Community + care = shock

A man holds the door open and we’re pleasantly surprised. A young woman offers her seat to someone older and were perplexed. A toddler, not yet waist high, wants to help … I’m shocked.

In a community that’s become increasingly closed, these acts of kindness have become so rare, they’re labelled ‘random’.

Random: odd, unusual, or unexpected

Let that sit in for a second. Those kind words, offer of support or gesture of generosity was so odd. When’s the last time you wanted to get up and do something that was odd?

Before you answer, I want to come back to the man holding the door. I’ve been that man and seen that man, I’ve also been turned down being that man. I want to make it clear – holding the door doesn’t insinuate either party is better, bigger, stronger or worthwhile in any way. It shows you care.

In this tiny moment, you no longer have to exert yourself to hold that door. Stride on, smile and enjoy your day!

To the woman giving up her seat: well played sister. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to show love when we’ve each been gifted with the same ability to love one another.

And to the people who want to cast judgement on the males of similar age who happen to be sitting around this young woman: stop wasting your time. Put your feelings into action (like a blog for example).

Finally to that waist high, three-and-a-half year old community warrior: I’m sorry.

I’m sorry I reacted the way I did wen you wanted nothing more than to hit the street and pick up rubbish, I’m sorry I responded with naawww when you prayed for people who don’t have homes and I’m sorry I cannot turn back the clock and do it again.

Recent research from IPSOS confirms that we are getting older and that we’re worried about ourselves and our own. It also indicates the next generation cares!

Whether because they haven’t been burnt by the world or they’re desperately want glorification through community impact, let’s celebrate their desire and be inspired.

Next time the door is held open, a seat is offered or, in my case, your child wants to do voluntary work, say thanks and be inspired.

If it takes a village to raise a child what will it take to save the world?

Bloody biscuits

They’re walking the streets, they’re all over the TV and littered throughout my social feeds. With needles hanging from their arms like a badges of honour and biscuit crumbs spread across their proud smile … I’m sick of blood donors.

I can’t put my finger on it exactly but I know it has a lot to do with the whole I gave blood, I’m a hero mentality. If not this it’s the you should give too, they give you a biscuit statement.

Celebrating an anniversary, my wife and I saw The Martian last night and the pre movie advertising was dominated by a Red Cross ad overflowing with celebrity chefs raving excessively about the biscuit given post blood donation. The audience ate it up, people turned and commented whispering to each other the time and date if their next donation. Me, on the other hand, I clutched gently at my forearm and asked why?

Why discriminate? Why don’t you want me? Why must you rub it in my face? Why won’t you accept my blood?

This distaste hasn’t mustered overnight though has been a slow burning fire. It began with a letter.

Dear Luke,
Thank you for your donation … We regret to inform you that your blood is useless, you wasted your time and ours*.
*an exaggerated version of the original

I’d lived in England for twelve months in 1989/90, that was enough to discount the blood, that seems to be doing an OK  job of keeping me alive, from being donated. This is really why I’m sick of those needle and crumb decorated hero’s.

I’m jealous. I’m hurt. I have blood.

I’ve read the t&c’s and researched the reasons but I’d really like a mad cows screening test. If you can’t do that Red Cross, at least acknowledge it in your advertising – as sad as it is, we can’t all be heroes.

If you’ve been told your blood isn’t worthy join the conversation on Twitter with #TakeMyBlood

Leadership spill lacks obvious element

So the liberals voted and Australia has it’s fifth prime minister in as many years. Introducing Malcolm Turnbull, the output of the latest leadership spill.

Like all spills behind it, with more drama than an episode of Home and Away, the Australian public weren’t left disappointed. Last ditch phone calls assuring votes and media beat ups, the stage was set for fireworks (albeit dulled by statements of committment and “lets get to work”).

This all leaves me asking, was this the perfect leadership spill?

The short answer is no. It was a great spill but when dealing with inefficient leaders, I refuse to call it a leadership spill.

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Will this Prime Minister unite at least one party? Only time will tell.

Australia: Land of the fair gone

Australia is a young nation, it cannot be argued. You could even go as far as saying that we are still finding our feet.

A nation born of petty criminals dragged from old mother England against their will. Australia is known as the land downunder, a place to start again and where dreams come true. But can Australians still rely on their mates?

Is it now every man for himself?

Are we still the land of the fair go?

As a nation we voted in a political party who championed the phrase “stop the boats”, the divide between rich and poor inevitably expands and have you noticed how hard it’s become for how beloved charities to get people to donate or “help a mate out” as it may be.

Perry Como and The Jets sung “Love is what makes the world go round” but that was in 1958 and in America “the land of the free”. Fast forward forty-five years and it is my personal opinion that like most developed nations, Australia is ruled by greed.

Money is driving Australia and the ones who have it are at the wheel.

With what evidence can you make this claim you ask … Immigrants now face tougher conditions to enter the country and life for them is hardly ‘fair’ once they’re accepted, the cost of real estate and the financial benefits to investors are killing “the great Australian dream” and the backbone of our community (as I see them), teachers, are still not valued by Australian society.

Do I need to continue?

I won’t … but the question is still being asked and the discussion will undoubtedly flow. If you’re keen to listen and take part Wesley Mission are holding a discussion panel 20 March 2014, tickets are $20 and available here.

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Post holiday blues

I’ve sent three emails and read a report … that’s about all I can manage at work today.

With Christmas, came holidays and along with many others, I took them gladly. A little over two weeks with my family, my wife, daughter and newborn son.

Now back at work, the memories of sunny days in the park and long sunshine fuelled walks, seem distant at best. Sitting in an artificially bright office I feel as if I am pushing those memories further and further away with ever strike of the keyboard.

The post holidays blues have struck, and I’ve only been back at work for thirty minutes.

If you’re in Australia, there’s a good chance you’re in the same boat as me. Back at work, struggling to focus and … reading a blog posting instead of working.

Blank stare

Personally I’d rather stare blankly at the screen for the next seven hours but due to responsibility and honesty, that isn’t an option. Instead, I offer you three questions …

  1. Do you enjoy your time at work? 
  1. Does your time there have a positive effect?
  1. What do you desire from your role?

Do you enjoy your time at work?

I’m not suggesting every minute is a pure moment of joy but asking if it’s possible to find joy … at all? Can you share a joke with a workmate, find pleasure in success or maybe you enjoy the rhythmic beat of the keys as you type?

What ever it is, we all need to enjoy at least, part of our day.

Does your time there have a positive effect?

We all have a sphere of influence, at work, due to formalities and structure, these spheres are often greater. Are you having a positive effect within this sphere?

Whether you’re boosting morale or increasing success, what counts in the positiveness.  

What do you desire from your role?

Create a list, what are you looking for in a role. This will give you both, a list to work from and, something to do today … that isn’t your job!

If you aren’t receiving the items on your list or you answered “no” to either of my first two questions I suggest you think about a resignation.

There is no point in spending forty hours (plus) each week, in a role you don’t enjoy, where you have no positive effect … in job that doesn’t satisfy. Work can be enjoyable but I find, it’s only when you’re making a difference in this world.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.” Helen Keller

SENSE

Murder, rape…and statistics

“Police have charged a man with the rape and murder of Jill Meagher” @Y7NEWS

These are the first words I read this morning. warranted, I was still half asleep, but I wasn’t shocked at all. I processed the words without reaction.

I absorbed the details, as were relayed down every news channel… abducted, raped, murdered and buried in a shallow grave. Still, I had no reaction.

Our world is broken, a fat we cannot deny. But this mornings news and my lack of reaction highlighted how desensitised I had become. A woman had been abducted, raped and murdered and I simply took it as news, a factual statement of events.

Jill Meagher was a well know ABC employee, and thanks in large to a significant social media campaign, everyone knew she was missing.

I failed to react when reading the news but in the hours following I couldn’t get her image out of my head. Her life had been stolen in what police described as “a unprovoked and opportunistic attack”. The sound of her now widowed husband’s voice, came back to me. While Jill was still “missing”, he was interviewed and said he was in a “living hell”.

This is exactly what I think of our broken world on days like these. A living hell.

We are surrounded by evil every which way we turn. So much so, the words murder and rape have lost their impact. I hold on to hope like a kite string, knowing it’ll all  fall away if I let go.

According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, there were 260 counts of murder (known as homicide officially) in 2010. 260 lives taken. 260 sons, daughters, friends and loved ones.

According to that source there were 17,757 counts of sexual assault. That’s 3,175 more instances of sexual assault than there was robbery.

The only way one can make sense of statistics like these is to feel them. Look past the words and numbers and find the human element. The suffering, the families and the loss.

I was shocked reading the news this morning but not because of what I read but because I expected to read it.

SENSE

Yard glasses: impractical as they are damaging

He’s grown from a boy in to a fine example of a man

As if it were a cue, his father’s speech finishes and the chant begins.

…he’s true blue…he was going to go to heaven but he went the other way….

The proud young man resists the urge to thrust the glass high in the air like a prize trophy, instead raising it slowly, cautiously resting its rim against his lips.

…he went down down down down…

Tipping the end of his glass skyward, the amber liquid begins its journey.

…down down down down…

The first few mouthfuls are slow but what was a measured pace is now a roaring flood. Beer spilling first, over his chin and face, then his chest and the floor.

As friends of the young man step up to finish what he could not of his yard glass, the crowd cheers wildly in the dimly lit party room of the local RSL. Somewhere in the crowd, his father reconsiders his closing words.

Attempting to drink a yard glass of beer, or 1.4L for those wondering, is a tradition at 21st birthday parties in Australia. I say “attempt” because in most cases, whether through spillage or vomit, most of the beer ends up on the floor.

Most would say it’s harmless fun, simply celebrating a milestone. It’s what you do when you turn 21.

I write today to tell you different.

On its own, it may seem like harmless frivolity but in a society that is so strongly affected by binge drinking it is yet another seed panted in a young mind.

Alcohol consumption caused the death of 32,696 Australians between 1996 and 2005, that’s over 3,000 people each year. Further to this, 813,072 Australians were hospitalised due to alcohol-caused injury and disease over the same period. Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency

Australia has a binge drinking problem, 80% of Australians agree with me but it seems that same 80% are having little effect.

Every Sunday night, without fail our news broadcasters share stories of alcohol induced violence, teenage parties turned in to riots and regrettably, death and hospitalizations. Just last week, an 18 year old boy was king hit whilst walking innocently along a street.  His head hit the pavement and is now dead. Alcohol was no doubt a player in this crime.

The annual cost of Alcohol related crime in Australia is $1.7 billion. v$750 million alone on policing.

Although I wish he was, Thomas Kelly, the 18 year old who lost his life, is by no means unique, although I wish he was. Five million Australians have been effected by alcohol related violence, 2.6 million as direct victims.

The answer isn’t an increase in taxes, banning of pre-mixed drinks or midnight curfews. The answer is responsibility; responsibility for yourself, your friends and your drink.

To put it in terms as Australians, we all understand. Look out for ya mates.

More than half the Australian population believe that governments (58%), pubs and clubs (68%), and alcohol companies (74%) are not doing enough to address these concerns yet 4 million Australians admit to getting drunk.

If Australians were really true blue they’d put down that glass but it seems we’re piss pots through and through.

SENSE