Sisyphus and The Morning Show

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

Issue No. 60- 2nd July 2008

Welcome to Kidz Newz especially to all new subscribers including those from the recent PD in South Perth. 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.

Feedback is welcome.

PD Update

23-24 August ECCPA (Early Childhood Conference of Performing Arts) Conference Melbourne. For details and registration go to

PD in Victoria? Every time I present at ECCPA, Victorian delegates ask me if I will run some PDs elsewhere in Victoria. It has not been possible in the past as I’ve only been able to go over for the weekend. This time, however, I plan on staying in Melbourne for a week following ECCPA so if you’d be interested in attending or hosting a workshop, please email me at

Sisyphus and The Morning Show

I was running on the treadmill at the gym the other day and watching The Morning Show on TV, as you do to relieve the tedium. I don’t remember the name of the guy being interviewed but he was talking about reducing stress. It was a segment of only a few minutes and he didn’t say anything new ‘ exercise, take time out for yourself every day, listen to relaxing music, improve your diet, practise yoga or meditation etc. What he did say that was so interesting, however, was the difference between our modern western attitude to life and an eastern or traditional attitude to life. He said that in our society today there is an ever-increasing pressure on us to be better in every way, to strive to be more, do more and have more. Anything less is deemed to be failure. Combine that with the information overload we all suffer from, not to mention emails, and it’s no wonder people are stressed, depressed and frustrated. And that interesting comment got me thinking.

How do you measure success? How do you know when you’ve made it? We are set up, so it seems, to always view ourselves as somehow inadequate, not quite making the grade, and so we continue to strive to improve ourselves, to work even harder in order to get better results in every aspect of our lives because whatever our situation, it could always be better. It’s an unequal battle that we are doomed to lose. Nevertheless, every day we do the same thing over and over, ever striving for improvement. In this respect we are like Sisyphus who, in ancient Greek mythology, was doomed forever in Hades to push a rock up a hill. He would nearly make it to the top when the effort would overtake him so he and the rock would roll all the way down to the bottom. He’d then have to start the whole futile exercise over again, with inevitably the same result.

On the other hand, we could adopt a different philosophical approach to our daily round by looking with gratitude at every aspect of our lives. We could be looking to find how good it is, rather than how bad it is, and being grateful for our lot instead of complaining about it. After all, we do have so much to be grateful for that so many in the world don’t have, such as clean air, clean water, warm houses, enough food, stable politics, stable society, stable economy, and so on. We take all this for granted. 

I’m not about to start a philosophical debate here but simply want to suggest that it is all too easy to get caught up in and overwhelmed by the demands made on us that we can lose perspective. That’s what the man on The Morning Show was getting at. We can choose not to be stressed by choosing not to buy into the pressures of modern life, and that is not to say to abandon it all and go and meditate on the top of a mountain for the rest of your life. Neither am I suggesting you shouldn’t want to be the best you can be. Of course we should have goals for every aspect of our lives. When we allow ourselves to look objectively at what’s going on, however, we can more easily pace ourselves, delegate chores we simply can’t fit into our day, choose a time every day or week to answer emails etc and generally manage to not only survive, but thrive. It’s about taking back control. If we don’t, all the stress management techniques in the world won’t alleviate the stress because those techniques in themselves become yet one more thing to fit in to an already overcrowded life, and that’s just too crazy to contemplate.

Sisyphus is down there in Hades showing us what our lives look like. He doesn’t have a choice about what he’s doing. We do.

Quotes of the Week

‘I have noticed that folks are generally about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’
Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865, 16th  President USA. 

‘I am too blessed to be stressed and too anointed to be disappointed!’ Source unknown

‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.’ Source unknown


Reporters interviewing a 104-year-old woman:

“And what do you think is the best thing about being 104?” the reporter asked. She simply replied, “No peer pressure.”  

Great truths that little children have learned:

1) No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats.

2) When your Mum is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.

3) If your sister hits you, don’t hit her back. They always catch the second person.

4) Never ask your 3-year old brother to hold a tomato.

5) You can’t trust dogs to watch your food.

6) Don’t sneeze when someone is cutting your hair.

7) Never hold a Dust-Buster and a cat at the same time
8) You can’t hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk.

9) Don’t wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts.

From Wayne Mansfield’s ‘Maverick Spirit’ 7 April 2008


Thankyou very, very much, it was a terrific experience with much to think about.               
Vivenne Hillyer

Lots of fun and great ideas for the appropriate age group.                                                    
Kelly Burns

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:

Enjoying Kidz Newz?

Perhaps a friend or colleague would enjoy it too!  Add their contact address and click “Forward”. (Be sure to include this entire message, including the subscription details) By doing this you will help us grow.

Looking for lots of ideas? Visit the Kidz Newz archive where you will find back issues of Kidz Newz.  Click on

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

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

If you would like to stop receiving these advices you can manage your subscription by following the instructions below.

We have your email address as %%EMAIL%%.

If you do not wish to receive any further editions of this email bulletin then please Click on the link below to CANCEL your subscription or EDIT your details:

Item added to cart.
0 items - $0.00