Monthly Archives: September 2013

This frog is tired of being boiled.

I am tired, my son asked me how I was when I came home from work tonight.  I realised it when I wanted to crawl into bed and go to sleep for a while, instead I turned the coffee machine on and brewed up a hit of caffeine.  I realised that I am tired on so many fronts and yet there is nothing I can do to change that.  Some of the things that give me tiredness are good things, looking after my children and helping friends is a good thing.  A certain amount of tiredness from work is apt as well.  But I am tired from fighting battles.

It seems at times that life is one long battle on many fronts and as soon as you fight and win (or not) one battle the next one erupts.  One of the things that I have learnt is to try to pick my battles.  The amount of energy that is required to fight sometimes is not worth the return.  Recently I got tired of fighting one battle, but I was unprepared to give up. Sun Tzu author of the book “The Art of War said this, “It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperilled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperilled in every single battle.”  I sat down and looked at my options, the first question was, is this battle worth fighting?  The battle was where I should be placed on the pay scale in my new employment.  It should be a very straight-forward process.  Unfortunately I was being thwarted by an intransigent, petulant, pedantic pencil pusher.  They were demanding yet another letter of evidence.  After four bites at the cherry I had become unwilling to jump through their hoops anymore when the evidence I had provided was more than adequate! There was a significant amount of money at stake, I decided it was worth it.

Conventional approaches had failed, I had appealed to the Minister of Education and had been ignored, my employers had tried to deal with NOVO Pay but no success. I jotted down the options I had and thought of the effects that they would have.  I arrived at the conclusion I needed publicity to bring pressure to bear on them and that would most likely have the best affect.  The next consideration was how?  I had an aha moment, a hunger strike would do the job I thought.  So then I had to think about the possible outcomes, just how long did I think I could last without eating?

The answer was I don’t know and frankly I didn’t care, I thought perhaps a week, maybe more.  That wasn’t the point really I needed to do something.  I was being frustrated by bureaucracy and it had become untenable to continue to do nothing.

Now as always I have a point in all of this, we  can become like frogs, legend has it that if you put a frog in water and then heat it up slowly it will die without trying to escape.  Put that same frog into water hot enough to kill it and it will react and not slowly.  We are frogs at the moment in so many ways, we are asked to put up with incompetent pay systems as Teachers, we have a minister of education that is attempting to place complete responsibility for learning success upon teachers without any acknowledgement of the social and economic environment that our students live in.  We as teachers are asked indeed expected to do more and more with less and less.  Pay rises under the rate of inflation, increases in student loan repayments  effectively meaning pay cuts for new teachers. The removal of student allowances for anyone studying at graduate level.  A conspiracist may think that this Government is attempting to dumb down the population, for what you may ask? Read this if you think I am exaggerating http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11128998

What could the Government achieve by dumbing down the population?  One explanation is that in doing so it may facilitate the continuing and ongoing transfer of wealth from the have nots to the haves.   This is the real ideology behind the ongoing asset sales, John Key has to reward his supporters somehow.  Even Treasury agree that there is no economic benefit in the asset sales.  Bill English says that First homes are affordable, what planet does the member for Dipton come from? http://www.3news.co.nz/First-homes-affordable-says-English/tabid/1607/articleID/314396/Default.aspx Well I am tired of the nonsense and tired of the struggle and although I don’t think Labour has all the answers I intend to work hard for a change in Government, who will join me?

Oh ps I won the fight with Novopay, rounds one and two any way, Round three is on its way!

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Who will miss me when I am gone

 

A question that I have pondered on for some time in the past few years.  I have despaired at times as I have sought to fill an emptiness in my heart.  There are some people who are happy to be single (or they say so).  If that is truly right for them then I envy them.  For me it is not so.  It seems in many ways my world has shrunk over the last three years.  Certainly upon separation one finds out who their friends are.  There has been one constant of course in my life and that is my family.

We have just celebrated Fathers Day here in New Zealand, and I can unreservedly say that this one was the best day I have had in my 27 years of Fatherhood.  It was not marked by the gifts I received although these were very well thought out and appreciated, but it was outstanding for the acts of service and for the very special tribute that I had paid to me by my daughter.  The key things about this were the following quotes “I want to celebrate your generous heart, from which you pour both your pocket and lifeblood into every person who needs you.”.  Now this is not how I would describe myself, however truth told I have not really thought about it at all.  It was an interesting experience to have someone who knows me well write about me. She went on to say “ I see so much in myself in you, I worry too much, I’m clumsy, I secretly give my money away and then end up broke at the end of the fortnight, I tell really bad jokes, I love making music, I love singing as loudly and wildly as I can and I love public speaking, writing and reading.”  Now those are things I knew about me all though I am not sure about the bad jokes thing.  I thought my comedic skills were pretty advanced, perhaps it is an interpretation, does not bad mean good?  Like hey dude, that is a bad car!

I certainly know those things about her, although clumsy I don’t think she is.  Not only does she love to sing, she really sings well.   These were lovely things to hear and when she said that she had learnt that  “though you taught me to make my own decisions I also learnt that I could always trust your judgement.”  That was really sobering.  I know that I agonise over decisions that I make and allowing my children to make their own decisions.  This is not a something that I undertook lightly but in the end it has been rewarded.  My children often complained or entreat me to tell them what to do.  They get annoyed when I say “you know what the right thing to do is”  And mostly I make them do those things like make that awkward phone call saying they can’t come.  I have no regrets about any of that in the slightest. I have been rewarded by children who make sound decisions based on reasoning and a set of moral imperatives that whilst I have contributed to they have developed for them selves.  Such self development means that when the come across something new they have a way to deal with it.  Not an instant solution but a way to engage and think about it.

Now before I wallow off into obscurity and lose the plot I want to redirect to my original headline.  Who will miss me when I am gone.  When I look at my children and see what they are doing and read the kind of things like the excerpts above that my daughter wrote then I realise that when I do depart from this world, I will have left a legacy, five children who have developed a way of going through life that is considered, thoughtful and moral.  Not in terms of any biblical notions of morality, I am not so focussed on what decisions they make as to the process that they use to make them.  Whilst I have a set of values that I hope my children will espouse and live out, they in the end will make their own choices, and sometimes I am very grateful for that as I am painfully aware of my own faults and follies. 

Like always I guess I find it difficult not to be didactic, in fact I write because I have a point of view to share and I hope that in doing so perhaps some of the values I hold might rub off, but in the end I will be satisfied if people after reading what I have to say take time to be reflective and considered.

In the meantime, laugh, live and love whilst you have breath!