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