Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Goodbye Celia

Yesterday I was reading that Celia Lashlie had terminal cancer and today she is gone...

I don't usually get deep when people I don't actually know in real life die. I didn't cry and fuss with Princess Diana or wail about Whitney Houston but Celia, well she's got me feeling a little sad. I think this is because I really admired her straight up approach and her passion for what she believed in. She was so real and authentic and I really wanted her to pop round for a cup of tea and have a chin-wag.

I've mentioned Celia before in my posts. A lot of her ideas resonate with me. In particular the idea about boys needing physical affirmation rather than verbal. She is one of the reasons I have bruises on my shins after a lunchtime duty - I get right in there with the boys and play football with them. Joining them in the usual push and shove to get the ball. Celia said that this physical interaction lets a boy know "he's alright". She was also well aware of the complications of this in our very safety preoccupied world where we as teachers need to be "careful" about physical touch with students. She was willing to debate it too. Especially when it came to male teachers being able to bond with male students. Such an important part of positive role-modelling that isn't "safe" to do.

I have always enjoyed sharing her thoughts about how boys watch the interactions between their parents and pick up so many undercurrents and misguiding information about gender roles. Like how Mum always finishes off the dishes because Dad never does a good enough job - what message does this send to their son?

Celia also saw the potential in each child. "Every child is born pure and filled with their own particular brand of magic". Her work was based on relationships. On people. Real people who weren't always perfect.

Radio NZ have put together this collection of her audio discussions. I know I will be revisiting these over the next few weeks and I hope you can find time to listen to them too. I hope that her work can continue as she wished. Rest in peace Celia. You will not be forgotten.

Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane
A totara has fallen in the forest of Tane