On the Year 7 camp, early in Term 1, we all hiked to Blue Lake. I think it is a tough walk, but all those little legs breezed through it – the older legs, however, definitely needed re-covery time. Every year the students are very excited with the prospect of having to rock-hop across the Snowy River. I now cheat with a walking pole to ensure I don’t topple in.
I often think about relationships in terms of rocks and water. All relationships involve the art of compromise. There are times when we have to be very flexible and fluid like water; we have to go around rocks and go with the flow. There are other times we need to be like the rock, immoveable and strong, and not be swayed by the swell or the power of the flow that is around us. Both features are really important to the health of a river. The challenge in our relationships is to know which one to be in any given situation. When we are always flexible, we can lose our sense of what is important to us, the values that lie at the founda-tion of our character and what we want to stand for. When we are always the rock, we can become stubborn, narrow and intolerant of others’ views and needs.
Last week in chapel, Mrs Sell told the story of Joseph, a family saga with all the jealousy, discrimination, nepotism, violence and power that could fill perhaps one episode of “Game of Thrones”. Joseph was the favoured youngest son who took a stand, not compro-mising on his beliefs in front of his jealous bothers. They then conspired to kill him. Greed got the better of them and they sold Joseph instead, certain it would be the last they saw of him. Joseph’s destiny, however, was to rise to great wealth and political power in the land of Egypt in the years that followed. With a famine in the land of Judah and large grain stores under the command of Joseph in Egypt, Joseph’s brothers unwittingly travelled to Egypt to plead with the commander for food for their survival. At first Joseph is uncompro-mising but, with time and reflection, becomes compassionate, relents and gives the broth-ers who hated him what they needed.
Whether it be in our family relationships, in the school community or on the national and international stage, thinking about how and when to compromise is a work of wisdom.
Courage, strength, empathy, self-control, patience, listening, good communication skills and compassion are some of the qualities that lay a good foundation for such wisdom. A school community offers many opportunities for both young people and adults to hone these qualities and therefore learn how to make wise decisions when it comes to the rocks and water in our lives.