Many lessons learned in 2013

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Opportunities to try new things often very rewarding

TRURO - As we approach the end of 2013, I have been looking back over this year, and reflecting on my own personal educational journey. 

As it is with most people, my year has been filled with its ups and downs, and I like to think that each of the significant happenings in my life have resulted in me learning some new things. Anything new that I have learned can only make me stronger, better prepared for the years to come, and better able to support those around me. 

For those who faithfully read my column each month and who have come to know me at least a little bit through my ramblings, I offer an extra little glimpse into my life over the last 12 months. I hope you don’t mind if I plug a few people who have helped me to grow this year.

In May of this year, my daughter and her husband presented us with a beautiful little girl. By virtue of this miracle, I became a granddad. Seven plus months later, I can assure you that learning to be a granddad continues to be a wondrous thing. Fortunately, as a result of being a parent, I do have certain transferable skills that I bring to this new role of grandparent, not unlike folks who transition from one job to another. Unlike the workplace that rewards workers with a paycheque, the only pay that I receive in my new role are the bright smiles on my granddaughter’s happy face. You know what?  Her smiles and happy face are way better rewards than a paycheque.

In September of this year, my last aunt, my father’s sister, passed away. Losing a family member is always a sad thing, even if it is an inevitable part of life. I still have my dear mother, Audrey, with me, but with my Aunt Marion’s passing, my mother is the only remaining family member that I have left of that generation. 

As strange as it may sound, I have found some joy in the wake my Aunt Marion’s death. While attending her funeral and speaking with the many folk who knew her and her husband, Jim, and when going through her things and viewing old pictures that I had never before seen, I came to learn new things about my aunt. Her life took on a greater breadth and depth that I had never before known. For this, I am very grateful.

This fall season has been a very busy and eventful season, during which time I have learned a lot of new things.

First for the fall, I decided to spend some time going back to my roots as a teacher, so after almost 12 years away from public school classrooms, I re-upped as a substitute teacher with the local school board to put in a few days here and there and refresh my knowledge of the public system of education. I wondered to myself, what has changed and what has remained the same? Of course, I have continued to keep up with developments in public education, and I number many current and retired teachers as friends. Nothing however, beats first hand knowledge. Travelling over the region in the last two or three months, I have had the opportunity to visit many of our local schools.  If you had any doubts, let me assure you now that our schools are filled with passionate administrators, teachers, students and parents, all who are working diligently towards improving the lives of our children through education.  I continue to salute them all. 

On Friday, Dec. 13, I was privileged to be part, at least for the day, of the North Colchester High School staff when young Maggie Langille was honoured at a school assembly for her heroic role in performing a life-saving manoeuvre on one of her teachers, Mr. Garett Nickelo, when he started choking while eating his lunch. You will have read this story in the Saturday, Dec. 14 edition of the Truro Daily News, so I won’t go into further details here. I would like to say that if Maggie is an example of the youth in our schools today, then we can be assured that our futures will be in good hands.

It doesn’t matter how many training sessions or workshops you have attended, there is always something new to be learned when you sit yourself down in front of someone who is expert in his/field. I, for one, embrace the opportunity to learn new things. Such was the case when at the end of October, I attended a workshop called Working for Me, as hosted by the good folks at CoRDA. The presenter of this short seminar was Mr. Jim Moore, who has worked as a trainer and consultant for many years. He brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to all of his sessions.  I must say that I very much enjoyed the seminar, and as expected, I came away with a few jewels of information that I had not previously possessed.

The timing of the above workshop was perfect, as I was in the middle of preparing to launch my new business, Tide’s Turning Consulting Service for Non-Profit Organizations.For more on this, feel free to visit my website at: and visit and Like my Facebook page at:  (I’ve learned that brothers have their value too, as my brother Steve MacLellan, of, played a significant role in the launch of my new website.)     

As knowledgeable as I am in the non-profit world, being my own boss has brought with it a host of new activities, new partnerships and new learnings.  Having been a huge fan of the work of non-profit organizations and the added value they bring to community, making the decision to travel this road in support of non-profits in Nova Scotia has been exhilarating. I look forward to learning as much from these dedicated groups as hopefully they learn from my efforts.

Having been a member of the Golden Age Auto Club (GAAC) for almost five years, in November I was very pleased to be acclaimed by my fellow members as president of our club for the coming year.  While I have served in this role a number of other times for other non-profit groups, every group is different, so I very much look forward to learning more about this club though my new role. It is a great club with wonderful members who promote of an interest in the preservation and restoration of antique, classic and collector vehicles for safe and lawful motoring as a sport. Every year, the club donates a part of its proceeds from its annual show and shine to worthy organizations in the community.

In all my various endeavours this year, I have learned anew the importance of my family, friends and business contacts in providing me with a support network. They have ever buoyed me up and have provided me with sage advice as I needed it. I will single out one such person, as I near my closing. 

Sherry Martell, of Transcontinental Media (Truro Daily News/Colchester Weekly News), my esteemed editor, continues to provide me space in this paper to share my thoughts on education. She has further offered me a spot on the Truro Daily News Editorial Board, which will provide me with the opportunity to share with readers my thoughts on topics other than education. So, if you like what I have to say, let me know.  If you don’t like what I have to say, I’d like to know about that too.

In closing, I’d like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  See you in 2014.



Rob MacLellan is an advocate of adult education, an advocate of non-profit organizations and a resident of Alton.  He can be reached at:  phone: 673-3269,  

e-mail: or

Organizations: Truro Daily News/Colchester Weekly News, North Colchester High School, Golden Age Auto Club Turning Consulting Service for Non-Profit Organizations.For Transcontinental Media

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Alton

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