• Laetitia deVries

Feel like no one is listening?

Does everyone talk at the same time around you?

Being noticed, valued, acknowledged and validated all are supported simply by being listened to.

Not being heard can create conflict and build resentment but can also result in a person becoming withdrawn, losing their self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s not just about what we have to say but being respected as a valued person and group member.

Sharing our thoughts, ideas and contributions is how we shape and nurture who we are while also developing our speech and clarity of thoughts. Taking turns in speaking allows for collaboration of ideas to create new thinking that everyone participates in.

Healthy conversations build language, emotions, ideas and beliefs that will empower individuals to express themselves with thought and consideration. This is easily developed through active listening and speaking activities extending language and exploring powerful words.

A fun way to learn about culture, language and turn-taking is to have fun creating your very own unique talking stick! Talking sticks date back many years and are a valued tool in many cultures around the world. In New Zealand, a talking stick or Tokotoko is a traditional Maori carved stick used on a marae in ceremonies. They are held by the person who holds the authority to speak.

Tokotoko is a special stick that has been beautifully carved and decorated telling the story of ancestors and is often passed down through generations.

To make our own talking stick we used driftwood we found from our local beach. It had a story to tell from the journey it had travelled. A great prompt for storytelling around the campfire on holidays.

To decorate it we used anything we could find - ribbon, feathers, paint, glitter, natural found items also looked incredible.

We discussed what was important to remember when someone was talking and thought about ways of representing each person in the group on the stick in art form.

When we had problems with everyone talking at the same time or conflict was brewing we would get together and take turns holding the stick to share their ideas and views. The only rule was if you weren’t holding the stick you could not speak.

Resolution for arguments was solved so much quicker. Everyone felt valued and heard and we could then carry on with the day.

For a fun activity, we would sit in a circle and pass the stick around building a story with each person contributing. We never knew how the story would start or end but we all were part of our story being told.

Build healthy relationships by taking time to listen and interact weaving ideas together building memories and possibilities.

A fabulous New Zealand picture book to help tell a story about a talking stick directly linking to New Zealand Maori culture is The Talking Stick, written by NZ Author Dot Meharry and Illustrated by Bruce Potter

Can be purchased at McLeods Booksellers in New Zealand.

Recent Posts

See All