It almost 50 years since Carol King launched her signature album, ‘Tapestry’. Those of us who had our formative years in that part of the last century will remember this album well. The music of Carol King has enjoyed a popular revival amongst younger generations with the recent stage musical ‘Beautiful’ showcasing much of the best of her music.
The 1971 album’s title track, though some of its lyrics are cryptic, describes life as a tapestry.
My life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue
An everlasting vision of the ever-changing view
A wondrous, woven magic in bits of blue and gold
A tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold
As an art form, weavers adopt the tapestry medium to convey a story, often rich in symbolism and deep in meaning. Just as the intertwining of form, texture and colour combine to produce a tapestry, so too in human experience the intersection of people, places and events, and our choices around these, combine to create the metaphorical ‘fabric of our lives’.
What’s true of an individual life is also the case for communities. Key events, popular cultural influences – media, literature, film and music amongst these, developments in science and technology, the influence of belief systems, and political and economic forces all coalesce to give form and shape to a generation. The team at McCrindle Research have developed a fascinating infographic of the generations represented in the Australian population: defining historical events; iconic cars, toys and slang; preferred styles of communication and lots more. It’s worth checking out just what makes the generations tick; Builders, Boomers, Gens X,Y,Z and the latest Gen Alpha (those born since 2010) – just click on the links above.
It would be a great surprise if COVID-19 does not become a social marker for this current generation. It fell upon us quickly. We are still in its midst, and with medical experts warning of potential further spikes and surges of the pandemic, these is no real certainty about when we will emerge from the other side. Economists, politicians and social commentators are circumspect about the COVID effect. Listen to one of Australia’s best know social demographers, Bernard Salt, discuss the effects of COVID-19 on the generations (ABC Interview).
At MacKillop, we too want to learn from our shared experiences of continuation-of- learning-at-home during the period of social restrictions resulting from the Government’s ‘Stay at home’ directive. Please access the survey form via this link.
- Firstly, we are particularly keen to know what worked well for and within your family while supporting your children’s learning at home:
- what at-home strategies, routines, and practises did you use to good effect?
- and looking back now, how could things have been even more effective for your family?
- And secondly, in terms of support and resourcing from the College:
- what was effective and most useful?
- and similarly, what additional or different supports from the College would have made the continuation-of-learning-at-home even more effective and productive?
When we have received responses, we will distil them and share the combined wisdom with our community. Many families have experienced a renewed appreciation of one another and a gratitude for the comfort and security of home. Perhaps, too, there is a growing desire to actually do something about the challenge of work demands verses home responsibilities and re-balance in favour of family. To rediscover the simple domestic pleasures that can be shared with those we love.
Returning to the tapestry theme, a number of intersecting events and influences are shaping our present time: COVID and the hardships and adjustments it demands of us; strained international relationships in a number of ways; protests about racial deaths in custody spreading across the United States.
Personal and collective ‘tapestries’ comprise threads that are not always straight forward. Some threads are circuitous, others somewhat hidden. The weave combines the open-faced and the mysterious, reflecting the ups and downs, the main tracks, and the roads less travelled. Threads represent people, places, and deeds, both benevolent and mischievous. They chart successes and failures; lessons learnt and missed; opportunities both seized and lost.
In our own land, this week commemorates our National commitment to Reconciliation with the theme “… in this together”. The histories and the futures of all peoples of our Nation are woven together. Coincidentally, this weekend Christians around the globe observe the great Feast of Pentecost, celebrating God’s outpouring of the Spirit of Jesus with all believers. The gifts or charisms of the Spirit are not given for individual aggrandisement, but rather for the upbuilding of the whole human family. We are ‘in this together’.
The particular way gifts are given to every individual are for good purpose; healing, guiding, teaching, administering, reconciling, creating. Woven together by the Divine artisan, a tapestry rich in faith, strong in hope and alive with love brings insight to the mystery of our shared humanity, offering a way to live authentically with meaning and purpose.
May the gifts given to each, young and old, at school and at home, be fashioned together by God’s own Spirit, such that we may grow into people God intends us to become; respectful, generous and loving. Through the words of another track, ‘Beautiful’, from Carol King’s 1971 Tapestry album:
You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
And show the world all the love in your heart
Then people gonna treat you better
You’re gonna find, yes, you will
That you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful as you feel