MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
2015 Mother’s Day Celebration
On Sunday 10 May, we celebrated Mother’s Day, and for us at Bethany, a beautiful celebration was held on the preceding Thursday morning with the Eucharist followed by a breakfast.
We were delighted to see over 120 mothers, grand-mothers and mother-figures accompanied by their daughters. A special thank you to the mums who took the time to contact me and thank me for accommodating busy, working mothers with the early start. We can never choose a time that is appropriate for everyone but in this instance, it was clearly the most convenient timing. Here is the reflection I shared last Thursday:
For many, Mother’s Day is a joyful time of celebration and recognition of the women who have shaped their lives. But for many others, it is a painful time. Those who have lost their mothers, who struggle with infertility, who choose not to parent, or who have experienced some other wound may feel excluded by the way we choose to honour this day in our churches. If we do not wish to turn away those who are hurting, nor ignore this day in our worship services, how might we approach honouring Mother’s Day?
Our Christian Scriptures are rich with stories of women who brought new life into this world, but they also give accounts of those who struggled with infertility, like Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth; those who presumably had no children, like Michal and Esther; and even women who lost their lives in childbirth, like Rachel and the unnamed wife of Phinehas. How might we bring this collective narrative of both joy and sorrow into our congregation?
As the body of Christ, we are called to care for one another (1 Corinthians 2:25), starting with caring for those in our pews and communities and extending that care to those around the globe. Caring for one another on Mother’s Day means acknowledging both the joy-filled and painful experiences of motherhood.
It means remembering the nearly 800 women everyday who die in childbirth around the world, mostly from preventable causes, and collectively responding to this tragedy with prayer, education, and action.
Thank God for mothers! Mother’s Day is an opportunity to make life special for them. It is a chance to celebrate family. I thank God for my mother. There is one thing I regret: for too many years I did not appreciate her enough and took her for granted. She was always there for us. I thank God for blessing me with two beautiful children, the most special things in my life.
Mothers are the backbone of our society and the glue that holds a family together-their work is vital but often unseen. We all need to show greater appreciation for them. I pity the man who does not have a good wife to take care of him.
One of my favourite saying goes, “God could not be everywhere at once, so he gave each child a mother!” Mothers should be proud to be mothers. It is a God-given task and privilege. Actually there is a mother’s heart in every woman, whether married or single. In the past, motherhood was regarded as the noblest calling of a woman. Today it is too often pushed aside by more “desirable” occupations such as careers, and seen as an inconvenience or even an embarrassment.
A true mother thinks day and night about the well-being of her children, and is the first to praise, comfort and protect them. She is willing to sacrifice her life for them. The pains of pregnancy and childbirth are borne by the mother, and she continues to carry the child in her heart her whole life.
Motherhood is a mystery. It is something truly divine for which every human heart longs. This is why mothers provide the most powerful influence on a child’s life, and are the most important role models for positive change in our society. When anyone is in trouble, or knows that they are dying, the first person they think of is their mother. When children start going wrong ways a mother’s prayer is powerful. Mothers remind us that there is a loving God above us who will take good care of everyone, especially children. Whenever a tragedy occurs-no matter where in the world this happens-you will always find mothers both weeping for the dead and bringing comfort and security to the living.
As we seek to improve your education, let us start by taking better care of our mothers. This will enable them to provide better homes for all of us, and ensure the survival of our society. Never before in our history have so many men abandoned the children they fathered. Fathers are vanishing from their children’s lives, not just physically, but legally as well. Therefore, congratulations to all single mothers and grandmothers who do their best to raise children on their own. They often struggle under the most difficult circumstances. They are the real heroes of the family-and not just on Mother’s Day.
A Prayer for our Mothers
All-loving God, we give you thanks and praise for mothers young and old.
We pray for young mothers, who give life and count toes and tend to our every need;
May they be blessed with patience and tenderness to care for their families and themselves with great joy.
We pray for our own mothers who have nurtured and cared for us; May they continue to guide us in strong and gentle ways.
We remember mothers who are separated from their children because of war, poverty, or conflict;
May they feel the loving embrace of our God who wipes every tear away.
We pray for women who are not mothers but still love and shape us with motherly care and compassion.
We remember mothers. Grandmothers and great-grandmothers who are no longer with us but who
live forever in our memory and nourish us with their love. Amen.
Five Parenting Strategies to Develop a Growth Mindset
Bethany College has girls within it that dislike challenges. They’d rather give up than persevere. What I know is that they do not have what professor Angela Duckworth calls grit and author Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset. Or at least it’s hidden somewhere! And I’m concerned.
They are students living with a fixed mindset. This is when you believe that people are either born smart or not; that talents, intelligence, and personality can’t be changed. But we know from decades of research that this is simply not true. Our brains are amazingly malleable, even as adults.
We don’t need each student to get straight As or a perfect ATAR in the HSC. That’s not it at all. What we care about is our students’ lives. Having a growth mindset is essential for a successful life. In all areas. Our heart’s desire is that our students start to see their potential by adopting a growth mindset. We want them to believe they can learn anything, grow in areas of challenge, and work hard to solve any problem.
“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning.” – Carol Dweck
How do Parents Help Promote a Growth Mindset?
According to Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., author of Mindset, you can do the following:
- Have daily learning discussions.
At dinner, in the car or at bedtime take time to share the answers to these types of questions:
- “What did you learn to day?” (I LOVE this – so much better than “How was your day?”)
- “What mistake did you make that taught you something?
- “What did you try hard at today?”
It’s really important says Dweck that you share what you have learned, too. This models for kids that we learn new things every day, even learning from failures.
When children share, you can reply like this:
- “You certainly did get smarter today.”
- “I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies on that maths problem until you finally got it right.”
- “We all have different learning curves. It may take more time for you to catch on to this and be comfortable with this material, but I you keep at it like this you will.”
- “Everyone learns in a different way. Let’s keep trying to find the way that works for you.”
(These are direct quotes from Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.)
- Give feedback on process only.
Praise effort, persistence, strategies, seeking challenges, setting goals, planning, or using creative strategies. Don’t praise personal abilities like being smart, pretty, or artistic. This kind of praise actually can lead to a loss of confidence since kids won’t be smart at everything. They’ll doubt their ability to be good at something that is difficult initially.
Salman Khan recently wrote that he will never tell his son he’s smart for this very reason. He shares, “Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.” https://youtu.be/NWv1VdDeoRY
- Do you know brains can grow?
Explain to kids how the brain can grow stronger and that intelligence can improve throughout your life. Intelligence is not fixed. It’s changeable. This is called brain plasticity. What’s more, learning CHANGES our brains. Kids need to know this is possible.
- Encourage risk, failing, and learning from mistakes.
Now is the time to let our kids risk and fail. Failure teaches our kids important life lessons. For one, it’s how they learn r resiliency But we often want to prevent our kids from failing, from feeling upset or sad.
We must let our kids fail now so that they can strengthen their growth mindset muscles. If we don’t, they will be adults with no perseverance, with no belief in their abilities to work hard and succeed. In The Blessings of a Skinned Knee, Wendy Mogel says to be compassionate and concerned but not enmeshed. Let’s keep each other accountable on this. This is hard but so import
- Encourage and model positive self-talk.
Finally, I think it’s worth sharing this self-talk chart from another school. Our self-talk is where it all starts to shift. Are you hoping to help your kids shift mindsets?
Enrolment for Year 7 (2017)
- Siblings of children already attending Bethany
- Children enrolled in our eleven Feeder (Catholic) schools: Arncliffe, Bexley, Blakehurst, Brighton, Hurstville, Kogarah, Oatley, Penshurst, Rockdale, Sans Souci, South Hurstville
- Baptised daughters and siblings of Alumni
- Children of families in designated Feeder parishes
Our mantra:“Girls can do anything. Bethany girls can do everything!* (*except divide by zero)”
Vicki Lavorato Principal