Loving Your Wobbly Bits

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

Issue No. 48 – 8th November 2007

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Loving Your Wobbly Bits

I was at a breakfast meeting yesterday morning where the guest speaker was the seven times world champion marathon swimmer, Shelley Taylor-Smith. She now runs a company called ‘Champion Mindset’ (www.championmindset.com.au), through which she trains champions in all walks of life. She is certainly well qualified to talk about what makes a champion since she still holds the world marathon swimming record and was the instigator of this sport being added to the Olympic Games.

But I digress. Her presentation was remarkable for several reasons, not the least of which was her sense of humour which peppered the presentation throughout. Most of us don’t regard ourselves as champions at anything so before we even begin we’ve shot ourselves in the foot. As a child, Shelley was told she couldn’t do anything and would never amount to anything. She had suffered from polio, rendering her unable to run or play most sports, and was not particularly academically, artistically or musically talented. Does this give anyone the right to dismiss a child so cruelly? Fortunately, her father always told her she could do anything and that she was a champion, and fortunately for all of us, especially for her, she listened to him, not the world. Swimming was something she could do, after a fashion, but it wasn’t until she got out of the pool and into open water that she could really shine. The little girl who dreamed of one day wearing a gold medal for something, anything, finally got her wish ‘ actually seven times over.

According to Shelley, to be successful (at anything in life) you have to be absolutely real, in other words you have to ‘walk the talk’. If your actions are not congruent with your words, you will suffer stress, and stress is not the stuff of champions. This is when she mentioned ‘loving your wobbly bits’, which was a very funny way of saying that if you don’t feel inspired by and fully accepting of yourself as a real human being, how can anyone else? If ever there was a real human being it’s Shelley Taylor-Smith. We were in the same room as this superhuman champion and yet she made the point directly and also indirectly, that she’s only human after all. She actually gets depressed! Can you believe it? AND, she actually suffers from self-doubt! She didn’t spell this out, but the message was loud and clear that extra-ordinary people are just ordinary people who do something extra.

I leave you with this question. What extra are you doing for the children in your care to make them feel like tomorrow’s world leaders? After all, that is their potential. This can be as simple as encouraging words and a smiling face. This is what Shelley’s father did for Shelley, and look what it did for her. For far too many children there is no-one telling them how special they are. When you love yourself, even the ‘wobbly bits’, you stop putting pressure on yourself to live up to other people’s expectations and instead just live your magnificence. With this outlook, you can’t help but inspire the children around you. That is why dream-building with your children is so important. Create legends in your classroom, starting with yourself. Get real!

Quotes of the Week

“Every achiever I have met says:  My life turned around when I began to believe in me.” Dr Robert Schuller

“The most important quality essential to success is PERSEVERANCE.”  Shelley Taylor Smith

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”   Mark Twain


Never Argue With A Child

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. The little girl said, ‘When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah.’ The teacher asked, ‘What if Jonah went to hell?’ The little girl replied, ‘Then you ask him.’


Dear Marlene,

Thanks for sending the E book.

I have been using the multicultural rhymes Da kommt die Maus and Alle mal Buchen with my groups in the last week of term.  This has had an impact as I have just returned from 6 months leave with an injury and so I am getting to know the groups now with something special and different.  We have a mother in our group who is German and one of our local primary schools teaches German so it has been well received. I studied the language at school but have not had relevant rhymes to teach so your resources are just the starting point we needed.

Some of the parents have commented favourably too, as we have a predominantly WASP families and not much multicultural input and they appreciate the opportunity to broaden their children’s awareness. We will, of course, try other languages too, and children are already requesting this. It’ll be a good way to involve parents in the program too, in a way that they will feel valued for their diversity.

Thanks for such a great resource.

Karen White

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.

57 Henry Lawson Walk, East Perth WA 6004
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: 0410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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