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Mana Whaikaha update December 14

Our blog this week is written by Ally Attwell, a Connector and Mum.

Last week I attended a lovely funeral for a man that was taken far too early from cancer.  Even though this is a sad time, it is also a time to celebrate all the amazing things a person has achieved.

Now as I sat there listening to the beautiful eulogies, I was thinking about how much of an amazing life he had.  The one thing that stood out for me was how each person as they spoke, spoke about one of the many of “roles” he had. 

I started to reflect on my role as a Kaituhono / Connector and thinking about the individuals I work with.  Many individuals we get the privilege to work alongside, only have one main role left ‘the role of the client’.  Clearly if you think about what they say about us at a funeral, it is the, roles’ that we play, that seem to play a big part of what a good life is. 

As I reflected, the first thing that came to mind was, what is a good life?  A good life really means different things to different people.   This made me think hard about the normative roles that many of us get the chance to hold, that is the role of a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend, girl/boyfriend.   Many of these roles are highly valued in the community and a person doesn’t have to do much to maintain these roles.  It does need to be noted that, there are many situations that the role of the parent is not always so valued, but that is a whole other blog. 

We need to make sure that the people we are working alongside that they get a chance to hold as many roles as possible.  It’s not just about the normative roles but the roles that bring meaning to our lives!  Like the role of being a ‘driver’, my daughter at the age of 18 years old with Down syndrome has her learners’ licences. The role of the student is really important to many 18-year olds, and one that Tarryn loves. 

The new role that she has gained with the system transformation is the role of being the employer! She is the boss and calls the shots.  This is a much better narrative than the role of the client. 

When we think back to the eulogies, it is all about enabling good lives, and creating lives worth living – this is what I call a GOOD LIFE!

Alison Attwell 
Mana Whaikaha.