I was raised in a large Catholic family, with 20 first cousins, who all lived near to me. There were always grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins as well as three siblings and two loving parents around to support, nurture and guide me. My husband too grew up surrounded by a large family.
Our own children, however, have a very different experience of family than Duncan and I did when we were growing up. They have far fewer first cousins, and all of them live a significant distance away. My parents, their grandparents, also live many hundreds of kilometres away, though they are very fortunate to have a set of loving grandparents and an uncle who live in Mount Gambier. This doesn’t mean that my children’s understanding of family is any less positive than my own. It’s just different.
Definitions of family vary, depending on our circumstances, and all families are different and unique. They have their own traditions and value systems, different compositions, living arrangements, ways of interacting and priorities.
What I have learnt over the years is that family is not necessarily defined by biological connection, though a common theme is certainly relationship. I think of family as a feeling of belonging. A sense of
connection to people and also place, where we feel at home. Family is where we are safe, secure and loved, unconditionally. Family accept us and support us, no matter what the circumstance and this is true as members of God’s family too.
Our students are part of our school family. Here they are accepted and loved, and they have a place of belonging. As our Year 12 students near the end of their school journey, no doubt they are considering what their life will look like beyond school, and how it will be when they move on from their school family. My hope for them is that they continue to know that they are always part of God’s family, and that they will always be a part of our school family, whether they are here or away.
Ephesians 2: 19-21
“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household built on the foundations of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
Jane Savage | College Counsellor