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2010 TERM 1


Reflections on Spirituality – Thoughts first presented at the end of year concert 2009

I have pondered the concept of hope for many years, and slowly come to the firm belief that hope is part of the human condition, part of what makes us human. Hope however, does not make any sense to me if I view the world in a purely physical way, as nothing more than a material construct. Hope to me requires a viewing of humans as not just physical entities: hope entails that we humans have an extra-physical, or spiritual dimension.


My experience of the world supports this revelation, where when speaking of religion, God or spirituality, the most common reflection I get from people on this is something along the lines of:


‘I don’t go to church, I am not really religious, but I am a spiritual person.’


In a world that often appears entirely materialistic, it is refreshing that so many value personal spirituality.


2009 saw my thinking on children and spirituality given cause for reflection, prompted by a project Natalie and Clotilde did with the children – the ‘Big Questions’ Exhibition – one of which concerned God and spirituality.


Our children, by and large, just did not know how to come at this question. Now, you might think that this is just normal, but in the case of our project, which was part of an interviewing of 5000, not just our 60, this placed them apart. Spirituality played a role in the lives of most of the others around the globe.


I found this a bit sad, and actually felt that we have let our children miss out on something precious. The ‘Big Questions’ Exhibition led to a few parents commenting on their just not having discussed these issues with their kids, and that it was great that we had taken the time to raise them. A similar reflection was:


‘It is really great that you have taken on this project. By the time we go to work, and cook dinner, and wash the clothes (and kids) there is just not enough time left to ponder these big questions with our children.’


I guess my feeling is that it is important to somehow make the time. This is a new challenge, as once, just a generation ago, spiritual practice was part of the weekly ritual for most people; and two generations ago, our grandparents' generation, almost all. No, I am not suggesting that everyone should return to weekly church attendance, but that, if you want your children to not lose their spirituality, then something has to be done. It could be a form of institutional religious observance, or a more personal family routine that involves at least the occasional meditation, silence, prayer, discussion or grace before meals.


I guess the question that could be thrown back at me is, well, if you think that spirituality is so important, why don’t you do something about it?


FCS is not a religious school, nor a school aligned with any particular faith, or a school that practices a particular form of spirituality as part of its daily life. While I feel that spirituality is important, I also do not feel comfortable pushing a particular spiritual practice onto others. I cannot predict what the next principal will do, but, I do not see this as being part of my style of leadership of the school. Of course, I will continue to support faith, belief and spirituality where it comes up, and uphold the pluralism that underlies all that we do, and offer the occasional meditation and prayer as I have done for many years, but no, the role of promoting a particular form of spirituality is not for me.


I guess that this is why I spoke on this topic, and also, why I am writing now. I am going for a handball. In our school, alignment with a particular form of spiritual practice is something for families to work on.


May the force be with you on this journey,



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