Weekly Highlights 2nd March 2014

imageOne of our weekly highlights for this past week was going to another church called ‘Encore’ in Hawthorn. The Healing Rooms team at Stairway had been invited to come to share in the service since Encore Church was commencing its own Healing Rooms this coming week. Our family was invited as part of this, mainly due to our kid’s involvement in the Healing Rooms and to share about that. We had a fantastic time. This is one amazing church. Our kids loved it as well. We prayed for people who were healed and gave some prophetic words to people. Church is at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon until about 6.30pm and then they go out for dinner afterwards to a local cheap eatery. Saturday night was a Korean Restaurant that was chosen and the food and the company was brilliant.

imageSunday morning was another highlight as we had a time of prayer and prophetic acts as we sent out our two friends who were leaving to go to Nepal to open the new Christian School. We had drawn and written over 30 prophetic words and pictures so that at every student and teacher would receive one. We had fun blowing bubbles over the couple to signify joy and fun, releasing poppers for the school to go off with a bang and eating chocolate bars to signify tasting and seeing that The Lord was good.


The National Young Leaders Day run by the Halogen Foundation

Another highlight for our family was attending the National Young Leaders Day. This is held in every state of Australia annually. This one was for primary school students, usually the school captains. Parents, you can also register your own children with yourself as the teacher. Below is a summary of the talks.

There were countless videos and dance clips to motivate the kids along with the Royce twins performing acoustically, and the FreestyleAcademy performing dance routines. BKODE, hip hop dancers also performed. It was definitely entertaining.

Club Kidpreneur with the $50 challenge was shared to motivate students to start a business to raise money and develop leadership skills.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott:

The opening audio address was by the Prime Minister Tony Abbott. He said, “My father often told me when I was young – it’s better to be a good person than an important person.” He then went on to say, “Some day it will be up to you to help lead this country.”

Mike Martin:

Mike Martin, the Executive Director shared about how to determine good leadership. He talked about you know if a tree is good by its fruit. If stuff is fair (equal opportunity for all, innovative ideas welcomed and celebrated, hard work gets recognised and rewarded), if stuff is safe (physically, emotionally, intellectually and environmentally) and if stuff is awesome.

He also shared about the skill of empathy and how important that is.  He really emphasized that there is nothing different about you or others except our time and choices. We are all somebody.

 Author John Marsden

John Marsden shared how communication is such an important part of your leadership. You need to be able to not only communicate your ideas but also inspire and motivate people. He talked about there being no rules for language, only conventions eg full stop at the end of a sentence.

He encouraged everyone to start using a new adjective every time you speak. Aim to never use an adjective you’ve heard or used before. He encouraged everyone to use your own voice as it is the most powerful agent you have if you want to effect change in the world. Reading creative writing regularly broadens your use of language.

Entrepreneur Daniel Flynn

Daniel Flynn shared his experience with starting up the organisation “Thank you water”. When he was 19 years old, he was impacted by the story of an African boy who spent his whole day walking to collect water for his family, each and every day. Then his younger siblings died because the water he had collected was full of disease. Daniel found out that 900 million people don’t have access to clean water. He thought, “What if I am meant to do something about it?” Together with some friends, he launched “Thank you water” four years ago. Every bottle of water sold provides at least one month’s worth of water to someone in need.

His tips are:

  1. Dream BIG – impossibility is only someone’s opinion, not a fact.
  2. Persist – never, ever give up.
  3. Excuses – never let age, experience, or money hold you back.

Daniel’s 12 year old nephew raised $15,000 in 2-3 years to fund a well in India, paid for micro financing for 10 women and sponsors 4 kids. His mum refused to give him pocket money so the nephew started his own dog walking business. Daniel grew up in a church and was taught to live life for others, and encouraged us to find what motivates you and live it.

Olympian Jessica Fox

Jessica was a silver medallist at the London Olympics in canoe slalom. She was just starting her VCE/HSC and she wrote on bits of paper “London 2012” and “97” and stuck the paper on her bedroom wall. She said how they were both very ambitious goals but you need to believe in yourself. Set goals. Don’t give up. “You don’t have to be great to start but you have to start to be great”. At the end of that year, she achieved 99.1 in her VCE/HSC and 4 months later qualified to go to the Olympics. Only one Australian woman can go in the canoe slalom and she was that one.

Whilst there, she shook hands with Prince William and Princess Kate and became quite flustered and commented on how lovely the day was even though it was rainy and cold. (She immediately won Princess’ heart)

She has a “toolbox” of skills and qualities and looks at what new things she needs to get to her goal. When you feel like giving up, just give it one more go. No matter what age, you can still influence someone, inspire someone and make a change.

AFL Football Coach Kevin Sheedy:

Kevin Sheedy is an ex coach of Essendon Football Club for 27 years. He said how he is a dreamer. His teachers used to give him confidence by encouraging him to go after all the challenges they gave him so that he could make a difference. He has kept a diary every day for the last 40 years of his feelings and thoughts.

He encouraged everyone to dream about what you can do to help my country, to inspire my children.  He a saw the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) being built from his school yard and dreamed of one day playing on it. 380 times he either played on it or coached on it. He lost 240 games in total as coach of Essendon. That meant that there were 240 Mondays when he had to go to work on the Monday and be positive.

At age 21 in the army, he was told to coach the football team. He had team members who were 35 year old captains returned from the Vietnam War. He learnt to be sensitive.

Fifteen years ago, Essendon Football Club sent him to Disneyworld. Whilst there, he dreamed about what it would take to fill the MCG and make a difference. Thus, he came back and helped start the ANZAC Day match between Essendon and Collingwood.

Kevin Sheedy is a great fan of Edward De Bono and lateral thinking. He thought about how to get the best out of indigenous players. He helped create dreamtime at the MCG, a footy match between Essendon and Richmond. He also realised that at Essendon Football Club, there were no fans, no kids, no room to play football in Essendon but they did have 2 airports. So he got a vision to use the red lines on the fifth back page of the inflight magazine to fly all over Australia and play there in other cities. They were the first national club. Lateral thinking is so important.

Every day he cuts articles out of there newspaper about people who inspire him and about people whose decision he is not happy with. Life is a gift  from your parents – make a difference.

His tips are:

1.Teach lateral thinking to your children.

2. Dream

3. If someone tells you a negative, make it a positive.

4. If you have a passion, go for it.

5. Never give up. Learn from your losses.

Parents, there are amazing opportunities to attend events that will stretch your kids. This is an event that is held annually, so keep it in mind for next year, or the next few months if you live outside of the state of Victoria.


National Competitions coming up: There are also several national competitions coming up in geography, history, writing and mathematics. You don’t have to be part of a school to enter them and likewise you can enter them without being a homeschooler. Parents of homeschoolers – Greg Landry of LandryAcademy in the USA (a former college professor) has an article about the “Top 10 Home Schooling Mistakes that parents make”. One of these is that they don’t get their child to sit enough exams and tests under exam conditions. Therefore, when they enter the schooling system, exams tend to ‘freak’ the kids out. Entering the following competitions would help your child in this.

The Australian Geography Competition has extended its deadline for entrants until Monday 10th, 2014. The cost is $3 per child. Sections are Junior (13 & under), Intermediate (14 & 15 years old) and Senior (16+). I am entering Princess age 10 in the Junior section. It may well be a bit above her but on the practice exams she gets good marks. By the time she is 13 years old, she will have sat it 3 times already under exam conditions so that must be helpful.

The Australian History Competition has applications open until the beginning of April. The cost is $6 per student (+ $30 administration fee per school/homeschool). There are 2 sections, years 8 and year 10. Princess is in year 5 but I have entered her this year as a practise run, just to see how she goes. The past questions involve a lot of interpreting the data they give you in the exam, so I am entering her mainly to assess her comprehension of what she reads.

There is also the Australian Mathematics Competition coming up although applications haven’t opened yet for that as the competition is always in August. There are always poetry and writing competitions. If you have a budding writer, please google these as the prizes are fantastic monetary wise and it is a great opportunity for your children to expand their horizons.

It is also great as parents of homeschoolers to see how your child is going academically in relation to others, something that is hard to assess outside of the school system. Princess has had amazing success in the Australian Mathematics Competition the last 2 years and it has been very reassuring to see how she goes and how her maths is going in relation to her peers.

Parents – you are your child’s best advocate and best positioned to extend your child to aim higher and go further. Use your role as a parent to your best advantage.