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From Deputy Principal – Student and Staff Wellbeing, Mr Patrick Brennan

Deputy Principal - Student & Staff Wellbeing, Mr Patrick Brennan

Mr Patrick Brennan, Deputy Principal - Student & Staff Wellbeing

Fasting this Lent?

The message last week on Ash Wednesday was that, whilst elements of religion have lapsed, the message of religion should not be dismissed universally. Each Sunday at St. Francis of Assisi in Paddington, Father Paul preaches about love, forgiveness, kindness, compassion, peace and – much to my chagrin – humility. I can’t think of too many other forums where the same attitudes and attributes are placed front and centre.

Lent is a time for prayer, penance and almsgiving. As we lead up to our most sacred liturgical celebration, please take time to speak to your sons about sacrifice; about going without so as to be in solidarity with the marginalised; about prayer and contemplation (we all need someone’s prayers or thoughts, and there is always someone who we can pray for, or provide our best wishes to); about Project Compassion; and about your hopes and dreams for his formation. When the messages from home are in sync with the messages from school, we have the greatest chance of success in forming the most beautiful young man possible. As we approach Easter it is important to remember that God’s messages and good messages are always in perfect harmony.

Pope Francis provides us with some alternatives to fasting, which could have a better impact on those around us than abstaining from meat alone:

  • Fast from hurting words and say kind words
  • Fast from sadness and be filled with love
  • Fast from anger and be filled with patience
  • Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope
  • Fast from worries and have trust in God
  • Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity
  • Fast from pressure and be prayerful
  • Fast from bitterness ands fill your heart with joy
  • Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others
  • Fast from grudges and be reconciled
  • Fast from words and be silent so you can listen

Vulnerability Online and Offline

Later this month, our Senior School students will be reminded that vulnerability in characters can, in fact, be a strength. The Brainstorm Productions reveal how one’s vulnerability can be addressed in a healthy way.

A recent article within Generation Next highlighted the clever approach of Brainstorm drama performances. Brainstorm Production’s Dr Ameika Johnson, Clinical Psychologist and Mental Health Consultant, wrote about the difficulties and necessity of vulnerability, explaining that while necessary in building relationships, vulnerability opens us to hurt. She explains the tips to help nurture vulnerability in our children while helping them to stay safe online and offline.

The Power of Vulnerability for Student Wellbeing
Be a role model by being open, compassionate and authentic in our own relationships.

Help them make informed choices about difficult issues such as alcohol, drugs, relationships, online safety etc. and to feel comfortable to speak about concerns to you/trusted adults; as well, to show them how to access information to help them understand risks.

Teach them about personal boundaries, and assertiveness skills to help them speak up if something doesn’t feel right (ideally role-play).

Encourage appropriate online sharing through private accounts, accepting requests with those they know only – and build their awareness of risks involved in sharing personal information and images. Help them connect with safe online communities by using private messaging platforms.

Talk to them about values, what is important to them (and you), who they want to be and the life they want to live.

Accept all emotions – not just the pleasant ones, but also the painful. Help them accept that the uncomfortable ones help them to appreciate the good ones; if we allow difficult feelings then we can allow ourselves positive emotions of love, gratitude, connectedness and belonging.

Let them know they are enough. Let them know that you don’t expect perfection, which is unrealistic. Show your vulnerability and reveal your own imperfections. Reveal when you have made a mistake and use this to build closeness. Let them know they are worthy of love and belonging, no matter what, this will support their resilience, self-worth and mental health.

Parenting in 2020‚ an Evening with Andrew Fuller

Join Clinical Psychologist and family therapist, Andrew Fuller, for an evening on all things parenting in the modern age. Waverley College parents have the opportunity to attend this seminar for free.

Andrew has recently been described as an interesting mixture of Billy Connolly, Tim Winton and Frasier Crane – and as someone who puts the heart back into Psychology. As a Clinical Psychologist, Andrew Fuller works with many schools and communities in Australia and internationally, specialising in the wellbeing of young people and their families. He is a Fellow of the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Learning and Educational Development at the University of Melbourne.

Andrew will discuss how to open a conversation when kids won’t talk, how to confidently negotiate the boundaries in your household, and lots more. Walk away equipped with the practical tools and understandings to better support your children in this increasingly complex world. Andrew is a member of the National Coalition Against Bullying. He has established programs for the promotion of mental health in schools, substance abuse prevention, the reduction of violence and bullying, suicide prevention and assisting homeless young people. Andrew also continues to support young people’s mental health in his private practice.

This event is being held at Brigidine College on Monday, 30 March at 6:30 pm.

To access your free tickets, please click here.

After the Bell 2020 | Save the Date Wednesday, 1 April

Another reminder for After the Bell, the parent event being hosted by Waverley College. This year’s focus is our students’ social and emotional wellbeing.

Key messages include:

  • The importance of the partnership between home and school.
  • Being worried is normal and does not mean a student is anxious.
  • Being sad from time to time is normal and does not mean you are depressed.
  • It’s normal to feel stressed before an exam.
  • Sad feelings will often pass.
  • We build resilience by getting through tough times.

Parents will also be provided with strategies to best navigate their son’s journey through high school. I would encourage you not to miss it!

Tickets will be available from Friday, 17 March and cost $10. Proceeds will go to Youth Off the Streets.