In William Shakespeare’s play, Twelfth Night, there is a quote which says, “Some are born greatness, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them”. In the context of the play, the statement is part of a joke being played on one of the characters. In the modern day context we use it to speak about how people achieve positions of leadership. We use this phrase to mean that some people are born into power; others work for it; still, others are forced to accept it.
I was reminded of this phrase when listening to Sunday’s Gospel reading. The reading was from Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 16 verses 13 to 20, where Jesus asks his disciples: “Who do they say the Son of Man is?” Many of the disciples provide their thoughts on the question but it is the Apostle Peter who shows the greatest insight into the identity of Jesus when he says “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. If we were to view this passage in isolation, we would be excused for thinking Peter had all the answers, a natural born leader. But we know that Peter was of flawed character, a man who got it wrong far more often than he got it right. Not long after Peter made his proclamation about the identity of Jesus he…
- Cut off the ear of a servant
- Ran away when the going got tough
- Denied he even knew Jesus, not once but 3 times!
Not great credentials for a future leader. But in the end despite all of this, Jesus named him “Rock” and on the Rock of Peter, Jesus built his Church. I am sure that deepdown Peter too questioned his ability to lead but Jesus saw something that others obviously didn’t see. The St. John’s Parish newsletter I picked up last Sunday put it best…
Jesus saw into Peter’s heart, recognised his generosity, his enthusiasm for a cause, and love for his family and friends. Perhaps Jesus recognised also that Peter knew his faults, failings and weaknesses; and isn’t that a great security in life? – To know yourself well; and that’s what makes good leaders.
The world is full of leaders like Peter, people who are sometimes strong, sometimes weak, sometimes enthusiastic and courageous, and other times sinful and unreliable. Maybe just human?
The community of Whitefriars is just like that. Each of us in our own way is just like Peter. Our young men are especially like Peter, because, as I often suggest each one of our boys should have a sign on his head that says “Under Construction”. They are not yet fully formed. Their frontal lobe has not reached full maturity and therefore things are going to go wrong.
This week sixty four potential Peters, took time out of school to discern the possibility of leadership at Whitefriars for 2024. Having spoke to many of them I can say that there are lots of similarities between Peter the Rock and our future leaders. Many of these students are uncertain and even reluctant to become leaders, many are concerned that they don’t have the requisite skills or abilities to lead and most, if not all, are deeply aware of their imperfections.
These sixty-four young men also have a deep love of and commitment to their school. All have learnt much over the last six weeks about what leadership at Whitefriars means. All have generous hearts and a desire to give to the College, which has given them much over the last five years and all have a deep longing to serve this community and to leave a lasting positive legacy from their time at our College.
There are many people who have assisted these students along the journey towards leadership, their families, mentors and teachers among them. I would like to pay particular tribute to Josh Vujcich, Kelly Hoinville and Mick Lafferty who have been supporting our Year 11 students discerning leadership over the past six weeks, as well as Tracey Phelan, Claire Allemand, Cath Spurritt, Kristan Height and our House Leaders who will supported our students at the leadership retreat.
Fathers Day Breakfast
We are so blessed at Whitefriars to have a have people who give so much of their time, talent and energy to provide wonderfully memorable opportunities for our community to come together. One such opportunity was our Fathers day breakfast held last week. This incredibly popular event was attend by over 600 fathers and sons.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Linda Dingley, Kristy Sanbrook, Dannii Mandjian, Mel Alexander, Matthew Rico (Canteen manager), Nigel Moyle, Glenn Sharam and Rick Culinun and the many other staff who supported and organised our Father’s Day breakfast. What a wonderful celebration of all that is great about Whitefriars! A number of fathers approached me on the morning to thank the College for this wonderful opportunity, many suggesting it was a great gift for them to stop in their busy lives and to share breakfast with their son.
Mr Mark Murphy