How Brilliant Are You?

The way you can measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 54 – 17th March 2008

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How Brilliant Are You?

What prevents so many brilliant people from realising their potential is a fear that they lack the ‘credibility’ to share their brilliance. ‘ [they need] the depth and rigour that gives individuals the confidence to share their brilliance, knowing and believing in the value they deliver.

When I came across the above quote, which I have taken out of context, it got me thinking about this in terms of the education system.  Teachers are usually quite brilliant, special people who are professionally trained and who continue with their professional development along with their outside interests as the years go by. In short, they have extensive knowledge and skills.  But do they recognize that and does it even occur to them to share their knowledge?  If they don’t already, they need to start ‘believing in the value [they] deliver.’ When they do that, they are happy to share because they don’t take their knowledge for granted.

What differentiates those that don’t share their knowledge may be that they ‘fear that they lack the ‘credibility’ to share their brilliance.’  So where does this fear come from?  We are socialized to be modest about our achievements.  While vanity and pride are undesirable, too much modesty can suffocate. Anyone who dares step out of the square risks suffering from ‘tall poppy’ syndrome.  And yet if you don’t take any risks in life, you are stifled.  Risk-taking creates freedom. Those who would criticise are not behaving professionally so ignore it. Their negativity speaks volumes about them, not you.

You can share in small ways, as in amongst your peers in your teaching area, then amongst the whole school, to the wider community, to the nation, to the world.  Maybe in order to take the first step you need to acquire further skills or training before you would feel comfortable and confident enough to share your knowledge.  If so, then do it. Do whatever it takes. The world needs to hear your message otherwise you take your brilliance with you to the grave.  It is said that if you read for one hour a day every day for one year on a particular subject, you will be an expert on that subject. If that’s all it takes, what are you waiting for?

Marianne Williamson’s poem puts my point across very eloquently.  In case you can’t quite remember her brilliant words of wisdom, I include them here.  If Nelson Mandela was so inspired by them as to quote her in his Inaugural Speech in 1994, I’m sure you’ll be equally inspired.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.                                                                     
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.                                                        
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.                                                           
We ask ourselves:                                                                                                              
“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?”                                            
Actually, who are you NOT to be?                                                                                          
You are a child of God.                                                                                                       
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.                                                                                
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking                                                                               
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.                                                              
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.                                             
It is not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.                                                                          
And as we let our own light shine,                                                                                         
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.                                                  
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Quote of the Week

Share your wisdom.  It’s the way to achieve immortality.

Dalai Lama

For Aspiring Children’s Writers

If you are interested in writing for children, I recommend you subscribe to The Children’s Book Insider newsletter.  Published in the USA, it is part of the Write4Kids website and provides information for writers.  They have just published an e-book ‘I wish someone had told me that!’ in which experienced authors were asked to write on these specific topics in order to inspire and give advice to aspiring children’s writers:

When I started, I wish someone had told me …                                                                       
The best advice I ever got was …                                                                                          
The biggest mistake I ever made was …                                                                                
The most important thing a writer can do to achieve success is…                                               
I really need to tell you this …

This is the book I contributed to. 

To purchase a copy of this e-book, click on this link


Some jokes from Christmas crackers to work off on the children ‘

Q. Why can’t you play cards in the jungle?
A. Because there are too many cheetahs.

Q. Why did the jelly baby go to school?
A. Because it wanted to be a smartie.

Q. How do you get down from an elephant?
A. You don’t. You get down from ducks.

Q. What lives at the bottom of the sea and shivers?
A. A nervous wreck.


“I received my ‘What My Favourite Teacher Taught Me’ books today.  Thank-you for your speedy and hassle free response. It was a google search for the books that alerted me to your site. You offered the best deal by incorporating the 3rd book into the price.                                         
Good find for me! Thank-you.”   Jo Menzel, Bendigo, Vic. 

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E:

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Until next time – continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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