From the Head Master

From the Head Master

The frustrations of the extended wet weather this year are being felt at multiple levels in the School.

Apart from the reduced opportunity for the boys to be active outdoors during the course of the School day, our programme of co-curricular activities is being hampered. Some sports fixtures are being cancelled as the facilities are not fit for use. The Cadet Unit’s Annual Field Training is having to be modified. The Duke of Edinburgh expedition planned for the Easter break is having to take the inclement weather into account. The Preparatory School’s Year 5 trip to Bathurst and the Year 6 trip to Canberra face additional challenges because of the rain. Our Field Studies Programme is adapting to the persistently water-logged environment. The list could go on.

Likewise, the rain is having implications for the facilities of the School. Not only does the sustained precipitation result in slippery surfaces, leaks and minor puddling and flooding, but it also prevents us from taking the necessary remedial action with our roofs and gutters. The completion of the conversion of our former boarding house to an examination centre has been delayed (although there is still a generous allowance of time between completion and its anticipated first use). The commencement of construction activities for the Renewal Project at Summer Hill has been complicated by the rain.

On top of these other issues is the emotional impact of persistent bad weather. Grey sky, day after day, is depressing. I used to be a bit sceptical about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but as I gazed across the gloom (metaphoric and literal) at the Quad assembly this week during a time that would normally be blazing with sunshine, I did not need to be convinced that SAD has an impact on our individual and collective mood.

In reflecting on all the hassles that we are managing, and remembering that we are not dealing with the destruction and disruption that comes with the widespread flooding in other parts of NSW, I was reminded that the weather remains an aspect of life over which we have no control.

I hasten to add that my observation is not directed towards the topic of climate change. For what it is worth, it seems to me overwhelmingly established that anthropogenic climate change is real and is likely to have devastating impacts in the years ahead.

Rather, my observation has more to do with the nature of ‘control’. We live in an age when we are able to control so much of our daily experience. When it gets dark, we turn on a light. When we are hot, we turn on the airconditioning. The heat needed for cooking comes at the turn of a dial or the press of a button. We can choose from the widest possible array of food to eat, music to listen to and entertainment to watch. Remote controls are ubiquitous.

Since we can control so much, it can come both as a shock and a frustration when events come our way that we can’t control. It is almost an affront for us to have to recognise that things are beyond our control. The weather is beyond our control and this persistent rain has reminded us of this inexorable fact.

I have two reflections that arise from the reminder that the weather is beyond our control.

The first is that we need to embrace humility. The reality is that our plans, agendas, needs and wants are not at the centre of the universe. The world around us does not dance to the rhythm that we set. Whether we understand the world and our experience through a Christian lens, which places the loving Creator God at the centre, or through a materialist lens, which has blind indifference and chance determining events, we are not in control. As members of my family remind me, ‘It’s not all about you!’

The second is to recognise that the perpetual challenge for us in life is ‘How will we respond to the circumstances that come.’ Triumph, disaster, fulfillment, frustration and a myriad of other situations will come our way. We ought to focus, not on the circumstances, but on our response. After all, this is the one thing over which we have control. At Trinity, we hope that our boys will learn that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Nonetheless, it would be lovely if the rain stopped!

Detur gloria soli deo

Tim Bowden | Head Master

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