A time for celebration

Last week marked the first Sunday of Advent, an important time around the world for many Christians. Advent commences the new Liturgical year and always coincides with the end of our school year. This is a perfect time to both reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead with great hope. One of the difficulties with modern life is that it can be overwhelming, stressful and incredibly busy which is often exacerbated during the Christmas season. In catching up with my in-laws on Sunday afternoon, it was discomforting to hear how much dread is associated with the Christmas period. As a result, during a time where reflection, joy, love and family should play a big part of the season, we risk getting caught up in a whirl of stress and anxiety. This year I am making a commitment to doing something differently.

Those of you who watch Seinfeld will recall Frank Costanza's creation of Festivus as a secular holiday celebrated on 23 December as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Frank begins the celebration by the "airing of grievances". My family often accuse me of being the quintessential 'grievance airer', but this year I am going to re-work Frank's ceremony by starting our family get-together with an affirmation of each member of my family. As we gather for Christmas lunch, I will recall the most beautiful moment I shared with them during the year. Although it may confuse them, my hope is that any resolutions we make for 2019 will be based on the positive and best moments of 2018.

You will all shortly receive your son's report and this is a perfect opportunity to review and preview his progress and formation. Hope-filled goal-setting should be the outcome, and making 2019 full of positive potential is the best preparation you can provide for your son. As humans, there are also many moments where we fail and these times also need to be addressed. Accountability is one of the attributes of the CBC gentleman and, apart from accepting responsibility for one's behaviour, accountability aims at building resilience for the next time one is faced with similar circumstances. As an extra bonus, I'll share a parenting tip here about addressing challenges with your young men. One of my failings as a father when trying to make my children accountable is that I have often done this in the company of others, and I realise now that any conversation around challenges should be conducted in private.

My wish for the Advent season is that every member of our community reflects on their year. Celebrate the successes with joy and pride. Accept the failings and challenges as opportunities for growth. Use the Christmas period to think of others and break the secular, hedonistic culture that has engulfed what used to be religious holidays. The next several weeks will probably provide our boys with some extra independence and the pressure to conform to peer acceptance has become paramount in many young people's lives. Parents, please stay close to your boys. Know what they do, and what they are doing when you are not there. Provide structure, accountability and consequences for their choices, as we hope to do at the College. Celebrate when they get it right, and provide your son with opportunities to serve others because this provides nourishment for the formation of good conscience. There is no better elixir or 'feel good' antidote than the joy of doing something for someone else.

I would like to use this opportunity to thank all of you for your continued faith in CBC Fremantle as a school for your sons. I assure you much planning is going into further improving the Pastoral and Academic culture of our community. There are exciting projects on the horizon, outstanding teaching and learning initiatives, great mental health programmes, ground-breaking anti-bullying initiatives (especially around language), excellent student leader opportunities and a plan to develop a lecture theatre, add some classrooms and re-develop others in need of overhaul. It's all happening at CBC!

I hope you have, in the company of your loved ones, a wonderful time during the Christmas period. I humbly ask that you encourage your sons to reflect, redouble their efforts, as we should all do, and make 2019 the best school year possible.

Domenic Burgio