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Teachers' Own Words

Kia kaha, Celia Lashlie

Celia-Lashlie3It with a very heavy heart I share these words from Celia Lashlie, who has terminal cancer.

I was fortunate (understatement) to hear Celia speak 2 years ago, and every word she said mattered. It made you think, it made you reflect, and it often made you laugh as well.

She is one astounding person, and I hope this next stage of her journey brings some magic along with what will surely be some pain.

Kia kaha, Celia, and thank you.

~ Dianne


From Celia:

When We walk to the Edge of All the Light…

““The seductive nature of the modern world allows us as human beings to believe we are in charge. In today’s world we think we are in charge. Technological advances and intellectual knowledge we continue to acclaim, leaves us with the sense that we are in control and that there is enough time to achieve what it is we want to achieve.

We become complacent about the need to take care of ourselves… always something more to do. Some of this is driven by our desire to save the world, others driven by the desire we have to reach the many goals we have set ourselves – many of them superficial. The simple reality is that we are not in charge and that moment of realisation comes to us when we learn of the fragility of the human spirit.

For some,that lesson comes unexpectedly and hard. Late last year I slowly became unwell. The stress of the lifestyle I was living, the demands I made of myself, the demands other people made of me and expected to meet became too great and as 2014 closed I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to my liver.

No treatment, no cure, only palliative care. I’d waited too long to look after myself and my body broke.

To say that it was and is a shock is a major understatement. and as I look at the amazing family and group of friends I’m surrounded with as I now travel a different journey warms my heart.

At the same time, there are feelings of trepidation about what lies ahead. I’m now focused on the moments of magic that are appearing in front of me: The laughter of my grandchildren;a smile of a friend attempting to walk this journey with me and the pure beauty and strength of my adult children as they battle their anger, grief and sadness at what is happening to their beloved mother.

It’s time to leave the work to others now. My wish is that others will learn to stop before I did, to take into account the limitations of their physical bodies and to take the time to listen to the yearnings of their soul.

It is in the taking care of ourselves we learn the ability to take care of others.

“When we walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen : There will be something solid for you to stand on, or, you will be taught to fly.”

“Faith” by Patrick Overton – “The Leaning Tree”

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"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


13 thoughts on “Kia kaha, Celia Lashlie

  1. Such sad news. Rest assured Celia that you have made a difference. Many of us have heard your message and picked up at least some part of the challenge.
    Thank you for your courage.


    Posted by kellyned | February 16, 2015, 2:43 pm
  2. Thank you for sharing this, Diane. Celia has always had this amazing mix of “out there” thinking coupled with wonderful common sense.

    I do hope that Celia does have a wonderful journey. She has given us much which sadly in one way will outlast her. Celia will be rad for generations to come.


    Posted by hobbitlearning | February 16, 2015, 3:21 pm
  3. Kia kaha Celia. You continue to be an inspiration to us in education ; especially those of us trying to make sense of our boys’ transition into adulthood. The wisdom, frustrations shared and advice offered have changed lives, and continue to. Only today, I gave a copy of your book to a Mum of an adolescent boy I teach to help her navigate some challenges and make sense of his ‘stuff’.
    Your legacy continues and my teaching has been made better for the wisdom and common sense you have imparted.

    God bless xo


    Posted by Kelly Herbert | February 16, 2015, 6:42 pm
  4. Tautoko the words that are in previous comments…..Kia Kaha Celia.I too have been privileged too hear you speak at a Teachers conference. I was deeply moved by your forthright and no nonsense advice to current educators and parents. The wisdom you imparted will prove invaluable in both my professional and private life. Thank you for sharing yourself so willingly and tirelessly without a thought for your own wellbeing…….great,unimaginable reward awaits you…..May the remainder of your journey here with family,friends and captive audience members be peaceful and respecting of the wonderful woman you are.

    God touch you with a light hand,blessings xx


    Posted by Adrienne Armstrong | February 16, 2015, 9:23 pm
  5. you are an amazing women who has had a huge impact on a lot of peoples lives are simply amazing , i hear your words ticking over in my head when i try to understand some of the things my son does…. and have no doubt your books sit on a lot of bookcases and bedside tables around the country…=) so sorry to hear of your sad news enjoy your family and i hope you get the privacy for the next part of your journey… kindest regards


    Posted by tracey | February 16, 2015, 9:49 pm
  6. I was a single mother of two boys when I was given a book by Celia. Her words “get off the bridge!” have influenced some minor and major parenting decisions, not least the hardest decision of all – to accept that my boys needed to live with their father to learn to become men. They are 19yrs and 16yrs now, and it hasn’t (and won’t) be easy but I am proud of the young men they have become. I am now a teacher (trained whilst on the DPB – another looooong story) and Celia’s influence runs through me still. Celia, you are an inspiration, a forward thinker and have changed and will continue to change lives. I am deeply saddened to hear the news of your illness and the prognosis please feel so proud of your work and legacy!
    He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
    What is the most important thing in the world?
    It is people! It is people! It is people!


    Posted by Rebecca Crawford | February 16, 2015, 9:52 pm
  7. Thank you for the inspiration you have need, the inspiration you are and the wisdom and insight you have gifted many. So many wise words shared… these included. Enjoy the moments of awe and wonder that the next part of your journey brings.


    Posted by Arnna | February 17, 2015, 4:37 am
  8. It seems that many people have heard Celia speak, or read her books. She imparts a lovely common sense wisdom to difficult situations, and has influenced many with her wisdom and great humour. How sad she now has a different journey to take. I wish her all the best in this, and know the thoughts, well wishes and aroha of many are with her. J


    Posted by Jane Hooper | February 17, 2015, 11:39 am
  9. So sad that she blamed herself for her illness. We women are far too tough on ourselves. Bless you Celia for all you did for our nation.


    Posted by Lesley Armstrong-Jennings | February 17, 2015, 3:55 pm
  10. Another Amazing New Zealander taken to soon. Celia is an inspiration to us all and we must continue to live with her in mind


    Posted by Karen Rodgers | February 18, 2015, 4:42 pm
  11. Vale Celia, your influence and wisdom across many peoples’ lives in the corrections system and in applying good sound parenting skills lives on


    Posted by Anahera | February 18, 2015, 7:55 pm
  12. I heard you speak over 4years ago your words changed my life and I thank you for that celia bless your heart!! Keeping you and your whanau in my prayers, kia kaha, kia Maia, kia manawanui


    Posted by Velma brown | February 20, 2015, 10:36 am


  1. Pingback: Celia Lashlie has died. Farewell, Celia. | Save Our Schools NZ - February 17, 2015

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