Age of Distractions

Written by Mr Christopher Breingan, Curriculum Manager

Over the last few weeks I have been noticing a concerning trend in society. We all know that with technology advances over the past 15 years, we have slowly become a society of people addicted to our phones. This is not a new idea, we have been reading articles for years about a growing trend in our young people being exposed to too many hours of screen time. In recent weeks, I have been consciously aware of just how far this issue has spread into many areas of our lives.

I was at a recent weekend sporting event for my daughter and noticed an alarming statistic. Out of the 40 people “watching” the game there was around 30+ people watching/engaging with their devices.  I pondered this at the time and found myself trying to understand what was driving this distraction. Was it a need to find an answer to a question, was it a desire to be entertained, was it seeing how the other half live through social media? This same statistic occurred again and again in different scenarios over the past couple of weeks. When I was at a netball training session for my daughter later that week, at the doctors surgery, on the train during peak hour, waiting in line for some fast food, seems like no matter where we get the chance to stop and wait somewhere there is an automatic reaction that sees us reach for our device.

In each of these situations, it made me realise that at that moment I have a choice to make. To engage with the moment in front of me or allow my attention and focus to go to the screen. I remember sitting at my daughter’s netball training session and just enjoying being out in the early evening, being able to watch her train, seeing the friendships she has made in her group, noticing how far her skills have come in such a short space of a time. I am not saying I am a saint when it comes to being in the moment, but an awareness has been sparked in me to make the effort to look out for and enjoy those moments when they are presented in my every day living. 

apple-blur-cell-phone-336948.jpg

The Bible has many scripture verses which look at the idea of being present in the moment and noticing the things in life that are right in front of you. In Ephesians 5:15-16 it reads “look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…”. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus says “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes." And in Hebrews 13:5 Paul writes, “don’t be obsessed with getting more material things. Be relaxed with what you have. Since God assured us, I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you”. My favourite is probably found in Psalms 73:1-3 “No doubt about it, God is Good – good to good people, good to the good-hearted. But I nearly missed it, missed seeing his goodness. I was looking the other way…” This verse reminds us that God has placed many things right there in front of us, good things that show us his love and care for us. Are we nearly missing these good things God is doing in our lives in this Age of Distractions?

Quality Sleep, Rest and Renewal

Written by Mr Royce Mahoney, Director Teaching and Learning

 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” - Philippians 4:6-7

 

QUALITY SLEEP, REST AND RENEWAL

The flu season has hit with force this year. As the staff, students and community struggle with the many ‘bugs’ out there, it is a really opportune time to reflect on rest and renewal of the body and mind. Some of our students have just delivered a sensational musical and are suffering from the gruelling demands of nine months of rehearsal and four nights of performances. Some of our students are working at part-time jobs, studying and trying to contribute to the co-curricular events at the College. Our Year 12 students are preparing for the QCS exams and the dreaded Term 3 exam block. It is tiring just thinking about the amount of energy expelled by our students, so it is vital to take some time to refresh. 

Sleep is crucial not just for physical and mental well-being, but for the consolidation of learning, and to ensure students perform well in all their endeavours. The absolute last resort should be to sacrifice sleep time in order to get things done. However, I hear students and teachers say, “I only need a few hours and I feel fine.” So, how much sleep is right for you? This is tricky as everyone is different. Some lucky people need only 6 hours a night, most people need about 8 hours and some people need 10 hours! The crux is that quality sleep is essential.

In our subscription to www.studyskillshandbook.com.au there is an article that details the importance of sleep. Some of the key learnings include the following:

Here are two ways to tell if you are getting enough sleep, one, how quickly do you fall asleep at night? If you fall asleep instantly that can be a sign you are not getting enough sleep, it should take 10-15 minutes to fall asleep. Two, how do you feel when you wake up in the morning? If you feel tired and sluggish then that can also be a sign that you need to get to bed earlier.

alarm-clock-analogue-bed-271818.jpg

IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF YOUR SLEEP:

  • Avoid caffeine (cola drinks, coffee, energy drinks, chocolate) after dinner or even better, no later than 4pm.

  • Organise as much as you can at night to minimise what you have to do in the morning (e.g. organise your clothes for the next day, pack your bag).

  • Try and have a minimum of half an hour to an hour before you go to bed without computers, TV, phone or any electronic devices or homework or chatting to friends. If you can’t do that, at least put the devices on night mode or turn the brightness down.

  • Set up a relaxing ‘wind-down’ routine before you go to bed. Do this same routine every night (e.g. warm shower, reading, listening to quiet music) so your brain associates these activities with bed time and sleep.

  • A drop in body temperature near bedtime triggers the sense that is time to go to sleep. So after a warm bath or hot shower, cool yourself down. It is also better at night to be cool rather than overheated.

  • Keep your room as dark and as quiet as possible at night.

  • When you lie in bed, start at your feet and mentally imagine relaxing each muscle as you slowly work your way up the body. Most people do not make it up to their head before they fall asleep!

  • In the morning open the curtains wide or go out into the sun and get lots of light to help wake your brain. Being exposed to lots of natural light during the day will also help the body produce the melatonin at the right time for a good sleep cycle.

  • A healthy breakfast will help to kick-start your body clock for the day.

If you know that you are running on empty or close to it, perhaps you might need to take a few tips from the list, or develop a rest routine, or use some quality time to meditate or pray and allow the wonders of the body to work.

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.” Maya Angelou Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now

 

Bearer of Fruit

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, from apart me you can do nothing.

farm-farming-fruits-39511.jpg

 This week’s bible verse reminds me of the Fruits of Faith, which are important values the College seeks for students to learn and demonstrate in their daily behaviours and the choices they make.  The vine represents the key teachings of these Christian values, such as care, respect, grace and honour, with the branches representing each individual connected to the vine – and therefore, the College.  The goal of most vines is for its branches to bear fruit, which in this case, are students and all community members demonstrating these Christian values through their choices and eventually actions.

 As a Christian community we rely on God and His teachings to help guide our direction as a school, which aims for all students to know of and experience God’s love.  It is through this love that we as a College believe students can bear the greatest fruits, where their actions are informed by the Fruits of Faith, allowing them in both current and future settings and communities they serve to be enriched and experience greatest success because of their relationship to the vine.

 

Whilst our College primarily focuses on working with students of today to provide them with the best education service so they can develop and share their God-given talents, the overall aim is to ensure these students are best equipped to contribute to our community and the greater world beyond their time at the College.  Whether this is after hours during their current school lives, or beyond their secondary school education in their adult lives, the College (or vine in this example) is to ensure every student (or branch) is able to be an active citizen in their post schooling lives where they experience both personal success (or fruits) and uplift those within the communities they share.    

 Whilst all people beyond their secondary schooling lives will invariably bear different forms of fruit, the quality and quantity of fruit they experience often depends on their efforts earlier in their lives, including the engagement they share with respective vines they encounter.  Whether these vines are in a schooling, church, family or friendship sense, students who utilise these important connections to learn and inform their decision making to make improved and positive choices that uplift themselves and others, tend to yield the greatest fruits later in life. 

 

Faith wants all students to carve out a true and meaningful existence whilst here at the College, and not simply exist.  A true existence and meaningful engagement can include a number of things for different students at the College.  Whether this is seeking out and trying a new co-curricular activity, or perhaps demonstrating a growth-mindset in a subject that has previously been challenging, students who genuinely attempt to learn of and develop their God-given talents tend to experience the greatest fruits – whether during their time here at Faith, or often, in their post schooling lives.     

 I encourage all students to strive to carve out a true existence at the College, where they embrace each day and see every experience as a learning opportunity that informs their character and future decision making. 

The Good News

Written by Mr Tyson Kenny - Deputy Principal

Matthew 6:34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.’

I really like this week’s bible verse, as it has many practical applications for students not only in their spiritual lives, but also, in their daily lives as learners at the College.  This often includes teachers trying to support students with focusing on what they can do now, in the present, to address any stress factors that might be impacting them.  For example, this might concern a student struggling to juggle numerous assessment tasks and meet looming draft and final assessment deadlines.  As a College, staff will work closely with students to assist them with breaking these assessments down, to the point where students should have a clear plan of what they can do each day, and including right now, to allay any assessment stress and attempt each task to the best of their ability.     

This particular verse, however, is often open to interpretation, and therefore application, where it can sometimes be interpreted rather differently than what I’ve detailed above.  Famous Swiss theologian and professor, Ulrich Luz, believes that there are two main interpretations of this verse: an optimistic and a pessimistic one.  The optimistic view is that this verse is a rephrasing of the ancient idea of ‘carpe diem’, live each day to its fullest because one never knows what will happen tomorrow.  The more pessimistic view is that the evil of each individual day is so great and so overbearing that it is hard enough to get through one day, much less worry about those coming.  Luz argues that while the previous verse is optimistic, in the long run the Kingdom of Heaven will be proclaimed and all will be well, in the short run the future is little more than misery.

I personally struggle with this pessimistic view; however, I do acknowledge when reading certain newsfeeds, one might take the view that there are more negative things happening in our world.  Whilst I do not believe this is the case, the nature of media often results in the more negative news being shared.  

When discussing this bible verse with students, I’m reminded of a devotion I shared at chapel last term, which referenced 2 Thessalonians 2:15 (ESV) ‘So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.’  This bible passage reminds me that God is love, and that He through his Son brought the Good News of salvation.  This news, told through the Gospel, reminds us that no matter the negative news we might hear about on any particular day, or how we might be struggling with a certain stress in our lives at any one moment, God is forever present and available to each of us.

christianity-cross-god-54333.jpg

If God is your foundation, then there is nothing to stress over, as He will take care of it for you.  If we want to live in the name of God (i.e. to live the Fruits of Faith and to share them in our community), we should focus on realising them in our everyday lives, demonstrated through the choices we make and have control over.  If we overthink the future, we often start worrying, which only holds us back from living in the present.  Though this bible verse from Matthew reminds us that we might have many challenges to face in the present, we also need to remember the Good News and gift of God’s love shared through the Gospel. 

I encourage all students and community members of the College, to live each day facing any challenge with the knowledge that God’s love and His gift of grace is available to all of us.  Sure, we might need to make choices in our daily lives to navigate our way through certain challenges we may be facing; however, knowing that God’s love is forever available to each of us, through a relationship with Him, no worry or particular stress that we might be experiencing cannot be overcome.

 

Yours in Christ


Listening with an Open Heart

Written by Mrs Janelle Anderson - Principal

A warm welcome back to all for Semester 2. We will again have a busy term, but the excitement of the new work commencing for the College sports gym and the possibilities it will bring are fantastic, though it will also bring some challenges regarding space and accessibility. This term brings the next phase of our 2019 Foundations concept with the theme of “Profound” being the focus.

As members who journey through our community of learning, each of us is influenced by our involvement. We want to determine if there are essential learnings that are embedded in our mission and vision that stay with each person beyond their years at Faith, and how do they impact on our choices and decisions throughout our life’s journey. Can we find, through our time at Faith, spiritual, social and emotional understandings that will be profoundly significant to our lives?

The activities, events, tours and the myriad of things we do are just the mechanisms and vehicles to attain these profound learnings. This term we will hear from our groups such as Dirranbandi, Vanuatu, Confraternity and our graduating class to capture the essence of the profound impacts these activities have on their lives and the lifelong lessons that have received.

aerial-belief-bible-1437872.jpg

Our opening verse for the term is from Proverbs 3:5-6

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Knowing that God will always be there for us. Having an understanding that we will only find the way God wants for us if we trust and believe in Him. Because He sees the plans He has for us before we realize them on our own. This does not mean we are inactive, but that we need to allow time for God’s plans to come to fruition sometimes.

 

This means we are all encouraged to submit ourselves to God's direction before making a big personal or other important decision. It means that you submit everything and everyone in your life to the guidance and will of Jesus. That is what it means to acknowledge Him in all ways.

But, that is where our “theology” goes off the tracks. We love to consider God as guide and protector, but we don’t “acknowledge him in all our ways.”

So, maybe you are wondering… what does that even mean? What does it look like to “acknowledge God in all my ways?”

Well, it means exactly what it sounds like. That you, in everything you do, say or think, would lift up and show the character, beauty and glory of Christ in your life.

It means that in the way that you live, you show the character of Jesus. That, in the way you work, you display the integrity of a very hardworking and honest God.

That, in the way you care for your family, you exhibit the Spirit of the God who calls Himself our Father!

It means that you talk like Jesus would talk, that you play sports with God’s glory and your witness for Him in mind.

It means that when you make decisions, you seek out God’s word and the Holy Spirit more than you do your gut, your friends’ opinions, or your own feelings.

A lot of people like to talk about how God is guiding their life, or how the “man upstairs” is keeping an eye out for them… but Biblically speaking, that often isn’t the case. Why? Because they don’t acknowledge Him.

If you want to guarantee God’s protection and guidance in your life, you’ve got to acknowledge Him in it. You’ve got to seek Him, desire Him, and lift Him up, more than your own desires and pride.

During our recent trip to Vanuatu, we were able to see a community that really allowed us to see their reliance on God’s guidance and their faith which is unquestionable. We shared this devotion with them to highlight the importance of our partnership and the wonderful influence they have on those who attend in serving God through our actions:

 

In our Lutheran schools, one of our key learnings is to network and grow in partnership with communities.

In our partnership with you here in Vanuatu, though it is an ocean apart, we honour what we share.

Your friendship

         love

         humour

         humility

and kindness

 

But most important is our relationships with all the students, staff, families and community.

 

You help us to grow and value what we have and to accept that maybe some of our material possessions are not as important as family, friendship and GOD.

 

Through God who guides both our communications to serve our children, so too is our God with all of us when we come together each year.

 

From the Bible, Paul uses a word in his tongue called Koinonia which means fellowship – joining together in a two sided relationship - Iquaramenu and Faith.

 

The spiritual bond we have with you comes from the Gospel which calls us to serve each other.  We can all learn better when we work together.

 

Though, at times our language difference is a barrier, we can overcome this and learn through the challenges.

 

We ask God that we always make the needs of others more important than anything else.

 

Our Bible verse from Philippians 1: Verse 2-5

 

Grace and peace to you from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now.

 

So to all those who have been before, are here this year and will come in the future, we will always be blessed.  You bring us new understandings of ourselves and each other.

 

You make us treasure the beauty of your island.

 

The majesty of your trees.

 

The voice of the volcano

 

And the smile and joy of your faces.

 

Make God’s peace reign over all of you always

 

And our friendship, grow and continue to blossom for many years to come.

 

We pray:

 

Christ has no body but ours, no hands, no feet on earth but ours, yours are the eyes with which He looks with compassion in His world, yours are the feet with which He walks with us to do food, yours are the hands to serve.


And all of us – our hearts and souls to bless this world through our talents and abilities.

 

Please watch over every small child, every growing student and the new and developing adults here at this school – give them the ability to learn and flourish in their mind, body and spirit.


We pray all these things to our communal God

 

Amen

 

Based on our theme this week of listening with an open heart in such a way to find the plans God has for each of us, the Vanuatu partnership opens our eyes to a very different way of life and a truly significant opportunity to serve others so that we can change other people’s lives for the better.