Great Scot Archive
Issues from 1998
Issues from 1998


Service, remembrance, freedom

Scotch hopes every Junior School boy will develop his own sense of service and seek to serve others throughout his life.


Mr Jon Abbott
Head of Junior School

The centenary of the landing at Anzac Cove in 1915 has certainly been very much in the forefront of our nation’s collective thinking over the past weeks and months. In many ways, World War I and the various battles that Australian servicemen and women were involved in represented the first time that we had worked collectively as a nation rather than as a collection of separate colonies. The legends that grew out of the Anzac story have helped to shape how we see ourselves as a nation and as individuals.

Part of this self-image is the concept of self-sacrifice and service. Throughout the decades following our involvement in the Great War, there have been numerous times when Australians have put their own interests aside to support, assist, rescue and comfort their compatriots. Whether in the aftermath of disasters such as bushfires or floods, during long-term droughts, or in other periods of hardship we have seen time and again how people rally to the cause and support their neighbours.

Of course, this is not a quality that is exclusive to Australians, as I believe people of all nations are innately geared to help when others are in trouble..However it is a quality that we value, and it has become part of this nation’s psyche. I believe it is also a trait we all wish to see continue over the decades to come..

Sadly, many of the messages that our children are currently bombarded with tend to promote another line of thought; that is ‘You are the most important person.’ The advertisements they see each day, the songs of popular culture, the movies, even the video games they play, can often send a not so subtle message that it is more important to look out for number one than to think of others first. I believe it is unfair to be critical about the ‘me generation’ when we have allowed such messages to be so pervasive in the lives of our young folk..

As part of our Junior School programmes, we seek ways to impart a sense of service and self-sacrifice in the boys in their formative years that we hope will impact on the people they become as adults.

This happens in many ways; some quite direct and others more subtle. Our senior boys in Year 6 all have a service role to fulfil as part of their regular duties. Some of these roles are pretty mundane while others are highly sought after. However, they all involve taking on a duty to serve others rather than doing something for themselves or for reward.

One of these roles is that of the ‘Big Friendly Guys’ (BFGs). Twelve boys are selected each year to be BFGs, with a focus on supporting the boys in our youngest year levels, Prep to Year 2. These boys give up some of their lunchtimes to spend time in the Junior Primary play areas, helping the younger students with their games, looking out for any boys who don’t appear to be involved, helping them to join a game, supporting boys who may be upset by some facet of the playground, and generally being akin to a big brother for them.

The BFGs also give up several after-school times when they come along to support the boys at the Year 1 Dinner, the Year 2 Sleepover and the Prep Breakfast. Their role is one of service to others, and while I am sure they really enjoy it, they understand that the expectation is to support the young boys, not their own gratification. Our younger boys regularly see the BFGs in action as well as other roles performed by the senior boys, and, hopefully, learn from their examples.

Developing a sense of service to others does not often happen naturally in young boys. We can teach what it means, we can demonstrate how it looks and we can explain what it entails, but I think the most effective way to assist boys to understand and embrace the idea is when they see their parents, teachers, peers and role models actually providing service to others. Becoming involved, volunteering to help others and taking an active part in community networks are still actions our society values and admires.

We hope every boy who goes through the Junior School will develop his own sense of service, and will continue to seek opportunities to serve others throughout his life.

Updated: 3 October 2016