Expressing Gratitude

Chris Ivey / Wellbeing

Despite the challenges our community has faced over the past 12 months, and acknowledging that some are still doing it tough, I do look around the world and give thanks for where we are and for the awesome beauty that is this part of Australia.

30 April 2021

In our Secondary Chapel this week, Mr McClellan posed two reflective questions to our students in response to our ANZAC Day services where we focus on remembering the past actions of those who served and express gratitude for their sacrifice. Who is it that you want to particularly remember, or for whom you are grateful? And then what is it that you want to remember or for which you are grateful.

Remembering and reflecting on the past and allowing that to help us be thankful for the present and then prepare for the future is a uniquely human experience. It’s why the study of history is so very important. It’s also a strong focus of much of the Bible. Old Testament Prophets would remind the people of Israel, God’s people, to remember. Remember what God has done for you. Each Easter, Christians remember what Jesus has done for all people when he died on the cross. Remembering and giving thanks is an incredibly powerful thing to do. I acknowledge that not all experiences of remembering and reflecting are positive; however, how we respond, reflect and change is what will make the difference. In his reflection, Mr McClellan quoted Pope John Paul II who perhaps summarised it a little better than me.

'Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm, and look forward to the future with confidence.'

One of the unexpected blessings of COVID for our community was a little more time on our hands this time last year and I remember thinking…I could get used to this, as normally my days are very full. I had the time to chat, to take it just a little slower. I recognise there were also so many incredible challenges and hurdles people faced as individuals, families and businesses. But as a whole, with less activity, less movement and less travel we had a little more time to be reflective, to re-prioritise and to re-focus.

As things returned to some form of normality, I wonder in that return if we may forget that lesson learnt, to stop and have the time to remember and to give thanks, to experience gratitude. Despite the challenges our community has faced over the past 12 months, and acknowledging that some are still doing it tough, I do look around the world and give thanks for where we are and for the awesome beauty that is this part of Australia. I give thanks for our political and business leaders, who, despite how easy it is to criticise, have endeavoured to manage this giant crisis to the best of their ability with the advice at hand. I am thankful for a community that rallied together and supported each other. Parents and staff who donated their fee reduction to support other families in greater need. Parents and staff who purchased meals for other families. All of us who were still employed who made an effort to shop locally and support our local businesses. So much for which we can give thanks. For those families who are still trying to sort out the new ‘normal,’ please don’t forget that our community would still like to support if we can and if needed.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been sharing through this newsletter the exciting prospects of our future planning as a College; however, I remain grateful that this is only possible because we live, work and learn in a community that looks out for each other, that aims to do its very best and that is true to its values of service and support.

Thanks to each and every member of our College community for your faith in us as the school of choice for your children, as the Principal I remember this often, it guides my leadership and my integrity and I do give thanks for the privilege of working in this wonderful community.

Best wishes


Author Profile

Chris Ivey

In his own words, Chris “enables things to happen” at St Andrew’s. As Principal of the College, he leads the development and progression of St Andrew’s by enabling staff and students to achieve their personal best. Chris is a Reverend and has been the Principal of St Andrew’s for more that 15 years. He also represents and advocates for Independent schools across Australia as the National Chair of AHISA (Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Australia).

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