ERC Updates

From the Director of Pastoral Care & Wellbeing

Talk Money with Ecstra Foundation

learning money lessons for life!

Our school recently participated in the Talk Money with Ecstra Foundation program, which included two interactive workshops designed to help Australian students learn money lessons for life, to be confident talking about money and to make informed financial decisions.

Our Year 7-8 students attended the Spending and saving money workshops, where they explored how spending and saving choices today can affect future finances.
Our Year 9-10 students attended the Making money work workshops, where they discussed different ways to make money and learned some practical skills for navigating the world of work.

Both the students and teachers enjoyed the workshops and definitely learnt some important financial concepts and lessons about money.

To learn more, check out the Talk Money website

It is essential for young people’s future success and financial security to learn about money management and workplace rights. Young people may make wise financial decisions, stay out of debt and achieve their financial objectives by developing their understanding of financial literacy concepts including budgeting, saving, and investing. Similar to this, educating young people on their legal rights at work including minimum wage rules, anti-discrimination laws, and safety standards which can give them the confidence to defend their rights and speak up for themselves at work. Their future prosperity and well-being may be significantly impacted by these abilities and information. It was a really interesting and eye opening experience and a really well put together presentation. I learned a lot and keen to interpret it into my own life. Rafael Johns-Murphy

My Resilience

Last week we had the first of our My Strengths workshops for 2023. Dan and his team introduced the boys to our whole school strengths based approach. With a clear focus on resilience the boys learnt:

  • the 4 things resilient people do
  • discovered their Top 5 Character Strengths
  • Began to build the foundations of a strengths mindset as the foundation for resilience
  • Develop strategies for facing hardship, stress, bullying, and disappointment

Throughout the 2 hour session the boys heard some great stories, participated in small group discussions, role plays and games to equip students with strategies for resilience. Whilst the boys got a take home pack of their strengths as a College we received a copy of each student’s strengths, which help us to further develop positive relationships and bring out the best in your son. At the end of Week 1 our Year 10 Students will participate in Stage 2 of the process undertaking the My Strengths assessment and unpacking it with the team.

The Holidays are often a time when parents and carers are concerned about the amount of time young people are spending on their phones. Dan the founder of My Strengths recently wrote and shared this article.

I was recently talking with another dad about the work we do. I excitedly told him that MyStrengths helps teenagers understand their uniqueness and grow to love who they are. Straight out, he said to me,

“Young people these days have TOO MUCH self-love! Have you seen it on social media? They are so into themselves! They spend all their time taking photos of themselves and posting it everywhere. I think we’re breeding a generation of narcissists.”

A good point! But was he right? It got me wondering:

Does the prevalence of selfies indicate a generation of secure, happy teens, confident in their worth and proud of who they are? Or is there something else at play?

“The emerging generation may be more self-promoting, but that’s not the same as self-worth.

What’s underlying the selfie?

There’s nothing particularly new or harmful about showing the world your beautiful family, personal achievements or even your best smile (Blue Steel anyone?). We’ve been doing it for decades, showcasing our best and proudest moments.

However, the emerging generation is taking it to the next level – many posting pics of themselves daily, even hourly, documenting their every movement. For some, it’s fun and social; for others it’s a desperate cry for affirmation and approval. Whatever the motive, let’s be clear:

Selfies are not the same as self-love.

For many teenagers, the selfie is fed by a desire to be loved, accepted, approved and acknowledged. Validation becomes their highest need – and without it, there can be anxiety and despair.

“Validation becomes their highest need – and without it, there can be anxiety and despair.”

Does anybody like me?

In the 2021 MyStrengths Youth Wellbeing Report, over 10,000 teens were surveyed and 40% of them reported that they feel like social media helps their friendships and improves their connectedness. However, 24% said they felt it damaged their self-esteem or was not good for them. 42% of teenage girls report that they worry about the way they look, and the same number experience low self-esteem. Almost 25% of young men feel it too, and over 30% are actively worried about what other people think of them. In many ways, they use social media as the litmus test for popularity. It becomes a vehicle for finding acceptance, belonging and validation.

A short cut to self-love

As an adolescent therapist, I wish “likes” and popularity would bring self-love and contentedness. We could skip the hard yards of character formation and identity search and just get strategizing on popularity growth. In fact, if 1000 likes instantly meant higher confidence and self love, then I would personally pay the boost for every teen to get what they need – what a great use of money! Once the target is reached, WOO! A content, secure and loved young person.

But it doesn’t happen.

The reality is that forming our identity and self-love is complicated and hard work. There are many layers to our “self” and we are all on the journey of working out who we are and where we get our sense of value and self-worth.

3 building blocks for self-love

For parents and educators, there are a couple of very concrete, practical things we can do to enhance a teenager’s self-worth and security. We might think of these as building blocks for self-love rather than a formula that works every time.

  1. Affirmation
    Self-worth grows when a teenager senses that they are loved, respected, admired and affirmed – just the way they are.
    Teens need to be constantly told that, “you are valuable; you have what it takes; I believe in you; and there’s nothing you can do to make me stop loving you.” We do this easily for younger children, but it’s not so instinctive when it comes to teens. However, it’s just as important. Your voice becomes their inner script. If they are constantly reminded of what they are getting wrong, where they are causing trouble or how they don’t measure up, it will affect the way they feel about themselves. Many educators and parents buy into the idea that if we don’t tell them where they are going wrong, they will be ignorant and not realise. But the truth is, most of our feedback is heavily weighted toward deficit, weakness and negativity and we struggle to affirm and build up the teens in our life. Affirmation is key.
  2. Adopt a strengths focus
    Most teens know their weaknesses, but how many know their strengths? Every teenager has strengths. They are each unique and different. It’s incredibly powerful and formative to help a teenager identify what some of their best personality traits are. They will be different from you, but instead of this being frustrating or annoying, it can be a point of celebration and understanding. As adults, we can help teens discover their strengths, focus on them, grow them and encourage them. If we need a starting point, have your teen take the MyStrengths Assessment to discover their Top 5 Strengths – then use this as a catalyst for discussing and celebrating their uniqueness.
  3. Develop your own healthy self-image
    Values are caught and not taught. A great question is: What do my kids hear me say about myself? So many of us are critical of our own looks, ability or intellect. I hear many adults calling themselves fat or ugly, dumb or stupid. This may seem harmless, but teenagers are learning by osmosis. The way you view the world, yourself and your body is really important in forming their own self-talk and self-image. They learn what is normal from you – and if it is self-critique, perfectionism and put down, that becomes their norm.


  • Even if your teenager shows a disregard for your affection, don’t take your foot off the peddle;
  • Even if they appear overconfident, don’t knock them back to earth;
  • Even if they shoot too many selfies, don’t mistake it for self-love.

Dan Hardie

PS. I go deeper on how to address screen time, social media and self-esteem in the Raising Resilience parenting course. We filmed this course to help you address the key issues and get better results. Hundreds of parents have taken this course – join them to get ahead of the mental health challenges. Don’t forget ERC is pleased to provide free access to these courses to all parents in our community for 2023, please find the link here “Edmund Rice College Landing Page”

On behalf of the Pastoral Team, I thank you for your support throughout Term 1. We look forward to working collaboratively with you and your sons throughout Term 2. Wishing you a very happy and holy Easter.

Mrs Hughes
Director of Pastoral Care and Wellbeing