Belonging: Knowing your place
Proverbs 27:8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest. Is a man who wanders from his place.
I’ve got a smooth pebble in my office that is from a beach on the island of Barra off the east coast of Scotland. It is the ancestral home of the McNeill’s and in 2008 my family and I attended an international gathering of the clan on the island. It was quite a profound time; going home to a place we’d never been. There were dances, community gatherings, meeting the clan Chief at the McNeill Castle (couldn’t help throwing that in there). At the end of the few days there was a testimony time and I was proud of my sons who stood and spoke about having a sense of place and belonging on this island and among these people.
These are strong yearnings and realities in our experience: having a sense of our place and not feeling lost.
….it is far more than a location it is about belonging
….it is far more than being known it is being cared for
….it is far more than where you simply come from, it is where strong foundations were built.
Where do you come from? Where do you belong? Where is your place? The answers to these questions profoundly affect our identity, confidence, self-worth and capacity. There is not one answer and it’s not always simple. We have birthplace, hometown, homeland, family, community and more.
This College should contribute to your child’s sense of place: that they feel belonging, worth and care as they learn, grow, build strong relationships and lay foundations for a confident future.
This is why we are strategically building collaboration among staff with the intention that “no teacher is alone and no child is overlooked” and we share responsibility for one another. This is why we are building individual programs for student development. This is why we involve parents in partnering evenings so they explicitly know what we are doing at school. This is why we began the year in the Senior School with student and parent collaboration meetings to begin with a plan and achievements we could work on together. This is why we are linking our pastoral care, leadership and camping programs to build students understanding of their growth and place in the world. This is why we cherish the voice, investments and support of parents in our community.
It has been very encouraging to see that new students this year have so appreciated the friendliness and acceptance they have found from peers and staff as they have come here. Our very real intention, and joy, is for your child to experience a sense of place at our college, that they belong, are encouraged, learn in and grow in a community that they will ultimately leave but always remember and refer back to. As they graduate, they are welcome to take a pebble from the garden.