• What is pastoral care?
Is it just a “fancy” term for looking at the emotional side of students in conjunction with their academic side? In a school setting, we all play different roles in supporting the wellbeing of students. At a broad level, this responsibility is a shared among all staff members in the institution, and all adults in the school setting (including parents and guardians). In as much as the guidance counsellor is personally responsible, each member plays a different role. They are tasked with guiding students in the right way. Through pastoral care, information is passed onto students on how to make the most out of opportunities. Both academically and in life generally.
• Core principles behind good pastoral care
Everyone plays a role in proving pastoral care, helping students realize their true potential by extension. These principles guide counsellors at all times.
1. Confidentiality – We were all created differently. Confidentiality can never be emphasized. Information shared between a counsellor and the person in need should never be leaked to other parties. Gossip can never be tolerated. In addition to destroying relationships, it breaks the ring of trust.
2. Pastoral care and guidance and counselling are two distinct disciplines. With each playing a different part in the emotional well-being. Pastoral workers are appointed by the Ministry whereas counsellors come from schools of psychology. Pastoral workers should learn to recognize their limitations and know when to seek help if matters are outside their control. Professional counsellors should be summoned if need be.
3. Flexibility – Some people are better at catching up than the rest of us. Know who you’re dealing with. Without flexibility, pastoral workers are not in a position to understand people better.
What does it take to lead a willing pastoral care team?
God calls us to take care of those in needs. Don’t take it as a cliché – you’re given the mandate. It’s not the pastor’s responsibility. How can we best utilize our abilities in caring for the congregation? By first setting up a strong team of dedicated, self-driven individuals. Here are four crucial guidelines.
1. Clear communication
What message do you want to pass across? What is the most efficient way of conveying ideas? For instance, let’s assume someone asks you “What is pastoral care? “You should look for good communication skills when recruiting members into your team. Ensure that you clearly outline the minimum requirements of being part of your team
2. Fonder strong relationships amongst your team members
How can you make your team members know that you value them? By treating them like family. Genuinely show concern in their activities. Meet them often. Inquire about their daily lives. Conduct prayer sessions together. Whenever you meet them, speaking positive vibes to them. Radiate positive energy.
3. Empower them
Are you doing everything in your reach to ensure that their marriage flourishes? Have a positive impact on their lives. Educate them on ways of being better parents. Devote your time into uplifting their standards. It’s time to see the bigger picture. What are you doing for them?
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