“I am the one who stumbled across him, but everyone found him”
These are the words of rescuer Ben Gibbs when speaking of his part in finding lost 14yo boy, William Callaghan. It is a remarkable story of community coming together in seeking out a lost and vulnerable boy. The search strategy was differentiated to best suit the boy’s likely reaction to search activities, given their understanding of his Autism.
In the interview, Ben Gibbs speaks of his understanding of the effects of exposure as a motivation to leave the comfort of his well-heated home to join the search. He knew the remote area well and pushed into the bush off the tracks a little further than previous search teams as indicated by the marking tape they had left dangling from tree branches. Ben described the moment he first caught sight of Will; angelic-like, standing in a small clearing.
Once word came through of William’s rescue, the teams quickly gathered at the mustering point. There too, they respected Will’s needs by remaining as still and quiet as they could, holding in their understandable euphoric shouts and cheers until after the boy and his family were transported away to Hospital.
“I am the one who stumbled across him, but everyone found him.” All involved in the search shared a common purpose and were united in that. Family, friends, locals, neighbours, SES, Police and volunteers like Ben; each of them, irrespective of their role or assigned search zone, contributed to the search success. The outcome, in this case William’s safe rescue, was a result of the searchers’ collective efficacy. They were united in their commitment to find the boy lost.
We are all in this together
This weekend before last, our Church celebrated Corpus Christi, the Solemnity of The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Its institution is commemorated on Holy Thursday where it is closely connected to the Lord’s impending Good Friday passion and death, and Easter morn resurrection. This solemnity placed at the end of the Easter and Pentecost seasons offers an opportunity to reflect on the mystery and power of the Eucharist. The Eucharist not only feeds and sustains believers, identifying them with the gift’s Giver, it also unites believers with one another in the common purpose of continuing the Lord’s mission of love and reconciliation.
In one of St Augustine’s teachings on the Eucharist, he exhorts believers in the act of receiving Communion to “Receive what you are and be what you receive.” Receive what you are (You are already the ‘Body of Christ’) and be what you receive (The ‘Body of Christ’ for others in service). The corporate efforts of all members are critical to the success of the mission.
St Paul often emphasised this truth when he described the community of believers, using the analogy of the body. We are all in this together, as Ben Lee reminds us (here’s a YouTube link). Even the questioning and understandings of quantum physics, perhaps, point us towards the spiritual reality explored by millennia ago by St Paul, St Augustine, St Teresa of Avila and other giants in the tradition of Christian thought.
Learning from COVID-learning
This spirit of ‘being in this together’ has played out during the COVID crisis. This past Semester, perhaps like no other, has been an amplified experience of the partnership we are called to in the education of our children. It is clear that the experience of learning during home confinement has been far from easy. The recent survey data revealed a mixed bag of experiences for
our MCC families.
Some thrived when working to a learning routine at home, while others took advantage of the opportunity to improvise and experiment.
Some loved the regular learning materials delivered electronically and others felt burdened by the expectation to get through the material.
Some found the eLearning refreshing, while for others the unpredictable, untested e-environment was frustrating.
Some were grateful for insights into their students’ learning strengths and challenges, and others wished they received tutorials so they could ‘teach like they do at school’.
Some loved the freedom brought by home-confinement; others found this time isolating and oppressive.
Some appreciated the bonding opportunity with their children; others were seriously conflicted by work demands which only seemed to intensify during this period.
Some felt well supported by the learning materials provided; while others felt swamped by the quantity of resources to work through.
So, we can see how there was a deal of divergence amongst responses. All responses are of value as we consider possible future scenarios. This confirms what we knew; that a ‘one size fits all’ solution is not appropriate. Differentiating for the needs of individual families and their learners is critical.
Sincere thanks to families who were able to share their experiences through the recent survey. The 15% of College families who contributed to the data is a handy sample for this purpose. Your feedback is of immense value as we consider how we can improve our support for learners and their learning in diverse contexts.