Holy Cross College, Ellenbrook
'I came that they may have life, and have it to the full' John 10:10

This is OUR Time

One of my favourite family movies is The Goonies. Facing foreclosure of their homes in the Goon Docks area of Astoria, Oregon, USA to an expanding country club, a group of children who call themselves ‘the Goonies’ gather for a final weekend together. They realise that they can’t sit still and let the developers destroy their family homes. They seized the moment, recognising that their time is now, that they can’t wait around and do nothing. They band together shouting out their motto, “Goonies never say die!”. They find a treasure map which takes them on a journey of self-discovery and adventure.

Like the Goonies, this is our time. We can’t sit around consumed by fear, worry and foreboding. This is our time to live ‘Life to the Full’, albeit within the confines of the limitations due to the coronavirus. Life is meant to be lived – to its fullest. It’s not meant to be spent waiting for ‘someday’, ‘someone’ or ‘something’. The journey is happening now, whether we like it or not. Life is happening now, and there is no guarantee what tomorrow will bring. What we can do is to live life to the fullest today. Let’s make it a great day, week, month and year, in spite of the challenges we face. Throughout history we know plagues come and go and that life does return to normal.

I am inspired by the work and efforts of our students, staff and parents and how they have embraced the remote learning. From Ms Pratt’s Pre-primary dance videos to the Year Two’s ‘Better Homes and Gardens’, and Mr McRae’s virtual drama production of ‘The Monologue Show’, students are giving their best. I have been encouraged by the positive letters and emails of support from parents.

When we are fully engaged and connected time seems to go by fast, in contrast to when we are tired and bored, where time seems drag on. At some point we might feel like time is moving slow and at other times it appears to go by so fast. Why is this so? A little story about a sense of time attempts to explain why we perceive time as dynamic rather than steady paced.

Once an old man and a young man were sitting on the shore of a wild and stormy river.

“Master,” the student asked, “why does the time flow straight, but always ripples, either slowing down to a complete stop, or racing like a cow with a thistle under her tail?”

The teacher looked at the seething water and answered:

“You see there are a few large stones in the river and a lot of small pebbles. Imagine that the river is your life. If you only rejoice over big occasions – like your wedding that will happen next month, or like a new baby that you will have after one year, or new business that you will start after five years…  – then you will cross your life in a few jumps, like jumping from one stone to another. Otherwise, if you will move in small paces over the pebbles, taking joy in small things: a sunny day, the beauty of an autumn forest, a good conversation, then later looking back at your life you won’t see ten big stones, but lots of your own traces, and each of them you will be able to remember with a happy smile. And you will see that the road that you have crossed is much longer.”

“But teacher, when I love or when I do the work that I like or when I have a talk with friends – the time flies fast. But the time drags so long when I’m hurt, when I’m afraid or when I feel lonely.”

“You see,” the old man answered wistfully, “this is what it should be. When we are unhappy, we don’t live but we only exist, so the time lies still in our wallets. And only for our happiness we pay the ringing coin of time, that we still have left.”

This is our time. If we focus on the few large stones on the way; the coronavirus, not seeing your friends, not going away on the holidays and just staying at home, we wish our life away in just a few jumps. This is our time. A time that is providing opportunities to spend valuable moments with our closest family members playing games, learning together, laughing together and just being together. This is an opportunity to move in small paces over the pebbles enjoying the little things and creating the stories that we will fondly tell to future generations.

This is our time. A time for courage and not to be scared, because the Pre-primary students are not scared!

I would like to thank all of our parents for your support this week as we commenced learning from home with our Learning Continuity Plan. In anticipation that learning from home will continue into the Autumn Term, the College staff will begin planning their lessons for next term. To assist in their planning, parents are requested to complete an online survey that will be sent home shortly. Your experiences of the past week will be valuable in shaping the way we deliver lessons and how we communicate next term.

As the move to learning from home goes on for an extended period it is critical that students do not lose interest and momentum so that they continue to be engaged, challenged and progressing.

Routine is the key to making sure students are ready in the morning and on time for all lessons. Here are five tips to creating a good morning routine:

Make Your Morning Meaningful

Write down what you would like to accomplish by having a morning routine. Incorporate an incentive that will motivate you to get up and get moving: exercise; run, walk or swim; have a big breakfast; read the paper; enjoying breakfast with the entire family.

Start Your Daily Morning Routine the Night Before

Preparing the night before is key for a successful morning. For example, lay out each item of clothing, set up your work desk and set the breakfast table and pack your lunch. Any preparation you’re able to do the night before will contribute to a more relaxing morning routine.

Wake Up 15 Minutes Earlier Than Usual

While this might be difficult to do it can be the difference to achieving a successful day or not. It is a time to think positive thoughts about your day. Avoid negative thoughts like I’m tired, I want more sleep, I don’t want to get up. According to Tristan Coopersmith, “we become the thoughts we think”, so if we start the day uninterested and uninspired, this is what the day will produce.

Set Your Intention for the Day

After waking, give yourself a few minutes to tune into yourself and to set an intention. Find a space in your home where you can sit, undistracted by your phone or other devices. Begin by closing your eyes and checking in with yourself. Then bring your attention to your breath. Inhale and exhale deeply through the nose, allowing your stomach to expand and collapse. After a few minutes, return your breath to your natural breathing. Finish your practice by setting an intention for the day. What do you want to achieve?

Move Mindfully Throughout Your Morning

The main reason of a daily routine is to move mindfully, that is, with purpose, giving yourself the time needed to start your day with presence. Doing so will allow you to hold that same calmness and attention throughout the day.

Once you have finished your morning routine you should then “Eat a Frog”! “If the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long”. That is, get the most challenging tasks out of the way first. Don’t procrastinate.

As we begin our extended school holidays I encourage everyone to stay connected, however this may happen, and to stay safe.

God Bless