2021 Choices, Chances & Change.

This is THE year.

A phrase we all say to ourselves, at the beginning of each year really. But after the crazy mixed bag of lollies year we all had last year, I do feel that this will be OUR year – for more choices to be made, for more chances to be taken, for more changes and growth to happen.

This 3C’s formula became the basis of my teaching career quite early on. I remember making the conscious choice to be an agent of change in my classroom. I identified what I could control, then I made choices, took informed chances, accepted and created opportunities which led to student progress and achievement – positive change.

For me, everything always starts with making a choice, usually over what I can control. And every now and then I hit a wall when life takes our choices away #Covid. But that’s the test I guess, because I think there is always a choice and (most of us, most of the time, minus the alcohol) have a good sense of control over our responses, our perspectives and mindsets, which is where I believe the real life changing choices we make live.

Another thing I have realised is that my career choices seem to be always driven by my vision #StrongerTheVision #EasierTheDecision like when I started teaching in 2007, the choices I made were around ensuring all our tamaiti felt confident and successful as who they were. As a consultant and facilitator of professional development for teaching staff my choices have been about supporting schools to feel more confident in enabling our tamaiti to succeed as Pasifika. Now as a Pasifika author my choices are fuelled by wanting us and our tamaiti to be seen, heard and valued as who we are through our stories #SeeTheVisionPattern?

All these choices have given my vision real chances to breathe, live and grow – allowing for different opportunities to be presented. Some have involved exciting experiences and to be honest, some have made me want to run away or throw up in my mouth #StraightUp especially when these new and very different opportunities can mean taking some big chances, which can freak some of us #RiskAdverse people out.

For these type of unfamiliar opportunities, I’ve had to coerce myself, to some extent, into taking the chance #opportunity because the fear of defeat and failure is real, but at the same time, it’s what makes these chances worth it and where real growth is. And when I think about it, God and the universe have taught me over and over again that if you are willing, life’s learnings are rooted in not just your wins, but also your losses #EvenMoreSo – accept and embrace it all.

So I always take a deep breath and ask myself if taking the chance #opportunity aligns with my vision and the changes that I want to see in the world #BeWhatYouWant2See and if it does, I take another deep breath and make a commitment to follow through and follow up through the good, bad and ugly of the journey ahead.

Take the choice and actions to write and publish Pasifika children’s books for instance. It has already led to so many chances, opportunities and lessons learnt. And the best part of the journey so far is seeing the results of our Mila’s Books positively impacting our tamaiti, ‘āiga and faiā’oga, thus, the beginnings of some real change. The kind that comes with healing and growth amongst many of us, who are wanting to have ourselves understood and our tamaiti seen, heard and valued in the worlds we live in.

Now to maintain and sustain this positive impact we have had to make some more conscious choices at this stage of our Mila’s Books journey: To expand our current book series, introduce a whole new book series and continue to write and support other projects that promote our Samoan language, identities and culture. This means dedicating even more time to writing, as well as to new projects and to creating more tusi for us, our tamaiti, ‘āiga and ā’oga. Because at the end of the day, anything and everything is possible #2020ProvedIt and even more changes are needed to support our tamaiti in succeeding as Pasifika in our world today.

So I want to wish us all well on our chosen road of change and growth this year. Remember there are no guarantees, besides the choices we make, and that we do not really know where a road will lead you, until we take the chance.

So let’s take it.

This summer #HouseCleanOut2021 I stumbled across my first ever Mila’s Books vision board which I scribbled on the back of an old food shopping list in October of 2015!
In 2014, I wrote the first set of Mila’s My Gagana book for my sons. In 2015, I had written a total of 12 for Mila’s My Gagana Series (3 were released in 2019 with Little Island Press publishers and more are to be released with our new book publisher) and another 8 stories were written in 2016 for another series which we will be launching this year #MoreTusiFaitau4AllTheFanau #Grateful #3C’sAtWork …
So much has happened and our Mila’s Books vision board has definitely grown since 2015 and will be even bigger by the end of this year!

Author: Dahlia Malaeulu

dah·li·a (dah-lee-ya) / noun: a flower that is widely cultivated for its impact and coloured personality / adj: abundant, bright, bold, fresh, ready-to-bloom / human form: daughter, mother, wife, educator, problem solver, creative, teine Sāmoa / working on: creating more brown spaces in the world / currently: moving in the write direction.

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