Written by Robert Kirwan
following articles were written during 2010.
will appear in the order in
which they are listed, so when you see one that interests you,
simply scroll down until you find it.
you have any comments, please send them to me at email@example.com
|JANUARY TO JUNE
you ever gazed into a newborn baby's eyes and seen the infinite
presence of pure spirit looking back at you?
in your life is an exact duplication of your consciousness
May Require Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone And Taking Personal
You For Showing Us How To Light The Candle Again, Candice
Little Things Do Make All The Difference In The World
is Caught; Not Taught! What
Are Your Children Catching From You?
is Really Work Unless You Would Rather Be Doing Something Else
Knowing Where To Look Comes From Years of Experience
you ever gazed into a newborn baby's eyes and seen the infinite
presence of pure spirit looking back at you?"
The other day my oldest son, Ryan, and our
daughter-in-law, Angele, dropped by their three children for dinner.
I stayed outside with my three grandchildren and we went for a walk
around the back yard. The snow was all gone and it was a beautiful
was interesting to see how the two girls are growing up so quickly.
Hailee (almost 6) and Hannah (4) were familiar with the yard so they
were off and running around the paths, in and out of the pond areas
having a great time. For them it was an opportunity to have a look
at the yard which would soon come to life again with the warm
I had to focus my attention on Cade,
who at 17 months was still getting accustomed to the freedom of
being able to walk and explore whatever he set his eyes upon. The
uneven ground was not the easiest thing to get around on so from
time to time he needed to hold Grandpa's hand to keep from toppling
As I was following him from spot to
spot, watching him touch and prod everything he could reach, and
noticing his eyes darting from one thing to another, I tried to
imagine what it must be like for him seeing all of these
"wonderful" treasures for the very first time. What was
happening inside his brain as he was retrieving and storing all of
these marvelous images, smells, sounds and feelings as he touched
dried up flowers and cool grass?
would stop and stare with wonder at a little ornament that I had
long taken for granted, and I suddenly saw the object through his
eyes. There were many things that I "saw again" for the
very first time. I thought, "This is a lot of fun."
was not the first time that I had watched a young child go through
this experience. After all, I certainly must have witnessed the very
same actions in my own three sons as they were being raised in the
very same back yard, although it is much different today than was
over the years. However, I don't recall feeling the same way when I
was "Dad" watching over my own children. I don't remember
feeling so emotional about them touching and breaking flower stems.
In fact, I think I recall running from spot to spot telling them not
to touch things and feeling anxious about them getting into trouble.
With Cade, I didn't find myself worrying about where he was walking
or what he pulled out of the ground. All I could think of was how
incredible it would be to get inside his head and share the feelings
he was experiencing. The entire world is new to him and full of
A few days later I came across an
passage written by a person by the name of Dennis Merritt Jones from
The Art of Being. It put everything into perspective. It is called,
Have You Ever? I hope you enjoy it.
Have you ever?
you ever spent time allowing your mind to wander and wonder?
you ever thought about how incredible it is that you can read and
decipher these words and draw meaning from them?
you ever contemplated in amazement how your body works, maintaining
itself to a large degree without any help from you?
you taken time to contemplate what causes your heart to beat and
what turned the breakfast you had this morning into skin,
fingernails, and hair?
you ever taken just a few moments to simply stare at a beautiful
flower and notice the incredible patterns and colors that not even
the greatest artist could re-create?
you ever looked up at the stars and planets at night and been in awe
of the expansiveness of it all, perhaps even wondering if there
might be some other being on some distant planet looking back at
ours at the same time, wondering the same thing?
you ever thought about what holds the planets and stars in place?
Have you ever gazed into a newborn baby's eyes and seen the infinite
presence of pure spirit looking back at you and been in awe of the
fact that this being just came from the absolute essence, God?
can you or I do any of these things and not feel like an intricate
and significant part of something far greater and grander than the
have done all these things, and I can tell you that, in part, it is
what keeps me sane, grounded, and spiritually connected to God,
life, and purpose when the world seems to be getting more and more
crazy each day.
also includes those times when I tend to get too enmeshed in my own
personal trauma dramas. Life is always manifesting purpose; all we
need to do is think about the miracle of it all.
the next time you feel as if you are getting caught up in the frenzy
of the world or your personal life begins to look like a bad soap
opera, take some time and consider some of the above questions.
yourself the gift of a sacred moment in the now.
great and clear intention, contemplate and connect with the miracle
of life, where God is always present.
just a matter of taking time to think about the wonder of it all.
say that grandchildren are God's reward to parents for having
children. The older I get the more I believe that is true. I never
pass up an opportunity to spend time with my grandchildren, for they
have so much to teach me about life. I want to absorb it all.
Have a good week.
in your life is an exact duplication of your consciousness"
are times in our life when we all have doubts.
seems as if that is a condition that we must accept if we wish to belong to the
human race. Our goal as human beings is to strive for success and happiness in
everything we do. However, when we come across difficult challenges in some of
our endeavours there may be a moment of hesitation or doubt as to our chances
of achieving our goals.
other day I came across an article written by a business consultant and coach
by the name of Mike Brooks. He believes that there is one thing that determines
success and I would like to share an excerpt from the article with you now.
One Real Key to Your Success by Mike Brooks
Every so often I
feel it’s my responsibility to remind you about the single
most important determinate of success, happiness and well
itself, this law of being is constant; it is unchanging and
completely dependable. Every person relies on and uses
this principle, consciously or unconsciously, and it never
fails to deliver the exact results according to your
understanding of it.
The rich, the
poor, the successful, the struggling – all manner of men and
women the planet over are using this law or principle of
being, and it has been this way since the beginning of time.
Right now, right here as you are reading this, you are using
thing about this principle is that as soon as you truly
understand and begin using it constructively with belief and
expectation, you can turn your life, circumstance, your
income, health, or anything else completely around. This
law can be summed up very simply:
in your life is an exact duplication of your consciousness.”
In other words,
whatever images you hold in your mind, in your consciousness,
will always be manifested outward as your experience. It
is the simplest of truths that you cannot hold one belief and
image in your mind and manifest another.
There’s a very
easy way to prove that this is so. Ask yourself,
“Isn’t it true that the results in your life, in every
area, down to every detail, are an exact mirror of what you
think about it all day long?”
honest, your answer is yes. Now the question may come
into your mind, “Yeah, but the reason I’m thinking about
it all day long is because that’s how it is for me.
The circumstances are there (I’m not making enough money;
don’t have the house/car/relationship I want, etc.) so of
course that’s what I think about all the time.”
Let me ask you:
“What if it was EXACTLY the other way around?” What
if your thoughts actually caused you to take repetitive
actions that actually CAUSED the unwanted situations in your
life to recur?
willing to consider that your thinking and beliefs might
actually be the cause – rather than the results – in your
life, then you are ready to finally claim the spiritual power
that is the one truth that rules all of existence – that
everything in your life is an exact duplication of your
Take all the
money away from a person who is a millionaire – one who has
the consciousness of a millionaire today – and within a
short time he or she will be a millionaire again. Riches
start from the mind, not your pocketbook, bank account or
investment. The pocketbook, bank account and investments
are the effects, not the cause. The cause is always an
idea or belief. A person is not rich because they have
money. They have money because they are rich in
consciousness. They believe that they are rich.
Again, this is
the reason that the rich will always get richer and the poor
will always stay poor until they change their
This is why an
astounding 90% of all lottery winners or people who inherit or
win large sums of money end up broke and in debt – in other
words, back to their original level of consciousness – in 3
years or less. This is a concrete and measurable example
of this law in action.
So, what can do
you do about it?
blaming other people, companies, competition or the economy
for your current circumstances. They are not the cause;
your current beliefs and repetitive thinking are and always
will be the cause.
Second, make a
commitment to begin treating the source – your
consciousness. You can do this by picking up and reading
daily, any of the books you currently own on the power of
belief, law of attraction, consciousness conditioning, and
begin reminding yourself of the truth, daily.
changing these believes and your consciousness with whatever
techniques you find work for you. There are many
different ones to chose from: You can use affirmations,
meditations, becoming aware of and changing your self-talk,
hypnosis sessions, prayer, practicing gratitude, or any other
practice that will develop and change your consciousness.
I hope some of
what you’ve read here today resonates with the truth inside
of you. If you have used your power before, then you
know what I’m talking about. Make a decision that
today is the day you begin believing in and creating the life
you know is possible for you. Just remember: “If
someone else can have the things in life that you want, then
YOU can have it, too.”
And you will, as
soon as you change in the images in your consciousness.
Mike Brooks makes a lot
of sense. I hope after reading his article that you feel more
motivated and inspired to move forward towards the achievement of
those goals you always wanted to pursue. Just remember to make an
effort to change your "consciousness". Act as if you are
already successful and you will be that much closer to your
Have a good week.
May Require Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone And Taking Personal
me start off this week’s article with a little riddle.
In one local business there were five employees who were not
happy with their particular situation. If two of the employees
decided that they would quit their job, go to school to get a
diploma and get into a more satisfying career, how many of the
original five employees were still working for the company?
The answer is five.
Deciding that you are going to do something to improve your
life and begin a new career is one thing, but actually doing it is
another. Anyone can talk about self-improvement. As a matter of
fact, I am sure that we all engage in such conversations from time
to time. It takes a lot of courage to actually risk stepping out of
your comfort zone to do something about it.
Many of us might be finding ourselves at a crossroads in our
life right now with unemployment rate in the Greater Sudbury Area at
the highest level in decades. While the actual number of persons
collecting employment insurance is high, there are many more people
who have had their hours reduced and must live on less income. There
are also thousands of people in our community who are on strike.
I’m sure that a large number of people who have had their
employment interrupted or wages reduced are thinking seriously about
their future. In fact, the whole question of job security is
foremost on the minds of many employees as they watch companies
downsize, shut down and contract out.
Nevertheless, instead of looking at the current situation in
Greater Sudbury negatively, some people are considering this the
opportunity they have been waiting for to “do something about
It brings to mind one of my favourite stories about a very
devout Christian who lived in an area that was being flooded by
All of the people in the town were told to leave their homes
so that they would avoid certain death from the flood. A large truck
stopped outside the man’s door and the driver told him to get on
board. The Christian yelled out, “Don’t worry. I am staying
God will take care of me.” The rain continued and the water
rose, flooding the entire first floor of the man’s house. A person
in a boat came by and called to the man to get on board. The
Christian yelled out, “Don’t worry. I am staying here.
God will take care of me.” The rain continued to fall until
the only thing the Christian could do was climb to the top of the
roof. Suddenly a helicopter came by and the pilot called down to the
Christian to grab onto the rope and climb to safety. The Christian
yelled out, “Don’t worry. I am staying here.
God will take care of me.” Sadly, the water continued to
rise and the Christian drowned.
When the Christian arrived at the Gates of Heaven, he looked
up at God and asked, “Why did you not save me? I had faith in you
and I prayed that you would take care of me. Why did you let me
die?” God looked at the Christian and declared, “What more could
I do for you? I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter and you
turned them all away.”
So if you are like one of those two employees who “decided
to do something to improve their current situation”, now that the
opportunity may have actually arrived, don’t be like the Christian
in the story above. Don’t pass up a perfectly good opportunity to
change your life forever. Consider your options and take a personal
risk. Step out of your comfort zone!
Have a good week.
"Thank You For Showing Us How To Light The Candle Again,
I read an article in Northern Life about a young 24-year old lady
from Valley East by the name of Candice Kirkbride. She was the
recipient of one of the 2010 Community Builders Awards of Excellence
for the Young Leader category. As I read the article memories of a
horrible night back in March of 2001 came to mind. Candice was among
a group of teenagers who were walking home late one night from a
house party along a dark street in Hanmer when the group was struck
by a drunk driver. Candice was only 15 at the time. She ended up
surviving the accident but suffered severe injuries, had a stroke
and remained in a coma for two weeks. Her boyfriend, Andrew Chaput,
died that night.
suffered a severe brain injury which has left her with no memory of
that night, significant short term memory difficulties to this day,
is blind in one eye and has some paralysis as she continues her
life-long rebuilding process. She went back to complete her high
school diploma at Confederation Secondary School.
About four years
after the accident, Candice met face-to-face with the young driver
who hit her that night and she forgave him. She claims that the act
of forgiving him for what he had done to her and her boyfriend
turned her life around and allowed her to be happy again. What
Candice did reminded me so much about a story that I had read a long
time ago by a man named Strickland Gillilan. Let me share the story
with you now.
A man had a little daughter. She was an
only and much-beloved child. He lived for her. She was his whole
life. One day while she was at school, a deranged man broke into the
building and began shooting wildly. He then turned the gun on
himself and took his own life. When the casualties were examined,
the man’s little daughter was among the dead. The father was
totally irreconcilable. He became a bitter recluse, shutting himself
away from his many friends and refusing every activity that might
restore his poise and bring him back to his normal self. He hated
the world and everything about it. It was not fair that his innocent
daughter, who never hurt anyone, was a victim of this senseless act.
Why did it have to happen to her? What could he have done to prevent
it? Who was to blame? How could he ever get even with the man who
shot his daughter?
Then one night he had a dream. He was in
Heaven, and was witnessing a grand pageant of all the little child
angels. They were marching in an apparent endless line past the
Great White Throne. Every white-robed angelic tot carried a candle.
He noticed that one child’s candle was not lighted. Then he saw
that the child with the dark candle was his own little girl. Rushing
to her, while the pageant hesitated, he seized her in his arms,
caressed her tenderly, and then asked, “How is it, darling that
your candle alone is unlighted?” She answered, “Father, they
often relight it, but your tears always put it out.”
Just then he awoke from his dream. The
lesson was crystal clear, and its effects were immediate. From that
hour on he was not a recluse, but mingled freely and cheerfully with
his former friends and associates. No longer would his little
darling’s candle be extinguished by his useless tears.
And so it must have been with Candice when
she confronted the young driver to forgive him. She noticed that her
approach to life changed immediately. She began to live again and be
happy. She now does a lot of volunteer work, including speaking to
groups of teenagers and adults about the dangers of drinking and
driving. She is living in her own apartment and is looking forward
one day to starting a family.
Candice's story reminds us that we
will never be able to understand why tragic events occur in our
life. Nevertheless, we must move on and continue our lives in a
positive manner. We must not let our lives be governed by hatred and
fear. It is important for the loved ones who were lost or hurt in
any tragedy that we not lose our own lives as a result of their
death. What is done is done and cannot be changed.
The lesson of the dark candle is something
we can apply to our own situations closer to home. A car accident; a
mysterious disease; a heart attack; or some other tragic event may
have taken away someone you loved dearly. Make sure your tears do
not put out the candle of your loved one. Honour their death in the
only way you can - by continuing to live your own life with the same
passion and zeal as always, in loving memory of those who have gone
a good week!
MORE OF ROBERT KIRWAN'S EDITORIALS
"The Little Things Do Make All The Difference In The World"
I am currently reading a book
entitled, "The Power of Small". It is written by Linda
Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. It is basically about how some of our
smallest actions and gestures can have a huge impact on the
achievement of our "big goals". As most of you who read my
articles already know, I strongly encourage people to know what
their big goals are so that they have some focus on where they are
going. However, I also believe that your life can be totally changed
by some of the smallest, seemingly inconsequential events or
This was brought out to me just this past week when I
met with Jason Kontak, who is featured in an article in the Valley
East Today Online Magazine. Jason is the President of the Student
General Association and was scheduled to be a special guest on my
radio show on CKLU 96.7 FM. I stopped by his office about an hour
before the show to discuss some of the topics that we would be
covering. The door was locked for the day, but he let me in and we
were engaging in a conversation when we heard another knock on the
Jason opened the door again and greeted a young lady
who looked as if she was a first-year student at Laurentian. The
girl asked if he could tell her where the "pub" office was
located because she thought she had lost her student card there the
night before. Jason informed her that the pub was closed but that he
would check in a binder on his secretary's desk just in case the
card had been found and brought to the SGA office. Sure enough, the
grateful girl spotted her card and expressed her extreme gratitude
to Jason for finding it. She needed it to get on the transit bus
which was leaving in five minutes to take her home.
Jason let the girl out and locked the door again before
returning to our conversation.
I later explained to Jason that even though it was the
first time that I had ever met Jason and did not know what kind of
background he had or what he was studying, the kindness he showed to
that young lady spoke volumes to me about Jason Kontak. To Jason,
what he did wasn't a very big deal. He was just doing his job. But
to the young lady, finding her student card was a huge deal. It was
her pass for just about everything important to her. Furthermore,
the office was actually closed, so Jason didn't have to do a thing.
The girl would have continued in her quest to find the
"pub" office and may still be searching for her card.
Instead, since this may have been her first experience with the SGA,
she left that office with a wonderful impression of the SGA and the
President, Jason Kontak. Who knows what that single act of kindness
may bring about. This young lady may even decide to run for one of
the positions that are up for election, and she may even one day
become president, all because of the positive experience she had in
her time of need.
I told Jason that if I was considering hiring him for a
job, none of his letters of reference, nor any of his long list of
accomplishments and achievements, not even his position as President
of the SGA would have as much impact on my decision to hire him as
witnessing that simple act of kindness to a young lady whom he had
never met. I told him that I would hire him on the spot regardless
of the rest of his qualifications.
It reminded me of the time that my youngest son, Marty
and I met with Dave Newell, who at the time was the Head of
supervisor of officials with the N.H.L. He was acting as a
"mentor" for Marty and gave him some advice that would
help him get noticed for promotion to the higher levels in the world
of hockey. Mr. Newell explained that one of his responsibilities was
to go out and "scout" prospective referees for the
National Hockey League. He would go out to an arena and watch as the
referee came on the ice for the warm-up skate. He would watch to see
how the referee wore his sweater; how he skated around the rink; how
he stood by the boards waiting for the players to finish their brief
warm-up. And then, he would look at the referee's skates. He was
looking at the condition of the laces. Mr. Newell stated that
regardless of what kind of previous reports he had received about
how good the referee was, or what he saw in the warm-up, if the
laces were marked or worn out - if they weren't perfectly white - he
would leave immediately without even watching the referee work the
Mr. Newell said that in all his years he had come to
realize that if a referee didn't care enough about the laces on his
skates, he just didn't have what it took to meet the standard of
excellence that was required to referee in the National Hockey
League. Once again, it may seem like a little thing, but it says
volumes about the person. Marty went out and bought two dozen new
laces that day and vowed to change laces every few games following
Jay Leno said, "Anyone who is
successful can look back at one small thing someone did for them, or
they did for someone, that made all the difference. These small
things are what lay the foundation for success."
And so, as you move forward with
your life, remember that it will be the small things in life that
have the biggest impact in the end. The next person you hold the
door open for or say thank you to may turn out to be a person who
will change your life.
Have a good
MORE OF ROBERT KIRWAN'S EDITORIALS
"Nothing Is Really Work Unless You Would Rather Be Doing
Barrie once wrote, "Nothing is really work unless you would
rather be doing something else."
I look back on my life I consider myself fortunate to have always
had the opportunity to be doing something that I like. As a matter
of fact, I have often told people that I have never worked a day in
my life. That doesn't mean I've never had times in my life that my
work or activities have always been wonderful, but early in my youth
I adopted the philosophy that no matter what my responsibilities, I
was going to find a way to "like what I was doing". I soon
discovered that you can find something to like with just about
anything you are doing in life. It doesn't mean that someone else
will find the same level of satisfaction or enjoyment if they are
doing the same thing, but if you like something it really doesn't
seem like work.
For example, there are many people in
the community who "work" 12 to 16 hours a day, six days a
week. We often express sympathy for these "work-a-holics"
and feel sorry for them for having to spend so much of their day as
a slave to their work. However, a closer look will likely reveal
that these people are not slaves at all, but rather they are doing
what they like and that from which they find tremendous
Your attitude towards work is critical. St.
Francis of Assisi was hoeing his garden when someone asked what he
would do if he were suddenly to learn that he would die before
sunset that very day. He replied, "I would finish hoeing my
St. Francis demonstrated that he was happy with
his life and wouldn't find it necessary to wish anything different,
even if he knew he was going to die.
I am one of those people commonly referred to
as a "baby boomer" and I often come across people of my demographic group
who have worked their entire life in jobs that they simply did
not enjoy. They endured the work for the paycheck and for a
comfortable pension because they felt they had a
responsibility to provide for their family. It didn’t matter
whether or not they liked their job; it was just something
they were expected to do. Many of them are now retired and
getting back into part-time work in fields that they love and
wish they would have had the courage to get into when they
Many of my friends and acquaintances have asked
me why I don't travel or relax and enjoy myself playing golf now
that I am retired from teaching. I tell them that I am enjoying
myself. I get up at 5 a.m. every morning to work out until 8 a.m. My
day is then filled taking care of what I am responsible for as
Manager of Marketing & Public Relations for the Hanmer Valley
Shopping Centre; running the Greater Sudbury Learning Clinic
tutoring agency, a private practice I started in January 2007;
working on the content for my web site publications, www.valleyeasttoday.ca
; managing my Facebook group called Valley East and communicating
with some of my "friends"; communicating with business
clients with respect to advertising on my publications; writing a
column for Laurentian University's newsletter, Lambda; and preparing
for my weekly radio show, The Learning Clinic, which I do every
Monday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. at Laurentian University. During the
summer I usually still have time to take a couple of hours in the
afternoon to walk over to see my grandchildren and my wife and I get
to relax each evening from 8 p.m. on watching television. So when
someone asks me when I am going to enjoy my retirement, I tell them
I ALREADY AM!
If anyone told me that I only had a couple of
months to live, I wouldn't change a thing. I would be like St.
Francis. I would continue doing exactly what I am doing now because
I am perfectly happy with my life right now. I have taken the skills
and talents I was given and I am using them. To simply sit back and
do nothing would be like the following conversation that took place
between a baby camel and his mother.
One day a
baby camel asked his mother, "Why do we have such large
hoofs on our feet?"
to him. "God made us that way for a very special
reason," and she began her explanation. "The big
hoofs are to keep us from sinking into the sand."
So why do we have long eyelashes?"
to protect our eyes from the sand."
the big humps?"
is to store fat and have enough energy to go long distances in
the hot desert!"
see!" The baby camel stretched his neck and looked up at
his mother, "The big hoofs are to keep from sinking into
the sand, the long eyelashes are to keep the sand out of our
eyes, and the humps are to store energy to travel long
distances...then what are we doing in this cage in the middle
of a zoo?"
I think the
baby camel represents a lot of people today. Many people,
young and old, have so much potential and
so many wonderful skills. And the world
is so full of opportunities today, yet there are so many
people who are unhappy with the work they do or their situation in
life. If you have so many talents and abilities and you refuse to
use them, then you must ask yourself the same question as the baby
camel in the story.
What are you doing in a cage in the
midst of all of this opportunity? Remember that bars come
in all sizes and shapes. Some are physical; others are
emotional or even mental. But none can withstand the force of
determination that breaks them down. The effort is worth it
and the results, simply amazing!
And so, I
tip my hat to the people of this world who are not going to remain
“caged” when they have so much to experience in the world
today. I also salute the “older” people who have decided
to get out of situations in which they felt “caged and
Life is too short to remain in captivity.
It may be a lot more challenging to live in the “wild” and
it may be more dangerous, but it sure beats staying behind
bars that prevent you from living your life to the fullest.
I also salute the people who love what they are
doing. Life is so much more enjoyable when you like what you do. So
whether you are a stay-at-home parent doing one of the most
important jobs in the world raising your children, or you are a
clerk in a retail store, or you are the president of a huge company,
give yourself the true test. It's only work if you would rather be
doing something else. If there is nothing else you would rather be
doing, then you will never feel like you are "caged in the
middle of a zoo"..
Have a good
MORE OF ROBERT KIRWAN'S EDITORIALS
Respect is Caught; Not Taught!
Are Your Children
Catching From You?
any adult what they think is wrong with kids today and inevitably
the answer will boil down to the fact that kids seem to have a
serious lack of respect. However, the problem may not be with our
children. Adults may have to accept most of the blame for the
undesirable behaviour of our children.
As long as children see adults themselves acting
disrespectful to others, whether it is on television or in real
life; as long as they see disrespect for authority by adults; as
long as adults show that they do not respect themselves, we can not
expect the level of respect in our children to improve. Just look at
television. Look at how adults behave at sporting events. Look at
how adults behave when they have had a couple of drinks. You better
look, because your children are looking. Remember, respect is
‘caught’ not ‘taught’. You must be aware of what you are
My oldest granddaughter taught me a good lesson recently that
certainly made me sit up and take a hard look at what people are
catching from me. It was just before Christmas and the students from
were at the shopping centre spreading the word about the dangers of
drinking and driving. Hailee asked my wife what the students were
doing and she explained that they were trying to get adults to
understand that it was bad to drink and drive.
whose innocence makes her one of the most honest persons I have ever
met, thought for a moment and said, “Well, that’s what Grandpa
does. He drinks and drives.”
wife defended me and tried to explain that I would never drive if I
had too much to drink, but Hailee persisted, “Yes he does. The
last time when he was at our house he had a been when he had lunch
and then he drove home.”
At first I
laughed when my wife told me what Hailee had said, but afterwards I
was overcome with a tremendous sense of sadness and remorse at the
impression I had left on that little girl. Here I was, held in such
high regard by this five year old child, and this was the message I
was sending to her.
A few nights later we had all gone out to see “Alvin &
The Chipmunks” at the movie theatre. The whole group decided to
stop off at a local restaurant for dinner. Hailee sat across from
me. I watched her carefully colour the place mat with the crayons
that were provided by the establishment, and when the waitress took
our orders for drinks, I asked for a coffee instead of my usual Bud
Light. It was hard to hold back the tears, but I vowed that I would
never let my granddaughter down again. The other adults at the table
looked at me and smiled. Hailee never said anything. But I know she
caught the message. She always does.
Have a good week!
MORE OF ROBERT KIRWAN'S EDITORIALS
Knowing Where To Look Comes From Years of Experience ”
a week goes by without at least one person telling me how lucky I am to be
retired. Then I tell them what I am doing with my time and they quickly
understand that the word “retired” is not in my vocabulary. In fact, I feel
as do many other people of my generation, that our traditional retirement years
are going to become the true “defining period” for the baby boomers as they
emerge from their “primary careers” and enter what I like to refer to as
the “age of significance” . This is going to be a time of their life when
older adults who are over the age of 50 or 60 will truly be appreciated for the
knowledge, wisdom and experience they have accumulated.
I often recall the story
about the head office of a large national company that had problems with its
computer network system a few years ago. Something went wrong with the network
one day and no one in the office could find the problem. The IT department
tried everything possible and still the system couldn’t be restored. Not only
were the existing files unable to be accessed, the staff couldn’t communicate
with other business clients and the company was losing $250,000 a day in
revenue while their computers were out of commission.
The Office Manager contacted
several computer consulting companies and one by one they came in to look at
the system and were equally baffled at the problem. No one, it seemed, could
come up with the solution and get the system back up and running.
Then in one final attempt,
the Office Manager called the phone number of a “retired” computer engineer
who had decided to open up a little business and run it on a part-time basis
out of his home. This individual did not have the resources of some of the
larger companies that had been unsuccessful in solving the problem, but the
computers had been down for four days and had cost the company over $1 million
in lost revenue by this time. The Office Manager was desperate and so as a last
resort called the older consultant.
The “retired” computer
engineer arrived and was shown the system. He examined the master control room
and then walked directly over and unplugged one of the computers in the main
office. Immediately the entire network system was back on line and working
properly allowing everyone to get back to work.
He went up to the Office
Manager and said, “Get rid of that computer and you won’t have any more
Three days later the Office
Manager received an invoice from the consultant in the amount of $10,000. The
Manager was furious at the ridiculous amount of the bill and demanded an
explanation as to why the bill was so high for less than 20 minutes of work.
The consultant agreed to revise the invoice and itemize the charges.
A couple of days later the
Office Manager received another invoice with the total amount broken down as
follows. “$100 for making the trip to your office to do the repairs; $9,900
for knowing where to look.” Total charge of $10,000.
I think this story is a
perfect explanation of the value older adults will provide to society in the
decades to come. You can’t teach experience. It is something that you earn
and accumulate over time. In my own case I find I am able to take on so many
different things right now precisely because for the past 60 years I have been
learning “where to look” and “what to do”. I find I can get a lot more
done than I could when I was younger simply because of the knowledge, wisdom
and experience I have collected over the years.
Most baby boomers and older
adults are capable of the same. That is why so many of them taking on part-time
jobs and new careers at an age which is traditionally known for
“retirement”. A life of travelling, golf, fishing and relaxing is being
replaced with a life of significance and fulfillment as older adults are able
to put their wisdom to work. We are a generation that doesn’t have to work
harder – we work smarter!
The message for the younger
generation is clear. Learn from the years of experience of the older adults
around you. The future that awaits will be more demanding upon that one
precious commodity that can’t be increased or produced artificially – TIME.
And the people who will be able to get the most out of their time are the ones
who “know where to look” and “what to do”. You can learn a lot from
older adults if you know how to listen.
Have a good week!