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Community News – 5 December 2019


The 2019 school year has certainly been an action-packed year for St Francis Xavier College. The students have completed another year of their schooling with the wonderful support of their teachers and parents. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all parents who have actively engaged in the learning journey of your sons and daughters. The fact that you check PAM regularly, attend College events and support our staff to improve learning outcomes is greatly appreciated. As the year comes to an end we reflect upon the fact that Year 7 students have well and truly settled in to College routines, Year 8 students have embraced City Experience and Year 12 students have completed their secondary schooling and are ready to make their mark on the wider community. All these achievements have been made possible because responsible adults have supported our young people in their development.

You may find the Parenting Ideas article below of interest.


Healthy Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage have always been a significant part of community life, until now. Each stage of a person’s life was marked and celebrated including the significant step of moving into adulthood.

The shift from childhood to adulthood has always been marked by a rite of passage, which represents entry to the adult world and the rights that go with it. This new set of rights is also accompanied by a responsibility to serve and contribute to the community.


The loss of healthy rites of passage

For many young people Schoolies Week, the annual Year 12 endless party, is the only rite of passage they have. The loss of meaningful rites of passage is having disastrous consequences on young people.

Too often we see young men in their twenties and beyond acting like boys in constant need of acknowledgement from their peers, dodging responsibility and still seeking approval from their mother. Many young women are stuck in perpetual adolescence, more worried about how they look than how they can contribute to their communities.


Adults have a role to play

It’s the role of adults to recognise and bring out children’s strengths and natural gifts so they can contribute fully to their communities as adults. One of the most significant roles of the elderly is to care for and pass on wisdom to the young. Not surprisingly in the past it has been the elders who were responsible for overseeing the Rites of Passage and their timely delivery.

Rites of Passage are not supposed to be done in isolation. As a child becomes a young adult parents also need to take a step and move to the next stage in their lives.  Each new stage of development for a child or young person represents a new beginning for parents as well.

Unfortunately, elderhood is not highly coveted or respected in these modern times and there is a global marketing campaign telling us that youth is the desirable and only really acceptable life stage. When adulthood is not fully appreciated or understood, then it’s little wonder that many young people are hanging on to their adolescence well into their twenties. Some never make the leap into adulthood.

Families and communities can rediscover the notion of rites of passage and begin to invent their own pathways to adulthood, complete with markers and appropriate recognition. They can put their own celebrations in place that mark significant ages, and the all-important transition to adulthood. These celebrations should include a bringing together of significant adults and a passing on of wisdom and stories from past generations to a young person. These rites of passage can be creative, must be inclusive and need to be appropriate to each family or community situation.


Dr Arne Rubinstein

Dr. Arne Rubinstein is an internationally recognised expert on Rites of Passage and adolescent development. He is the author of the best-seller The Making of Men and has won multiple awards for his work including being nominated for Australian of the Year 2008 for his work with youth. Dr Arne is the proud father of two wonderful young men and a mentor to many others.

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