It’s interesting that over the last few months my attitude to the day seems to be based around the Daniel Andrew’s press briefings. I stop whatever I am doing at 11:00 am, put the news on and listen to the latest updates from the Premier and Chief Medical Officer. In fact, I am a little ashamed to admit that I have even scheduled my zoom meetings around these briefings.
So, with bated breath I wait for Daniel Andrews to walk onto the stage and say, “Are we all right to go?” Then I sit and listen as he provides us with the latest number of COVID-19 cases, information about the number of people who have succumbed to the disease, the number of people who have been tested and even the metro-regional split on where the case have occurred. I am hopeful that there will be some additional information about schools, a glimmer perhaps of when we can return to normal classes.
I can feel myself waiting in hope that the number of cases announced today will be lower than yesterday. If the number announced is lower, I can feel my spirits lifting, and if the number is greater a sense of foreboding seems to settle over me.
There is no doubt that this year has certainly be very difficult, it has been difficult to be in lock down, where we can only leave our homes for a few reasons, only travel within a five kilometre radius, where we can’t go out to a restaurant or catch up with family and friends, not being able to go to work but having to work from home, not seeing our colleagues, or our students face to face.
It’s very difficult to be positive, if you only focus on these things.
I think a lot of us can get caught up in this negatively. We see only the problems and can even start to believe the worst is going to happen; that we will be in lockdown for longer, that Christmas with families might not happen, that this pandemic will never go away. We can be easily caught up in these fears or the attitudes we choose to adopt. So often it’s not what we face, as much as the way we choose to face it. You may have heard that said before, but I’m quite sure it’s true.
I read a story recently about a shoe salesman who was sent to a remote part of the country. When he arrived, he was dismayed because everyone went around barefooted. He wired the company back home: “No prospect for sales here. People don’t wear shoes.” Later another salesman went to the same territory. He too immediately sent word to the home office, but his telegram read, “Great potential! People don’t wear shoes here!”
I suspect however, that some of us are a bit more pessimistic than we ought to be. That’s why I love Philippians 4:8-9.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
So, I believe we should focus and think about what is “excellent and praiseworthy”. For example, the amazing way this crisis has, while keeping us apart brought us together. The Principals have met each week by zoom to share ideas, discuss the challenges and opportunities and to support one another. Lutheran Schools from the other regions have sent video messages to students in Victoria in lockdown, staff from these schools have emailed messages of support, and school communities from across Australia have been praying for our communities.
We have learnt so much about flexible learning and better ways to incorporate ICT in our schools, we have provided students with the opportunity to develop a variety of skills that perhaps we could not have been able to do in a classroom setting. As educators we have become more adept in our knowledge of information technology.
As individuals we have realised the value of connection and being together and even a deeper appreciation of family. We have seen wonderful acts of care and compassion across our communities. We have been able to show Christ’s love to our school families in a way we may not have been able to before. The broader community has developed a deep appreciation of the role of teachers and school staff.
From all accounts in the media, we have developed a whole new set of hobbies, our gardens have never looked better and a multitude of unfinished DIY jobs have been completed. I am sure that if you thought about it, you would be able to add many more things to this list. By focusing on the positive aspects of the challenges we are experiencing we can certainly change our attitude and then as it says in Philippians 4:9
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.