Belonging to St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar School

As I reflect on the past few weeks, the analogy of the three-legged stool comes to mind. Our Principal, Ms Rome refers often to the three-legged stool and the correlation that all three legs are needed for stability in one’s life. Each leg correlates to either, the individual’s sense of self, the individual having a sense of belonging to the family unit, or the individual belonging to a community. If one or more of these is not functioning properly, the stool  does not function. These past few weeks strengthened who we are as a community. We reached out to those who belong to the St Margaret’s and Berwick Grammar community to show care, compassion and empathy.

It is wonderful to have all year levels back from camps and there is a vibrant buzz in the air yet again. This can be compared to the feeling you have as a parent when your brood come together after a week of separate work, sporting or other commitments. It is only when we release our hold on our children that true learning and growth begin. I have received many positive reports from the students about their experiences, I am in awe of their amazing resilience, and grit, during what for some can be testing times. Consciously or not, we influence our children through our words, thoughts and deeds. They learn to have a moral conscience when we question their behaviour, providing other options and ways of looking at a situation. Listening without necessarily agreeing can build trust with your daughter, as well as allow her to reflect and own her actions. The discussion of the ‘not so great’ moments are what will resonate with her, long after the experience itself subsides. Our reactions to these such experiences is what she will mimic in later life.

With the start of every new year comes the expected email from parents regarding their child’s disappointment with either a teacher that they have or, that they do not have a single friend in their class.

As quickly and efficiently as possible seeking a solution to this poor child’s situation, despite hours of logistical changes, wellbeing referrals and the like, as a school we spring into action to make life good again.

Lately, I am questioning such actions. Life will not accommodate itself to us; we must accommodate ourselves to life. We should be equipping these children to learn strategies to cope with someone they ‘don’t like’ or find hard to communicate with. Are we enforcing strategies to teach them about getting to know and befriend girls outside of their friendship group?

Are we teaching them that childhood, adolescence, adulthood should not contain anything that makes them unhappy? That such disappointment should be fixed immediately.

As a school, we are preparing our students for life. It would be remiss of us to give our girls the impression that you do not have to get along with people you do not like or complete tasks that are difficult or unpleasant.

In saying this, what I hope for our girls is to be realistic about life, but most importantly to realise its limitless possibilities. To embrace all the breadth of extra-curricular activities offered. To step up and try out for leadership opportunities. To be creative, appreciate all the beauty that surrounds them, make mistakes, falter, all the while having the blessed safety net of the St Margaret’s community to offer support, nurture and love.

Mrs Deborrah Francis
Head of Senior Girls, Wellbeing