Principal News – Week 8

Mrs Mary Anne Evans

Mrs Mary Anne Evans

The June Long Weekend is a unique “family time” for everyone at NEGS. Given it began as the celebration of our Monarch’s Birthday, it also acknowledges significant Australians. Honour’s lists are proclaimed twice a year in Australia: 1. The Australia Day list 26 January and 2. the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List. The Honour’s List includes people who have received the Order of Australia and other special honours including the Conspicuous Service Cross, Conspicuous Service Medal, the Public Service Medal, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Medal for Gallantry and, amongst others, commendations for Gallantry and Distinguished Service. As the weather was conducive to warm fires, good food and reflection, some of our families were supporting our girls in assessments, of which there are plenty, and preparation for upcoming competitions in a myriad of sports.

Mention must be made of our two NSW State Eventing representatives; Lucy Ramsay and Jaimie McElroy have spent their weekend competing in the Melbourne International Three Day Event. Just making it to this level is an incredible achievement in itself. Jaimie received the most extraordinary result in coming 4th in the Junior One Star Event. Congratulations to her. Lucy of course, rode with her usual determination and skill, making her a force to be reckoned with.

This of course comes on the back of our most outstanding success in the past seven years at the North West Equestrian Expo (Coona), where NEGS came home with a myriad of trophies including the Eventing Championship; Dressage Championship; Polocrosse Trophy; Team Penning; Working Horse Challenge; Individual Six Bar Jumping and the Final Two Round Grand Prix Show Jumping. A more comprehensive report follows in this newsletter.

Several weeks ago, Mrs Swartz and I attended the Australian Drug Foundation Community address to parents. It was a most informative evening and I encourage any parent who has the opportunity to attend one of these lectures in the future, to do so. The information centres around “The Other Talk” which effective parents have with their children. This is where families openly talk about alcohol and other drugs. The advice is that this talk starts as early as eight years to make sure children have the right information and attitudes when they reach high school. Starting the conversation early means parents create an understanding that when it comes to alcohol and other drugs, no question is too silly and no topic is off limits. These topics could include related issues such as peer pressure, health and safety. Of course, it is never too late to start the open channels of communication.

Some simple guidelines to begin this process are:

  1.  Get the facts
  2.  Be clear in your beliefs
  3.  Look for opportunities to start the conversation
  4.  Ask questions
  5. Make sure your children understand the harms
  6. Set rules and consequences

The facts are that young people are at greater risk of alcohol-related harm than adults. It exposes young people to a greater risk of injury and harm, and doing things they may later regret e.g. 1 in 5 15-18 year olds say they had sex when drunk which they later regretted. This is because young people’s brains are still developing and they are likely to drink more and take more risks when drinking compared to older people. Drinking early can also cause problems with alcohol later in life and can damage the brain.
The Australian alcohol guidelines recommend that young people delay their first drink until they are 18 years old. In the short term, alcohol contributes to the 3 major causes of teen death: injury, homicide and suicide. In the long term, alcohol (and other drugs) can damage the developing brain. This affects memory, learning and problem solving, and can cause mental health problems.

It is worth remembering that children do look to their parents for modelling of behaviour. You do not need to tell your children about your past experiences with alcohol and drugs. The recommendation is that you are their parent not their friend. If you drink responsibly then your children are more likely to do the same  later in life.

For another interesting article on this topic please go to:

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/school-hopes-to-raise-naplan-scores-and-retention-by-stamping-out-underage-drinking-20170602-gwj4md.html?csp=58330d0203938ade676929772c45b9af

This is indeed food for thought and action. As we embark upon the winter break I wish you all a happy and restful time. It may also be the perfect time for “The Other Talk”.

I look forward to an exciting Term 3.