The Qualities of Youth

Robert Kennedy

This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.



Richard Branson

You don’t learn  to walk by following rules. You learn by falling over.

Through dealing with toxic people I have learned that seeking peace is ironically often  a fight. Watching Bobby Kennedy give his speech I recognised he was actually engaged in a battle. The weapons were truth, humility and courage. My ways of presenting  my truth are generally unconventional. Now my youngsters are older I am gradually learning from them more and more of my mistakes. My sense of humour for example is probably not always funny. (Sorry family  no spiders don’t only bite you if you are up to mischief. Also I note here I am the only one who has been bitten by a spider and unfortunately there had been no mischief involved. )

 As a bit of an  aside,  I have  a beef with a certain fast food chain who decided to give away these motion-sensing toys one year. This had helped make one Christmas Eve particularly challenging. Santa had had to make two trips. The first one had been to remove the sensors, designed to catch him in the act.

When I was taught to teach we were encouraged not to give answers. This is very much part of my make up. I just present questions and try to speak my truth. People who have all the answers get up my nose more than just about anybody. If I ever slip into doing this I apologise. What I do best is  to make mistakes. As I tell my youngsters I may get lost all the time but I have been lost more places than most people have ever been. I  remember being taught in teacher training how viewing a page full of mistakes from a student can be much more informative than  examining a page full of right answers.

History is littered with pages of our past mistakes. Perhaps it is time to examine them closely, understand our thinking and at least try not to  continue making the same ones.

Words of Courage

Giving a SpeechSpeeches are important. Churchill’s stirring words helped Britain get through some of the darkest days  in its history.

One only has to hear Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream.“, to evoke a powerful moment in time.

Sometimes the best words are spoken with courage, after a terrible tragedy such as

Rosie Batty’s words after her young son had been publicly murdered, by her former partner..  

In a totally different context, today the most powerful words once again came from a grieving mother.

Susan Bro

I don’t want her death to be a focus for more hatred. I want her death to be a rallying cry for justice and equality and fairness and compassion. I’m very sorry that [Fields] chose that path because he has now ruined his life as well as robbed a great many of us of someone we love very much.

True Statesmen (and Women)

What makes a great leader or a true stateman?  I think just about everybody would agree that somewhere in the mix, there must be courage. A willingness  to face the slings and arrows, in order to chart a course they truly believe in. A willingness to pay a great professional and/or personal  price to do the right thing. Truly great leaders often demonstrate great humility. One comment from Nelson Mandela stuck in my mind when he was in conversation with Oprah. She had asked him what had caused him to renounce violence as a way to achieve his political ends. He said something like

“Twenty seven years(in gaol) is a long time to think.”

It takes a humble man or woman to admit their past mistakes and to learn from them.It also takes great integrity. One of the qualities which demonstrates a great leader to me, is genuine humility- an ability to admit past mistakes and to demonstrate they have learned from them. Great leaders also have the courage to do what is right, regardless of the effects on their own personal popularity. Great leaders  walk with those they lead, suffer with them and sacrifice for them.

I am reminded also of the example set by King George VI and his wife, the then Queen Elizabeth, when they chose to stay in London during The Blitz and to suffer with their people, rather than relocate to somewhere safer.

Above is very patriotic original footage of the royal family, during The Blitz.

I applaud politicians and leaders of true courage(past, present and future), ready to stand up for what they believe, regardless of the personal and professional cost. Too often motives are about personal gain and success, instead of values like personal sacrifice, justice and just plain doing the right thing.

Simon Sinek on leadweship

Thank You Dad!

Today I pay tribute to one of the great men in my life. I still remember my last conversation with my father vividly. He was desperately ill and  had appeared wistfully to be thinking of all he had not managed to achieve. I pointed out that he had successfully raised  a family and been a loving husband and father. I had also told him that the greatest gift he had ever given me was a mind of my own.

It takes a particularly courageous man, I believe, to raise a headstrong, independent-minded daughter. I was always encouraged to pursue my education. I realise now that there are still those in the world who consider educating a woman a waste of time. Currently in my challenging situation, one of the things which still keeps me going, is the belief that my father had in me and the fact that he had, at various points, Continue reading “Thank You Dad!”