Supporting One Another
June 3, 2021
This has been one of the most challenging weeks in our School’s history. We have needed to bind together and support one another in very difficult circumstances. And we have done that in a wonderful way. It has been so encouraging to experience the genuine love of the TIGS community as staff, students, parents and friends have cared for one another and offered practical assistance and support.
I have been contacted by many parents and other members of our community expressing a desire to help, including the establishment of a GoFundMe page for the family. Be assured that the School is supporting the family pastorally, practically as well as financially as arrangements are made. We are considering other opportunities for our community to express our sadness and support and I will advise you of these as they develop. I appreciate your care and concern.
During difficult times such as this, it is also gratifying to be able to take advantage of professional help external to the School. We have been richly blessed with expert assistance and service from ANGLICARE, regional Anglican and Christian Schools, local Anglican churches and other organisations who have provided an abundance of advice, personnel and prayer. The new archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, Rev. Kanishka Raffel, also made contact to inform us he was aware of our situation and was praying for us. I am very thankful to all for their concern and service at this time.
With all the support we have put in place at School to care for students and staff, I am conscious of the part you play in caring for your children at home and do not want to leave you without the assistance you might need. In what follows, you will find some helpful tips from ANGLICARE for families when talking about information that may be concerning, upsetting or confronting for children or young people. The information can certainly be applied to discussions about grief and loss. I hope you find it helpful and thank you for your support of the School and our students at this time.
- Use terms and language that children and young people can understand. Ensure information shared with a child or young person is age-appropriate and will not unnecessarily worry or burden them. Keep your information brief, factual and consistent.
- Help your child feel comfortable. Talking about these issues is not easy for children or young people. Respect your child’s privacy and talk with them in a quiet and private place. It would be helpful if the place was familiar to the child. This will help them feel comfortable.
- Be aware of your reactions and emotions. Be calm. When you react with disgust or anger, for example, your child may not feel comfortable talking to you anymore as they might be worried about you. Children and young people may also feel scared and confused. They will look to you for your reactions and will handle the situation well if they can see their carers are okay.
- Don’t force children or young people to talk. Give them time. Let them talk to you at their own pace. If they are unwilling to talk or seem uncomfortable, don’t pressure them to do so. If your child seems uncomfortable when talking about certain specific things, don’t press them for details. You can change the topic to something that they are more comfortable talking about.
- Confirm your child’s feelings. Let them know that it is okay to feel scared, hurt, confused or angry.
- Plan with your child what to do if they are not okay. Encourage them to keep talking to you about their feelings and talk with them about other people they would feel comfortable talking to if they are struggling.
I encourage all families to access the assistance you need to care for your child.
The following links have been made available to our Senior School students on their Year group OLLE page.
- Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800 or www.kidshelp.com.au
- Lifeline – 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au
- Headspace – 1800 650 890 or www.headspace.org.au
- Suicide Call-Back Service – 1300 659 467
- The Mental Health Access Line – 1800 011 511
Reconciliation Week 2021
National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
We have consulted with our Indigenous students in the Senior School as well as other community members as to how to ensure this special time is recognised at TIGS given our current shared sadness. With their input, we have deferred our recognition of Reconciliation Week in the Senior School to Wednesday 9 June.