Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A letter to my future great grandchild

Waikato Vital Signs Community Engagement.

We invite you to imagine a child born in 2076 - perhaps your great-great-grandchild, perhaps a descendant of someone close to you – but probably a child you will never meet.

If you were to write a letter to this child about your hopes and dreams for your community - what would you tell them?

Dear great grandchild,

I hope as you are reading this, you are sitting somewhere on the banks of the Waikato River, coffee (or what ever you young ones drink these days!) in hand, and enjoying the amazing view - and the fantastic cityscape, before you.  The river has always been considered the jewel in the crown of Hamilton City and I hope that the generations who have come after me have continued to care for it, and see it for it's beauty as well as the intrinsic importance of the very thing that resulted in Hamilton being created in the first place. I hope the city still showcases this, and that theres a vibrant cultural life on it's banks.

The Hamilton Gardens, already world famous now, are no doubt another icon in the city, loved by all and the centre of community for many.

As the world gets smaller and smaller due to the digital age we live in already, I imagine that the need to get into the outdoors is greater - and I'd like to think, more desirable than ever. I'm guessing you are probably doing work that hasn't even been invented yet, but that is more to do with computers than people, and for that, if no other reason, I am sure that wide open spaces are in hot demand!

I don't think for a minute though, that in the next 50 year there will be a demise in the social aspect of life - in fact my guess is that it will be more important than ever, for the same reasons as fresh air and exercise will be.  I hope that the people you share your life with are as committed to the well being of each other, and of wider society, as those that share mine. Our family - founders in Hamilton a hundred years and more ago,  has a long and rich history of giving back to the community - I wonder now which part of this will be your calling?  The disadvantaged? The arts? Sport? (that's an unlikely one given your family heritage but who knows!).  Always remember that just a little time given can make a difference to a lot of people.

The world as I know it now has not changed so much I think - perhaps there is more automation...self driving cars, computers and machines performing tasks currently done by people, the faster/stronger/better/bigger way of doing things is certainly part of our culture now.  But people need people regardless - there will always be room for human contact, helping each other, engaging in debate, enjoying music and culture, getting outside and appreciating nature - and I hope that in the future, just as now, these things will always be important to us.

Hamilton will be a multicultural (and I hope welcoming and tolerant) community in 50 years time. I wonder what your heritage will be by then? Will you be bi-lingual? Well travelled? In 60 years you will be an adult and likely have children of your own. What will your dreams and hopes be for them for 2116?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

CELF - Capstone Project: The first 100 days of leadership

Friday, March 25, 2016

Indifference, apathy and a healthy dose of so-whats

So the New Zealand flag will stay as it is.  I'm sorry to hear that - there was something rather nice about the idea of being part of history in the making (or the changing, as it may have been). I voted for change - but not because I wanted to see a different flag, or preferred one over the other.

Anzac Day is barely a holiday any more. And yet the media tells us 'more and more' people are turning up to Dawn Services to honour the fallen soldiers.

And now there's a big debacle about shopping on Good Friday. Should shops be open - we're not a Christian country any more after all....etc etc

Well actually, its been quite some time since my last confession, but here's my take:

The flag.  I voted for change because...well actually because I don't really care about the other one. I really don't.  This stuff about 'we fought under that flag' - I don't get that.  The freedom of NZ was not dependent on the picture on the flag. The flag symbolised NZ, true, but so does a silver fern, a kiwi, an All Black.  I don't care. I just don't care.  I wasn't one of those Kiwi travellers who stitched a flag on their backpack. I wore a silver fern for a while, a kiwi t-shirt from time to time, but the flag? Yeah nah.

Anzac Day...kind of the same.  Call me a cynic but I'd say there's a power of a lot of people who go to a Dawn Service because its an interesting thing to do, not because its a good thing to remember the soldiers who died fighting for NZ.  Or to remember those military who are still serving NZ.  Its entertainment.  A bit like, I'd dare to suggest, singing Christmas carols is for others.  ANZAC day a day off - yes I'm all for that because I don't think it's necessary for the shops to be open every day of the year.  But because it's ANZAC day? Nah, it's just another day to me.

And Easter. Ah Easter. Memories of Easter camp, special services at church, less so eggs and hot cross buns for me.  But most people - probably 90% - don't even see this as the context for Easter.  Should it be a public holiday? Refer previous comment about ANZAC.  But to honour the ''true meaning' of Easter - I don't care. I don't need a particular day to think about the Easter story. And I have a major discomfort that those same 90% who would most likely call the Easter story irrelevant at best, and a mad fairytale at worse, are still more than happy to take the stat day income and leave entitlements.  But actually I don't care.

The things that I am passionate about are not flags, holidays, religious observance, ritual.  

More is the pity that the energy that went into the flag debate - that of the close on 2 million people who voted - could not be put to better use.  What a different country we might live in then.  And issues like the pattern on a flag, the importance of a day in the year, whether the shops are open - those issues would not matter any more anyway.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Advice for my 13 year old daughter (that I wish I'd got myself....)

Tomorrow, my 13 year old daughter starts college. It hardly seems possible that she about to go to high school - and I suspect I am more anxious about it than her! She's been at a small country school for the first 8 years of her education, and we've experienced all the highs and lows that go with the big fish little pond/undiagnosed learning issues/little town clique life that we live.

But there it is, and over the summer holidays, as I've watched her shoot up taller than me, with better skin and hair that I ever had, let alone as a teenager, I've been thinking about what I want her to know as she starts this 'next stage' in her life. 

My days of high school weren't exactly fun. I was a total nerd who struggled to make friends and as I was in the 'little bit fat and got red hair' category, never really felt like I belonged nor was accepted. I was smart enough, as it turns out, but never realised this at school despite being in a high stream and doing weird subjects like art history and music. I left school at 16, and to this day regret that I never graduated, and that I can't even really look back on those 4 or so years of high school with rose coloured glasses. For all that though, I have turned out OK, made some lifelong friends, and can pick out a few high lights (and laugh at a few cringe worthy moments - skirt around my waist when I tripped on the steps comes to mind, as does the day I nearly knocked myself out on a lamp post because I was so busy looking to make sure the class bully wasn't too near me...).

But I digress. Here's my letter to the little princess, now not so little, and the things that I wish I'd known when I started high school:

It's tough being a teenager sometimes eh! And, it can be scary doing new stuff, and its a lot of change for you - here's some stuff to help guide you through it all...

Be a friend and be friendly - but remember that not everyone will want to be friendly back, nor be your friend, AND IT DOESN'T MATTER

Try everything - music, sport, clubs and groups - and remember that you won't like all or them, nor be good at everything AND IT DOESN'T MATTER 

Work hard - focus in class, do your homework - and remember that even though you might not be excellent at everything there'll be some things that you will shine at, and through that you'll find your way through school - AND IT DOES MATTER 

Think about your choices - people, classes, how you spend your class time and your free time - and remember that there will always be things (and people!) that can distract you, that can be unhealthy,and some that are just plain dumb or bad for you. Choose wisely because IT DOES MATTER 

Be kind to your mother! (and your father...)and all the other grownups in your life, who it will feel like are are constantly on your case, or annoying you, or asking too many questions, or all of those things at once. Lots and lots of people care about you and they are NOT trying to make your life miserable! But they want the very best for you and are interested in your life. Sometimes they will be your taxi driver, funder, counsellor or escape hatch. Answer their questions, smile even when you don't want to, (change your dress if you are asked too by your mother!) and treasure them because just like you, THEY MATTER

Remember this - you are a kind, interesting, talented and thoughtful girl. You have amazing potential and the chance to shine. Grab that opportunity with both hands! 

Love you!!!