Principal's Blog - 2 March 2017

26 Feb 2017

Dear members of the Marcellin College family,

We hear so much lately about youth crime and unrest on the streets of Melbourne. The media are saturating us with negative images of young people portraying them as ill disciplined, violent, thoughtless, dangerous and generally out of control. I have to say I do feel a little frustrated and even a little angry when I hear these constant reports of youth as a blight on the social fabric of our community.  I am not suggesting for one minute that the media should not report events of this nature. Nor am I saying that we should not be collectively concerned about the issues they represent.  What I am suggesting is that we need some balance.  Marcellin boys I speak to suggest that they too are tired of all the negative press and at times have become quite discouraged and upset at the portrayal of young men in particular as violent sociopaths whose only desire is to cause mayhem.

I am writing this article from the rolling green hills of Healesville, more specifically Candle Bark Farm on a glorious afternoon during a break in the program of our annual Year 11 and 12 Retreats.  What I have seen and heard over the past couple of days from this group of young men, as they have navigated the larger questions of life, has inspired me and given me great hope.  In many ways, what I have experienced is the antithesis of the reports we are seeing in the paper and on the news.

I have witnessed boys of great empathy, maturity, compassion, love and hope. Boys who look beyond themselves to the needs of others. Boys of quiet faith and spirituality who are discerning the place of God and Jesus in their lives. Boys who care deeply about each other, their families and our school community. They are also young men who understand how lucky they are to live in families and a school community which provides them with rich opportunities and environments where they are able to grow, expand their horizons and ultimately reach their full potential. 

The broad theme of the Senior Retreat Program at Marcellin is growth towards Manhood.  The Year 12 program more specifically focuses on the words from St Paul to the Corinthians.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, reasoned like a child, thought like a child; when I became a man I gave up childish ways.

During various sessions, the topics of discussion include; transition to manhood, relationships with God, family and friends, values and making a difference in our world.  To hear the boys in our group speak with such maturity, passion and a desire to bring their skills and energy to bare in making the world, their community, their school and their family a better place, was inspiring.

These young men need our encouragement. They need to see that we have faith and belief in who they are and listen to and support their hopes, dreams and aspirations for the future.  They need opportunities to stop and reflect and even to pray in the midst of the frenetic Year 12 environment they find themselves in. Mostly, they need our unconditional love.

We know that there will be hurdles to overcome, mistakes to be made and disappointment to live with. But as the author D.J Faulhaber said…

To be a man is to bring to full maturity all your good qualities and come to terms with your weaknesses along the way. It is to take your place in society with pride, enthusiasm, confidence and determination…it is not easy to put one’s best foot forward always, to meet adversity with courage and success with humility, to forgive when it demands most of you, but these things are the very essence of being a man.

It is my hope and prayer that together as a community we can continue to support, inspire, nurture, challenge, prayer for and love these young men. Perhaps in doing so we will bring a little balance to the world they live in.

Mark Murphy