• Carolyn Stuart

Good practices from the past

There are two ways to get to State Highway One from our house. The first is to turn left at the corner of our street and travel on the backroads to Johnsonville and then onto State Highway One via the Johnsonville motorway onramp. The second way is to turn right at the corner of our street, travel down the hill onto Old Hutt Rd and then join State Highway One at the bottom of the Ngauranga Gorge.

For years I was convinced that ‘my way’, taking the back roads to Johnsonville was far quicker than going all the way down the hill in order to go all the way up Ngauranga Gorge. It may not surprise you to know that my husband thought the opposite and so the compromise we agreed on, was that whoever was driving took the route that they were convinced was the quickest.

Then one day, having gone ‘my way’ just about every weekday for more than 10 years, I finally Googled the route only to discover that ‘my way’ was longer and added on average three minutes to every journey.

Now three minutes extra might not seem like a lot, but multiply that by twice a day, five times a week, for the number of weeks I drove the route and it added about 25 hours of travel per year to my commute, multiply that by 10 years and… actually you don’t even want to think about it!!!

Well apart from having to eat humble pie and admit that my husband was right, I also had a think about why it took me so long to even consider testing my theory about which was the faster route. The problem was that I had let good practices from the past, i.e taking the backroad which always had less traffic, get in the way of considering a new and as it turns out, better practice.

We do this a lot as humans. If we do something long enough it becomes so familiar and comfortable that it takes a significant amount of evidence to consider that maybe what was once a good practice from the past may not be the best practice now. We see this played out again and again as society is moulded and shaped by new, usually technology enabled, practices. Take music for instance. How long did it take you to stop your good practice from the past, of buying CDs, and migrate to a subscription music service such as Spotify?

Image: Pikrepo

How long did you keep your landline, even when you knew the economics and convenience of going totally cellular far outweighed any benefit of a phone you can only use in your home?

I could go on, but then I might be forced to mention online Supermarket shopping which to date I have never ventured into. My excuse for holding onto this practice from the past?

Control issues around the selection of fruit and veges.

Innovation means replacing the best practices of today with those of tomorrow. - Paul Sloane

We all have them, these outdated practices that have become part of what we do, based on successes from our past. If the only person these practices impact is you, then there is no problem with you continuing to live according to what you believe is best. But if good practices from the past are stopping you doing what is better for others, then it is time to consign those practices to the past and courageously step into the new.

Significant disruptions to education have occurred as a result of the Covid rāhui. We know teachers have been courageously engaging with digital tools which prior to this time were not part of their repertoire of practice. We have heard stories of students who have been more engaged during this time of home learning that they ever were when physically attending school. We also know that most students and educators cannot wait to return to their physical learning spaces.

Over the past two months we have seen significant changes in what families do. Whilst for some this has been traumatic for many it has been life changing; parents and children spending large amounts of time together, slowing down their pace of life to the point where they have discovered the joy of a walk or of creating an exercise track on the pavement. Our street started a Facebook group and for the first time we are connecting as neighbours, helping and supporting each other, living our lives together in community.

Amongst the economic devastation that is the Covid rāhui we have seen some incredible gold emerge. As we journey towards our ‘new normal’ it is my fervent hope that we won’t let our good practices from the past get in the way of us taking the gold that has emerged through this time and turning it into something that is a precious and lasting treasure.

Til next time


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