How do you make a soldier cry?
It was a major historical event. It happened before most of our students were born. It rocked the world and it rocked Australia. The event was probably not noteworthy for you but very real for your mums and dads. The Year was 2008 and the event was the Global Financial Crisis or GFC as we called it.
It started when the Banks lent money to people who could not afford to pay for their house. The value of houses went down and the banks found that the houses they owned were worth much less than what they paid for them. The fourth largest bank in America went broke. The Australian government started sending stimulus package cash to people to spend. Imaging getting $950 in the mail for doing nothing. This helped and so the government did it a second time. In the end, the Australian Future Fund, set up by the government before them, was gone.
If a global financial crisis is bad. A recession is worse. So, imagine a recession that lasted for years – try 10 years. Between the years 1929 and 1939 this exact thing happened. The recession became The Depression – The Great Depression to be exact. What would the people who survived The Great Depression be like? They faced 32% unemployment. Not enough to eat or drink. You would expect them to be like zombies in a movie; nasty, horrible people who felt very hard done by and also felt entitled to a better life.
Yet, Hugh Mackay, describes the generation of ‘The Great Depression’ as the lucky generation. Who in their right mind would refer to these people as lucky?
Hugh makes the point that there was a real sense of community in those days where people worked together to build the country and helped out their neighbours. This gave people a sense of belonging. He explains that people who work together and help each other tend to be happy people. I know what he means. Our senior students get a little reflective in their final years at the College and they begin to look back and share highlights of their time here. Those who seem to have made the most of opportunities also seem to be the happiest and most content. Their stories of highlights are revealing:
- Learning to lay bricks so that they can travel to a poor country without hot showers and slave away in the heat and humidity building a house for a stranger who cannot speak English
- Serving in a soup kitchen and sleeping on the street in Sydney as a better camp experience than the normal sailing, canoeing and rock climbing camps
- Helping at College Working Bees instead of sleeping in
- Being with the College community at an Evening Family Chapel rather than curled up at home watching footy
- Spending Monday afternoons and a week of a holiday rehearsing for four shows year after year in the College musicals
- Being a buddy; helping other kids read; the list goes on.
Those who miss these opportunities miss the point. We can talk all we like about building community in the classrooms, but how much better for students to see it in action and to understand.
In 2019, we have a capacity to communicate with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Yet people are more isolated and lonely than they have ever been? The enemy of community; the enemy of happiness; the enemy of purpose is Me thinking. Too many of the kids today are indulged and encourage to build an expectation of entitlement. They are robbed. Happy people are invariably We thinkers.
Nobody really notices one individual at ANZAC Day marches. It is the support of so many that brings a tear to the eye of the Diggers.
Lest We Forget