on to finish the game in front. This is also true for our Year 12 students, whilst some may think they are in front having completed all or most of their internal outcomes they still have the last quarter to play. They need to use the upcoming two week break to prepare for these as there is still at least 50% of their marks to be assessed. We encourage them to use their time wisely so they get a break and freshen up as well as making a good start to exam preparation.

Last week was an exciting week with Community Week festivities. Throughout the week we ate, played, we did some fund raising and generally celebrated everything community. It has been pleasing watching staff and students interacting in these fun activities. We have witnessed staff playing soccer, touch football and dodge ball against the kids to varying degrees of success. The interaction continued on the dance floor, in a trivia challenge and ultimately in a Mass. All of these things have demonstrated what a wonderful community exists here at Salesian College. As the leader of such a community I sit back with a great deal of pride and bask in the knowledge that we are going a long way towards meeting out mission of revealing the good news to all in the community.

I use the following two quotes to emphasise the importance of our community and the need to celebrate everything it stands for. “One of the marvellous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.” ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don’t need a lot of money to be happy–in fact, the opposite.” ― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth

I conclude my thoughts for this term with a reflection on an article I read last week titled ‘Re-train your brain to overcome the microwave mentality’ by Charlene Tops. It picks up on the theme I have reflected on once before, that as a society we want things immediately and are unwilling to wait and worse still unwilling to work to achieve our goals.

The article argues, ‘If you’re looking for results in your life and feeling frustrated that it’s taking too long, perhaps you need to drop the microwave mentality.’ Remember: anything that’s worth something takes time.

How many of us stand by a microwave thinking, “Man, this sure is taking a long time!” Once this act of heating food may have taken three or four times as long possibly or even longer but today we allow a few extra seconds frustrate us. It is this thinking, if allowed can have significant impacts on the way we go about our lives.

We have been conditioned by instant-gratification ideology. We are no longer patient. We want instant results—results so quickly that we consider the microwave as taking too much time. This should be an eye-opener for us.

Charlene encourages us to be honest with ourselves, asking how many times have we wanted to be the exception to every rule? We want to lose weight, but don’t want to stop eating dessert, candy bars, and fried foods. We want to lose weight, but don’t want to exercise. Want to lose weight, but want it now without any work put into it. She goes on using more examples of where our patience and willingness to work are not condusive to good outcomes.

She suggests in today’s society, when everything is running at lightning speed, it’s easy for us to pick up this mentality and begin to get frustrated at the time it actually takes to become successful. “Anything worth doing is worth doing right,” a Hunter S. Thompson quote she uses to make her point.

So what does she suggest for us to train our brains to understand this concept and keep from being frustrated? To begin with, she suggests we have to realize that everything needs to be built on a strong, lasting foundation. Secondly, break down your goals, visualize the finished product in your mind, break your goal down into segments. Next turn vague goals into actionable to-dos. Celebrate small victories. For our senior students desiring a study score of 40, set mini goals along the way and celebrate your small successes. As our senior boys enter into the final stages of their secondary schooling and focus on studying for their upcoming exams, small goals could be following a study plan for a day, understanding a particular concept or unit. Once achieved allow yourself to celebrate this small success before moving on.

We must understand how simple it is to want instant gratification. We live in a fast-paced world and we desire fast-paced results, but the microwave mentality doesn’t work on anything of value in our lives. We need to realign our thinking. Pursue your goals and dreams with a desire for quality, regardless of the time and effort it takes. Remember, the only thing a microwave is really good for is to heat up leftovers!

I wish the boys every success over the break, I hope they find time to rest up and recharge their batteries before returning for the final term of the year.

Robert Brennan