For Colour, Transperancy

November 21, 2016 at 8:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The students we get to support are incredible. I am constantly being inspired by, learning from and growing because of their authentic engagement and contributions in our program days. Listening to participant responses, connections and reflections is one of the true pleasures of being a facilitator. Last week was no different as a Year 5 student, thinking outside the box, shared with the group such an important aspect of ‘being the change you wish to see in the world’.

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” – Mother Teresa

In creating similes and metaphors for leadership he chose as a colour transparency. I’ve heard so many colours used before in this activity, even combinations of colours like a rainbow, but never before this word. It cut right through. I think that’s the point. Transparency, honesty and authenticity brings out the realness that our families, schools, workplaces and communities are hungry for as we navigate the opportunities, successes and challenges within our 21st Century global village.

“Leadership is not a position. It consists of action with transparency and to set high example of integrity, honesty and to strive for welfare for all.” – Dr. Anil Kr Sinha

The sentiments expressed in the quote above are an inspiration for us as we support the development of leadership potential within our client schools and beyond. We believe ‘leadership is the purposeful practice of using our thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in our own and others lives’. This doesn’t need a badge. Or a particular title. Or any special ceremonial clothing. All it needs is individuals owning, practicing and remembering that our daily thoughts, words and actions matter, that we are all capable of making a difference in our own and others lives and that we’re all in this together.

“Transparency is the first step towards accountability.” – Unknown

As we get caught up in blame we forget and disown our own and each others humanness. So having the courage to mindfully and compassionately step into accountability through transparency just ‘makes more sense’. We as individuals and groups won’t ever nail it 100% of the time. But hopefully we can make it a practice to keep realigning the compass as we veer off course. Just like the inspiring leader will who shared this aspiration with the group last week.

“And transparency makes more sense.” – Envy Parade (The Love Before)

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Seasonal Reminders

November 14, 2016 at 7:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

I’m very lucky that I get to see many participant cohorts on multiple occasions within a year. Some client schools I am even lucky enough to work with students right throughout their Primary School journey. It really is inspiring to be a piece of the educational puzzle within the growth and development of these incredible individuals and groups. It’s just funny though that the tree pictured above got me reflecting on this privilege last week. It jumped out at me as I walked through a school courtyard.

“Embrace the current season of your life.” –¬†Gabrielle Blair

It’s leaves were back; so full and vibrant. This was such a contrast to last noticing this tree a few months ago when its branches were so bare and stark. I love seasonal reminders like this one. It’s like a jolt caused by noticing a variation of colour, temperature, loss, growth, or any number of other changes that are always happening. Whether we notice or not doesn’t mean that the subtle or obvious isn’t there. The act of noticing though can definitely assist us as we embrace the present moment without attaching a lens of needing permanence, as the quote above suggests.

“Each moment of the year has its own beauty.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As we enter this final ‘season’ of the current school year I love talking to teachers about all the connection, growth and learning that’s taken place this year. Their pride in their students authentic progress shows up in stories of the ups and downs, sweat and tears, and courageous daily thoughts, words and actions that makes up learning journeys like those occuring in the wholeness of a full year. Schools can be such busy places, with such diverse and complex needs being catered for and navigated, so creating space and time for noticing through reflection, celebration and appreciation can be so important.

“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” -Elizabeth Lawrence

People will …

November 7, 2016 at 6:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

After watching the 60 Minutes story on Gemma Sisia and St. Jude’s last Sunday night I started flicking back through my photos. I was flooded with a variety of memories of my time away in 2011. That trip was such a special six months overseas. The first two months saw me travelling through Southern Africa, visiting some inspiring locations and meeting some incredible people. Then I had the chance to volunteer as a teacher mentor at St. Jude’s in Arusha, Tanzania for my remaining time away.

“Travelling. It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

For many years I’d dreamed about having the opportunity to visit the school, and maybe even volunteer. I’d been following their story as a sponsor over many years, receiving correspondence and news about Samwel and the schools progress. To live that dream was everything and more that I’d hoped for. Gemma and all those who form part of the St. Jude’s family are truly remarkable. What a journey it has been as they’ve navigated growing from 3 students in 2002, to over 2000 students currently being educated.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –¬†Maya Angelou

The quote above is one of my all time favourites. I reflect on it often, and it’s the first one that came into my mind last Sunday night as I watched the 60 Minutes story. So many people from that time away I will forever remember for the way they made me feel. The photo I’ve included at the start of this post is one of my last days before coming home. At an upper primary staff meeting I was brought into the middle of the circle of teachers and thanked in traditional Tanzanian ways. Above I am being dressed as a Massai. Below I am then being shown and then encouraged to jump like the Massai (I definitely have work to do in that respect).

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“Be somebody that makes everybody feel like a somebody.” – Kid President

Thank you to all those who I had the pleasure of supporting and being supported by while at the school in 2011. If you didn’t see the story or haven’t heard about St. Jude’s before, visit their website (www.schoolofstjude.org) to find out more.

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