Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Role models and dreams of the future

It was posed to me who I looked up to as a role model.  The example given to me was the queen of England and I was asked to think of one better.

Scary to think that I couldn't come up with one.

Scary to think that we, as a generation can offer no-one up that is both as well known as the queen and as publicly selfless.

We've given this generation narcissism and fame hunger.  Sarah Hanson Young and the Leyonhold guy.  "Me too", sexual harassment, anxiety, loss of hope, an emptiness hard to fill.

I think about the cold, emotionless education system we've created where a few people doing horrific things to children have destroyed what could be a loving and nurturing environment and turned it into something sterile and with the sole purpose of providing skills and knowledge to survive post schooling.   ... and not even doing that particularly well.

As a male teacher, being hugged by a student, places you at risk of a standards and integrity investigation and criminal charges.  Being a female teacher now is changing to do the same thing.  To protect ourselves we cannot be a role model to students - the barrier of societal trust is not there.  Where we once at least had gender appropriate roles that protected the emotional self of a student, strong male and female role models that fulfilled different roles that were ok, now neither can help fill the void created by a society where two parents work and the relationships that help build a whole person are not being supplemented by a society that forgets that nurturing its young is its prime imperitive.

When children need emotional support, there is nowhere for them to turn.  There are times when I see distressed students that are seeking emotional support and the best we can offer them is counselling, when they really just want a hug and to believe it will be ok.  Those two things are powerful are missing from our education system.  It wasn't always this way. 

Ten years in teaching and I have not seen this issue addressed in other than band aid modes.  Will we look back and think how the hell did we miss this.

I watch year groups robotic in their approch to schooling, lacking a love of learning, of each other or the school system.  Seeking to get by to their next step as citizens.

It's wrong.

I don't know how to fix it.  It will take brighter minds than mine.   Maybe its a call to our generation beyond the teaching fraternity to stand up and be good role models - do great things and become examples for our youth that teachers can point to.  Something to aspire to and give belief and love back to a generation feeling lost.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tribute to a great lady.

Yesterday one of the finest people in the world passed away, 93 years old. Born Gertrude Whitmore on 15th February 1915 to William and Dorothea in Calcutta India, orphaned at a young age. Educated at Loreto convent Entally and on finishing school undertook nursing training and taught kindergarden children. She was introduced through her sister to her future husband Carl. She married him on the 2nd of June 1941 and together they had 4 children, Patricia, Roger, Arlene and Steven. She migrated to Australia in 1971 and although life was hard in India, it in no way prepared her for life in Australia. Here she had to learn how to cook, operate a washing machine, look after the garden, operate a vacuum cleaner.

Compared to Calcutta, Perth was a quiet place, she initially felt isolated and lonely, but with her indomitable spirit she made new friends and conquered all obstacles before her. Her 4 children eventually reunited in Perth, bore 8 grandchildren, Lisa, Russell, Andrew, Nicole, Sascha, Kym, Ashleigh and Corey. After a long wait during her 93rd year two great grandchildren were born Tani and Angeline.

She was caring, so very strong, happy, never had a bad word to say about anyone, was loved by everyone. She lived for her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. This is how we remember her.

Her home was always open to all, food was always available in abundance, there were often kids scattered around the place. People were forever dropping by. We sat for many an hour in front of the tv cheering on the local cricket team or playing wheel of fortune. She was afraid of the electricity and I would tease her by sticking my head in the microwave. We would make camp beds on her floor, play hide and seek around the garden. She was a very ordinary scrabble player, would cheat constantly unless she had the urge to prove a point. We played Caroms, Ludo and Snakes and ladders. She would guess Jill first go in 'Guess Who' and be right. She played badminton with us at age 80. I would tickle her and she would pull faces. She would 'jarp' us up if we were being naughty (holding a fist in the air); 'chowkree' if we were barefoot; 'maraga sala' if we were cheeky (and we would chorus 'bleddy'); she'd tell us 'cul ma thow' if we hadn't been home for awhile. She made banana fritters, chow, fried rice, chicken curry, dahl, cutlet putlet and curry puffs that we all fought over. We'd make cul-culs at Christmas. We belted her ginger and garlic to a mash. She made the best tea in the whole world. It was safe in her house, I count many more hours in her home than my own.

She was a keen gardener, we picked her tomatoes, snow peas, grapes and lettuce from the yard. She had chooks and we ate the eggs. She would wake to a tap on her window at 6am every morning to make sure that I had breakfast before school. She would pack my lunch each day. We would rewrite her recipes for writing practice. She kept all my schoolbooks and reports. She was ever ready and never sat down. I went there for dinner after school. She always forgot to take out the salad. She saved her water from the washing machine long before it was fashionable.

She was four foot nothing. She gave and gave and gave of herself unconditionally unless Baileys was concerned (which tended to defy physics and evaporate at an alarming rate). More than once did she end up on her bottom from a bit of over enjoyment.

She loved her clubs and outings (the world would stop turning before Nana missed her club), she made friends at every opportunity. Gallivanting, gadabout Gertie from Girrawheen was always happiest when tripping here and there, coach, plane or train. She was game for anything, riding on motorcycles, loved going camping with Sascha and Kym, even finding a crab on the end of her hand when digging in the sand on a holiday to Wedge island.

It was fun going 'hopping with nan. We would have lunch in the old person canteen at Coles in town. She would sit at the local shopping centre with a gaggle of grandchildren (all sub 4 years old) and bags too heavy to carry. Someone unrelated would always miraculously turn up and take her and us home. She accepted help graciously. She knew so many people and they loved her as we did. She could meet someone and know their life story three minutes later.

She welcomed my future wife into the family with open arms. I have wondered who my wife fell in love with first. Every visit was an attempt to make her explode with food. It would only stop when Kendra would say I'm going to throw it all up again if I eat more. I think this became the challenge.

She would nickname everyone, Babu, Hooligan, Ahool, Tatto Meero, Putto to name a few.

She loved photographs of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. We all fought to be the picture in the front. She would remind me that she still had a pulse and that I needed to visit her now. I'd say I'm coming soon. I should have visited more. I could never have visited enough.

She loved Grandpa and missed him greatly when he passed away not so long ago. She loved her two dogs, Scampy and Sam. Her love for all of us was unconditional and for her the gift was always in the giving (we often received our gifts back rewrapped the following Christmas - and only rewrapped because we would open them for her and rip up the paper). She claimed that she was a big Jonah, but everything she wanted, it seemed she already had. She valued what was important in life.

Nana would always say a prayer to St Anthony when we had lost anything and she would remind us to say a prayer before driving anywhere to be safe. She had advice on everything, never patronising, always said with a good spirit.

Towards her last days, even in great pain, to the point she couldn't talk and struggled to breathe, she would still indicate to nurses that they should rest, not fuss and have a sit down; or could kick my guitar album closed to say that she'd had enough of my woeful playing. She put her hand on Kendra's pregnant belly and smiled. She would try to eat just because she knew we worried but had no way to swallow. Visiting babies would smile and gurgle at her on her bed in the hospital. She never complained except to say it was terrible to get old.

We would get a cuddle, her hands were always warm and soft, just holding her hand was often enough to cheer you up.

Gertrude Fernandez passed away with family at her bedside at 4.30 pm.

She was an amazing person, I was her favourite and baby (at age 34), I loved her, she always made me feel special. Nana you have always been my inspiration. Your life has made the world so much incredibly brighter but the tears still well, although I treasure every second you spent with me, it makes it that much harder not being able to hear your voice and having to spend days without your support. I wish you could have stayed and met our first baby. You were an inspiration to all you raised and taught. Yet, know all your favourites miss you dearly and we will carry you with us always. I still feel you with me.

This is my tribute to you nana and to all those that have made differences in our lives. May we look to your example and seek to do likewise.