Wednesday, March 24, 2010
What was that you said? Sorry I wasn't listening....
Dael came back from his camp last Friday feeling positive and rejuvenated. After a long refreshing bath and a good meal, he was feeling relaxed. He enjoyed being around the other staff members and he was amazed that no one had an attitude with him or treated him like the 'new kid on the block'. He just felt like he fitted in.
We didn't do much for the long weekend. It was very relaxing for me but Dael became bored and just wanted to get back to camp. He had been told that there was another camp on for the following week and he was asked to work on Tuesday. I told him I wasn't going to take him anywhere unless they confirmed beforehand and he was thrilled when he got the call on Monday afternoon.
I borrowed petrol money from Greg and got Dael to the head office on time. This time he was going in the other direction, down the South Coast to Port Edward. A lovely spot but an all-boys complement of school kids this time and apparently very naughty. He must be under considerable strain at the moment because when Bradley irritates him, he can respond with a punch, a kick or with throwing a matchbox at him or something. When the irritating ones are customers you can't really do that. It doesn't go down so well. Anyway, if anything this experience is going to teach him some patience...
On Monday, the public holiday, my dad and Greg came round to help out with some garden work. Dad had started working with his new weedeater and I looked and had to look again. He was wearing a long waist apron which almost looked like an apron that the Blacksmiths of old times used to wear. It tied round his waist and dropped down to his feet. I soon saw why he needed that. The grass was flying furiously in all directions as he whizzed along and he needed the apron to avoid being stung or cut. I was doing a bit of cutting with my clippers but if dad started even approaching Greg or I would have to duck away to avoid being hit by flying debris. I was a bit worried as dad worked his way along a narrow path that I cut halfway down my bank for access. He is 74 and I was worried that he might overbalance. He was fine though and soon finished. He was rushing to cut while Greg was loading garden refuse onto the back of the bakkie as he wanted to get to the dump before they closed. That night when I popped down to my parents to pick up the petrol money, I laughingly mentioned my fears to dad as I chatted. In mock disgust he returned "What do you think I am, an old crock!"
My dad is definitely a strong man who doesn't buy into the traditional scenario of how an older person should act. I think my sister of 39 acts older than him. I'm also as active as him and I use him as an example of how I want to be when I'm his age. Age is after all relative and inside that older shell is still an intelligent and creative hardworking person. A lot of people irritate me because they just see an old person or a disabled person or a person of colour. They don't see the spirit of that person. I challenge everyone to look beyond the stereotype of the people you meet and see the spirit of the person that is inside that frame.
Just as important is how you perceive yourself. Do you restrict yourself to a certain set of actions because you have reached a certain age. Do people perceive you as older than you actually are because of how you react to them or the things you say. Its not to say you have to act like someone younger or older. Its all in how your relate to people and if you are genuinely interested in what they have to say. If you can really see people as individual spirits, you can relate to them in an interested and non-judgmental way. Are you really listening or are you just waiting for them to open a topic of conversation so that you can put forward your point of view. Learn to listen before you talk. If others can see that you are interested in them, they will also be interested in you.
Be as open-minded as you can be today. You owe it to yourself and to all the wonderful people you know or have yet to meet.