Category: primary school

Walk on…..

Walk on….

Primary School End of Year Address, 2010

1 John 4:18

Friends, I guess it is no secret that we at Ocean Forest highly value the primary community in which all of us enter the world, grow up in the world, and find our vocation and purpose for life – our family. We highly value family.

The English novelist and author Jane Howard says, “Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, and call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one”. (Jane Howard)

“To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time”. Clara Ortega

Of course, families are made up of different people and parents are central to how families live and what the next generation becomes.

Parents teach without trying. They shape character without holding a class. They influence in helpful and maybe not so helpful ways whether they want to or not. We pass on wonderful characteristics of love, kindness, compassion, ambition, resourcefulness at the same time as we pass on all our foibles – and that is just the way it is.

In the end we are a product of our family and our parents for better or worse. As Jimmy Buffet once said, …

“We are the people our parents warned us about.” Jimmy Buffett

We as educators, carers, some of us parents ourselves, and all of us children of parents, would like to affirm you as families tonight.

We would like to affirm in the strongest possible terms those of you here who are walking the long road of parenting children, whatever stage of the journey you are on; whether you are doing it solo or in partnership – what you do to care for and shape your children with virtue, character and vision for their future is absolutely critical in your children’s life and for our community and indeed, our country.

As Pope John Paul said, “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live” Pope John Paul II

We take our hat off to you for continuing to walk the journey of family and parenting and including our college in your family journey.

Parenting is a struggle. I think what the American journalist; Ellen Goodman said is true…

“The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears”. Ellen Goodman

We see our role as educators, carers and administrators as one of partnering with you in your foundational place in your children’s lives. We want to let our hopes for our students and for you as parents far outweigh any fears we may have. In everything that happens at Ocean Forest, we want to help children, young people and parents and grandparents find hope that drives out fear, because fear makes a lesser people, and hope gives us a future.

Jesus Christ pointed to a new hope and a new future. He showed a love beyond us and yet for us in his life and death and living now. He inspired a renewed man named Paul to proclaim that there is something we human beings can experience that helps us rise above fear and live with real hope for our and our children’s future. He said “perfect love casts out fear”

That love has been poured out into millions of hearts for two millennia and that love of God exists in this college community. We pray that at this Christmas time you might ponder the deep and overflowing love of God for people and parents just like you and me as that little Christ-child lays in the arms of his mother tended by his father in that cow shed.

As U2 sung, “Walk on”. Walk on as you travel the long road of parenting. Walk on into next year children and young people, as you are supported and cared for by parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, brothers, sisters. We walk together letting the perfect love that casts out all fear bring a hope to our journey ahead

A day for families to remember

We had an extraordinary day at our place this Sunday. We gathered families from our church and school communities to give thanks to God for his gift of our families.

Here’s what was said…

Family Foundations

Matthew 7: 24-28 The Wise and Foolish Builders

24″Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
28When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching….

Friends, we are encouraging everyone to give thanks to God for all families today because family is a foundation for our life – a foundation given by God.

God is into family. All human beings are in families – these days, all kinds of families – blended, single parent and everything in between: but nevertheless, family!

Now of course, family is not always easy. George Burns, the American comedian once said, “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city”. We might say from time-to-time, “Family: can’t live with them, can’t live without them”!

But our very life is family. From our parents, grand-parents, relatives, husband, wife, partner, comes part of our identity, our sense of well-being, our role as God’s givers of life to children. And that is how God always intended us to be – in families.

Our family shows us who we are. Without them we feel cut loose, alone, unsure. Gail Lumet Buckley, the Black American journalist and author said, “Family faces are magic mirrors. Looking at people who belong to us, we see the past, present and future. We make discoveries about ourselves”.

Families are under pressure though. For some strange reason, we know our family is our very life, and yet we are capable of making all kinds of decisions to damage or diminish our families. Chasing the almighty dollar seems to be a big one these days. Accumulating more then we need at the cost of time together, at the cost of our relationship with our partner and the kids happens a bit.

Funny how we can spend so much time and energy storing things up (and telling ourselves – “It’s for the kids”) and miss relating to, teaching our kids, and just being with each other now.

But Jesus speaks into our families today and says that there is a wise way to be the best parents and kids – and family we can be.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his family on the rock. (Matthew 7:24)

So, building our marriages, kids and wider family is best done with the words of Jesus ringing in our hearts everyday:
words about God being a Father to us and we being his children in his human family.

Words about baptism being the great gift of being adopted by God as his very own dearly loved child and the moment when we are given a seat at his family table to share his victory over all that destroys and diminishes our family and ourselves.

Words like,
“Come to me, busy Mum and Dad, and I will give you rest”.

Words like,
“I have come to serve you as you constantly serve your partner and your kids –
I have come not to put you down, or judge you harshly, but give you life and power and faith to build your life and your family on my wisdom and strength”.

Friends, let the words of Jesus be your rock so that you can be a rock for you r partner and your kids.

If faith is difficult for you – no need to worry, faith as big as a tiny little speck of a mustard seed is enough and faith comes from simply hearing this word of Jesus and taking it into your heart. He will do the rest.

Let’s build our families strong, resilient, free from fear, wisely.

Let’s live for now, and let the future worry about itself. God knows our names. He knows our issues.

He knows our present and our dreams and promises that as we do all we can to live at peace as parents and children, he will give long and prosperous life for now and the future.