Dear Families and Friends,

This time of the year is an opportunity to both reflect and renew.

The way you’ve journeyed with us this year has helped define who we are as a community. Your care and understanding enabled us to remain attentively focused on the educational wellbeing of our students. Our heartfelt thanks to you, and all of our very supportive families. I also am deeply thankful for the leadership of Mr Trimble (Head of Secondary) and Mr Moses (Head of Primary) this year. They have lead by example, maintaining an outstanding commitment to care for both students and staff. Mr Trimble, Mr Moses, and their respective staff have been a blessing in one of our most challenging years. SCBC staff have personified our values of wisdom, grit, hope, and love. On behalf of our College community, our sincere thanks and appreciation to every member of staff. This is especially true too for Mrs Jasna Trimble and our Early Childhood Centre staff. They stayed open in the middle of the pandemic storm, to help families keep the economy going. They were true examples of servant leadership.

Reflecting on what contributes to wellbeing

International research associated with wellbeing observes a strong association between wellbeing and having an authentic faith. Our College encourages students to gain a personal understanding of Jesus, acknowledging Christianity can be a source of deep satisfaction in life. Christmas reminds us that God loves the world so much, he sent his only son Jesus, to help us experience a personal relationship with God himself (see John 3:16). No wonder we enjoy giving each other gifts!

In previous Newsletters, I’ve referred to Dr Martin Seligman, one of the founding academics in the field of Positive Psychology. After realising he’d increasingly become a grumpy person, Seligman reconsidered his approach to helping people as a Psychologist. Rather than just focus on repairing, he increasingly focussed on promoting behaviours that contributed to increased health and wellbeing. His thoughts were captured in a book called ‘Flourish’. The acronym ‘PERMA’ is used to name elements associated with an enjoyable life. The ‘R’ represents ‘relationship/s’. At SCBC, Christianity is all about the importance of healthy relationships. Interestingly, the supportive relationship of staff to students was the highest ranked, recurring feature of school life, communicated by this year’s Class of 2020.

A few years ago, I attended an international conference in Melbourne that focussed on the behavioural science associated with wellbeing. One of the guest speakers was Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky. She had studied what was common amongst the happiest people, then shared her findings in a book published 20 years ago called: ‘The How of Happiness’.  

Dr Lyubomirsky’s research revealed the happiest people …   

😊 They are comfortable expressing gratitude for what they have.

😊 They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.

😊 They are often the first to offer a helping hand to co-workers and passers-by.

😊 They practice optimism when imaging their futures.

😊 They savour life’s simple pleasures and try to live in the present moment.

😊 They make physical exercise a weekly and even daily habit.

😊 They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions (e.g. fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children deeply held values).

😊 Last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stresses, crises, and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstances as you or I, however they respond to difficulty with poise and strength.’

Renewing our appreciation with gratitude for what we have

Our College community is committed to the spiritual, intellectual, social, physical and emotional wellbeing of your children. When young people experience increased wellbeing, they are happier i.e. they typically feel good and consequently function well. This is an ideal time of the year to renew our feelings of sincere gratitude, during one of the most challenging chapters of time in human history. COVID-19 caused us to prioritise thoughtfulness towards each other.   

The below world maps speak for themselves. The last image acknowledges the Australian educational community is not out of the woods yet, but we have transitioned into a more stable place to continue teaching our young people in schools. In all areas of life, Australians have shown a caring thoughtfulness towards our community. It’s enabled responders (Federal and State government, health professionals, and considerate citizens) to support, and apply scientifically informed interventions that have increasingly controlled the COVID-19 pandemic.  We have many reasons to be grateful for our community. A special shout-out to our State and Federal Government leaders, as well as the army of administrative staff that actioned their guidance. We’ve been blessed.    

As we approach Christmas together, we will again be reminded of Jesus as the personification of hope and love. Jesus’ birth, life, and resurrection is an unparalleled story, that continues to transform our world.

I encourage you and your family to enjoy experiencing gratitude this Christmas by joining in your local Church’s Christmas services.

If you aren’t familiar with your local Church, then you are warmly welcomed to join Rockingham Baptist Church in the hall for their Christmas service.

Wishing you a blessed finish to 2020, and a very special time together this Christmas, as we celebrate God’s life-changing gift to humanity of His only Son.

Jesus is the reason for the season,

Des Mitchell