Life is like a camera lens. Focus on what is important and you will capture it perfectly!

Welcome to my first blog post for Term 3. Last Friday we commemorated the 53rd anniversary of the death of our school patron Joseph Cardijn. Our special liturgy was led by our school leaders and we were delighted to welcome our 2018 School Captain Sisilina Saukuru to share her reflection on this important day of remembrance. Joseph Cardijn was born two centuries ago in 1882 and had a tremendous impact as a young priest on the lives of young people in Belgium post-World War I. Young people were engaged in manual work in the mines and factories as cheap labour and exploited by the owners of these businesses, and a young Joseph Cardijn inspired hope and purpose at a time of deep economic depression, poverty and hardship.

Over time Joseph Cardijn introduced his followers to what is now well-known as the three truths. He established an organisation which became known as the Young Christian Workers (YCW) and the three truths became the foundation of their work. The first truth is “a truth to faith”, which recognises that young people are created in the image of God and have a God-given dignity and an eternal destiny. This first truth is implicit in our belief of every person who is part of our community. The second truth is “the truth of reality or experience”. This truth challenges us as people to focus on the actual experience of life for everyone in our community, understanding all the conditions of life, hardship, dysfunction, crisis as well as laughter, hope, aspiration and justice. The third truth is “the truth of method” where Joseph Cardijn understood that you do not find leaders, but you form them. This formation of leaders needs to be guided by a capacity to embrace the truth of faith guided by the gospels and a genuine focus on the truth of reality of our circumstances.

To assist leaders in this formation he created the truth of method which includes a methodology or method “To See, To Judge, To Act”.
• To See our life through a lens which captures the reality and experience of our community
• To Judge considering the gospels and to reinforce that the dignity of every person is sacred
• To Act to bring about a better world

Our school motto “See, Judge, Act” will be the subject of my first three blogs for this term.

In this post I am going to reflect on the first part of the method – “To See”.
Over the last few years I have taken a great interest in research on emotional intelligence and how people respond in a time of crises or change. It is often very easy to judge people quickly but if you listen carefully and observe, you will see more closely why people would respond or behave a certain way. Often it is out of fear, anger, hurt, insecurity or lack of confidence. Understanding emotional intelligence provides a context as to why people respond or act.

For instance, Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro suggested that there are five core concerns that must be considered if you want to respond positively to any situation.

Look to see if people feel appreciated, to see if they feel they belong and their place is recognised, to see if they have some voice or say in matters or do they feel suffocated and helpless, that they have status, in other words, recognised for who they are and that they have purpose and seeking to fulfil that. In the seeing part of the method it is important to listen deeply to the stories and to see beyond the horizon of people’s circumstances.

The point of the “SEE” part is for us to broaden our lens on life – to begin to see the world through the lens of other people. The lens which often is clouded because of hardship, disconnection, loneliness and helplessness. My hope is that as a community we continue to be alert to the many lenses of our families and especially during these challenging times.

Life is like a camera lens. Focus on what is important and you will capture it perfectly!

Dr Paul Rijken is principal of Cardijn College, an R-12 co-educational Catholic school in the Marist tradition, deeply inspired by the method of College patron Joseph Cardijn with a foundation built on the three pillars of his teachings; to See, Judge and Act. Educating and inspiring students in the beautiful Southern Vales region of Adelaide since 1984, Cardijn has grown to encompass three schools, each with distinct offerings. Cardijn College Galilee at Aldinga offers Reception to Year 7, expanding to include Year 8 in 2022 and Year 9 in 2023. Cardijn College at Noarlunga Downs offers Years 7-12 and is renowned for academic excellence and a vibrant extra-curricular program. Cardijn College Marcellin at Christie Downs provides a wide variety of vocational education and training opportunities for students in Years 10 – 12 and beyond, with relationships that extend well into their careers. With a current enrolment of 1750 students and 240 staff, Cardijn College is an institution which strives to be a beacon of faith in the community, with students who have enormous influence and impact on both a local and global level. Paul has been the principal at Cardijn College since 2005. He has a Ph.D. from Curtin University in Science and Mathematics Education. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educational Leaders.

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