How to build resilience into our children from a young age

Resilience (noun): the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity (Dictionary.com) This definition of resilience resonates with me….

Resilience (noun): the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity (Dictionary.com)

This definition of resilience resonates with me. It’s action-based, visual and doesn’t sound like it comes from a psychology textbook.

My time in school chaplaincy has given me the opportunity to meet many young people who have been ‘bent, compressed and stretched’ by life’s circumstances. Some amaze me with their ability to recover from adversity, wiser, stronger and more competent. There are also children with seemingly ideal lives who are not yet managing to deal with the more commonplace “stretching” that life provides.

While resiliency (or lack of) is the subject of many discussions in school communities, the good news is that resilience can be learned – and where better to learn about it than at home.

To develop resilience our offspring (notice the word spring) need to hear about it, see it modelled, and have the opportunity to practice with support. You don’t really notice the difference between a length of elastic and a piece of string until some stretching is attempted.

Karl Ronke’s three-zone approach to learning is helpful as we consider developing resilience. We can view the process of learning life skills as a set of three concentric circles, the Comfort Zone, the Stretch Zone and the Panic Zone.

The inner circle, the Comfort Zone, is ‘known territory’ and relatively challenge-free. There is no “bending, compressing or stretching.” It’s an important space in which to do some, but not all of life – as keeping kids protected, happy and comfortable at all costs is not doing them any favours.

Rarely does the God of the Bible go before His people to ensure everything is smooth and easy; the epic stories of faith did not take place in a relaxed, suburban lounge room. When we rescue too much or protect too much, we disempower young people.

In the Stretch Zone we learn, grow, interact with the unfamiliar, and experience challenges. This space calls for initiative, risk-taking and introduces the potential failure. Allowing or encouraging our children to be in this zone, at a level suited to their age, can empower them. Sometimes we do more by doing less.

When a child is struggling and growing, we need to be cheering them on and validating their emotions. Supporting children through uncomfortable feelings and acknowledging their difficulty communicates both love and confidence. Stepping out can be celebrated even if the result looks like failure.

After a period of stretching, our kids need to return to the Comfort Zone to rest. Appropriate time in the stretch zone develops confidence and resilience because too much stretching will take anyone to the Panic Zone.

In the Panic Zone, stretching is beyond manageable to the point of inducing fear and a sense of being overwhelmed. We can put our families there, through unrealistic expectations, overscheduling and not planning to play, laugh, eat and sleep well. There is simply not much space to recover when life is overcrowded.

Sometimes however, life involves a huge amount of stretching – ending up in the Panic Zone is unavoidable. When we find ourselves in this space, there are some important things to remember. Resilience is a team sport – it’s about community and has potential for growing our faith. A significant study by Werner, found that connection with religious beliefs provided stability and meaning in times of adversity.

There is no doubt that parenting is a high wire balancing act – and one of the challenges is to prepare our children for the inevitable ‘bending, compressing and stretching’ that life will throw their way.

With God’s help, let’s empower the next generation by teaching them resilience. Let’s build spring in our offspring.

 

About the author…

Andrea is a former secondary school teacher and counsellor. She has worked as a school chaplain for over 19 years and now also serves part-time on SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. Andrea and her husband are parents to three adult children and grandparents to two.

 

*Karl Rohnke developed the zone model from the Yerkes-Dodson law (1908), which explored the relationship between performance and arousal.

*Werner, E. E. (2005). What can we learn about resilience from large scale longitudinal studies? In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of resilience in children (pp. 91 -106). New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Posted: 9/07/2020

Living well with different neighbours

In 2010, I relocated with my wife Merryn and two-year-old daughter Rosie to Birmingham in the UK. We moved to join a new ministry called The Feast, which was…

In 2010, I relocated with my wife Merryn and two-year-old daughter Rosie to Birmingham in the UK. We moved to join a new ministry called The Feast, which was founded by SU England and Wales.

The goal of The Feast is to foster and encourage dialogue among young people across religions and ethnicities. I was so excited to join this movement, which is about celebrating differences, collaborating together and authentically learning from one another.

Little did I know that the opportunity to “love my neighbour” would present itself so soon!

Our family found a terrace house to rent in Chestnut Road; a suburb where around 70% of the population were devout Muslims from Pakistan. I must confess, we were a little nervous about moving into the neighbourhood and wondered if we would be accepted.

On the day we moved in, our next door neighbour (whose front door was literally 1m from our own), came out to welcome us. Her name was Rosie Hussain, and she told us she was so happy to meet us and was glad we had chosen this street to live in. This was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Over the next eight years, Rosie and her extended family proved to be the most incredible neighbours. They lavishly blessed us with gifts of food. Rosie’s husband, Jumshed, serviced our car, they invited us to celebrate Eid with them and joined us for Christmas. What’s more, their kids became best friends with ours’. It was a special time.

Back in April of this year, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its scariest, the whole world seemed to be talking about togetherness. Sadly, this unity has not lasted. We’ve recently seen the ugly depths of our social divisions.

The human race is made up of immense variety. Every single person is unique and special, and I believe, hand-crafted by a creator God.

We know as Christians we are called to love all people, regardless of our differences. But talk is cheap. We are called to put these words into action. In the case of Rosie and her family, it was easy for me. They welcomed us into their home and their hearts. I learned so much from the Hussains about what Jesus meant when he asked us to love our neighbour – and I am so thankful for that season.

The challenge is, how do we still follow this call to love our neighbour when others do not welcome us, or even persecute us? Or how do we love those who make us feel uncomfortable?

The Good Samaritan is a well known story which Jesus told to help his followers grapple with this teaching. The Samaritan man reached out his hand to help his neighbour at a time of great need. He did so, despite knowing that the man he helped most likely despised him for no other reason than his ethnicity.

For my good friend Rosie and her family, they reached out their hands in friendship to my family and I, despite our differences. They reached out, not knowing how we would respond, and yet they did anyway – and I’ve not been the same since.

The way forward with racism is complex, and I feel I could never capture all my thoughts in a single blog post. Instead, my hope is that a personal story with reflection on personal change will inspire you to learn, listen and understand more about the cross-cultural turmoil and unconscious prejudice across our society today.

 

About the author…

Tim works in Cross-Cultural Innovations for SU, seeking to foster vibrant ministry with people of minority cultures and other faiths. Prior to this Tim spent 8 years with The Feast in the UK, engaging youth of different faiths, and 10 years in various roles with SU Qld.  

Posted: 3/07/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Ross + Chappy Mark bring food to those struggling on the Gemfields

“Families were doing it tough. Stores were facing food shortages because people were hoarding. There were limits on products, and everyday items were in high demand. There was a…

“Families were doing it tough. Stores were facing food shortages because people were hoarding. There were limits on products, and everyday items were in high demand. There was a real need, and we were able to do something about it.”

When chappies Ross and Mark heard about the food shortages going on in their communities at Emerald and Anakie, they wanted to help. 

“People were travelling an hour or more to get into town, just to find that they couldn’t get what they needed because stock was so low,” says Chappy Mark. 

To help ease the burden, Chappy Mark and a teacher came up with the idea of bridging the gap for those living out on the Gemfields, by hand-delivering items from town. Chappy Ross was only too keen to join in. 

“We approached the stores in town with $500 and some vouchers from local businesses. We asked if they’d remove the limits so we could take product out to the gem fields and they agreed,” Chappy Ross says.

The local Woolies and IGA chipped in with cartons of apples, oranges, bananas and pears, while Coles stepped up by donating bread and some of the local ladies helped out with grocery bags. 

Click here to see a video of the supplies!

“We took a ute – which was piled three crates high with a variety of groceries – out to the gem fields every Wednesday for four weeks. It was incredible,” says Chappy Ross.

“Out in the fields, people were so grateful. There are lonely people out there and we were given the opportunity to give back on multiple levels. Mark and I would pray together in the car on the way up, because we knew it was going to be heavy.”

Chappy Mark and Chappy Ross prepare to head up to the Gemfields

In smaller communities, Chappy Ross explains that the school is often central to the community, and this means a school chaplain is often considered the chaplain for the community.

“I did some house calls with the principal – and the families were really excited to see us. Showing up with a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk was a simple way to show these families that you’re there for them.”

“I found that a lot of the families had been having the same conversation over and over again, so these visits were a way to share new perspectives.”

“I’ve been a chappy for the last thirteen years, and I’ve watched the community grow over the years. Someone once said to me, “You can count the number of seeds in an orange, but you can’t count the oranges in one seed.” I think that analogy relates to what we do as chaplains. You never know what one kind word can do for somebody – you never know how big that tree might grow.”

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Ross and Chappy Mark’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

Posted: 16/06/2020

How to talk to teens about George Floyd.

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly…

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8

This week the world has again witnessed injustice and cries out for restoration.

Many of us will have experienced a visceral response to the events broadcast on our screens and devices over this past week. I feel; grief, anger, disappointment, guilt, hope, anxiety, and remorse as I try to comprehend what I have seen and heard and determine how I should respond.

You may be wrestling with similar concerns. I know many young people are.

So how do we help teenagers make sense of George Floyd’s death and the unravelling events of the past week?

We create opportunities for young people to express and talk about their thoughts and feelings in the safety of relationship. Teens look to trusted adults for guidance on how to respond in traumatic moments such as these.

The expectation is not to have all of the answers (I am well aware that I don’t), and it’s not to be a professional helper. You just need to care enough to listen and to ask them some questions. Be willing to have a conversation.

Here are some guiding principles to help you talk to your teens about George Floyd.

Make time and do not rush. Time = Value. As a parent or caring adult, we demonstrate the value of our teens by the time we give to them. Difficult topics of conversation require extra time to allow each person the opportunity to understand and be understood.

Acknowledge and normalise feelings/responses. Teens are forming their identity; they are looking to trusted adults, and peers to gauge what is “normal” and where they belong. Creating a non-judgmental space for teens to express themselves reinforces their sense of belonging and identity.

Be honest. It is okay not to have all the answers, and to process your experiences. The best way for teens to learn this is to have it modelled by those closest to them. Teens need to see and hear you do the journey. Note: you may need to measure your level of disclosure depending on your teen’s mental/emotional capacity.

Encourage empathy and compassion. Identifying with another and seeking to understand their perspective helps us build relationship and work more effectively with others. Compassion (acting from empathy) is a powerful tool in addressing trauma and injustice.

Draw focus from concern to areas of influence. There is a lot in the world to cause worry and some of it is outside our control. The good news is, Our teens often have a very strong sense of justice and they have an extraordinary amount to offer to the world. Actively engaging our young people with people and projects who are currently bringing hope, will in turn bring them hope. Maybe you could join them in making a difference by getting involved in a local project? Organisations such as World Vision, TEAR and ZOE are just some of many which have youth focused campaigns that may be of interest.

If you are unsure how to start or have a helpful conversation with your teen here is a question roadmap. Feel free to reword questions to suit your personal style.

  1. What have you seen/heard/felt/experienced? (Break these down into separate questions.)
  2. Of your answers to the above questions, what has affected/impacted you the most?
  3. What might you think/feel if you were in …’s (insert different roles, e.g. police, protestor, witness, victim) shoes?
  4. What could we/others assume about the situation/people involved? Are those assumptions correct? How do we know?
  5. What do you think this all means?
  6. How does that (refer to Q5) apply to your life/work/school/community?
  7. Now what can/will you do?
  8. How can I help you?

It is important that we all have an opportunity to process what we experience and find a way to make that experience mean something. My hope for this moment is that we remember what is required of us as sons and daughters of God – to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with our God.

 

About the author…

Tess is a former school chaplain and youth pastor with 15 years of experience in youth work. She now serves as SU QLD’s Children and Youth Program Team Leader, delivering training and professional development to chaplains and youth workers. She holds a bachelor of communications and diploma of youth work.

Posted: 3/06/2020

Young and Free? Helping our younger generation with their covid concerns

Last week, the ABC aired an episode of Q+A entitled ‘Young and Free?’, focusing on concerns that young Australians have about life after COVID-19. Guest panelists wrestled with questions…

Last week, the ABC aired an episode of Q+A entitled ‘Young and Free?’, focusing on concerns that young Australians have about life after COVID-19.

Guest panelists wrestled with questions directly from young people about education, employment, the environment, isolation, and mental health.

Strong concerns were expressed about what the coming weeks, months and years might hold for them. One young person, looking right at the camera, asked, “What are we supposed to do next, like literally, next…?”

It’s such a strange and worrying time for our young people.

I watched and wondered what the answers to such complex problems could be and where such solutions might come from? Panelists offered up various options and likely sources for solutions – governments, businesses, local communities. All reasonable suggestions given the concerns.

I thought to myself, “What hope do these young people have? Where are they going to get their help?”

Then another question popped into my head – one from the Bible…

“I lift my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.” Psalm 121:1-2

The danger of a verse like this is that it can be read in a glib way, citing “God” as the one-size-fits-all answer to life’s many complex and serious questions. “Where will our jobs come from?” God. “Can we make our economy environmentally sustainable?” God. “What can I do about my crippling anxiety?” God.

I don’t want to treat young people’s concerns or take God’s name in vain in such a flippant way.

But, the beauty of a verse like this is the deep truth that lies within it. The kind of truth that doesn’t necessarily solve life’s complex and serious problems, but offers a way of moving and being in the world while we live through them.

Australian young people are not highly religious beings. Many who grow up in Christian contexts drift out of those in their teenage years and move on to attempts at stitching together a way of moving and being in the world they hope might get them through. These are strange and worrying times. They’d be wanting something pretty robust to meet the challenge, but I fear it’s an impossible task.

There isn’t a lot of research out there about what helps Australian young people discover that God, the maker of heaven and earth, might be where their help could come from. What we do know is that strong families, good friends and a connected church community are good influences in this space.*

So, as families let’s pray for our governments, businesses and local communities and encourage them as they seek solutions to the problems that trouble our young people.

Let’s play a role in helping to build a more hopeful world.

Let’s be there with our young people as they ask their questions and wrestle with their concerns. Let’s listen, encourage, understand and offer small daily supports.

In these ways, we can at least encourage them to lift their eyes to see where their help might come from.

About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

 

 

*Hughes, P. & Reid, S. (2019). How Australian Young People Understand and Experience God and influences on their Thinking: A Review of Secondary Research and Literature Study. Converge Oceania.

Posted: 21/05/2020

You laid the path for Tim’s faith journey

Finishing school is the start of many big changes in a teen’s life. There’s a new level of independence, study and work decisions to be made, as well as…

Finishing school is the start of many big changes in a teen’s life. There’s a new level of independence, study and work decisions to be made, as well as the choice to leave home or not. With all this going on – faith is often left behind.

In fact, one recent study found 66 per cent of teenagers who regularly attend church will stop coming for at least one year between the ages of 18 and 22*. Many never return.

For Gympie teen Tim, this could have been his story.

“I wasn’t good at reading the Bible and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to live my faith out in the real world after school,” Tim says.

“Schoolies was a stepping stone in my faith journey to where I am now. I learnt how important it was to make time for Jesus – to prioritise him and not to be ashamed of that.”

Tim says he found comfort in being able to talk about his faith openly in a safe environment.

“At SU-Schoolies, the leaders were willing to sit down and talk about those hard questions, and at such a key point in my life that was critical.”

Tim came with his friends from Gympie. The safe environment helped them all to grow deeper in their faith.

“I had some mates from Gympie in my small group. SU-Schoolies changed their lives as much as it did mine – really grounded our faith well for the next stage of our lives,” Tim says.

Tim was so impacted by SU-Schoolies he decided to come back as a leader.

“It’s loads of fun and we party like crazy! It’s not like sitting around singing kumbaya with the schoolies the whole time,” Tim says.

“Being a leader is nerve­wracking. You’re an influence on others, but having that responsibility really made me want to be a better influence on the boys in my group. It made me want to live more like Jesus did.”

Jonathan Chew, Director of SU­-Schoolies Sunny Coast, said he found being a leader rewarding and highly recommends it to anyone who wants to develop leadership skills.

“Leading on SU-Schoolies is a great way to find out how you tick,” Jonathan says.

“You learn lots about how you communicate and work with others. It’s a great way to learn key skills that can be used in any leadership or ministry role.”

SU-Schoolies registrations are open now, but spaces are limited! If you know someone graduating in 2020 or 2021, they can register at su-schoolies.com

*Research conducted by Lifeway Research: http://lifewayresearch.com/wp-contenVuploads/2019/01/Young-Adult-Church-Dropout-Report-2017.pdf 

Posted: 19/05/2020

Your support inspired Siobhan’s faith journey

When young people hear the good news of Jesus and start their own faith journeys, we love hearing the testimonies. When Siobhan was 12 she went on Winter Mapleton…

When young people hear the good news of Jesus and start their own faith journeys, we love hearing the testimonies.

When Siobhan was 12 she went on Winter Mapleton Adventure Camp (Winter MAC). She grew up in a family that accepted Christianity – but didn’t prioritise it.

“My mum always told me Jesus was around me, but that was all I knew growing up,” Siobhan recalls.

“I never owned a bible or went to church unless it was Easter or Christmas, and even then it was only once every few years.”

Seeing active Christianity had a profound impact on her. 

“It was so new and exciting and out of all the activities it was definitely my favorite part of camp.”

When she returned home Siobhan’s mother encouraged her to explore her new-found faith, but she found it difficult to connect into a church.

Years later Siobhan came back as a camp leader. When she arrived at camp she noticed they were sharing the campsite with another event – Training Week.

Training Week is a specialty camp for high-school-aged teenagers, teaching them leadership skills and giving them opportunities to connect with God. Siobhan was intrigued.

“Just being around the Training Week camp was amazing – it just seemed like all these teenagers were so like-minded and passionate for God,” Siobhan says.

“From the minute I got home I checked the SU QLD website every week until Training Week finally opened for registration.”

The following year Siobhan went to Training Week.

“There was stuff about reading the Bible, mental health and relationships — but the biggest thing I took away was the importance of getting involved in a church,” Siobhan says.

“Every day I struggled with people around me who mocked the idea of God, and sometimes it did rub off on me.

“Training Week showed me the need to have people around that shared my faith and could support me when I needed it.”

Since Training Week, Siobhan has plugged into a local church, has a good network of friends around her and comes back to Winter MAC as a leader each year.

“Being a leader is so rewarding, not only for the kids but you as well,” Siobhan says.

“You probably won’t know who your campers are, where they come from or what they’re going through, but you get to give them a week of unconditional love and attention — which can make such a difference.

“This year one girl in my group had never read a Bible before, so I got to teach her about verses and chapters — even though it’s so simple being able to do that was just so surreal.”

Thank you for giving Siobhan this chance to experience God’s life-changing love and to learn the importance of being connected into a Christian community.

To support SU QLD’s camping ministry, you can donate at www.suqld.org.au/donate

Posted: 19/05/2020

How I became a magician

In 2012 my life took a significant turn – I became a grandparent. ‘Pa’ was born and, as with any new birth, finding my identity and role is a…

In 2012 my life took a significant turn – I became a grandparent.

‘Pa’ was born and, as with any new birth, finding my identity and role is a continuing quest.

With each successive grandchild (now totaling 5) this journey continues to evolve with some aspects gaining clearer focus.

Someone once said that raising children was never going to be easy when it begins with something called ‘labour’. For this reason, every parent needs a support network to help with this responsibility.

Grandparents are vital team members of this support group.

It is clear to me that grandparenting is important to God, with countless references to the role played by the ancestors of the tribes and nation, so it should be important to us today.

In the flow of my life through work, church, home and community I have, and continue to fill many roles. So it is in my role as ‘Pa’ – let me describe just 5 of them…

1. Detective

I need to get to know and understand each of these precious gifts. Asking questions opens windows into their lives.

Check the internet for questions you can ask children. Here are a few to get you started:

  • What do you like daydreaming about?
  • What would you do if you made the rules at home?
  • If you could give $100 to someone else, who would you choose?

2. Historian

I like Arthur Kornhaber’s words when he calls grandparents “living time machines that transport children to the past through firsthand accounts of family history.”

Tell the stories of their parents, laugh together about the funny photos, create a family tree.

3. Mentor

We are provided with unique opportunities to walk alongside them on their journey through life, encourage them on their way, acknowledging their developing gifts, believing in their dreams and nurturing their strengths.

Telling stories about God from the Bible and from my own life are gifts as they find and grow their own spiritual identity.

4. Entertainer

Playing endless games, reading stories, hosting sleepovers, meals together, special outings, creating memories, and so on.

I have become a magician – expending large amounts of energy for an hour and then ‘disappearing’ for 30 minutes!

5. Pray-er

There is no greater gift than praying for your grandchildren every day. Pray a blessing over them as you/they leave e.g. “May the Lord bless and protect you, show you mercy and kindness, be good to you and give you peace.” (based on Numbers 6:24-26).

Choose a life verse for each grandchild when they are born and pray that verse for them for their life

Text verses at times when they are needed. Ask them how you can pray for them.

Whatever your roles may be, remember that grandparenting is a journey of love—one that requires your flexibility, adaptability, patience, and commitment. We will fail – but let’s fail forward!

 

About the author…

Terry is married to Marg and they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. His developing gifts are in UNO, LEGO, Monopoly, racing cars, fairies, dinosaurs and Zooper Doopers. Terry is also a specialist in ministry with families and children at Scripture Union Queensland, where he has worked for 36 years.

Posted: 14/05/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Jason’s wooden stars are bringing much-needed hope

COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. In this time of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and our chaplains are there to share that message…

COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. In this time of uncertainty and fear, hope is the antidote – and our chaplains are there to share that message with children and their families. Find out more at suqld.org.au/bringhope

Chappy Jason wears lots of hats in his community. Most recently, he has taken on the role of an artist, lifting spirits by leaving hand-painted wooden stars around town.

Article from the Warwick Daily News

The idea came from an art-therapy group in the US called “Stars of Hope” – who have a mission to spread hope, show hope and shine hope in the world. Chappy Jason, along with his daughters, thought this would be a great way to thank the Frontline workers in this pandemic – particularly those working at the local hospital.

“The Stars for Hope initiative is focused on what we can do for others. It’s about acts of kindness, thankfulness and gratitude for other people – the real heroes in this time,” says Chappy Jason.

“It’s a nice way to change your focus, instead of dwelling on your own challenges. The local paper actually ran a nice story about it. The Police, Paramedics and Hospital Staff were overwhelmed by the kindness.”

Two of Chappy Jason’s helpers, seven-year old Esther and fifteen-year old Erina think the stars are a great way “to make people happy, and let [the workers on the Frontline] know we are thinking about them and that we are all in this together.”

Esther and her Mum with their beautiful stars of encouragement

In addition to being a fantastic star-painter, Chappy Jason has had his hands full working across three schools.

“The past few weeks have been challenging. I work across three different schools and all three schools are different. I’ll often run programs in the school on and off as they are needed, but that hasn’t been possible right now. Instead, it’s been about finding new ways to support kids, families and staff,” says Chappy Jason.

“When you hit a phase with lots of change, often anxiety and fear follow. At the start of COVID-19, there were lots of students who weren’t coping at all and were having breakdowns. They needed someone to sit with them and just listen.”

“Sadly, a listening adult is lacking in the lives of many young people – even those that live in a safe environment. Kids that live outside of that – in vulnerable situations and split homes – have even less of that crucial support.”

Gabrielle and Erina, two more of Chappy Jason’s helpers

Chappy Jason’s story into chaplaincy came when he reached a crossroad in his own life, and he doesn’t regret a second of it.

“It’s definitely a God story. God planted it in my heart to become a school chaplain, and over and over again I have seen the impact a chaplain can have.

“These days, people just get caught up in the busyness of life and extra-curricular activities after school. Family time is missing. It’s so important that young people have an adult there to listen to them – that’s why I love my job.”

The work of a chaplain includes joy and many triumphs, but there are certainly moments of pain and grief. But it is a calling that cares for the well-being of little lives – and it’s a calling that makes Chappies like Jason, heroes.

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so communities like Chappy Jason’s can continue to receive the gift of hope in their time of need. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others during this time. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope today.

Posted: 14/05/2020

#storiesofhope – Chappy Mike’s timely gift to a teen in need

In times of crisis, it’s those most vulnerable who feel the effects. This pandemic has impacted us all in some way – but some have definitely been hit harder…

In times of crisis, it’s those most vulnerable who feel the effects. This pandemic has impacted us all in some way – but some have definitely been hit harder than others.

We’ve seen this reflected in the stories that have come through over the past few months. Many stories we are simply unable to share because the wounds are still so raw. Today we want to share a part of one of these stories with you.

To protect the identities of those involved, we’ve changed their names out of respect for their privacy.

Chappy Mike works in a school in South East Queensland. In the final week of Term 1, the students at his school were told they’d be moving into isolation at home over the school holidays.

Change is a challenge for anyone, but change and the prospect of social isolation in the midst of a global pandemic for a child who has already endured so much in their short life, it can be devastating.

It was at this time that Chappy Mike got a call from the Department of Education asking if he could support a foster carer who had a child at the school. The carer was deeply concerned about her foster child Ben, who has an ADHD-like condition.

Going into isolation was a scary prospect for this family. In short, they knew something like this could push Ben over the edge.

Chappy Mike wanted to help.

“I knew Ben liked basketball, so I reached out to my network and someone from the local community offered to fund a basketball hoop for him,” Chappy Mike says.

“On the last Friday of term we dropped it off at Ben’s house. The smile on his face made it all worth it.”

This seemingly simple gesture in a moment of anxiety and need made the world of difference to Ben and his foster family. There’s always more to these stories and the backgrounds of those involved.

But what matters most is that children like Ben and families across Queensland continue to see hope in the midst of their everyday struggles thanks to the love and support of their school chaplains.

Your support puts them there.

At this crucial time of year, please consider giving to our Bring Hope Appeal so Chappies like Mike can continue to support the most vulnerable in this season of need. Visit suqld.org.au/bringhope to donate today.

Posted: 14/05/2020

What is Family Space?

Family Space is a resource-based website that’s all about nurturing the family unit.

Our mission is to equip, empower and nurture family households and church families across Australia.

Family Space seeks to support children, teenagers, parents and churches through practical resources, activities and expert advice.

We’re all about nurturing healthy families and creating healthy communities.

See how your support impacts young lives
Sign up to our monthly e-News