Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lead a Horse to Water

I had two ex students in the office the other day. They had been giving mum more grief and she was at breaking point. Nearing the end of our chat I asked the girls 12 and 15 if they played any sport or had any interests. They stared blankly at me, crickets chirped, tumbleweed rolled by. It was another moment of dejavu for me. My five years in the far north came flashing right back. While up there I suffered greatly from polyitis (a lack of polynesian students). Onehunga high was full of the sa's and tongans and on arrival up north I immediately noticed the difference. What was lacking was the family volleyball and cricket teams (every samoan grandma plays volleyball), the kids just didn't do things with their whole families. In the big smoke pakeha kids go to swimming, ballet, rugby, softball - whatever. Poly kids play family or church cricket, volleyball, they join clubs too. The maori kids as a whole in the cities are in the same boat, join clubs and pursue their sport. But while up there I tried in vain to get kids to be passionate about anything, to have them burning to do something that will start them off in life. I led the horse to water every week, I tried badminton, hockey, basketball, netball, sailing, rugby, cameras, movies, web design, kapa haka, tennis. I wanted to get a kid to try something that would be a hook, something they could be a star at. The talent was massive but the hook never held. I've always wondered whether it was a waste of time or was it just a matter of time before something or someone took the hook. Yes there were successes and these came several years after leaving Punaruku, but there were failures, two young men lost their lives while still in their teens.
These two young women who stared blankly at me, their favourite sport is texting. My grandmother lived well into her nineties, she was a passionate gardner, my dad is a fanatical golfer (two hip replacements, a triple bypass, a bit of cancer) and he is still going very strong. My grandfather followed horses and jockeys like religion. I think it doesnt matter what your passion is but you need something.
The challenge is for families : 
do stuff together
lead your horse to water
texting isn't a sport
a healthy mind = a healthy body

To teachers : lead by example
passionate teachers = passionate students


Anonymous said...

This is good stuff Luke however it concerns me that you are not receiving lots more responses to your usually sensible posts.
Where are the challenges out there when they won't even respond to national testing.
Todays post I thought was really on the mark.
Keep up the good work.


Bex said...

awesome - so damn true

Podgorani said...

It's really sad when people havent found that hook, that passion. I suppose you have to be put into a place where you are able and ready to grab the opportunities presented. It might have something to do with the people that surround you. Which then comes back to "choose your friends carefully", because you cant choose family.