Educating boys is a real specialty.  Boys require a particular emphasis on learning more in some areas than others.  For example, boys are so good at acknowledging their mistakes, saying sorry and moving on; however, they can have difficulty in regards to understanding, acknowledging, owning and responding appropriately to their emotions.  Thus, boys require much teaching and learning around the concepts of feelings, reactions to feelings and resilience. This possibly explains the ever increasing number of males reaching the depths of despair in their lives due to their lack of ability to deal with trials in their life.  Further, research suggests that in today’s society, boys lack the experience of failure and therefore, how to be resilient, due to changes in social views and the education system.  For a period of time in education, all students received a ‘C’ grade meaning that every student passed, so that they didn’t feel a sense of failure and rejection.  Opponents to such a stance believed that failure is a part of life and a lack of failure experiences was not teaching boys to ‘dust themselves off’, lift their heads up, pick up the pieces and have another go!  Dealing with the disappointment of failure is so important to the development and learning of a young man. 

Many great leaders throughout history made the following points about failing, learning, growing and success:

“Only those who fail achieve greatly.” J. F. Kennedy

“Success is going from failure to failure with great enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

“This is how one grows: by being defeated decisively by constantly greater beings.” Rainer Maria Rilke

This weekend in NRL Rugby League fixtures, we were inspired by the actions of Alex McKinnon who was left a quadriplegic after a terrible Rugby League tackle.  No doubt, he has experienced many dark times, much suffering and will need to face many tough times ahead but he is acclaimed today for his positive resilience and desire to be concerned always for others around him during this time.

At present, we are all trying to comprehend the pain of the families associated with Flight MH17 which crashed killing 298 people.  Can you comprehend the pain and grief that the parents of the three children who died next to their grandfather are experiencing?  On Sunday, we watched images of their friends comforting the parents at a junior football match in which their eldest 12 year old son would have been playing. It is a pain, I’m sure, that must seem incomprehensible; that is totally devastating, paralysing and incapable of overcoming.  Yet, united with their friends who support them, they are called to be resilient, to have faith, to be strong and to be positive again.

Let us pray for all the boys at St Mary's College that they will be educated in acknowledging and owning their feelings and responding to the challenges that life will deal to them with resilience, fortitude and faith.  We pray for all parents and teachers that we will teach and demonstrate resilience well to the boys. Amen. 

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