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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life is like a teabag......you don't know how strong you are until you get into hot water.

I have been putting off writing this weeks blog. What can I write in light of sombre mood that has swept over us.  How does anything we do on a day to day basis make any sense in light of  the extreme .......going through the motions of everyday life while our brothers and sisters in Christchurch reel about in a situation so grim it is difficult to comprehend.
Like many of you, I have been following the progress of rescue workers on the TV and radio, hoping and praying for another good news story and it is fair to say they are few and far between. Worrying about friends and family.
A positive light has radiated from the awesome communicators that have tirelessly provided the rest of the world with the news, minute by minute.
I would like to make particular mention of Bob Parker, Mayor of Christchurch. If ever we had a role model in the field of communication, he is the man.  He has constantly thinking of his audience, providing honest and consistent information with a genuine human touch.  He has, I am sure, provided the people of Christchurch with hope and stability in the most hopeless and unstable of times.  It is hard to imagine how tired he must be, how worried he must be about his own family and friends.  He is a role model to all of us.
Throughout the country, people are giving their all to help in whichever way they can.  Here in Palmerston North I see and hear about people making a difference.  Families have said goodbye to parents in the many Army trucks heading south, we have not seen the man of our house for more that an hour or two since Tuesday while he and his team make sure the air transport systems stay safe and functional, friends working 12 hours shifts in "makeshift" call centres, I see teachers in classrooms debriefing and calming worried children, the list goes on and on....and yet in many ways we all feel so helpless. I commend you all, doing your job to the best of your ability is making a difference, it is helping.
and....when the 6 year old asked me today "Mummy, why did God make the earthquake" I was quick to respond "I think he did it to remind us how to look after each other" and I think we are all doing a very good job of that.  Together we make the difference. Kia kaha NZ.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"I don't want to look like a dick"

This is a response that I have been getting quite a lot this week. Why, you may ask?  The answer is simple....our new class "Adults Act Up" A drama class for beginners.  Being the eternal entrepreneur and optimist I thought this course will be sold out in an instant.....not so. Not being one to give up easily, I decided that some additional market research was required so I set out to find why people were seeming so hesitant to join in.
Here are some of the responses (excluding the former aka blog title)... 

No way, you couldn't pay me to do it!
I'd rather die!
Sounds fun but I am too scared!

There were also the people that just turned pale, gaped and walked away...these were not strangers I hasten to point out. These are people that I have personal knowledge of and had selected them as being the personality types that may enjoy this kind of leisure activity. Many of them already involved in the arts.
So, why blog about this?  I guess I am concerned that as adults and parents we spend much time and many resources ensuring that our children are confident connected learners who take risks and are open to new ideas. So why are we not modeling this behavior......OH NO, WE ARE SCARED TO MAKE FOOLS OF OURSELVES...and rightly so, I guess.  As adults we are encouraged to keep "risk taking" to a minimum in almost all aspects of our lives and I think that this is to our determent. We miss out on many opportunities to learn and grow, to met new and interesting people.  A beginners acting class may not be your thing but how on earth are you going to know unless you try.  (I seem to recall similar advice from my mother about broad beans...tried them, still don't like them) but I think you may have my message by now.
Just in case, my message to you. When faced with a new and interesting offer ask yourself "What is the worst thing that can happen?" "Can I live with that?" THEN  Feel the fear and do it anyway!

PS: The class has 6 very scared participants starting next week. Good on them!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Keeping the Flow

One of the distinctive aspects of the English language is the use of the "neutral vowel".  In phonetic language is is seen as the upside down 'e' (which incidentally I cannot find on my keyboard!).  It gives English speech is flow and it links the sounds of the language together.
There are a couple of particular uses of the neutral vowel that seem to be dropping away and it is my opinion this is just another nail in the coffin of our beautiful language.
One rule worth noting is the pronunciation of the word "the".  There are two ways to say this...."the" and "thee"..and there is a rule and it's easy.
Say "the" when the word it is before starts with a consonant sound.
Say "thee" when the word it is before starts with a vowel sound.
So  "thee apple" and "the banana".
WHY?  It makes sense......saying "the apple" creates two jerky type  sounds "ah" and 'a" which sound...well, just ugly....."thee apple" flows...try it......you will see (it's not going to make your speech posh or snooty, just easier to listen to).
On another note.....
 Did you know there are no "s" sounds in the Maori language?  When Europeans first arrived to NZ, the Maori were reputed to have called them the "hissing people".