Our Parallel Model provides so many opportunities for us to work with our students in a manner that suits their interests and learning styles, yet we are always conscious in the younger years that interactions with the opposite gender can be limited.
It is therefore important that in our Boys Junior School, we speak often about, and guide our boys through, an understanding of successes, equality and respect with regard to girls and women.
My focus this week, at both our Prep-Year 2, and Year 3-6, Assemblies, was on Honourable and Respectful behaviour, towards one another, and with a specific focus towards BRAVE, courageous and heroic women.
After reflecting upon Michelle Payne’s historic win in the Melbourne Cup, we spoke about the amazing composure, care and strength of Ann Frank as she hid from the Nazis and the courage and integrity of Rosa Parks, as she sat for her rides on the Montgomery Bus in 1955, whose bravery ultimately led to change. Her quote “When that white driver stepped back toward us, when he waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night” is so powerful.
We explored the mystery of Amelia Earhart; a pioneer, a woman who proved to the World that women can accept risks, and be as BRAVE and fearless as men, and who’s mysterious disappearance is still tragic.
And we concluded with Malala Yousafzai shot by the Taliban because of her conviction, her belief in equality and the rights of all to a decent education. Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, BRAVE and stoic. “They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed… Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, Power and Courage was born.” Malala’s speech to the United Nations on her 16th Birthday is again such a strong and powerful reflection.
We have made mention of many male heroes in our assemblies; Shackleton, Douglas Badar, General Monash…but it is so important for our boys’ development now to lay the foundations so that when they become adolescents, and then men, they are aware of, understand, and respect, the fact that women are the equal of men, and should be treated and loved with respect and honour.