Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"I feel strongly about" - my second Rostrum speech

My Dad was the adventurer in his family.

He was the middle child in a family of 11 kids. He is Irish, Northern Irish.

And living up to his name as the adventurer in the family, my Dad bought a cheap, one-way ticket to Australia when he was 18.

I don't think Dad intended on staying in Australia long-term. But, as the story goes, he fell in love with a beautiful woman - my mother - and the rest of his life was pretty much mapped out.

With all the excitement and adventure of a new life, a new love and a new homeland, it slipped my Dad's mind to contact his family back home in Ireland.

Well, that's not entirely true. Dad did write a letter to his mother. He even put the letter in an envelope. He sealed the envelope. He addressed the envelope. And he even put a stamp on it.

Some time later - years later - Dad found that letter in with all his other documents. He had forgotten to put it in the post.

Five years after Dad first set foot in Australia, he decided to go back to Ireland to visit his mother, whom he loved very much.

So without a word of warning, without even a phone call, my Dad arrived on the doorstep of his family home. And who should answer but his loving mother.

Well, you could've knocked her over with a feather. For she had not seen, nor heard from, her favourite son in five years. She didn't even know if he was alive.

It was at that moment that Dad realised the immensity with which his mother loved him.

I strongly believe that we should all take stock of where we are in our lives. We should consider our priorities and make time for our loved ones.

While I never met my paternal grandmother, I have always been relatively close to my maternal grandmother.

Nan is 86-years old. She is frail. And sadly dementia is kicking in. She repeats herself four or five times in a conversation.

And when phoning Nan is just one of the items on my endless to-do list, it's easy to get frustrated with the constant repeating. I have been guilty of putting off that phone call to Nan.

Perhaps we've all been guilty of something similar at some time in our lives. We can get so wrapped up in our own lives - having a great time, trying to make a name for ourselves, trying to get our careers just where we want them. And sometimes we forget about the really important things in life.

I urge you to take stock of where you are in your life right now. Consider your priorities. And if you tell me that your priorities lie with your family and your close friends then don't leave it five years between visits.

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