Having recently celebrated (or not) my 66th birthday, I have had time to reflect on my journey. On many stages of this journey I frequently thought I knew it all, only to be proved over and over again there is so much more to learn and I am very sure more to come yet. And it is OK to change your mind. I guess we keep on learning until we die, even the passage to our death has many learning curves also of a different thoughts or experiences. So from our first breath until our last, our journey begins, constantly learning, constantly changing.

Learning comes in many forms, books, television, education, religion, human nature, the world is our oyster and most importantly we find out about ourselves, our values, morals, every minute we learn something new which makes us the unique human being we are. Changes of circumstances bring new learnings and experiences, a chance encounter can change our thought patterns and make us think in a different way, and to explore things from another’s point of view. They can infiltrate you from many varied avenues, which make you think, hang on is this right, or change your thoughts totally.

Through our lives we gather in our kete bag many learnings and indeed mistakes that add to this rich mix, it is how we use these that make the difference or not. None of us are perfect, it is how we verbally and physically express our ‘learnings’ that can open the mind of another, to another way of thinking, or shut it down. Words and thoughts need to be spoken gently and leaving room for someone else to think about it and develop their learnings, actions can also have the same effect.

I guess it is how we use our learnings not only for ourselves but for humanity in general, embrace these new teachings they open one’s mind into what can truly be amazing, they can settle one’s soul in a time which may have been very much needed and you may not even be aware of it. They can share a gift, a gift of knowledge at a particular time, or even sage advice which can change and shift a direction, unless said with kindness this could be the making of a good decision or a bad one. Listening is also a very important part of our learning, to acknowledge another’s feelings and thoughts is very powerful.

At the end of the day we are unique individuals and leave foot prints upon the hearts of those you may have moved on from. Make sure they are considered, kind and leave value, passion, wisdom and the world in a hopefully better place, which we share either like raindrops, or warm rays of the sun that touch others along our path, fleetingly, emotionally, or familiarly.

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Diane Vivian is the founding member and chair of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Trust NZ. When in 1997, Diane Vivian took over the care of her small, traumatised grandchildren, she could not believe the stress she encountered. Setting about to discover what help or support was available in 1999, she found there was none! The organisation formed to meet this need salutes all Grandparents/kin who have taken in Grand/kin children and put the needs of those precious ones before their own.

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