Matthew 18:12 "If a shepherd has one hundred sheep, and one wanders away and is lost, what will he do? Won't he leave the ninety-nine others and go out into the hills to search for the lost one? (NLT)
You won’t find a school in Australia that doesn’t have a Pastoral Care Policy. Interestingly, it is a fundamentally Christian metaphor around the image of sheep and shepherds. Jesus described himself as the Good and the Great Shepherd, the service of people who cared for others as under-shepherds, and the community being cared for and watched as sheep.
From Jesus’ images of sheep and shepherds we can come to a greater understanding of the roles and perspectives that should drive Pastoral Care in our College. The story of leaving the ninety-nine to find the one reveals the need to identify and respond to individual needs with the aim of bringing those individuals back into effective operation in the community.
The role of pastoral carers is defined as reflecting the heart of the Great Shepherd in leading, nurturing and protecting the flock. This is what Jesus saw when He looked at communities,
Matt 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. (NKJ)
His final instruction to one of the closest of his disciples reinforced that love for him was shown by care for others.
John 21:16-17 Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord," Peter said, "you know I love you." "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said. Once more he asked him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know I love you." Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep. (NLT)
People need pastoral care, especially in the critical years of their education and development from childhood towards adult. It has been a particular emphasis of our College to provide a vision and ideals that faithfully direct young men and women to embrace godly goals. We work diligently to provide a safe and nurturing community that encourages students to respect themselves and others. We understand that the ability to respond to an individual’s educational, social and emotional need should never be lost amongst the press of the ninety-nine.
With the continuing development of our two campuses, pastoral care is a whole-school priority that will be coordinated from the first to the final year. The need for good pastoral care in our contemporary society has never been more challenging and the prospects for that development in our College, never more exciting.
So as we work towards this together, I am impressed by the need to be more than just an institution that affects the mind, but the heart and character as well. We can only work effectively when we understand that every child in our care is complex, has a variety of needs and is operating as a person in a specific context. Good lines of communication and cooperation between home and school are essential.
Mr Rod McNeill