Saturday, June 30, 2007

Reply to Lynx.

Recently I had to stop myself from continually mentioning a certain person’s name all the time. This person has long ceased to be an active part of our grouping yet their name kept re-occurring almost like an evil spectra, to divert our thinking of the future back to the past. Instead of thinking of the future we were being held captive to the past by their shadow.

I shared this situation/problem in a recent blog, called funnily enough, “The Spectra”. There I suggested that the best way to deal with people like this, is to mentally erase them from our minds and think of nicer people and not let their “spectral’ shadow hang over us all the time.

If I was preaching here, I would quote in full Philippians 4:8, but as I am not preaching, I will simply paraphrase it and say, whoever and whatever is nice, think about those things and not the spectra.

Although I am again about to take up a position of Pastor/Leader of a small Church, I know only too well that I am not the font of all wisdom, nor am I always right and sometimes simply just not clear. It seems that I was not as clear as I intended in my “The Spectra “ article and my good American friend Lynx replied with the following:

“Being someone's dark spot isn't necessarily a bad thing!!! Maybe it was just you being hard on someone who really needed it. But years down the road they'll remember it and be thankful because it woke them up and got them to shift directions. But you're right, sometimes we are unnecessarily hard or mean to people, whether we mean to or not. And although words should never hurt us, they have been known to make some people go to drastic measures. Words should be rarely spoken, chosen carefully, and delivered delicately when there is any chance that they could hurt. “

Lynx is right. Sometimes we do need to act as someone’s “Dark spot” to not just correct them but to ultimately help them too! Sometimes to their true advantage, and at others, simply to prevent them from hurting themselves and/or others. And we do need to be careful with our words too. Once spoken, or written, it is almost impossible to take them back.

As well as being others’ Dark spot”, sometimes we need to have others to be our own personal “dark spots” and to keep us on the straight and narrow.

However there is a vast difference, in my opinion, between being a” a dark spot” and being a “Spectra’. One is only there occasionally to help and correct. The other is there all the time to hinder and obstruct. Which are you a helpful Dark spot? Or as a hurtful Spectra?

One is good and as Lynx says, necessary. The other is neither good nor necessary. Rather than being both hurtful but ultimately helpful, ‘the Spectra’ is just plain hurtful, even destructive. I close with the same questions as posed above. Are you a helpful Dark spot? Or as a hurtful Spectra?

What Do I Do with This?

Well I finally got around to doing something about changing jobs and start my new one on August 5. I have officially and actually finished my present job as of the end of June and having a months break. Partially because I will need them later and partially because I knew I would not have the time to answer fully or even partially some of the couple of hundred plus inquiries that would inevitably follow when the people who pass by the kiosk hear I am leaving, I had some Business Cards made up. On the Cards are my new Employer’s logo and Name, plus mine and my phone number and e-mail address, plus what time we start.

I started handing them out last week to the few who knew or overheard me say then, that I was leaving soon. As I was expecting some interesting responses, where I could and had the time, I watched their faces. Some of them were priceless. As expected, some when they found out what I will soon be doing, point blank refused to take them, a couple others, (one a little to my surprise,) took it and carefully put it in the cardholders of their wallets. However it was the greater majorities reaction that amused me most. When I receive something like that, I always look at it and then, if I haven’t outright refused it, put it in my pocket. Even if later it finds its way into a bin.

Yesterday however many, when they found out where I was going and what I was going to do, stood there briefly stunned with a look on their faces that said, “What on earth am I going to do with this? Eventually, as I said most of them took them and reluctantly put them in their pockets. But it was interesting to watch.

My purpose in giving the Card to them, was to make it easier for me to explain what I would soon be doing, because I feel it is easier to take in a strange new thought, if you have something to look at, rather than just trust your ears in a crowded situation. It was only a Business Card, but you would have thought it was something seditious by their reluctance to even accept it.

I like a bit of written information myself because I can go away and look at it later when I have more time and make a more nuanced decision, even if nine times out of ten it ends up in the Bin. What about you? Are you prepared to at least being temporary open to consider a new, or strange to you, idea? Or will you reject anything out of your ordinary experiences without even an exploratory look? What say you? Am I really the strange one Here?

Friday, June 29, 2007

Why Do You Like People So Much?

One of my “friends” at the Station recently hung around to ask me a personal question. The question was one that I have never been asked before and one I had never really thought about, and so I really couldn’t answer his question, of, “Why Do You Like People So Much?”

I am still not sure that I like people so much more than other people do; it is more that they no longer intimidate me. I told my friend that I was a very shy person but one who realized that so were most people and if you started a conversation with them, often you didn’t really have to say much before they opened up and often dominated the conversation. So in order to avoid standing around in a silent crowded group like a bunch of stunned mullets, I would usually start a conversation with something as mundane as the weather and see where it went. Usually as I said, I often found myself left out of the conversations before long as the others started conversing among themselves.

I really don’t think I am all that different to most people but I do believe in treating people, as I would like to be treated. If they respond in like manner, so well and good. If not, that is their problem not mine, and so I no longer worry about rejection or the fear of rejection and just move on to the next person.

It may sound too simple to be true but it has always worked for me and its is how I treat my customers at the Kiosk and apparently it works, because most of these customers are now friends although I only see them for a few minutes five mornings or less, a week.

I know a man who once said; “ I’m really a nice guy once people get to know me.” The problem with his view was that the impetus was then cast upon the other party to not only make the first step, but to meet him on his own terms, and not seek common middle ground.

What about you? Are you prepared to reach out to every one you meet, even if it is only with a mundane subject like the weather and try and meet them halfway, and leave the result up to them? Or will you continue to not only wait for them to make the first move, but expect them to do it on your terms? What say you?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

How Old Would You Be?

A little while back I received an e-mail with some jokes on it. One of them grabbed my attention. Not as a joke but as a real question.

This is the question: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” A good question indeed!

I would go further and say what a great question! Physical age can be a real handicap, but the old axiom that “You are only as old as you feel”, is also very true.

Some people can be old at 50 while others are still young at 70. So how old are you? I think I am in the middle, as although I am in my 50’s and beginning to feel my age, I am still acting like a child.

And in many aspects, hope I always do! How about you? Walter

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ben Weisman.

Ben Weisman passed away on May 20 but unless you were a family member, then you probably never heard of him. Probably not even if you were a mad keen Elvis fan either! What was Ben’s connection to Elvis you may ask? Ben was the one that convinced Bobby Vee in 1963 that “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes”, after earlier convincing Elvis that he “Got A Lot Of Livin’ To Do” even if he did only have a “Wooden Heart.”

That’s right, Ben was a songwriter of some note. He also wrote for, among many, Dean Martin, Nat “King” Cole, Guy Mitchell Patti Page, Johnny Mathis, Brian Hyland, Dusty Springfield and even Barbra Streisand. Despite having written for so many other artists, Ben is best remembered in connection to Elvis; for two contrasting reasons.

Firstly, for having Elvis record more of his songs than from any other songwriter. (Elvis recorded some 57 of Ben’s compositions.) Which brings us to the contrast. Elvis may have recorded 57 of Ben’s songs but only four of them (including the two listed above) were actual hits.

To some, Ben may be better known for his quantity rather than his quality. Despite this he had little to complain about, having made a life time career out of his limited talent until passing away in his 87th Year.

What about us? Are we content to make a living and a career out of our talent, even if we never hit the same heights as those around us? Some of us worry about producing quality over quantity and often achieve neither, from being too particular. Others choose quantity over quality and just churn anything out, while others like Ben just work away quietly producing what is needed to keep the wolf from the door and food in the Larder, while every now and then producing a real gem or two like, Wooden heart” and “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes”.

What about you, will you continue to do your best, enjoy your life, while putting in your own unique contributions and enjoying the highs when they come, but not depending on them, nor demanding perfection before you proceed. What say you?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Spectra.

It seems that every work place or organization has its own spectre. You know the type. Even after they are long gone, their names keep coming up to remind you of the hassles they caused, created or participated in. Even though there have been dozens, if not hundreds of lovely people since them, it is the spectra and not the nice people who get the attention.

Why do we let them dominate us long after they have physically gone? Why can’t we just forget them and resign them to the dustbin of our memories, instead of letting them dominate our thoughts on a regular basis?

I don’t have any answers here and I guess the only way we can resign them to the dust bins of our minds is to mentally stop ourselves when we start to talk or even think of them and consciously concentrate on some of the nicer people we have been lucky enough to have come across in our lives. Neglect and destroy the memories of these e spectres by focusing on the “Saints” in our lives.

I know that we all have our spectres but I am not interested here in learning who your spectra is, but rather I am wondering, how many people are there out there, that think of you as their spectra? How many people think of us as their own special spectres because of things we have done to them, either intentionally or un-intentionally? What say you? Walter

Monday, June 25, 2007

A key KEY.

When I started at the Kiosk 3 years ago I took over from a young lass who had been there two months, who had in her turn taken over from a guy who had been there over 14 years. As each passed on their job, they also passed on their key, which unlocked the same two keyed-alike locks on the kiosk door.

As part of the second part of my job back at the main Newsagency I also visited a nearby storeroom at least once a week. For the first few months I always had to wait for someone with the key to come along and unlock it so I could do what I was supposed to do there. Then one day the manager said that I didn’t have to wait for him as my key should also unlock that lock too. And sure enough it did. In that same period of time I sometimes had to wait at the back of the main shop for the Night crew manager to come and open up; until he too said my key should also open the two padlocks on the back door. And sure enough it did.

Not long after the company changed ownership, we also changed storerooms, and a padlock was put on the door of the new storeroom, only this time I knew my key worked on it. It also had another small door at the back and it also had a padlock on it and it too worked with my key.

We had another driver, who sometimes also had to go to this storeroom but his key only worked on one lock but not the other. At this time we also got a new manager, who also got his own key. His, like the other driver’s, only worked the one lock and not the other.

Although I was just a lowly part-timer it turns out that I actually had one of the few Master keys to the place, although completely unknown to me and the new owners, manager etc. All this time I had something of great importance but did not recognise it as such. Nor was I able to take full advantage of what it offered, until it was revealed by others, who didn’t have it, but at least were able to recognise it.

If I was preaching I could make a great illustration about God out of this but for here, I will just focus on the normal things of life.

Are we always aware of exactly what we already have and are we using it to its full measure and to our and those around us’ advantage? Also I can’t help wondering how many other “Master Keys” do I already have, that I mistake for ordinary keys, and therefore am not getting full value out of them? And yourself? Are you using your own “Master Keys” to their full value, or like me are you in the dark about the full potentials of what you have at hand?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Uniforms Are Good

In a previous blog, I wrote about Uniforms in South Africa, but what about Uniforms here?

I work for a small firm of about 20 employees, both full and part time workers. For well over a year now my employer has been talking about getting a uniform Shirt to identify the staff to customers. A few months back they actually got around to recording each employee’s size, including mine. And a month or so ago they finally arrived. Well some of them did but not one in my size.

A fact that didn’t displease me at all! Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later my size arrived and now, much to my reluctance, I now conform with the rest of my fellow workers. Now some people may like uniforms but I am not really one of them. What about you?

I know and fully accept that they identify us as belonging to a certain group, place, or organization. Thus saving people the embarrassment of having to ask, “Excuse me but do you work here?” So even though I am not a great fan of uniforms and like my anonymity, I wear the uniform proudly, not for my benefit but for the benefit of others. So that they, at a glance, can identify whether or not that I am a part of the group that they need to identify with, for whatever reason. Whether to buy stationary in my case, or for some other reason.

How do you feel about uniforms, especially as there are some real “Crappy” ones out there? Do you see them as good or bad? Or like me do you see them as an identifying part of your job? What say you?

Johnny Cash Memorial Concert.

The other night on TV, I watched a re-run of the “Johnny Cash Memorial Concert.” I had seen bits of it before, but last night in its entirety. Although some did good renditions of His hits, some didn’t, in my personal opinion. Many tried to imitate him, others even to emulate him and yet others to give their own interpretation. Yet I still couldn’t help feeling that few, if any, improved on the original. Which I then thought was even stranger when you realize that many of Johnny’s hits were not even original to him. At least one version last night was done by the original singer/songwriter.

Johnny was a reasonable but not prolific songwriter. He was a reasonable but not great singer, yet despite these limits he succeeded for over half a century, where better singers and songwriters have not had his success or impact on people. Why do you think this is so?

I think it is because he used what he had to the best of his opportunities and when he took a song, even if it wasn’t his when he started, it was when he finished. He made that song his. He made you think that not only did he write it, but also he lived every letter in every word of every line of that song. That was his brilliance! Making it live in his interpretation.

What about you? Do you Live it, or just act it? When you say or do something, do you make it your own and live it? Or are you an actor, and just go through life giving different performances for different audiences?

I am not being humble or modest here when I say I couldn’t sing to save my life. I really can’t, so I can’t emulate Johnny Cash in music, but in life I can; and so can you.

We may not be great innovators of new ideas but we can take the best of others and make them our own. Are you going to me known as an imitator or one who took the best that life had to offer and made it your own? Whether others in turn imitate or ignore you? Over to you. Walter

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Local Inspiration?

In my Swazi Star “ Blog I wrote about movie actor Richard E Grant who originally hailed from Swaziland and who is revered there as their only “Hollywood Movie Star”. I received the following reply from our Swazi friend who states, “Have never met the guy personally, but can assure you he is well known locally and admired by just about the whole country. He is an inspiration to all, especially the younger generation. Most would love to emulate his achievements, especially the up and coming actors.”
You know, we may never be stars in our own right to the degree that the Richard E Grants of the world may, but like him, all of us can be an inspiration to those from where we come from, if we do the best we can at whatever it is we do. 
Unfortunately we sometimes encourage and inspire others negatively too, and they say, “Well if so and so can do that (Bad Thing) so can I.”
So today, as you look around you at those around you, are you inspiring them to the Good? Or the bad?
Are you really an inspiration to all, especially the younger generation? Would most of those around you really love to emulate your achievements? Or do they cringe when your name comes up?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Water Resistant Dirt.

Working in the garden the other day, I made an important discovery. Or at least an important rediscovery. I was working on an area that was very dry and very sheltered under overhanging tree branches and filled with plants that were untidy and now unwanted. So in my tidy-up efforts, I dug out all the unwanted plants, trimmed the overhanging branches and such, and finally dug up the soil, adding some fertilizer and water retaining crystals. When all that was done, because we can’t use a hose because of the continuing water restrictions, I carried buckets of wastewater from the washing machine and poured it on the dry area. That is when I rediscovered water resistant dirt.

It may seem strange but there comes a time when the soil dries out too much and it no longer absorbs and retains moisture. Instead, it actually repels water and the dry soil often floats on top of the water. The only way to get it wet is to make little dams and fill them with water and give them 20 or 30 minutes to absorb the water. Either that or completely cover the area with a water retaining Mulch material that will hold and trap the water till the soil is able to properly absorb the moisture again.

This provided me with a natural illustration of how to deal with a natural human nature situation, mentioned in an earlier blog. There, I wondered out loud about how we can pass on good information to people who need it but won’t accept it.

Like with this dry soil, we have to work with or on it and first prepare it to hold onto the information or at least to receive it without it flowing away. Then we have to both encourage its absorption and find other ways to encourage its absorption. Such as a mulch of some kind. All this of course involves time and effort and even a lot of emotional involvement.

So, when it comes to our friends and companions, are you/we prepared to do the hard preparatory work? Yes we are usually quick to give the advice but are we also equally prepared to do the hard preparatory work so that the water/advice stays there? And then to wrap them with love and practical advice to help them hold onto and eventually absorb, even if little by little, this good water/advice of ours? Are we? Are you?

Change Is Often Scary But Not Always Bad.

In reply to an earlier blog, my friend Lynx sent this very wise observation. “Change is always scary, no matter what. To step outside of your comfort zone when the benefits aren't clear and the costs can be disastrous is harder yet. But even though sometimes disaster happens, it can be profitable in the end. Sometimes the best results don't come from effort to succeed, they come from trying to make the best of or overcome disaster.”

Many years ago (just before we left to go over seas) I worked as the second-string Handyman on a large Orchard/Packing Shed scenario.There I learnt that the guy above was good at his job, not because he never made mistakes, because he did. Much more often that I would have previously accepted from an expert.

No his skill came, not in not making mistakes, but in fixing those that he did and sometimes by doing so, as hinted above by Lynx, actually improving things more than originally planned.

So don’t be scared of change. By all means don’t rush into it before taking everything you can into account, thus minimizing many potential problems. But having done your homework and your necessary preparatory work, embrace your new task and give it your best. Don’t be put off by the fear of mistakes. Remember even the best make mistakes; it is just that they are better at fixing or covering them up.

So when you do make a mistake or things, get difficult, don’t give up or walk away. No Stick at it and fix it and not only overcome potential disaster but turn it in to success.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sweet And Also Bitter.

Well I finally got around to doing something about changing jobs and gave my notice in, three weeks ago. Although I am only obligated to give two weeks notice, I decided, as I knew what I was doing a month ago to do the right thing and give them plenty of warning. Anyway now I only have a week to go at my old job before having a month’s break and starting my new job.

With Mum’s passing and funeral, last week and a few other things thrown in, it has been a hectic time and so with all that and the cold winter mornings of late, I have really struggled to get up at 5am for a 5.45 start this week. The more so this morning. It was then that I had the sweet thought that I only had 6 more of these early starts to go and then I could sleep in to a more respectable time.

This was then followed by the not so sweet thought that I would only have 6 more mornings at the kiosk. This is a rather bitter sweet thought, as although there are parts of my job I really won’t miss, I will miss my “Friends” down at the Station.

While I sell around 200 papers each morning, I have very few customers. Why? Because all the rest are “Friends who just happen to buy their papers etc from me.” All this is to say that while I am happy to be leaving and excited about my new job, it does come at a cost.

All change comes at a cost, but also with rewards. And some times despite the cost we need to move on or stagnate. As much as I liked most of my job, I was starting to stagnate and now the time has come to move on. Yes there will be regrets, and yes I will miss my friends, but I will make more new ones, and there is even the possibility of maintaining some of these old friends even in my new situation.

How do you see change and the people around you? Do you fear change? And do you see people as “customers” instead of as “friends”? What say you?

Once In A Blue Moon.

June this year in Australia is a Blue Moon month. This is a time when there are two full moons in the one month. It happens on average once every 2.72 Years. Thus is reasonably rare, hence the phrase.

The phrase “Once in a blue moon “ has been around for over 400 years now and like a lot of old sayings; the original meaning has been confused and perhaps hidden among many possibilities. According to the Newspaper where I got this information, there are at least 6 common possible sources floating around. The most obvious is that, when the air is damp and heavy, the water droplets scatter red and green light, allowing other colours to pass through. Thus a white moonbeam passing through such a misty cloud turns blue and would be observable with a full moon.

Likewise at other times, clouds of ice-crystals, fine-grained sand, volcanic ash or smoke from forest fires, can also make the moon look blue.

Despite the above facts, I wonder how many of us can actually claim to have ever seen anything resembling a blue Moon? Most of us never have and probably never will, but we all know the saying and many of us use it, when we wish to indicate a rarity of appearance of something or someone. But why?

Why do we use something we don’t have any idea what its origin or original purpose was? Probably because it works! We may not know how or why but we know it works. And also while we may not know what it meant then, we know what it means now and we know that the people we are dealing with also know what we mean.

We don’t need to know every thing about something to make full use of it but we do need to make sure when we use something like this saying that others do indeed know what we mean and are not out there every night looking for a literal Blue Moon. Again what say you?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Transkei Time.

More on the subject of being late. One reason not previously brought up before, is cultural. When we were in Transkei, most people there were late. There were also many reasons for this. One of them was simple; being largely a poor community especially out in the rural areas, many people had no clocks to tell the time.

For many the sun was their only clock. On sunny days they were often early but mostly there must have been mainly cloudy days, for they were nearly always late.

Many of the Churches in our circuit had different Preachers every week and very few of these men had their own transport and thus had to take what they call taxis, but what we call 12 and 16 seat mini buses (with up to 22 in them) that acted like our buses and not like our taxis.

In the rural areas, very few roads were sealed and thus difficult to traverse in wet weather and so many times the preacher never turned up or turned up late, thus the people, who all lived within walking distance of church, would wait till the preacher got there and rang the bell. Then they would get ready for church and come.

For the Xhosa people of Transkei, and most Africans for that matter, people are more important that events, so they are usually happy to wait until all the people are there before they start. To them the event, as important as it is, it is not as important as people, and therefore they wait.

Having said that, as more and more people have important jobs and their own transport, they are starting to become more time conscious than people orientated.

What about you? Which are you and which is best?

Again I think this is one of those situations that has to be evaluated on just about each and every situation. There will be times when people will be more important than events, but I think mostly, ways can be found to deal with those situations later most of the time, and keep to the agreed times as much as possible to you. What say you? Walter

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What A Crock Of …

Recently we were at a family do and just sitting around talking. There were about 6 of us adults sitting down with a couple of grand nieces running around in the background. My sister was speaking about something when all of a sudden our niece said quite loudly,” What a crock of rubbish”. (Not using the word “rubbish” of course.) Well every one was stunned because it really didn’t seem appropriate to the conversation from my sister. But then our niece, after a long pause added one of her daughters' name.

She had been so busy taking notice of what her daughter had been saying, that she never heard a word my sister said, but when she answered her daughter, we all thought she was talking to her Aunt.

We, the listeners were party to two separate conversations believing we were listening to only the one we heard.

How often do you do the same thing? And when you do, do you try and find out what was really meant or do you walk off in a huff and never speak to that person again? Or even worse, respond with some not so choice words, that once spoken can’t be taken back when you learn the real facts? What say you? Walter

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why Did They Doubt And Not Believe Me?

At the kiosk where I sell daily Newspapers, I get each day what the Supervisor considers, on past records and taking into account School Holidays and Public Holidays etc, the amount he thinks I will sell that day. The amount varies from Day to day but is in the 120-160 amount each day. Usually I bring a few back and some days I sell out. If I sell out early enough to warrant more being sent up I ring up with the amount that I think I need. Although once I did get 25 sent up, it is usually between 10 to 20 that I ask for.

This particular day it was obvious very early that I was going to run out and so I rang up to get some more and asked for 40.

Instead of having to wait for someone else to clock on down there in 20 minutes time before they could be sent up, one of my irregular Chatterers offered to go down and get them for me, as it is only a couple of hundred metres away. As he offered, I accepted, as I knew he wasn’t catching a train anyway.

I had over estimated and took 10 back at the end of my shift. But boy did I cop an interrogation of what did I do with all the papers? They wanted to know if I left a bundle in my car or something? I found out later that after I rang they went out the back to see if I left a bundle behind there. They could not believe that I had really sold all those papers. Thus they tried to explain the problem away by creating a more believable answer than the truth; that for some unknown reason, that one particular day only, I really did sell that amount of papers.

What about you? Do you sometimes find it more believable to look for other reasons than accept the truth, just because that particular thing has never happened before?

Are you a habitual doubter and need to have every minor item explained and spelt out before you will accept the unusual and the unexpected?

Had I not sent the chap down to get the 40 they would only have sent about 20 up and although I never sold the full 40, I did sell 30 extra papers that day. More than they would have if I had not been supplied with the requested amount but of a much lesser one of their doubts.

How often do your doubts restrict your rewards because you don’t trust the source?

I am not saying that you should trust everyone here but if a person has been trustworthy in the past then they should be backed where possible with the unexpected. Again this will sometimes have qualifications and exceptions, but what say you? Walter

Sunday, June 17, 2007

How to Fix A Noisy Fridge.

In an earlier blog, (“Noisy drink Fridge”,) I mentioned a few ways to solve the problem of a, “surprise, surprise”, noisy fridge!. One of my American friends sent me another more novel way to solve the problem and so I now share it with you.

“Walter: The noise you hear on a disfunctional fridge could be shut up by turning on the radio to a fairly loud music station. Then you won't hear the noise. This is what a lot of people are doing in America...They avoid believing they have any problems, just fill up their lives with fake stuff and think everything is okay. They ignore the "noise" and carry on, as nothing is wrong. The older they get, the more broken down they get, the more worn out, the more dysfunctional and finally they have no good use to society.”

What about you and I? I know very few of us would actually do that and turn up the Radio, but how many of us to that figuratively, all the time. We tend to try and ignore the “Noisy Fridges” around us and convince ourselves that it isn’t really noisy, just loud. We think that if we ignore them, then they will either go away or someone else will fix them before they go completely Ker plunk.

Occasionally that will happen and someone else will fix it, but more often than not, every one has the same idea of leaving it to someone else and of course no one does anything and finally a thing that often could have been repaired and relatively cheaply at that, is irretrievably lost or damaged beyond re-claim. Just like my noisy fridge, although I did try to do something about it before hand. Just not “before hand” enough, that’s all. Don’t you be guilty of the same mistake!

So in closing, what are your “Noisy fridges”? And what can, and will, you do about them, now before it is too late?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Rabbits& How Some Tried to Get Rid Of Them.

In earlier blogs I have mentioned how rabbits were originally introduced into Australia and quickly spread and became pests, like many other introduced plants and animals. Unlike most of the others, which I can only talk about third or forth-hand, rabbits are one pest that I have had first hand experience in dealing with.

On the small farm on the outskirts of Melbourne where I grew up, rabbits have always been a problem. Over the years many methods have been tried to control them. These have varied between Traps, dogs, ferrets, shooting and poison. Others have even tried fumigating the burrows. However here I will reminisce on the time, 3 or 4 of our neighbours and dad used
1080 Poison.

Back in the late 1950’s the rabbits were so bad in our area that some of the neighbours banded together to put out poison baits. This was a time and energy-consuming task, as a furrow was ploughed around the properties where the baits were going to be laid. Then the livestock was removed from those paddocks and some carrots purchased and chopped up by hand. These were then scattered along the ploughed furrows to encourage the rabbits to come along and get the taste for them. Then a few days later when they were eaten, the poison laced carrots were spread out. Us kids were involved with the chopping and spreading of the first lot of carrots, but were not allowed near the next lot!

A few days later after the laced carrots had been distributed and eaten, the furrow was ploughed back in. Just in case there were some poisoned carrots not eaten and also to fill in the furrow. Then came the job of going around with the tractor and trailer and picking up the dead bodies.

At this distance I can’t remember the exact amount. Somewhere between 130 and 150 I think, plus a fox and a Sparrow hawk. At the time it was considered a good result although no one was happy about the Sparrow Hawk! The fox? Well he was an added bonus.

Looking back one has to say that although it reduced the numbers, it still didn’t stop the problem and Ferreting and later shooting became favourite pastimes as well as necessary to simply control the numbers. No real effect was made on rabbit numbers until Myxomatosis took hold in the late 60’s and 70’s. But eventually even Myxo lost its toxicity and the rabbit population at home has gone back to what it used to be, especially as ferreting and shooting have long gone by the board.

Thinking about the rabbit situation at home and some of the problems in our lives I see some similar situations. If we don’t eradicate our problems early enough, eventually we will have to take severe measures like 1080 poison. This poison will do some noticeable damage to the problem area but it can also destroy some desirable things too, like the Sparrow Hawk. Also this drastic solution will not stop the problem completely and you will always have to work at the problem, like we did with ferrets, dogs & shooting. However even these methods will have to be maintained, for once they stop, the problem re-emerges once again.

So in closing I ask, “What are the “Rabbits” in your life and what steps do you need to take, to control them?” Walter

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rabbits& other Pests Indiscriminately Introduced.

Many animals and plants were indiscriminately introduced into Australia from many countries in Australia’s early history. These were introduced for many reasons. Some for economic reasons, some for agricultural reasons, some to eradicate other pests, and some for their Garden beauty. Many of these later became pests themselves and since then millions have been spent trying either to totally eradicate them or to control them.

Having learnt from our early mistakes, Australia now has some of, if not, the toughest import regulations of plants and animals into this country, in the World.

So much so, that some now want to lessen some of these rules and allow more imports of certain fruits, plants and animals. It seems that our rules have gone from one extreme to the other. From full blown open slather, to next to nothing at all. But these rules are there to try and protect us from future problems, even if we do chafe a little at them.

How often do we see this in daily life? How often do we older ones look at things now either illegal on unhealthy to do, that we all used to do openly and legally, even if somewhat stupidly, in our youth. Cigarettes, alcohol, even Junk food are all increasingly coming under the spotlight as a major cause of preventable health problems.

On the other hand things that we never had, like Seat belts, riding bikes with crash helmets etc, are now being recognized as literally lifesavers. But what do we do if we don’t like seat belts and safety helmets and we do like cigarettes and alcohol and other things that are not only dangerous to our own health but to the health and safety of others. “ Will a little of these things really harm us? After all, they won’t really become a problem because we will control them!” These and similar statements are often made but are they really true?

Remember just 24 rabbits were introduced into Australia in 1859; now the number is both uncountable and unstoppable and the damage to the economy, not to mention the environment is uncountable and getting worse.

Therefore we do need to be careful of the things (whether things or habits) that we introduce to others so that they (and even us) are not destroyed, either literally or metaphorically, by them. After all who would really like their name to go down in infamy like one Mr Thomas Austin, who was the unfortunate man who just wanted to have a bit of fun hunting rabbits, like he did in the “Old country”.

So what dangers or habits (smoking, binge drinking, drugs, you name it here,) are you introducing to others initially for a bit of fun? Fun that could ultimately destroy them and your good name, if not your actual physical self? I will let you ponder that for now. Walter

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rabbits At Large.

Way back in 1859, a Mr Austin imported and released onto his property near Geelong, 24 Rabbits for hunting purposes. In less than 10 years, rabbits were in plague proportions across the Eastern States of Australia. By 1894 they had even made their way across the desert country to Western Australia.

All Mr Austin had wanted, was to recreate a little of his home Country entertainment for himself and his friends. Which initially he did, but bye and bye, this fun became a pest, and then an economic threat to the country as a whole and particularly to the farming community, as these rabbits competed with domestic animals for ever decreasing grass and fodder and devoured whole fields of crops and vegetables.

What about us? Are their some things in our lives, whether it be cigarettes, alcohol or even drugs, that started out as a bit of fun for ourselves and maybe a few friends but now this recreation, has become a pest or even a destructive influence on our lives, our families, our homes and even to others around us, both to those known by us and those unknown by us.

I will discuss this further in other articles but for now I would just like you to think on and identify those things in your life that started out as a bit of harmless fun and have now taken, or are in the process of taking over your life completely.

The first step in dealing with any problem, big or small, is properly identifying and admitting to the problem. Until this is done nothing can be done to help solve or control the problem. Do you have a problem that you have been reluctant to admit to, but know you need to? Well make a start by identifying and acknowledging that it is a problem and that it is your problem and then seek the appropriate help and assistance. Over to you: Walter

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How Big Was Your Yesterday?

The thought for the day of the Herald Sun Newspaper for June 6 was, “If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today”.

It is a great point and one that I have already written a blog on. (How Big Is Your Today?”), but I also wondered how sometimes we might struggle to great todays, when our yesterdays are so big that it is almost impossible to repeat let alone improve on.

The guy who gave the above quote was one Mikhail Gorbachev, former President of the Soviet Union and the one who helped bring “Perestroika” between Russia and the world. Something that would be hard for him to top, no matter how long he lives! Yet he is not resting on his former glories but using his former fame to travel the world pushing his new agendas.

I think it pretty safe to say that he will never reach the same heights of fame or success, but he will still have new successes and new glories, even if they never quite match past yesterdays.

How are you going? Have you let the glories of the past over shadow and stunt your new and future Todays. Don’t let past successes stifle your present efforts. You might never top past successes but you can still have many more smaller ones. Don’t let your past stop your future. Get out there and make many, many more Todays!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

How Big Is Your Today?

The thought for the day of the Herald Sun Newspaper for June 6 was, “If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today”.

It seems a good point to me and yet I wonder how many of us deliberately or otherwise, live in the past. Or to put it another way, live off past Glories.

To a large degree for the past few years, although I would claim not by choice, I have lived off my past history as a Missionary. At least as far as reflected glory goes. Unfortunately not financially.

Until recently I was happy to plug away at a no-brainer job, resting on my past laurels for recognition. Instead of getting out into the scary old world and making “New yesterdays’, I hid behind a no-brainer job. (Which I have to admit I will be a little sad to leave in part.) Shortly I will be leaving this safe haven and after a month’s rest, again facing the, to me, daunting task of making “New yesterdays”.

In going from an “ex-Missionary” to “a current pastor”, it will bring difficult tasks and challenges. Challenges that I am not totally sure I want, but ones that go with the job that I am sure I am being called to.

What about you? Have you been resting on past Glories? Have you been living in the past because it feels safer than the future or even the present? What is stopping you from making “New yesterdays”? Your fear? Or genuine lack of opportunities?

Up to now I can honestly claim that I have had plenty of nibbles but no genuine opportunities. All true and yet when the prospect really did come up, it took a lot of soul searching before I was sure it was the right step; despite the fact that the prospect of potential problems scares the life out of me. However as I do believe that He who is in me is greater than all my obstacles and that this is His leading, I am now actually looking forward to it. How about you? Is there something that you feel led to do but would rather hide in the safety of the shadows of your Yesterdays? Step out my friend. Step out and make new Yesterdays, Todays and even Tomorrows!!! Walter

Monday, June 11, 2007

Swazi Star.

Do you know who Richard E Grant is and what he does?

Movie star Richard E Grant has been around for a long time now. In fact he first came to major attention as the lead in the 1987 Film “Withnail and I”. Most recently he has written his Life story in a Book, which in turn, he turned into a film called, “Wa Wa” which he Directed.

Despite this, in the general world, Richard is still relatively unknown and more often than not confused with the more popular and notorious Hugh Grant.

However that is not so in Swaziland. In Swaziland he is and I quote, “ Swaziland’s only Hollywood movie Star”, and regarded as such. As a young man, born and bred in Swaziland he is the most famous son to go out of there and is applauded as such, even if the rest of the world either doesn’t know him or confuses him for someone else. In his own land he is a hero, even if others don’t think so. Yet he still has to live and work outside of Swaziland to execute his craft to his full potential.

Many times we can be famous in a small way but to make a career and a real success out of our talents, we have to go out into the wider world to practise our craft to its full potential. This can be quite scarier and often we are tempted to opt for the safer option of staying where we are and stifling our future potential. What about you? Are you a Star at home but a relatively unknown outside of it and therefore reluctant to loose what status you have now, rather than reach your full peak outside of home, even if you will never be the Biggest Star ever? Are you prepared to put yourself out there even if it is to only be “A Hollywood Star” and not THE Hollywood star”? Or will you always be just “a Swazi Star”, because you are afraid to take a risk?

The choice is usually yours. Yes, sometimes circumstances and luck do come into it, but more often than not hard work and commitment are the determining factors. Remember Richard had to put himself outside of his comfit zone. First by going to England and then to the USA. Big changes and a big commitment yes! But now, although many years down the track, he is both what he was and what he is, a Swazi Star and a Hollywood Star in his own right. He tried – and succeeded. Will you at least try? Will you? Not necessarily to be an actor or even a Star, nor necessarily to be the best ever, but to be the best you can be at whatever it is you do! Will You?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Easiest Thing To Give But ...

Another Riddle for you. “ What is the easiest thing to give but the hardest to receive”?

The answer is, “Good Advice”. I heard that riddle many, many years ago and have often thought about it since and how true it is.

It seems that we are always willing to give great advice to others, but are often violently unwilling to take the advice of others ourselves. So how do we advise someone else when we really believe that we have good advised for them and that they really need to hear it? Well, you tell me and we will all be the wiser for it. Really there is no straightforward, easy-all way of doing this.

And sometimes, no matter how we try, we will not be able to get the message across. In cases like that, that is often all we can do. Try! If we have tried our best and failed than we have done enough and our consciences will be clear, because sometimes people just do not want our advice and won’t listen no matter what we try and say. With them again I say we can only try our best and withdraw. But is that a reason to with draw without trying at all?

If we care enough about people to notice their potential harm if this particular situation is not changed or challenged, then we will, if we can, find a way to give it to them the advise they need anyway but in a way that will not put them off side too much. In some cases we may have to bite the bullet and give the advice to them however we can, and leave the outcome to them. It is better to say something and loose a friend than not say something and cause a major mishap by your silence.

It may not always be palatable but I have found it best to do the right thing in the belief that it is better to be wrong for doing the right thing than to be wrong for doing nothing. Of course the necessary correction here is that we too need to make sure that our advice is 100% accurate, 100% helpful and 100% delivered in genuine love and concern.

Anyway that is my advice! Take it or leave it! (Now that’s real love, isn’t it? Walter)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Better or just more practice.

When in discussion with a fellow blogger I suggested that there might be a blog in the subject under discussion, Lynx replied with, ” I do think you're a much better writer, so it’s your topic.”
As far as I am concerned, I have no problem with doing a blog on the subject and even have one under way, but I have a problem with her claim that I am a much better writer than her, and therefore can do better than her. 

In many things, we let our perceived comparisons with others deter us fro trying something different or from holding back from higher levels of involvement. So when you feel intimidated by your perceived inferiority to others, work through the following areas before you make your final decision whether to do it or not.

  1. In the case of my writing, (fill in your own topic here,) is it really better than hers, or more simply a different style? Each of us has our own style of things and the sooner we learn and master our own styles, the better. Unless of course you want to be known simply as an impersonator!
  2. Often the people we perceive to be better are simply, more experienced. They are not necessarily better, it is just that they have been doing it longer.
  3. Unless we are absolutely brilliant to start with or so bad that we will never improve, nearly all of us will get better and more comfortable with what we are doing, the more we do it. Writing like any skill or talent, doesn’t improve if not used.
  4. 4. “Use It Or Loose It.” If we want to improve whatever skill we have, we have to exercise and use it. Again, at the risk of seeming to put myself down, I am not all that happy with my writing skills now, but I would be among the first to acknowledge that they are absolutely brilliant compared to when I was a 12 year trying to write one page, in large print to a prospective Pen pal. I really struggled to fill one page. Now they tell me I have problems keeping them shorter than a James Mitchener Novell.
  5. Finally when it comes to writing I think most authors will tell you that there first effort is never their final effort and they often have many rewrites before it is acceptable to publish. (Just like this one has had four going overs, and if IO don’t publish it now it never will be finished to my satisfaction.

It may come as a surprise to some but I too find writing hard, unless I know what I am writing about. So I think that the first secret of writing is to know what you are writing about and the second is just to get plenty of practice. Experience and confidence comes with time, so in the meantime, keep writing/working on things that you know, interest, excite, or annoy you. Anything that stirs some passion in/from you; write about that!

That’s all I do, the only advantage I have over Lynx is that I have close to 30 years more experience than here, with a 1/3rd of that time spent overseas, which gives me a little more experience from a different perspective to my normal one.

So to my friend and to you all out there, if you feel led to do something don’t be intimidated by how you think others will do it. Do it your way and keep at it till you reach your true potential. You may never write a Novel but I’m sure that you will improve to a standard that is acceptable to others, even if not to your own satisfaction.

I will close with a quote from today’s paper. A successful Business lady was asked.” What was the best piece of advice you have been given”? Her reply was one that resonated with me and I think should also with “Lynx”. The advice? “The only thing holding you back is your own self doubt.”

So, if you feel led to do something, don’t let your doubt hold you back. Just get out and do it? Yes, occasionally you may fail, but more often than not you will succeed far and above anything you expect.

Friday, June 8, 2007

All Depends On How You See It.

In my earlier “When Is A Win Not A Win?” blog, I was bemoaning how my once Glorious Football club was having a disastrous season. After a promising previous season, we have not achieved a win after the first 9 games. I like every Tiger supporter that I spoke to after last weeks draw, was not happy with this lack of success and bemoaned that we couldn’t bring home the 4 points for a win instead of only two for the Draw last week.

This gloomy attitude was quickly challenged by a new American friend. She rightly stated ”Sometimes you just have to be happy to get what you can and work from there.”

It reminded me of the story of the two people arguing whether their glasses were half full or half empty, whilst a third person looking on lamented that he would be happy just to have a glass!

Sometimes, when all is said and done, like my young American friend implies, we should just be grateful for that which we do have, no matter how little in comparison to others; and just accept it and move on. Instead of moaning, we need to accept what is dealt us, work with it and go from there. Otherwise, we will find ourselves wasting our time and energies on fruitless endeavours, like the guys arguing over whether the glasses are half full or half empty. Instead we should just be grateful for what we have and go from there. Like the third person, we should be looking for the glass, albeit empty. We should be happy to have a glass that we can fill later.

The above concept is nothing new to me, but something that I again needed to hear, so I am very grateful for my new friend’s challenge.

But what about you? Is there something that you need challenging on, yet when someone tries; do you shoot the messenger, so to speak, rather than listening and evaluating their challenge to you? Or perhaps there is someone like me, who needs a friendly challenge? Over to you.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Swazi Gift.

Although the population of the then Republic of Transkei was mainly Xhosa people, there were many other nationalities living and working mainly in the capital city of Umtata, where we were based for just over 11 years. At one time the Local school there, where our children went, boasted children of 39 different Nationalities studying at their school.

During our time there, we made good friends with a Swaziland family through their daughter and our youngest daughter’s friendship. So much so that when they returned to Swaziland one year to again live there, they left their most valued possession behind in our keeping.

So for the next couple of years, during school time we had their daughter living with us in Umtata, and during the non–school year, they had our last–born living with them. This continued until they both Graduated from high school and went their separate ways. One to Swaziland and one to Australia. (I will leave it to you to work out which went where!)

Despite the distance of many miles/Kilometres and time (it is over 5 years since our lastborn left Umtata for Australia,) they have maintained their friendship through phone calls, e-mails and little mailed gifts etc. Some even being delivered by family and friend of theirs, visiting family in Melbourne.

We had even heard that our “other” Daughter (Swazi Girl) had found an Australian friend, so it was no surprise when a young man rang out of the blue saying he was a friend of Swazi girl and had been asked to drop in a gift from Swazi girl to our last-born. She was not home at the time, but he was told when she would be and we went out for the evening meal with some friends from church. After the meal but still early in the evening, we received a phone call from our last born saying that we should come home soon because the gift from Swazi girl was in fact Swazi girl herself.

So shortly after the phone call we made our goodbyes and apologies and went home to enjoy our time with our Swazi gift, and what a gift she was. It was great to see our “other” daughter after 5 years and pick up as if it was only 5 days, not years. It truly was a wonderful gift.

Have you ever thought about giving such a gift? A present of your presence? I’m not talking about you having to go halfway around the world or even to another country, (if you can do that great,) but is there someone nearby that you have not seen for a long time that the present of your presence would bring great joy into their lives? Our gift only lasted for a couple of hours but it will long be remembered. Again is there someone that you can bring a brief moment of great joy to soon and will you?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

When Is A Win Not A Win?

Another little riddle for you. “When is a win not a win and a loss not a loss?”

As you know by now I am a Tiger Supporter and our start to this season has been bleak indeed. After 9 games we have yet to have a win, despite only losing 8 games. How can that be you ask? Well the answer to that is the same as the answer to the riddle that started this blog. The answer is “When it is a draw!”

Yes, although they didn’t win again, they did manage to come from behind and scramble a draw, and gained 2 points for doing it. Unfortunately they are still on the bottom of the ladder as the only other team yet to win after 8 games won their 9th and the 4 points that go with a Win.

So whilst a draw is better than a loss by far, it is still only half as good as a win, and the rewards that it brings are only 2nd best. Better than nothing at all, but still not all that is available.

As I pondered this situation I wondered how often I am content with a Draw, rather than going for the Win. Am I content with second best or will I struggle for the best that is available? As I go through my life, will I continually settle for Draws or will I consciously strive for the Win when it is available for just a little more effort? What say you?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Not Lost – Just Hidden in plain view.

Last year I bought a cheap Beanie in my AFL Football team’s colours to keep my ears a bit warmer, while I worked in the kiosk down at the sometimes windy and always chilly Railway Station. The Beanie was in Richmond’s colours of Black and Yellow and even had “Tigers” stitched on it in yellow. While not the greatest beanie in the world, the Beanie did its job very well until the end of the cold weather, at which point I took it out of the kiosk to take home and put away for this winter.

That was the plan but something went wrong and I lost it. This winter it is again cold and I again needed something to keep my ears warm. Yet when I looked for my yellow and black tiger’s beanie in the house on more than one occasion, I couldn’t find it anywhere. I knew where a black one was in my car but not the one in my Team’s colours.

I had intended to buy another one but never got around to it and then one day at the Kiosk my ears were so cold that I ran out to the car and grabbed the old black one from there. It was not good enough last year, but I figured that anything would be better than nothing that morning. To my surprise, when I went back inside and turned it inside out, I found that it was not my old black one but my tiger’s one, which had in fact been inside out and not revealing its full colours.

You see I had always assumed that it was yellow and black all the way through and not just on the outside as it is so now obvious.

So although I had been looking for this Beanie half-heartedly for some time now, it had always been obvious and in plain sight in the back of my car, but being inside out I only saw one side of it and I could not see its true colours, until it was turned back out again. What I thought went all the way through was only on the outside and for show and not the real colour all the way through.

What about you? Are you true all the way trough or are you a bit like my Tiger’s beanie and presenting one side on the outside and a different one on the inside? Are you like my beanie in the car? On show, but showing the wrong message? Are you there to be used but not being used because you are displaying a false image and the wrong side of you? Do people have to turn you inside out to see the full and true you? That seems like it could turn out to be quite painful to do, doesn’t? What say you?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Found My Beanie.

In the kiosk down at the Railway Station where I work, it gets rather cold in the winter months and although I have a heater for my lower half, my ears often get cold. So last year I bought a cheap Beanie in my AFL Football team’s colours to keep the ears a bit warmer. The Beanie even had “Tigers” stitched on it in yellow. (It also had a "Pom-Pom" on it but it was a nuisance to me and so I cut it off and threw it away.) The remaining Beanie did its job very well until the end of the cold weather.

At the end of last winter I put my Beanie away and evidently lost it. As this winter it is again cold and I needed something to keep my ears warm again I started looking for my yellow and black tiger’s beanie again in earnest. Unfortunately I couldn’t find my Tiger’s beanie anywhere. I knew where a black one was in my car but not the one in my Team’s colours.

Anyway this particular day my ears were so cold that I ran out to the car and grabbed the old black one from there. However when I went back inside and turned it inside out, I found that it was not my old black one but my tigers one which had in fact been inside out and not revealing its full colours.

So I proudly put it on my head and once again clearly showed my allegiance to the world. Well those parts that flow through the Railway station while I am there each morning five days a week.

As well as getting the normal Mocking from the other 15 club’s supporters, I once again was surprised at how many other tiger supporters are out there but who don’t normally reveal their true colours until they see someone else do the same.

What about you? Are you like that? You support something, but are not yet quite ready to reveal it to the world for fear of the Knockers? Yes there will always be knockers and you will have to live with that, but there will also be many, many others who think just like you but need some way of identifying you. Often if you don’t identify yourself, others will never know, and each of you/us will be the poorer for it.

What about it? Are you prepared to proudly announce your affiliation, whether it is to an organization, a Football club or like me, to Christ? Or are you going to hide behind your anonymity all your Life?

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Lost My Beanie.

AFL football is a winter sport here and often played in atrocious weather. Thus supporters rug up well to protect themselves from the weather. Thus hats, gloves and scarves are very popular, so much so, that there is a big market for them in the various team’s colours.

In the kiosk where I work, it gets rather cold in the winter and although I have a heater for my lower half, my ears often get cold. So last year I bought a cheap black beanie somewhere and wore it for a while but it was a bit short and didn’t properly cover my ears, so seeing some even cheaper Beanies in AFL Football team colours, I decided to buy a Tiger’s one and wear my Team’s colours proudly on my Head. At the time it was a brave (Silly?) thing to do as we were languishing at 15 out of 16 teams, although we did end the year at number 9. As a result of proudly wearing my team’s colours, I copped a lot of flack from the supporters of the other 15 teams. None the less I survived that, as it seems we usually do.

At the end of last winter I put my Beanie away and evidently lost it. This winter it is again staring to get really cold again (for me, if not everyone,) and I needed something to keep my ears warm again. Unfortunately I can’t find my Tiger’s beanie anywhere. I know where a black one is but not the one in my Team’s colours. Which in itself is not really a big problem now as I no longer need to advertise that I support the Tigers, because as they have yet to win after 8 games I have been copping a lot of flack over it. Although it has to be a good 8 or 9 months since I last wore the colours, very few have forgotten whom I support or how badly they are currently going, and take every opportunity to tell me so. None the less I would still wear my Tiger Beanie again if I could only find it.

What about you? Are you proud to wear your heart on your sleeve, or your team’s beanie on your head, or do you keep your affiliations secret to avoid notice?

Are you proud to support your affiliations in the good times and the bad? Or are you just a “Fair weather friend”? The Tigers were a great team once and I believe they will be again and I am not ashamed to be known as one; in the bad times as well as the good. What about you? Are you proud of what you do and support? Why not?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

When Things Are Bad.

In an earlier blog, “Saint or Demon? Neither I’m a Tiger!” I mentioned that “in Melbourne, Australian Rules Football, is king, and that some have even called it our own unique religion, with people often more committed to their particular team than to anything else.” Although only nominally so, I am a supporter of the mighty Tigers, from Richmond.

Before the Season started I read an article about the Tigers, where both the Captain and Vice Captain said that their goal for the coming year was, “Finals or failure.” In their minds, if they didn’t reach the final 8 in the coming Season, then they would consider the Season a failure. At the time I commented that “ In one sense it sounds a noble goal but considering that they finished 9th last year, an improvement of one position doesn’t seem that ambitious, does it? However as I thought about it, I realized that although they only needed to move up one space to reach their goal, there really is no guarantee that any movement they have, will be up. It is just as likely that the movement could again go the other way, maybe not to 15th (Or worse) again, but still worse than 9th.”

Well, after 8 games with no win, it seems that I am an even worse prophet of doom, because we are now sitting at the bottom of the ladder with 15 teams above us. So as a supporter of a team in the doldrums completely, what should we poor old Tiger supporters do?

Look for a new team? No! Stick with what we have and move on. Most importantly we need to keep on believing! There is always next week and another chance, and if not then, there is always next week or next month, or even next year. Success will come eventually, as long as we don’t get discouraged and give up.

Secondly we need to keep the faith and hang on in there and not get discouraged. As long as we (the team) are doing the right thing and their best, success will eventually come. Where we can be of practical assistance to the Team, we should, but when we can’t we should simply continue to give them our vocal and moral support and hang on in there with them until success returns. As stated in point one, it may take time but it will come again and be even sweeter for the wait.

Finally we need to draw support from other supporters and in turn support them, and be of mutual encouragement to one another. In these things, we are not alone, although we often think so. (More on this point in a later blog.)

How are things in your game of life? Does it appear that you too are in the middle of an extreme loosing streak and you just feel like giving up? Well don’t. Take the advice above and keep on believing in yourself and or your team, hang on in there, and draw on fellow travellers for support. Walter

Friday, June 1, 2007

Five Cent Man. Is He The Only One?

One of my customers at the Kiosk reckoned that another of my customers looked like Stephen Waugh (Former Australian Test Cricketer and Captain). I don’t really think so but will use the name Stephen in this item.

One day, actually one of many, Stephen threatened to bring in his $1.10 for the daily paper in 5 cent pieces, as he had so many of them. Stephen reckoned he was getting light on bigger change and must one day have to resort to that measure. Stephen was joking but I wasn’t. So one day I gave Stephen some plastic coin change bags and told him to put two dollars worth of 5 cent coins in each one and I would exchange them for bigger coins. The next day Stephen bought 4 bags in. I jokingly told him I wouldn’t accept anything less than $10 worth. Stephen then replied that I had then better give him more bags, so taking his $8 I gave him more bags. Sure enough the next day Stephen came back with another $10 worth, also claiming to still have more at home. It seems like my son before him, but more successfully so, Stephen has been casting these small coins aside and letting them build up.

Even Stephen was surprised at how much money he had sitting around not doing anything simply because he couldn’t be bothered in dealing with it because of it’s seemingly little value by itself.

This got me to wondering how much “wealth” we have lying around doing nothing, simply because we don’t recognize its true value unless gathered together.

What about you? What riches do you have just lying around gathering dust? Do you have “dollars” worth of wealth lying around untouched simply because you still see them as “five cent” items, and don’t recognize or value their collected worth? Over to you. Walter