I’ve always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are best because they are beginnings.Jenny Han
New beginnings are exciting; the beginning of the world in Genesis, the dove as a symbol of hope for Noah’s family, the first cry of a baby in a manger, Mary’s joy at the sight of a risen Saviour, Paul’s transformation at the acceptance of the grace of Christ. New beginnings provide opportunity for transformation and growth. However, new beginnings can also be fraught with worry and apprehension. Joseph’s new beginning started with slavery, the Israelites’ promised new beginning saw them wandering the desert for a generation. At the time, new beginnings can often seem unpleasant and scary as we wait for the full picture to be revealed.
With the benefit of hindsight, we see how God is always at work transforming each person distinctively through their story. God moulds and shapes us in the small daily battles. In the secular world, this is referred to as building resilience. Resilience is the ability to cope with adversity and spring back from significant life events. It is forged in the small every day repeated wins, and losses in between, that help to build confidence for the bigger knocks that life may bring. Resilience is also built through love and belonging.
When we don’t feel claimed, we feel unprotected and live in a heightened state of insecurity and fear, anticipating the worst.Michelle Mitchell
Belonging is an essential human need. Feeling “claimed” brings security, confidence and self worth. Babies do not survive without a caring adult. Children need nurture into adolescence and beyond. It is within a safe and loving context that children can be given small opportunities to fail and where they learn to view failure as “not the end of the world” but an opportunity to learn and grow.
A toddler misses a step and falls; the mother encourages them to get up and keep going…
A child gets the wrong answer to a maths problem; a teacher gets alongside them and explains the solution…
A teenager writes something on social media that is inappropriate; a father gently explains the consequences and guides them through the solutions…
In each of these scenarios a child is “claimed”; they are building resilience as they walk alongside a loving adult. BUT how much more could we grow in the care of a loving God!
In Year 7 Core and Christian Studies classes this term we have been unpacking Two Ways to Live. We dearly hope that students will respond to God’s desire to “claim” them as one of His children. We want them to walk alongside a loving God, who is present in every joy and difficulty. God wants to be their Father and their King. Our Lord wants to build resilience in Him by moulding and transforming them. He also wants to share in their excitement and joy. If you read Joseph’s story in Genesis 37-50 you will see that his new beginning was fraught with challenges and hardship, but God worked through him to transform adversity into joy and salvation. Joseph may not have had a loving adult to nurture him but he did have a powerful, loving and purposeful God; a Lord who claimed him, moulded and transformed him, and ultimately saved an entire nation through him.
Beginning High School invites many mixed emotions. Excitement at the prospect of new adventures, new classes and new friends is swept up with apprehension about how each of these things may work out. It has been wonderful to witness the courage, resilience and transformations for our new Year 7 cohort as they face new challenges and expectations with passion, excitement and apprehension. While, as teachers and parents, we walk lovingly beside our kids, my deep hope is that they will accept God’s “claim” on them and allow Him to transform them by His love and purposes too.
Here’s a quick look at what High School new beginnings at Kuyper look like from our kids’ perspective:
What has been your favourite part about starting High School?
That everybody welcomed me, and made sure I was never alone. They showed me around the school, introduced me to people and helped me learn the teachers’ names and stuff.
Going to the swimming carnival.
My favourite part is the different things we do that we did not do in primary school like Food Tech and Science experiments. I also like that we know what subject we are going to do, at what time.
Learning science and geography.
PDHPE is fun because it is good exercise and it is fun as well.
My favourite part of starting high school is going from classroom to classroom. It gets you outside when you move to a different classroom and I love it.
My favourite thing at high school is Maths and Music.
I’ve enjoyed meeting new people.
Having so many new people start at Kuyper. Having timetables to be more organised.
What are you learning?
In English, Mrs Clarke & Miss Dixon are teaching us that God gave us a voice and that we should use it and that we deserve to use it to say what we believe in. The lesson is called ‘Have Your Say’.
In Christian Studies we are doing the Two Ways to Live project where we talk about how God created everything and how He wants us to live our lives.
How science can be used to make God’s world better and how He made us and science.
How God created intelligent humans to make maths.
In Core, we have been learning about Two Ways to Live – how everything was great then went wrong – but God had a plan.
We are learning about the stages of the water cycle and how it all works.
That God provides plants and food for us and water to make them grow. He wants us to grow too.
What is your most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment so far is: making the parfaits.
My most memorable moment is probably the jokes at recess and lunch.
The most memorable part of high school has been just hanging out with friends and having conversations with the teachers.
PE – Dodge Rush (DodgeBall + Bull Rush).
Using chemicals in the Science lab.
My most memorable moment has to be when I came on the first day and everyone was just so friendly and how I never felt left out.
So far my most memorable moment is the cooking. We do a new recipe every week.
What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to coding class and the handball tournament.
I’m looking forward to camp.