FROM A TEACHER: Yesterday, I shut down class about 5 minutes early and told my students I wanted them to just sit and talk to one another. Several of them immediately opened their laptops and began navigating to their favorite computer game.
I said, "No, no laptops. I want you to have face-to-face conversations right now."
After a collective groan went up, I observed something both wonderful and alarming. For the next few minutes, a couple of tables came alive with conversation. They looked at each other in the eyes and talked with great enthusiasm and interest. It was beautiful to watch and listen to.
However, many students were deflated. They did not know what to do without some sort of entertainment from a device. A couple of them put their heads down and avoided eye contact with anyone. I went around the room to those students and tried to engage with them. Some of them mustered a few words, but most didn't know what to do.
I share this story as a wakeup call for parents, grandparents, and guardians. It's tragic to me that a large percentage of today's youth do not know how to have real conversation, but it's not their fault. It is our responsibility as adults to lead by example and hold our kids accountable. Unplug every day, talk, and listen to your children. Getting lost in a device does not help them cope with and overcome the things they're going through mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. All it causes is isolation and depression. They need relationships; they need you.
I plan on doing it again today. #PleaseShare
This was written and supplied by Margaret Johnson in Kaikohe
We're very excited to announce Competenz as our new Neighbourly partner. Competenz is an Industry Training Organisation and helps people develop their skills on the job.
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Auckland Council and Mayor Phil Goff pay tribute to woman who gifted Ātiu Creek Regional Park to New Zealanders
Jackie Chatelanat, who with her late husband Pierre gifted 843 hectares of their land at the Kaipara Harbour to the council in 2005, has died.
The Chatelanat's gave their farm to the then-Auckland Regional Council in 2005, so that all New Zealanders could enjoy access to the Kaipara.
The couple had always dreamed of improving the land and building a sheep and cattle station, before giving it back.
Auckland Council general manager of parks, sports and recreation said Ātiu Creek had a special place in the regional parks network, rivaled in size only by the Waitākere and Hūnua regional parks.
“Pierre and Jackie were incredibly private people who only wanted to see their property turned into a public park. They refused publicity or widespread recognition but were delighted to see their property go from working farm to a countryside park humming with visitors."
Since it opened in 2008, the council has carried out pest management, native planting programmes, established a campground and built houses available for public bookings. The park has also hosted more than 1800 people at the Earthbeat Festival and been development for a wide range of recreational activities, including horse-riding.
"Today we pay tribute to Jackie who recently passed away but also to her late husband Pierre for this vision, for their contribution, for their service to our city," Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said.
"To come to this country with a determination that you were going to give this land to the country of your adoption is a very special thing to have done."
Click below for our 2018 story on Jackie and Pierre Chatelanat.