Lost and Found

I’ve been both this week……and more than once.

Lost – for what to do with the ever present rain hanging about like a bully taunting us with its next onslaught, keeping us hemmed inside along with that musty smell which lingers throughout the house.

Found – solace at the end of the day, in the dredges of a bottle of wine, slumped on the couch with a brilliant book taking me to a far off place and time.

Lost – patience with twin toddlers persistent in their non-compliance with everything, everyone, everywhere, ahhhhhh!

Found – in the decadent cup of liquid hot chocolate and consoling conversation with a friend, who listens and laughs in all the right places.

Marbles lost and marbles found, again…eventually.

Lost – for what to write about, feeling inadequate, ill-equipped and time-poor at the end of a week.

Found – (albeit forcefully) in siting down to write this blog.

And that’s it, isn’t it?

We’re all a bit ‘lost’ during the course of any given day, week, month, even year but it’s the ‘found’ in often small, maybe seemingly insignificant ways, that allows us to wash away our disappointments, pick up our misplaced selves and return to some ‘centre’ and find perspective.

Not always as easy as that! Yes this is true.time

Many things can be lost; items, people, meaning, beliefs, thoughts, opportunities, courage, time and it’s not always as simple as scrounging through a ‘lost and found’ box to retrieve these.

I remember we once lost a family pet, our cat Sammy. He was a wild thing from birth; skittish and cunning, he was a law unto himself. But we loved him, as only small children can.

My parents took great care to ensure he was comfortable during a two day car journey to a new home of ours. We were all reluctant to leave our old home. A place which was special and familiar. Sammy was no different in that regard.

Upon arrival, not 1 min after pulling up to park in our foreign driveway, Sammy took off. Scampered with the breeze, never to be seen again.

As small kids we were always hopeful and on the lookout for his return. Often times we imagined we had seen him flash by with his ghost-like white fur, darting about to slide under the storm water drain.

But he remained elusive and free. He’d found himself, even if we had lost him in the process.

I remember wishing I too could be like Sammy, in this new place of ours. I longed to wander off and be lost. I couldn’t have felt any more lost than I already was in such a strange, uncomfortable place.

It took us all some time to ‘find’ ourselves in that new place, I know. But we did, through small incremental efforts; a friend found, a secret hideaway discovered, a new addition to the family in the form of a puppy.

It’s that need to keep going, that drive to move forward, that’s innate within us.

“I got lost but look what I found” Irving Berlin (American composer)

To be lost at times is inevitable. We’re living life in all its ‘unpredictable-ness’. But the rhythm of being found again, in little bits, is as sure as the tide turning.navigate

The trick is in reminding myself of this, the next time I lose my marbles.

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Laugh Away

Why is it that the best laughter, (you know proper tummy crunching, eyes watering, cheeks hurting) is often the kind produced at your own expense?

I found out the other day that I have this condition called, ‘Bruxism’. Just a fancy name for ‘grinding teeth’, but I was told I needed to have some treatment and a classy mouth guard fitted. The likes of which would set me back a few THOUSAND dollars!! I nearly had a heart attack. Turns out this condition is stress related…… go figure.

Anyways, with several expensive crowns fitted later and a new glorious gummy mouth guard to wear at night (wahoo!), I figured……problem addressed, let’s move on.

But, on some evenings my husband takes delight in asking questions that require a detailed response, when said ‘glorious gummy mouth guard’ is in place. Needless to say slurred words, and a conscious effort to avoid saliva slipping from my mouth ensure a derailed conversation and him in hysterics.

My son lost his front tooth the other day and now when he speaks he has this cute little lisp. I cheekily asked him to say some silly sentence containing lots of ‘S’ words and my husband was quick to bring out (literally) the old mouthguard trick and have me pull a few lines with the bugger in my mouth.

They both thought it was hilarious. I was impressed that this costly and unsightly item was at least getting some mileage in the humour stakes, even if it was at my own expense.Woman Laughing

I’m not a witty person, never one to remember cool jokes and certainly not that person who can tell a good yarn. I can be quite literal at times and dare I say it, even gullible, so I’m not your go-to-gal for a laugh…….unless of course that is, incidental slap-stick counts.

I do like to think I’m pretty co-ordinated, but I have been known to suffer from momentary lapses and these are ‘incidentally’ when those great laughing moments appear, usually for (can I say incidental again?) the benefit of others.

These reoccurring ‘incidents’ usually involve falling over spectacularly, while I’m either running or strutting with an air of supreme confidence (hence making the humour all that more great and yet cringe worthy at the same time).

One evening out in the city, while trying to impress a date with my athletic ability, I ran for that bus determined to take off without us. Five meters from the stop and yep…. I tripped; arms flailing, shoe dislodged, flug into the air, handbag sprawling, all in slow motion and all dignity lost. The damn bus driver stopped though! Ha, I showed him.bus stop

My date was busy trying to stifle a laugh as he helped me to my feet, but I’m pretty sure the packed bus wasn’t holding back. (My husband still likes to pull that old chestnut out too, on occasion).

On a separate evening, all dolled up and out at some swanky charity event, I won the lucky door prize (I NEVER win anything!). I couldn’t believe my luck, a win and not just some dodgy meat tray….a MAGNUM of Champagne people!

I felt luck and frivolity on my side for a change, sauntered up to collect my glittering prize, held it loftily above my head as if I’d just won Wimbledon and proceeded to fall down the stairs …….again spectacularly.

Don’t worry, the Champagne was my biggest concern too. I held that bulging bottle like a babe. It survived.

I didn’t though!

That walk back to my table felt like I was on a travellator going nowhere, with people kindly offering their concerned congratulations, behind a snigger. I could’ve buried my embarrassment in that bottle there and then if I’d had a fully functioning wrist to crack the cork.

I am happy to report though, whether at my own expense or not, that laughter is an essential ingredient in my life and one I think we could all use a little more of.

We can’t always go looking for it or even intentionally create it (I’m not a fan of the ‘joke’ anyway) but when it does happen, revel in it, bask in its warmth and carry it with you like ‘that old chestnut’ to draw forth when needed most.

Or just get yourself a husband who’s happy to do that for you 😉

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A Case For Sustainable Education

There is no denying that our world is moving at a FAST pace!

Technology, world politics, social connections and even economies seem to be in a constant and rapid state of flux, unprecedented in previous eras.

We’re further than we’ve ever been.

And in a world which is changing at such a rapid pace, it’s a challenge in itself to simply keep up. Like a flagging jogger (that’ll be me) desperate to catch up to a shifting finish line, the reality is we can’t.

The nature of work is changing, our expectations of what a job or career should offer is changing. How we utilise and navigate our way through technological advances and the prolific use of media, is a challenge indeed. media exposure

But I love to think that education, more than ever before, could be the guiding light in an attempt to keep us all grounded.

I’m a teacher but also a parent and a member, like you, of this world.

I love the opportunities change brings, but with such easy access to greater, more immediate ‘things’, where is the education surrounding how to use it appropriately, how to navigate through this changing world and how to be a ‘good’ person amidst it all?

Technology is invariably our greatest motivator in shifting the foundations of education, as we come to meet the demands of a society increasingly run by it.

Bill Gates was recently quoted by Business Insider as saying: “Software substitution, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses…it’s progressing…. Technology over time will reduce demand for jobs, particularly at the lower end of skill sets”

Similarly, as we evolve more and more into McLuhan’s vision of a ‘Global Village’, the parameters for WHAT we teach but perhaps more importantly, HOW we teach it, are continually changing.

And if you’re to believe educationalist Ken Robinsons take on ‘schools kill creativity’, then you’ll appreciate his point on the need to revolutionise a system which is failing to change with the times.

“Our task is to educate their (our students) whole being so they can face the future. We may not see the future, but they will and our job is to help them make something of it.” ― Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.

So what does that mean for education today in the 21st century?future

Most schools still stick to the ‘traditional’ curriculum (English, Maths, Sciences, the Humanities, Vocational etc.)

But in a world where our kids are exposed to an endless stream of media in all its forms; ones that promote beauty over substance, immediate reward over delayed gratification, materialism over minimalism, self-promotion over self-control, it seems only ‘right’ to look at how we can ‘teach’ students to deal with this onslaught, be productive members of society and still maintain core values which allow them to be ‘good’ people.

I love my job. I love teaching the curriculum (most of the time) but I wish there was a place and time for teaching the ‘just-as-important-stuff’; how to be a decent person, a person who is understanding, tolerant, humble, compassionate, kind and sees the value in cooperation for the common good.tech education

Am I being too idealistic here?

I’m just saying, what good is it to have a world full of educated scientists, architects, writers, etc if they are not ‘good’ people? Or indeed, have never learnt or been guided in understanding values and virtues which could help them utilise their knowledge and skills best?

Maybe there is a place for learning and nurturing these virtues, like any other subject taught at school?

I’d like to think that individual teachers have a big part to play in this, but at the end of the day, it’s the directed curriculum which inevitably consumes the timetable.

Funnily enough, we all remember that teacher who had an impact on us as youngsters and invariably is was not their delivery of the curriculum that stuck with us, but usually them as a person; their kindness, their compassion, their enthusiasm, their virtues.

How and where else do students have the opportunity to learn these, apart from home (and for some sadly, even home is not the bastion of learning such virtues)?

How great would it be to see kids learning and schools nurturing not only skills and content to face this ever changing world, but virtues which ensure cooperation, tolerance, compassion and kindness?

Just how we do this, is open to discussion (which in itself is great) and I do not pretend to have the ‘solution’, but it does seem obvious to me that allowing students to engage in more ‘real-world’ activities, out of classroom experiences and lessons which allow deep discussions around ethical issues, could be a great jumping off point.

Time is key here too! Give students and teachers more time to do these, free up that timetable with less assessment and content driven subjects….heck maybe even less standardise testing!

Let’s see how sustainable education can be for our kids, in helping them Directionnavigate their way through this ever-changing world.

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