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As Term 3 comes to an end, it allows us time as a Pastoral team to reflect and plan our way forward. Looking back over the term, I am very proud of the men of St Patrick’s and the manner in which they have continued to build a positive environment around this great College. A personal highlight for me in Term 3, has been my increased involvement with our Year 11 cohort as part of the Year 11 Dinner Dance and Year 11 Leadership Elections. They are a wonderful group of young men and I am certainly looking forward to working with them during the remainder of their journey at St Patrick’s College.

Congratulations to the following elected leaders for 2017:

  • College Captain - Thomas Giuliano
  • College Vice Captain’s - Pearson Locke, Jacob Arthur, Lachlan Connors
  • Ryan House Leaders - Samuel Hall and Oliver Blansjaar.
  • Xavier House Leaders - Matthew Durnan and Liam Bolton
  • O’Rourke House Leaders - William Welch and Matthew Pelling
  • Coffey House Leaders - Lachlan Broomhead and Nicholas Baildon
  • Quane House Leaders - Quinn Storrie and Fraser Killen
  • Treacy House Leaders - Elijah Huth and Warren Rooks
  • Rice House Leaders - Mason Budgen and Jack Doyle
  • Kennedy House Leaders - Finlay Emery, Matthew Weir and Brock McLean
  • Mooney House Leaders - Matthew Palmer and Harrison Stewart

As we move into the holiday period, I always like to include a small section on how we as a community can develop independence and resilience in the young men of the College. The article below by Michael Grose, discusses the need for us as parents to be brave and work hard to develop in our children the skills to be 'know-how' kids. I hope you enjoy the read and have a great break.

St Patrick's Exchange Students

Snippets from the States
"On Monday we had our first day at Archbishop Moeller High school. This was a tough day with the jetlag from the flight over, but as the week progressed, Jayden and I settled in comfortably to school life. Over the weekend my host family travelled up to Columbus, we also went to a concert which was great. Monday was a Labor Day public holiday and in the afternoon we went to see a Cincinnati FC soccer game. The atmosphere was like nothing I have ever experienced before." Callum

"School life at Moeller High School t is a very different experience compared to learning and school in Australia. For example, the school is all indoors and three storeys tall. The inside looks like the schools in American movies." Jayden

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Callings from Canada
"The first week in Canada; a new and wonderful experience. The journey began as soon as Tom Kelman and I exited arrivals to see the families we will be living with, arrayed all around. A very kind and up lifting welcoming to a new country. I have only spent one whole week in Vancouver, but I already feel at home and have fallen deeply for Canada." Zac

Fight the good fight!

Mr Darren Kearney - Dean of Students

The Many Faces of Independence

Here are 5 ways for parents to give their children the skills, encouragement and support in their quest for independence.

It’s been well documented in recent years that children/young people are dependent on adults for longer. In Australia one in four 18-30 year olds still live at home and those numbers are on the increase. There are many reasons for this including lack of housing, affordability, working and partnering later, and simple convenience.

The propensity for many parents to do too much for children is a massive contributor to this increased dependency. Oddly, this is the exact opposite of what parents have always done, which is to develop their children’s independence, and in doing so effectively become redundant from their children.

There are a number of reasons for the current high level of dependency parenting including family shrinkage (parents are able to do a great deal for kids in small families), older parents (often over-concerned), busyness of life (it’s easier to do than delegate) and a heightened fear that the world is a dangerous place for children and young people.

Independence is the point.

When independence becomes your priority then suddenly you’ve found a pathway to the development of other positive qualities and traits in your children including the key four – confidence that comes from facing fears; competence that’s built through mastery; creativity that’s encouraged when kids must resolve their own problems; and character that is forged under the duress of challenge and hardship.

Adults are the gatekeepers for children’s independence. And of course, independence takes many guises including:

1. Self-helps skills

The starting point for independence building is giving kids the skills, know-how and confidence to look after their own wellbeing and welfare. This is shown in the many everyday situations where parents model, teach and provide opportunities for children to look after themselves. Including toddlers undressing themselves, primary aged children preparing their own snacks, and teenagers organising their own transport to school and after school activities. Kids develop real confidence from being able to look after themselves and others.

2. Autonomy to make choices and mistakes

Without realising it, as parents we frequently make choices on our children’s behalf. We choose the food they eat; the games they play; their leisure activities and often the clothes they wear. When families are large (four or more children) parents usually give their children more space to make their own decisions as well as opportunities to learn from their poor choices. This may mean that children choose healthy interests and pursuits that parents are unfamiliar with, or even swim against the tide of their parents’ wishes. In small families parents often know so much about minutiae of children’s lives that inevitably we tend to impose greater well-intentioned control over children’s decisions.

3. Freedom to explore the neighbourhood

On a recent trip to Italy I was struck by how much freedom to wander their neighbourhoods Italian children had. It was a throwback to the type of childhood that many of today’s parents experienced, where we had the opportunity to navigate our neighbourhoods on our own without having to check in with our parents all the time.

4. Freedom to explore unpredictable and potentially risky environments

Independence is also built when children spend time in unpredictable, potentially risky environments such as the bush or new environments beyond their neighbourhood. There may be some risk involved but this is where real learning lies for children and young people. Eliminate the risk and you eliminate the learning.

5. Taking responsibility for your own problems and actions

There’s no doubt many kids are adept at shifting their problems and responsibilities to adults. One of my children would always blame me when they were late for school. Even though the child in question had an alarm clock and was more than capable of using it, any lack of punctuality was somehow shifted to me. Go figure! Independence comes when children take ownership of their responsibilities rather than using someone else as a scapegoat.

In order to grant children and young people the type of independence outlined parents need to be brave rather than fearful; work hard to develop the skills and know-how kids’ independence requires; and be willing to give kids the encouragement and support they need to step out of their comfort zones when independence seems too hard.

By Michael Grose - Australia’s No 1 parenting educator