Thursday, 13 October 2016

Nature boy. . .

This blog post is dedicated to +Dave Fa'avae - congrats on submitting your doctoral thesis :-)

Last week I was away at a work conference, busy doing presentations, helped to facilitate a roundtable discussion and sat in on a sofa session.  The range of topics that I talked about were to do with Pacific Island students and their success in education, together with resources that educators could use to connect and engage with Pacific Island students.  I also talked about communities of learners and effective leadership.  It was good to talk with other educators from around New Zealand and really listen to their stories about what they are trying to do with their students.  Despite the hectic pace of the conference, there was also opportunity to be reflective and to think about things that I wanted to do, or feel, without overthinking.  I have been really enjoying listening to music of yesteryear, classic songs that are lost in the din of the current top 40 of today.  There is something about music from this era that evokes some deep resonance of sound; but it could just be the instrumental introduction in the remastered versions of the song.

There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy
They say he wandered very far
Very far 
Over land and sea 
A little shy and sad of eye 
But very wise was he 

Quiet people fascinate me.  They always have.   I think because loud people are so obvious, bolshy and have so much to say (hmmm am I describing myself? lol), yet there is so much mystery that surrounds someone who chooses to keep their thoughts to themselves.  There could be a whole host of reasons why they choose not to say anything either: 1) they're very shy, 2) have low expectations of themselves and think that their opinions aren't worth sharing, 3) feel intimidated by the louder people in their circle so choose to say nothing.  When quiet people look at me,  I can often sense whether they want to tell me something.  There is that sadness in their eyes that tells me they don't often speak up, and when they do, nobody listens.  Can you recall moments when you have not allowed a quiet person to have their voice heard?  I probably sound crazy but no. I challenge you on how you interact with others.  Do we listen to everyone at the table?  Or are we so blinded by our own ideas and thoughts because we want things our way?  We might be missing out on the wisest people in the room, because we like the sounds of our own voices far too much.

And then one day
A magic day he passed my way
And while we spoke of many things
Fools and kings
This he said to me
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return

This week I went with my friend +Dave Fa'avae to support him in the submission of his doctoral thesis.  He inadvertently started a new tradition by doing so, as we also had other PhD students from our circle with him who also accompanied him.  The entire process made me wonder - this is the part of the process that people don't get to see - the actual "turning in" of the thesis for examiners to mark.  Why am I talking about this?  You see, I have really good conversations with Dave about so many different things, where we wonder about things that we experience as Pacific people or dream up ways for our collective peoples to do so.  As a quiet individual, he doesn't often say much; but when he does, the words he uses are powerful, the way he speaks has immeasurable weight because they sink deep into the footprints of his words where he steps, so you can't help but watch him wander on this journey that he talks you through.  Even though the moment was Dave's - he chose to share it with his other peers who have yet to experience the moment for themselves.  Very wise was he. . . 

I had the cool opportunity to talk to his nephew Calix and niece Onelee who he wanted to share the moment with - as he has dedicated his doctoral thesis to his son, and to all of his nieces and nephews collectively.  The conversation took an interesting (as it does with children), towards talk of children of my own.  

Calix:  Do you have kids?
Me: No my husband passed away before we could have any, so no, I don't have any children.
Calix: Are you going to get another one?
Me: Another husband?
Calix: Yes
Me: Hmmm I don't know, I've had people tell I should get another husband, but I don't know.
Calix: You should get another husband.  But if you don't - you could get a companion?
Me: (incredulous) - What do you know about companions? (laughing)
Calix: It's good for you to have a companion.

The greatest thing you'll ever learn
Is just to love and be loved in return. . . 

I don't know where Calix got that idea but I appreciated his feedback.  His uncle Dave claims that his forthright nature must come from his Samoan side.  I wonder . . . if that makes him a nature boy. . .