Overcoming Adversity

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

Issue No. 38 – 17th May 2007

Welcome back after the Easter break and welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers.  Kidz Newz is a regular newsletter with information and teaching tips for anyone involved with young children.  You are receiving this because you have attended one of my workshops, purchased a book, or you have requested to be on the mailing list.  Thank you.  Please forward this to anyone you feel it may be of interest to.

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My PD/Conference Updates

ECCPA (Early Childhood Conference of Performing Arts) Genazzano FCJ College, Cotham Road, Kew, Melbourne 16th and 17th June 2007.  My presentation will be on multicultural music and movement.

ASME (Australian Society for Music Education) 40th Anniversary Conference. Perth (Western Australia) Convention Centre 6-10 July 2007.  I will be presenting two workshop sessions –
Movement and Dance in the Early Childhood Classroom
Multicultural Music and Movement.

CAYPAKS (Children And Young People Are Key Stakeholders) Conference Perth Western Australia 23-25 July 2007.  I will be conducting a Skills and Activity Based Workshop titled “Using Music and Movement to Empower Children at Risk”.

Overcoming Adversity

Just when you think life’s tough and you’re contemplating going off to a little pity party on your own somewhere, the universe always manages to show you something to put it all back into perspective. I thought I’d share two recent events with you that totally amazed me and certainly made me very grateful and humble.

The first event was going to a concert where the world-renowned British percussionist, Dame Evelyn Glennie, was guest musician.  This woman was phenomenal. She played a variety of instruments including vibraphone, keyboard and bagpipes as well as different types of drums and cymbals, throughout the evening’s performance. All were played with exceptional sensitivity and passion. She is rightly described as a virtuoso. What is so extra special about her though, is that she is totally deaf! Although not born with this disability, she acquired it at a young age. She wasn’t prepared to let a detail like deafness stop her fulfilling her dream of becoming a musician on the world stage.  She wrote an auto-biography aptly titled ‘Good Vibrations’. She is able to feel the vibrations rather than hear the sounds, and that is how she manages to play so extraordinarily well. She is a multi-award winner, a sought-after public speaker, and even makes jewellery!  Her OBE was extended to ‘Dame Commander’ for her services to music. 

The other event was hearing Janet Shaw speak. She is an Australian paralympian, published author and motivational speaker. Born with a rare eye cancer, retinoblastoma, Janet lost her right eye at age 13 months, and was left with limited sight in her left eye. At age 33 she lost her sight entirely.

Life became black in many ways. Not only had she been plunged into darkness’a state she’d always feared’but she’d also lost her job and with it, her sense of value in the community. She was left in a black hole, with no way of getting out. Obviously she succeeded in moving from this hopeless state to an incredible new direction in her life. Why? She chose to.  This decision was finally reached after much soul searching, of course, and it would be foolish to suggest the process was not painful and difficult.  Nevertheless, she showed enormous strength of character in being able to move on.  Janet has written her life story in her book, ‘Beyond the Red Door’. Like Evelyn Glennie, Janet Shaw is also a multi-award winner and a sought-after public speaker.

What do these two have in common, apart from a major disability? More particularly, why haven’t we all got it?  What they have that most of us don’t, is passion, drive and focus. These women are obviously talented, but so are many other people. Being talented is not enough. Let their stories inspire you next time you are feeling a little blue, feeling despondent, feeling life is not going the way you want it to. A good dose of determination and direction obviously goes a long way. Evelyn Glennie and Janet Shaw are perfect examples of that.

Quotes of the Week

Sweet are the uses of adversity, which, like a toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in its crown.  Source unknown

Wait for a miracle and it will never come.  Take responsibility and you’ll invite a miracle.              
Laura Berman Fortgang


With age comes wisdom –

A guy is 81 years old and loves to fish.  He was sitting in his boat the other day when he heard a voice say, “Pick me up.”

He looked around and couldn’t see any one.  He thought he was dreaming when he heard the  voice say again, “Pick me up.”  He looked in the water and there, floating on the top, was a frog.

The man said, “Are you talking to me?”

The frog said,  “Yes, I’m talking to you.  Pick me up.  Then, kiss me and I’ll turn into the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.  I’ll then give you more sexual pleasure that you ever could have dreamed of.”

The man looked at the frog for a short time, reached over, picked it up carefully, and placed it in his front breast pocket.

Then the frog said, “What, are you nuts?  Didn’t you hear what I said?  I said kiss me and I will give you sexual pleasures like you have never had.”

He opened his pocket, looked at the frog and said, “Nah, at my age I’d rather have a talking frog.”


What a wonderful program incorporating various aspects of children’s skill development and learning in music.  Thank you for your time and effort.

Kate Bembrick, Frankland Primary School, Western Australia

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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