Reflections 2010
Written by Robert Kirwan

The following articles were written during 2010.

The articles 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.

If you have any comments, please send them to me at 


Have you ever gazed into a newborn baby's eyes and seen the infinite presence of pure spirit looking back at you?


Everything in your life is an exact duplication of your consciousness


Taking Advantage of Opportunity May Require Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone And Taking Personal Risks


Thank You For Showing Us How To Light The Candle Again, Candice


The Little Things Do Make All The Difference In The World


Respect is Caught; Not Taught! What Are Your Children Catching From You?


Nothing is Really Work Unless You Would Rather Be Doing Something Else


Knowing Where To Look Comes From Years of Experience


      "Have you ever gazed into a newborn baby's eyes and seen the infinite presence of pure spirit looking back at you?"   

by Robert Kirwan

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 sunny day. 

It 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 weather.

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 over.

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? 

Cade 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." 

This 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 wonder.

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?

Have you ever spent time allowing your mind to wander and wonder?

Have you ever thought about how incredible it is that you can read and decipher these words and draw meaning from them? 

Have you ever contemplated in amazement how your body works, maintaining itself to a large degree without any help from you?

Have 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?

Have 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?

Have 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?

Have 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?

How 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 "little me"?

I 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.

This 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.

So, 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.

Give yourself the gift of a sacred moment in the now. 

With great and clear intention, contemplate and connect with the miracle of life, where God is always present.

It's just a matter of taking time to think about the wonder of it all.

They 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.  


"Everything in your life is an exact duplication of your consciousness"
by Robert Kirwan

here are times in our life when we all have doubts. 

It 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.

The 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.

The 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 being.

Like gravity 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 it, too.

The exciting 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:

“Everything 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?”

If you’re 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?

If you’re 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 current consciousness.

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 consciousness.”

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?

First, stop 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.

Third, begin 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 dreams. 

Have a good week.  


Taking Advantage of Opportunity May Require Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone And Taking Personal Risks"
by Robert Kirwan

Let 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 their future”.
   It brings to mind one of my favourite stories about a very devout Christian who lived in an area that was being flooded by heavy rain.  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 here.  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, Candice"

by Robert Kirwan

Last night 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.


Candice 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 before us.

Have a good week!  



"The Little Things Do Make All The Difference In The World"

by Robert Kirwan

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 actions.
   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 door.
   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 game.
   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 that advice.

   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 week!



"Nothing Is Really Work Unless You Would Rather Be Doing Something Else"

by Robert Kirwan

James Barrie once wrote, "Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else."


As 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 satisfaction.

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 garden."

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 were younger.

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, , , ; 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?"
   She turned 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."
   "Oh! So why do we have long eyelashes?"
   "It's to protect our eyes from the sand."
   "Why the big humps?"
   "That is to store fat and have enough energy to go long distances in the hot desert!"
   "I 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 trapped”. 

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 week!



Respect is Caught; Not Taught!

What Are Your Children 
Catching From You?

by Robert Kirwan

   Ask 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 throwing.

   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 Confederation Secondary School 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.

   Hailee, 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.”
   Naturally, my 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!



“ Knowing Where To Look Comes From Years of Experience ”

by Robert Kirwan

     Hardly 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 problems.”
   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!


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