Principal’s Update – Advice for Dads

As COVID restrictions continue to grip Victoria and we remain constrained by a 5km radius, I will miss not visiting my Dad this Sunday.

Whilst I have taught him how to FaceTime, it is not quite the same as giving him a Father’s Day hug. His joy is not found in receiving gifts and, like many elderly parents, just having the family together is the best gift of all.

It was a joy to witness our Barbreck girls creating a Chef’s Breakfast together with their dad and special guests this morning. Thank you to St Catherine’s Old Girl and Nil Magnum Nisi Bonum recipient, Flip (Lucile) Shelton (’83) for providing healthy and nutritious advice and the addition of three dazzling new recipes to the repertoire of family meals. Given the monotony of the lockdown period and the subsequent lack of dining experiences in restaurants, some new meal ideas are more than welcome in my household.

If you would like to try a few more of Flip’s recipes, she has kindly offered St Catherine’s families a 20% discount on all her products, including the book Smart Snacks, valid from now until the end of September. Go to her website and use the promo code Heyington20.

Research conducted, pre-COVID, in 2019 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found that 30 per cent of fathers were taking advantage of flexible hours to look after young children. This statistic was double the percentage from two decades earlier. This figure can only have increased over the past 18 months with such a fundamental change to family dynamics – with home schooling and many parents working from home. Fathers have, in general, become much more present in family life and, above all, more intimately engaged with their children.

In my role, I can often find myself in conversations with St Catherine’s dads who can be perplexed or befuddled as they traverse the tween-teen years of their daughters. With Father’s Day in mind, I thought it would be useful for dads to have their daughters’ silent messages interpreted. A proper interpretation could be disconcerting on Father’s Day, so I have taken the liberty of adding a principal’s positive spin on your tween and teen daughters’ responses, in order to aide the journey.

Eye rolling: which appears to mean, ‘Dad, you have no idea what you are talking about’; I think it would help if you thought what it actually means in her deep, subconscious mind: ‘Dad, thank you for that very helpful advice, I shall endeavour to act upon it.’

Door Slamming: which one could mistakenly think means, ‘I am so annoyed with you right now and I cannot speak to you any longer.’ While, this actually means, ‘I know you are right and I am going to think about why you are always right in the privacy of my room.’

Not answering your text messages when you know your daughter is permanently attached to their phone – you may think they are ignoring you because they do not want to respond. No, not at all, they are just taking the time to work out arrangements, trying to save you time. They are just being considerate!

On behalf of all the St Catherine’s daughters we share our appreciation for the wisdom and guidance of all our St Catherine’s dads, for the sacrifices they make for the success, happiness and wellbeing of their daughters.

Having daughters brings much joy and love. I am grateful for your daughters. I love their humour, their energy and watching them grow into the adults we wish them to be. We miss them on campus every day, just like I will miss seeing my Dad on Sunday.



Mrs Michelle Carroll, Principal