College News & Events

FROM THE PRINCIPAL – Reconciliation Week 2024

May 17, 2024

Throughout next week we acknowledge and celebrate Reconciliation in our school community at Chisholm. Mr Phil Smith who works as Pastoral Support at the College recently prepared a prayer and reflection around the spirit of Reconciliation, focussing on “Dadirri” and Dr Miriam Rose Ungunmerr, the 2021 Senior Australian of the Year. This prayer and pictorial presentation can be found at this link: Reconciliation Week Staff Prayer 2024.

In guiding us to be Instruments of Peace, St Francis urges us in his Prayer of Peace to “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” This phrase in recent years was adopted by the late Steven Covey as the 5th habit in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.

Habits of course are about forming our character – one of our Chisholm values.

This habit of “seeking first to understand” is about developing the habit of deeply listening to the other. It is about letting go of our own agenda, our own paradigms or way of seeing things and trying to understand the other’s ideas and feelings, from their viewpoint first, before seeking understanding of our own.

“Seeking first to understand” requires a high level of personal reflection and self-awareness. Awareness of our own motives, our own biases, our own blind spots, our own capacity to pre-judge a person, our own triggers that cause us to be reactive. All the things that might cause us to listen out of “who we are” rather than “who the other person is.”

The process and spirit of Reconciliation calls on us to develop the habit of “seeking first to understand,” asking us to attend to this spiritual aspect of Reconciliation – of deep listening, of quiet still awareness. In the Christian tradition we might call this contemplation, in the Aboriginal tradition of the Northern Territory it is known as Dadirri (da-did-ee).

The 2021 Senior Australian of the Year, Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr introduced the spiritual concept and practice of Dadirri as a gift for all Australians, a gift that opens the way for listening deeply and for opening connections and relationships essential for Reconciliation.

Credit: Artwork by Kyana Martin, in our Staffroom.

Mr John Bormolini

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