On Strowan – Volume 14 // Issue 8 // 14 November 2019
College Chaplain is Rev. Paul Morrow.
Term 4 is over halfway through and the end of year beckons us at a hideous speed. It would seem that time is literally passing us by and leaving us in its wake. It is certainly a good opportunity to remind ourselves how we have spent our time as we reflect on another year.
A few years ago, a principal I know attended a leadership conference in Sydney. One of the keynote speakers was Dr Bruce Robinson from Western Australia. He is a surgeon who works primarily with men who have been diagnosed with lung cancer.
“Dr Robinson has the unenviable job of informing his patients of their terminal predicament. He shared with the delegates that many fathers diagnosed with this tragic illness will reminisce about life. The most common phrase he hears from them is, ‘I wish I had spent more time with the children’.”
Norway’s IKEA produced a Christmas commercial in 2015 in which they asked children to write a letter to the Three Kings (their equivalent to Santa) about what they would like for Christmas – toys, pets, and media software were all the common answers. The children were then asked to write a letter to their parents with their requests to them for Christmas – the children’s responses were not for things, but for time with parents.
It appears to me that our children and our elderly are those in our society who are missing the most important component which speaks most loudly of our love – time.
As Christmas bears down on us, may we take the time to stop, reflect, and move to spend our time on the things which are our most treasured – our children and our elderly.
At the Leavers’ Chapel Service, I spoke to the 2019 leavers about the big wide world awaiting them. Many have big dreams and aspirations; grand ideas about what life is going to look like outside of school. ‘Freedom at last!’ I hear many leavers saying.
But what of this freedom? What does ‘being free’ look like when you’re on your own in the big wide world? How does one truly be free?
I acknowledged that some may be approaching the end of their school days with some fear and in trepidation, for they are less sure of what to expect.
Whatever one feels about leaving school, I assured the leavers that there are plenty of reasons to be excited, and there are many adventures and opportunities awaiting them, but that with freedom comes responsibilities and with responsibilities comes adversity.
My message to the leavers of 2019 involved some questions: “How will you respond when life doesn’t go to your plan? When you fail big time? When you are confronted with the loss of someone you love? When you lose your job, or you have applied for 50 jobs and are still not getting an interview? When business falls over? When a relationship breaks down? When a good friend crosses you and turns against you? How will you deal with the inevitability that life is going to serve you some curve balls?”
My challenge to the leavers of 2019 was to be like a coffee bean; for when confronted with the adversity of hot water the coffee bean changes its environment into something rich in aroma and great tasting. People who are like the coffee bean allow the adversity of life to develop character that others want to be around. Character that is truly courageous, compassionate, and connected. Character which leads to a truly free life.
Blessings to you all this Christmas and may the Love of Jesus Christ, Fellowship of the Holy Spirit and the Peace of God be with you all.
Rev. Paul Morrow