A.B. PATERSON COLLEGE
GOLD COAST, QUEENSLAND

Illalong News

  • 18th May, 2018

From the Principal's Desk

A few weeks ago, I took a trip to Tasmania to attend and participate in an education conference. When I arrived at the airport, I could not park as close to the terminal as I had wanted to, but I did find a place to park and the walk to the terminal was nice – it was a beautiful day.

When I arrived inside, there was quite a queue of people checking in. I did have to wait almost 10 minutes to obtain my bag tickets, but I had arrived in plenty of time, so I bought a coffee and enjoyed some quiet time without emails.

Eventually it was my turn to use the ticket machine. As luck would have it, it stopped working, but then a ground staff member took me to another terminal and printed them for me. I managed to get all I needed and my bag was checked in – all good!

When I arrived at the security gate, the line was the longest I had ever seen. Staff were checking bags, asking people to remove boots, belts etc. They were only doing their job and, in the end, their processes help to keep us all safe when we fly.

I finished my coffee in the line and proceeded through security. When I arrived on the other side, I needed another coffee. I bought a cup, then sat and watched the world go by for a little while.

After about 30 minutes, a family came and sat next to me. It was very clear that there was an issue as both children seemed very upset. I could not see what was wrong until one of the teenagers said, “I simply won’t fly economy – who do they think I am?”

My first thought was to ask who they were, but I restrained myself. I could not help thinking about my arrival and how some people may indeed have been very frustrated by the few delays I had. I also wondered about how people manage their day to day lives when they can get so upset at such little things. There was no issue with a few delays for me – the coffee was delicious, the plane was on time, I flew to Tasmania and the flight was nice.

We often hear these things being reported as ‘first world problems’ and it seems that our world, our communities are indeed becoming less tolerant with each other. This is very sad. There are communities with significant issues – life and death, those in which young and old alike have known nothing other than war, places where people put their head down to sleep having no idea when they will next eat or indeed if they will be safe during the night. A few delays at an airport or flying economy should not even rate a mention; and as for someone who is so distressed at flying economy…

I think there are times we forget how fortunate we are. We see our daily frustrations as major issues, when in fact we often blow them out of all reasonable proportion. I have said it many times before, living in a community – whether it be living in this beautiful country, living in Queensland, or indeed belonging to our College – comes with sacrifice, an acceptance to follow certain expectations and rules or we make the decision to move away.

When we look at the philosophical basis of community, we gain something when we live in association with others. I cannot build a home, do not grow my own food, or build the computer I am using right now – I do not have these skills, but others can, and by living here I get access to their skills. In order to live here, I have to accept the laws of the state and the country, pay taxes etc.

Sadly, I have had several reports in the past week of parents verbally abusing our staff, in particular those directing traffic. This is totally unacceptable. I am certain that almost every parent and visitor to our College would like to drive in, park immediately and right outside where they wanted to go, and have no delay in doing so, but they view the world as I did at the airport. Yes, there are some delays. I cannot always park where I wish to do so, someone else will tell me where I can and cannot park, but my children do come to a wonderful College, they are educated and cared for by outstanding staff and, in the end, the traffic congestion only lasts for about 25-30 minutes each afternoon. Not such a big deal compared to everything else in our world.

The other realisation is that regardless of how personally frustrated we are, verbal abuse and such poor behaviour towards another is simply not acceptable and demonstrates a very poor role model to our children.

I know I am referring to only a few people in this message, but even that is too many. I am seeking the support of EVERY family. Please exercise patience and, should you see another person behaving poorly or abusing staff, please report them providing as much detail as possible.

Our staff come to work to support children, to assist you as parents in developing your children and do so with the greatest and most honourable of intentions. Parking staff do a job few of us would want. They stand out in the car park regardless of the weather conditions to try to ensure safety for all – they deserve much better treatment and indeed our genuine thanks and appreciation.

I have stated this before, but will reinforce it here, that anyone who verbally abuses a member of staff will simply not be allowed to return to our campus – even if that means that their child’s enrolment is terminated.

Our community is a special one. We have so many lovely families, the most beautifully-natured children and the most caring and dedicated staff. I simply will not allow the poor behaviour of a few to damage, or in any way negatively impact, the experience of our College community of others.

Your support is greatly appreciated. Should you ever witness any aggressive behaviour, please report the matter as soon as you can to the Office so we can take action to ensure our values are upheld by all.

Brian Grimes
Principal

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