Anyone can be a teacher… just has to be an accepting and appreciative student.

It’s amazing, you spend 12 years in school, another 3 to 5 at university doing an undergrad degree. You may then decide you need to study a bit more, do an MBA or something and THEN you tell yourself- “I never have to go to a class or school or a lecture theatre and do assignments or take an exam ever again”

But we forget all too soon, that life is one big classroom and you never know who becomes your teacher and imparts a knowledge or a skill that stays with you for much longer than maybe your 8th grade chemistry class or university stats course.

Just in the last few weeks, some totally unexpected people have become my teachers, unbeknownst to them and quite inadvertently to me, I am a very grateful student- for the lessons they have imparted are something that will no doubt stand me in good stead for a very very long time….

A very young child, told his mother, that if his wealth was counted in “love dollars” he was surely a millionaire…..
Just blown away by this profound lesson…from a child, how clearly they see what is truly important. While we chase our $$ goals, look for the newest gadget or latest fashion or that shiny new car so that we can be rich & happy….are we pausing to count our blessings, the love of family and friends that enrich us so much more? Does that new car fill the vacuum of no one caring where we go in it? Does the latest Iphone really matter when we have no one to call and share our joys? Does that big house really matter if it never rings with the laughter of friends?

Do we ever stop and count our love dollars and thank the forces above for the riches we have? And if we do it, do we do it enough? I wonder….

Another unlikely teacher was a chirpy waitress we met at our recent holiday. Very friendly and bright, she helped us with choosing our complicated order and then as we were talking about how the weather had messed up our plans for 3 days in a row, she was quite empathetic and made a few more suggestions. She asked what the kids were doing & what kind of work I was doing.

As we were waiting for the rain to clear, I asked her something quite personal- I asked her why she was “still” in this small town in the South Island, when she was obviously really bright and ambitious.

She smiled and said, everyone she cared about lived within an hour’s drive of Wanaka, she had a great job (waitressing) where she met interesting people and she was passionate about soap making and had a small studio where she  made soaps and had a regular set of customers.

She wanted to increase her soap making business and supply other bigger hotel chains, but she said “I can do that from right here, I don’t really need to be in bigger city, do I? I can have the best of both work & life!”

I thought about this long after we got back to Melbourne. This young woman had taught me a life lesson, being content does not mean the loss of ambition- decide what means more and work with that- What an amazing lesson!

As I bid adieu to 2015 and dwell on all that the year has brought with it, I am thankful for the teachers of 2015 and just hope that I am a better student in 2016!




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