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Towards the end of 2018 our Senior School Pastoral Care Team spent two days on retreat and had the opportunity to hear from John Hendry OAM. John currently works as a consultant for the Institute of Positive Education and has been a significant contributor to the growth of Positive Education in schools over the past ten years.

John spoke with our team about forgiveness, specifically about the role that forgiveness plays in enabling students and community members to move forward together in relationships after they have been damaged. Forgiveness does not mean allowing people to mistreat or hurt without consequence or repercussion; it is the intentional and voluntary process whereby a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitudes regarding an event. It involves the person letting go of negative emotions such as vengefulness and anger, and trusting that the other party has the willingness and capacity to change.

The flip-side of John’s business card reads as follows: Forgiveness gives us the capacity to make a new start…And forgiveness is the grace by which you enable the other person to get up, and get up with dignity, to begin anew…In the act of forgiveness we are declaring our faith in the future of a relationship and in the capacity of the wrongdoer to change.

Forgiveness is at the heart of our conflict resolution processes here at Saints. Relationships are complex and they are at times difficult. Very difficult. This is particularly true for early adolescent boys for whom connection and a sense of belonging are critical. At times this innate desire to fit in, to be popular, to feel accepted, to not be excluded can override values of respect, kindness and empathy. It is at these times that relationships can be damaged, and in this context it is ultimately forgiveness that will enable two people to move forward together after hurt has occurred.

We are delighted this year to be hosting the Anglican Schools Students Leadership Day where forgiveness will be the theme and at which John Hendry will join us as keynote speaker. We are also committed to ensuring that we support our students to understand how forgiveness, as difficult as it may be, is a choice to invest in the future of a relationship, and that it is our relationships with others that ultimately matter most.

James Tamblyn
Head of Middle Years