A Focus on Uplifting Themes

Despite heading back to online teaching and learning again this term, it has proven to be a busy and packed eight weeks. This is no less true for our weekly Religious Education program delivered via Prep to Year 6 blogs and online Chapel every Friday morning.

During this particular period, the RE topics have focused on themes deemed relevant and uplifting during these often challenging, unpredictable and uncertain times.

During Week 1 we considered the value of friendship, forgiveness and kindness through a lovely story called Once there was a Boy which tells a tale of a solitary boy, who through a unique set of difficulties finds that the things that are most important and precious in our lives are actually with us all along. People like our loving families, mates and teachers. Demanding and trying moments in life can also shape us and our values that in turn make us stronger, wiser and more compassionate to others.

The next week we examined the Armour of God which equips us to be mindful of the qualities that can assist us when facing testing and even scary times in our lives. These include always striving to be fitted out with the virtues of love, honesty, righteousness, readiness to say and do good things, peace, faithfulness and prayer (or mindfulness).

We then viewed Fr Lord acting out (complete with props) the timeless Godly Play Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Good Shepherd. It shows that we all feel lost, sad, anxious, confused, misunderstood, afraid or lonely at times. Yet we are always loved by our parents, teachers, mates and God, even if we might not feel like it at the time. Some wonderful sheep arts and crafts ensued.

The following week we explored the extremely important concept of hope. We viewed the magical story The Last Tree in the City which highlights the fact that even when things seem stacked against us, when everything appears to be dire, we can still find hope in the people, places and activities around us. Often hiding in plain sight if we care to look. We then looked at the philosophy of: find hope, keep hope and share hope and went on to create some magnificent, creative and imaginative Trees of Hope to hang in our homes as reminders to always cling to hope, no matter what.

In Week 5 we did the highly entertaining story of The Two Builders which is a delightful Ozzy version of the Parable of the Two Houses. We discovered that the choices we make and the habits that we cultivate determine the foundations that our lives are built upon. If we make sound decisions and create wise habits it will be like a house build upon the stone and weather the storms of life. We considered what might constitute a good choice and looked at various examples of healthy habits and what might qualify as a storm in life: illness, injury, disappointments and setbacks. Conversely, a house build upon sand won’t fare well in a storm.

We then unpacked the value of courage and bravery, namely standing up to bullies and having the conviction to do the right thing even if it not considered to be popular. As inspiration Fr Lord read the story Don’t Cry, Lion! which is a retelling of the Old Testament story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den.

Most recently, Fr Lord told the traditional story of Zacchaeus the corrupt tax collector and his life-changing encounter with Jesus. We thought about the importance of sharing and generosity, not merely with material things, but also with our time, talents and even just listening and being available to one another. Alternatively, the consequence of being selfish means that nobody wins.

Our Chapel each Friday morning has covered similar themes that aim to encourage, inspire, comfort and motivate. We have wondered about what real happiness might be and how best to pursue it. We have talked about how David equipped himself when facing Goliath with certain qualities and how we can use the same spiritual and emotional techniques today to help us through tough times. We heard about the greedy dog and his bone in the Aesop’s Fable which is a cautionary tale about not sharing and caring. We were uplifted by the donkey and the well which motivated us to be persistent and to never give up. And this week we will of course have a Chapel devoted to our amazing fathers which serves as a timely reminder to honour and appreciate all that they do for us. All in all, a rich and busy term in RE.

Fr Chester Lord
Junior School Chaplain