10th NOVEMBER 2021

One of the incredible perks of a Principal’s position is being able to wish our pupils a happy birthday on their big day. To share in their excitement and unbridled joy, whether they be in Grade 1 or 7, is a privilege. Admittedly, the younger pupils are often more exuberant with their emotions on their day, however, there is always a glint in the eye of each pupil, regardless of their age. And the one thing that stands out for me each time is the response I get when I enquire as to what they are most excited about. Surprisingly (or maybe not), I seldom, if ever, am informed about a present waiting to be unwrapped, or an earlier gift waiting to be played with. Time and again, I am told, with much anticipation, about a family get-together, a relative popping round for cake, or of a planned family outing. The common denominator- not a gift, or tangible possession, but a genuine excitement at the thought of spending quality time with family, with role models, with those who love the child unconditionally. We should listen carefully and take diligent note, for out of the mouths of babes gushes forth great truths. If ignored, these truths unfortunately cause immense distress and unhappiness. Our kids, at their basic core, want us. Not what we can possibly buy them or give them to entertain themselves. They want our undivided attention, our focus, our “digital free” time. Before they crave a possession, they crave that which we all can give – ourselves. In a world which emphasizes the need to account for each minute, and which demands more and more of each second, we need to constantly be on our guard to ensure that the loud noises of life that demand our energy and diaries, do not block out the soft voice of a child, trying to gain our attention. Let us never forget the life-long consequences of allowing our children to fill a natural void in their lives with worldly pursuits instead of us. Regardless of what we may believe, no amount of stuff, of screen time, of physical possessions will ever replace our children’s desperate need for what they crave the most. Us.