30 October 2023

Being an ‘old-skool’ Grafton boy, I love seeing Jacaranda trees in full blossom with a purple carpet underneath, especially silhouetted against a fresh spring sunrise or the imposing stormy sky.

They remind me of the changing of seasons; the encroaching warmer months and the joy associated with finals footy, days at the cricket and trips to the beach. Not to mention the Jacca Festival that gave us a day off school!

However, speak to others and they find the sight of a Jacaranda quite traumatic; signalling impending exam blocks, reporting seasons and the fast-approaching end of yet another year!

Interesting isn’t it how perspective and experience play such a significant role in our day-to-day approach to life.

As I walk around school at the moment and see our Senior School students hard at work readying for their HSC and end of year exams or our Year 7 students preparing for their first exam block, I can’t help but think they might be replacing the association of Jacca’s with spring-time fun for exam trauma and hard work too!

Does it have to be one or the other though?

Is this not the essence of resilience? Developing the capacity to be able to hold both struggle and joy, hope and pain, effort and reward provides us with the ability to bounce back, to try again and to see beyond.

God says he has planned good things for us to do (Ephesians 2) and he promises that he will never leave us alone (Psalm 121) as we work hard and journey hard with him to achieve these good things. I think the older we get the more we understand that nothing easy comes without the struggle, but we also understand the importance of those special people, that loving community around us that helps us run the whole race and get the prize.

This is growth and maturity. This is what we must do as educators and parents, together as stewards of our next generation. We must teach them that difficult or hard is not bad, that beauty exists in work and play, and in change and growth. We must help them see that it is possible in our world that the humble jacaranda can remind us of both, and this can give us the ability to endure, to do hard things.

I am so proud of our students as they engage in the work needed to live to their fullest and finish this year well. Please join with us as a staff as we pray that they will see the beauty in their struggle as they reach to achieve the good works God has planned for them to do.

Blessings,

Jonno

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