Author: Mr Royce Mahoney - Director of Teaching and Learning
Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
As you may be aware, our theme for the year is foundations. I recently read a line in an article that stated we should ‘focus on the depth of our foundations and God will look after the breadth of our life.’ The line contained no attribution but I liked the meaning behind it. It allowed me to reflect upon the foundations of my life and where I developed my character. Obviously I began to think about my family, my father, a stern military man, my mother, a pragmatic nurse, and my brother, a calm passive man. I think of them because this is the natural inclination to think about from where we draw our values and family is usually a significant factor.
Beyond family, the greatest influence for our foundations is community and peers, or in our students’ case, hopefully our College, their teachers and their friends. We hope that students develop their foundational values and beliefs through their experiences, their families and through their relationship with God. However, as educators we have a very clear role to play in helping to build these foundations. As Luke infers, if we build a house on a questionable foundation it will not be able to withstand the ‘weathering’ that life affords us. In fact, the end can be disastrous without a ‘Rock’ (solid) foundation. We seek to offer students a foundation in living a good life, having a strong base in their beliefs and their morality.
James states, Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. Now we are certainly not here to tell students how to live their lives. As we know ‘the elect of God, build their houses differently.’ Each student will travel their own unique journey, as God has planned. They will formulate, appraise and reappraise their own identity and beliefs many times throughout their life. What we do ask though is that students are open to the base, the solid rock that a foundation centred in Christ offers.
As stated in Psalm 111:10, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.’
When I was thinking about this article and foundations, after I thought about my family, I vividly remembered one of my teachers. Mr. Clarke was the Principal/teacher in a small school in rural Victoria. He would walk around the school grounds with a small gaggle of students who would follow him (me included). Mr. Clarke was very good at throwing out random questions in relation to whatever we might be walking past; - an insect, the shape of the land or even the clouds. I remember questions such as, “What is the longest day of the year?” “How do flowers know what to smell like to attract insects?” Following our ill-informed answers, he would always set us a task in our next lesson and we would madly research (no Google in those days) to try and find the real answers. This love of learning, seeking answers and a genuine interest in learning has resonated with me ever since, and to this day I still attribute this foundation to one of my favourite teachers. I only hope that our students also develop this sense of wonder and awe, I hope they lay the foundation to their life guided by the rich community in which we thrive and the gospels that provide wisdom.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.