Can you imagine a country where most books are banned? Where art and music are banished, and beautiful pieces of artwork have been destroyed? Where men are segregated from women, and women are not allowed to drive, just simply because they are women? Where girls are not allowed to attend school, just simply because they are girls? The country I describe is Afghanistan in 2001, which was under extreme rule of the Taliban, just prior to the invasion of western forces.
The long war in Afghanistan since 2001 has been controversial and not without shame on both sides. But at least now, girls in Afghanistan can freely attend school and just like we will be doing over the coming week during Book Week, girls and boys in Afghanistan now celebrate learning, reading and books.
The lack of access to a basic education in many countries, whether caused by extremist rule, poverty or discrimination, reminds us that the education students enjoy at Melbourne Grammar School is a privilege and not a right. The ability to read and write what we enjoy, and perhaps take for granted, is a great indicator of our freedom and prosperity. In most developing countries, being able to read and write is the ladder out of poverty. Quite simply, those who cannot read or write will most likely fall into the disadvantaged group, both in Australia or overseas.
At Melbourne Grammar School we value reading and writing and celebrate this during our annual Book Week. We acclaim the wonderful contribution that writers make to our society. We encourage new and emerging writers, especially writers from our School community. Although our usual program is slightly curtailed due to off-campus learning, we appreciate Book Week assemblies and welcome authors to our School to give talks, run writing workshops, organise competitions and participate on panels. Children will be making their own bookmarks, posters and book badges and they and their staff will be dressing up as their favourite book character. There will be lots of laughter. Creativity will be celebrated. The passion will be energising. The Taliban would be appalled.
To celebrate upcoming Book Week, and due to popular request, I have pleasure in sharing my reading of Looking for Yesterday by Alison Jay which was recorded earlier this year. I trust our Grimwade students will enjoy seeing and hearing this book being read, and hopefully their parents and others just as much!
Seminar for parents with primary school-aged children
Information about a free online seminar focusing on helping children thrive an environment of off-campus learning is available here. The seminar will be presented by Clinical Psychologist, Andrew Fuller.
New spiritual resources
Mary, a woman of faith
The Anglican Church celebrated the Feast Day of Mary last Saturday, 15 August 2020. In this reflection, Rev’d Hans Christiansen, Senior Chaplain, explores how the life of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, still invites us to live with faith and hope.
Webinar with the Archbishop of York
Our friends at St Peter’s Eastern Hill are holding a webinar with the newly appointed Archbishop of York, the outstanding theologian, Stephen Cottrell, on Tuesday 25 August at 7pm. The webinar will feature a reflection on pilgrimage in isolation and how we can walk the way when we can’t leave our houses.
This event comes highly recommended by Rev’d Hans Christiansen. You can find out more information here.
With my best wishes,