PART 1 - Communicating (1 of 4)

Chapter 1

Embrace that everybody is different

In her book, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom, recalls a time when, as a young girl, she was returning home on the train with her father after accompanying him to purchase parts for his watch-making business. She asked him to explain how children are conceived. Her father stood up and took out the suitcase he had brought along. “Will you carry it off the train, Corrie?” he said. Corrie stood up and tugged at it. It was crammed with the watches and spare parts he had purchased that morning. “It’s too heavy,” she said. “Yes,” her father said. “And it would be a pretty poor father who would ask his little girl to carry such a load. It is the same way, Corrie, with knowledge. Some knowledge is too heavy for children. When you are older and stronger, you can bear it. For now, you must trust me to carry it for you.”

In a world where information is so readily available, no matter your age, it is no wonder we have a society full of overwhelmed and anxious people. One message we would like to share is for you not to be influenced by other people’s fear.

Sometimes we find parents think that their child should be just like them. Have you heard the old saying, ‘the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree’?

We don’t agree with this saying at all. In both our lives we have proven we may even be from another tree altogether.

Sure, we have the DNA of our ancestors, however, it is our life’s journey that has created who we are.

Do you really know who is in your family?

If you had the same teacher for the whole of your schooling, then you would be limited by what they know and how they think.

The influencers:

• Grandparents

• Neighbours

• Aunties

• Uncles

• Friends

• Teachers

• Strangers

Everyone will make a mark on your child, especially you as the parent.


Although a lot of people are very similar to each other, like I was to my father, we also had a lot of differences.

We always said that “when my dad passes, you'll have the ‘newest old tools in the world’”. He loved tools and he loved buying them. Unfortunately, he was never shown, in his younger years, how to operate them. He worked his whole life in an office.

When he got his own family home, for any repairs that were required, he went out and bought tools.

He bought everything he needed for that particular job but didn't have the skill set to use them.

I remember after leaving home, my mother was very into her plants, and dad decided to build her a greenhouse, at the back of the garden, out of old timber that he had picked up from a shed that they were pulling down.

I went over to help him construct this rather large greenhouse. It was probably about 10 meters long and about 5 meters wide.

We dug the footings, put the main posts up. Then we were ready to start drilling and bolting the main beams together.

While perched on top of the structure I said, “Could you get me a hammer, drill, box of screws, and a plain head screwdriver.”

Not being overly confident with what tools were what, dad walked away and came back with a hammer. Then he came back later with the screws, followed by the screwdriver. Finally, he came out with a drill, while I'm still sitting patiently waiting for all the necessary items that were required to get the job done.

It was a long day.

It was quite interesting to be a tradesperson and watch somebody who really didn't know what the process was for building something.

He was thorough, he did get all the correct items, but it probably took half an hour instead of 5 minutes.

He was a very, very intelligent man, however, building something was not his thing. I have always been in awe of how no one I knew could beat him in Trivial Pursuit, nor when he watched Sale of the Century on TV. He would blow our minds especially on the questions about personalities. The TV Host would start off with, “Who am I? I was born in 1906…”, and my father would know exactly who it was without any further information. We'd look at him and say, “How would you even know that?” But he knew it. I guess you know what you know.

So, when comparing ourselves, there were differences within our own family, the brain function and desire to retain knowledge or build something with our hands. I suppose it is like having the same old car with a different size engine in it and different fuel. It looks like the same vehicle on the outside, but it's a completely different vehicle when you drive it.

Dad did get better in his later years, with the tools, and that's probably only because of the number of times my brother and myself were there to help him. There were many times we would go over to visit mum and she would say, “Look what your father built!”, and we'd look at each other and know it wasn't going to stand the test of time.

When he wasn't there, we'd fiddle around, fix a few things, tighten it up, and probably put in some braces or something like that, always being respectful of dad’s original intentions.

Building things for others is fun, especially when there is always a beer at the end of the job.

Dad sure was a wonderful teacher about life, just not about how to use tools. So, a tradesman, my father was not.

I had two great teaching influences in my early years.

My mum's two brothers were both highly qualified tradesmen. I spent many hours with them, learning, watching, and using tools of all different kinds.

My uncle Bob was a master timber craftsman, who worked mostly on boats and furniture. Spending weekends or school holidays with him as a young boy, from about the age of six, was a marvellous education for me. He taught me how to take care of tools, how to use them properly, how to keep things sharp, how to store them, but mainly, how to operate them properly.

My Uncle Les, Bob's brother, was a vehicle and furniture upholsterer and had his own business. He was probably a bit more like me than Bob. Not super tidy but highly skilled at his job.

It was always interesting to go to his workshop and spend time learning how different materials could be used to fit on timber and foam and then installed into vehicles.

They both had a lot of patience, and both had a big influence on me, during my early years, and then also in my later years. I too became a vehicle upholsterer, just like my Uncle Les.

Neither Bob nor Les had sons, so I think my brother and I were their unofficial adopted sons.



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