Fairy Lights, Tent Pegs and a Gazebo

Welcome back to another term at PCS! Did you manage to get away over the holidays and do anything interesting? For the past three years, my family has forfeited January getaways and made Easter the time of year for the annual pilgrimage to the beach. This year we took the bold step of ditching all the luxuries of having a cabin or hotel roof over our heads and spent seven nights camping in a tent on the coast. The boys were pretty excited to do the full camping thing as was Katie; so who was I to stand in the way of creature comforts like toilets and lightbulbs!

Having three little boys and nothing but a tent for shelter for the week, we ended up finding a few bits and pieces to add to the camping repertoire. One such item was a rather large gazebo that I was convinced was as tough as they come. On the first afternoon we all chipped in and set up camp. The boys did an outstanding job ensuring that the structural integrity of each piece of equipment was sound through numerous sword fights and various athletic inspired events. I must say that when it was all said and done, the site looked quite perfect, complete with fairy lights on the gazebo for ambience! So entrenched in our setting up we were, that we didn’t notice the storm clouds brewing until it was too late…

At 6:05 pm a rather large storm hit. Everything that was perfect a few moments earlier was literally thrown into disarray. Between the screams of our littlest one, flashes of lightning and sheets of hail, I saw my precious gazebo about to take flight. I lunged at the frame and managed to keep some of it on the ground. For the next 10 sensational gazebo clinging minutes, I had plenty of time to recall the key questions Katie had asked me only hours earlier; ‘Do you think those little pegs will be enough to hold the gazebo down?’ and ‘Why don’t you just put some bigger pegs in to be safe?’. The storm passed and the screaming stopped, and as I stood and surveyed the twisted remains of a once magnificent gazebo, I suspected that Katie may have had a fair case in giving me an ‘I told you so’ kind of glance.

If we got everything right the first time, how would we learn?! At PCS we make no apologies in fostering a learning environment where it is ok as staff and students to take risks, try something different and make mistakes. It’s in the struggle that we grow and learn. As parents and teachers let’s not be quick to give solutions and play it safe, but rather create opportunities for creative thinking, genuine problem solving and real learning. At PCS we are about providing a range of experiences where students can develop the skills, competencies and character traits that will see each graduate at PCS succeed in and beyond the classroom. God never misses using situations as opportunities for us to stretch and grow within ourselves and our understanding of who God is to us. However, He never leaves us unequipped, unsupported or alone. What a great model for us as teachers to examine!

I’m happy in being a lifelong learner. So you will be pleased to know that we had a great week of camping. There was lots of fishing, swimming and plenty of games of Uno in the evening under fairy lights hanging from a new (cheap BIG W) gazebo; with the extra big pegs in place.

Have a great week of learning everyone.


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