...to Coloma Convent Girls' School, where there was a Parents' Evening for parents of girls "Eleven and upwards", ie new arrivals at the school this term. This is an initiative of a couple of parents who had the idea - drawn from Pope John Paul's Familiaris Consortio - that families should help and support each other in the task of raising Christian children. Mutual swapping of ideas, information, and encouragement...pitfalls to avoid, things that work well, and so on.
It was a lovely evening - a large group of delightful parents, an atmosphere of great cordiality, common sense, and goodwill. Much to discuss. I had been invited to speak about the mass media, especially the Internet. Wow, this is a minefield for families today - access via mobile phones and laptops mean that parents are robbed of all technical control, and the rules that could be applied even a couple of years ago can now be thwarted by adolescents: the computer in the family room, no individual computers in bedrooms etc. Today, tumbling prices of technology mean that teenagers can simply save up and buy equipment that can be used anywhere...and they are also wise to going to friends' houses, going to the local library, etc etc...so parents have to be especially vigilant, and above create a family atmosphere in which values are accepted and shared...there was a lot of good discussion, and swapping of useful ideas, and a sense of solidarity among those present. What make the evening work, however, was that the next talk, by Mrs Mary Grey, was on family prayer. This excellent talk, centred on everyday wisdom, practicalities, and the truth of what it is like raising today's teenagers, lifted hearts and showed the way ahead. A family praying together - in the car, before or after a meal, celebrating special days, etc etc - is a bastion that evil cannot smash. We really got a message of hope, and it was a grand message to take home.
Coloma is a very popular school,and doing a grand job. BTW, the choir will be singing at Towards Advent this Saturday. Come and hear them!