Tag Archives: Integrity

Two o’clock and all’s well

All is well right now in our world, Zorro, is sitting on the sofa, one eye open just in case and Charlie is lying peacefully, ever alert to clear and present dangers from door-knockers, cats, and biscuit thieves.  Continue reading

The Buck Stops Here.

I wonder what kind of an upbringing they had?  Often the first response when a teenager or a naughty child comes on the radar, Continue reading

What price integrity? Four dollars today at Pak n Save

Today in New Zealand we had a budget delivered, with great fanfare John Key announced his massive attack on poverty.  A huge 25.00 per week for single parents and low income families.  In this case a low income family is counted as someone who is earning less than 17.50 or so per hour for a 40 hour week.  In my town that won’t even pay for one of my children to visit the doctor, it would take 10 extra weeks to gather enough to pay for a couple of fillings, it might pay for one child’s school uniform and fees for the year, how is that going to impact on child poverty? In the mean time the rent will have risen and taken care of the 25.00, school fees will have risen because the rise in the general grant will only be 1% this year, not even the rate of inflation.

I had a stark reminder of the face of child poverty tonight.  I was shopping at a supermarket and the guy in front of me was making a single purchase, a can of infant formula.  He had a worried expression on his face and ran his fingers through his change seeming to count it, he placed the tin on the counter and said how much is that?  17:99 said the checkout operator, I’ll have to come back he said, the operator shot a glance at me and I at him, we both knew he wasn’t coming back, the look of desperation and sadness on his face told me everything I needed to know, it was like I could see the wheels moving in his head, where can I find $4:00,

It was cold and wet outside, his clothes looked inadequate for the weather, they had clearly seen better days and his feet were blue from the cold, rubber Jandals were what he was wearing.  Ill pay the balance I found myself saying, “what was that he said, I’ll make up the difference, he said” no mate I can’t accept that”, I said it’s not for you.  Been there done that I said to make him feel better, not quite true I have been broke before but always enough food in our house.  He handed over the $14:00 he had and I paid the rest, he turned to me tears in his eyes and said you don’t know what this means, I think I did, he turned and left and I was filled with regret.  Four miserable dollars, I should have paid for the lot, invariably I will have the same amount of money at the end of the week.

The checkout operator said it was the hardest part of her job watching as people put things back as they didn’t have enough to pay, and she said it’s not tobacco and alcohol going back it is food, bread butter.  She said it is hard, she feels the tears welling up and there is nothing she can do, she is not allowed to.  She said it was the first time she had seen somebody do something about it like I had, she said I was a good man.  Well you know what I think about that moniker, from some of my posts (https://kiwipaulspoetry.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/if-someone-tells-me-i-am-a-good-man-one-more-time/) a good man, like heck I am.  I couldn’t stop and tell her why I wasn’t a good man, I just thanked her and left.

I am not telling this story because I want people to know that I am a kind man, I am relaying the story to show the face of poverty.  For me the decision to pay for the balance was easy. It is about retaining my integrity, looking myself in the mirror, if I thought that by my lack of compassion a baby was going to miss out on food then that is just too bloody awful to contemplate.  I don’t care if he smoked or drank, although there was no evidence of the above and if he had put formula back on the shelf and bought tobacco or alcohol I would have given him the edge of my tongue. Judgemental? Absolutely.  So an easy decision to make.

The question is how do I make it right for the children living in cold, damp overcrowded houses, the children who don’t get to the doctor, the children who just don’t eat right. How do I make it right for the pensioner shivering in the cold because they are scared of the next big power bill?  How do I make that right, it is just as unacceptable…

I intend to write on this over the next few weeks (as usual with a few distractions) tonight I am grateful for friends, family, warmth and love.

Paul

Roast Busters, Police and Incompetence

Recently the Independent Police Complaints Authority (IPCA) released their report into the handling of the Roast Busters incident http://tinyurl.com/roastbusterscomplaint. To those of you who are unfamiliar with this, the synopsis is that there was a group of young men who were getting young women intoxicated and then committing sexual assaults on them. Continue reading

Fried Rice for Dinner

I bought dinner tonight, chicken fried rice to be precise.  It is a rare occasion in my house, my children are all away for the weekend, no one to cook for, it would have been nice for me to get away as well but it just didn’t work out that way. Continue reading

Two weddings and a few funerals

Weddings and Funerals

I have been thinking about both of these things lately, my son is being a best man at Easter for a friend of his, 20 years old and getting married, the first thought that pops into my mind is don’t,too young, that is informed by a number of narratives, personal experience, societal norms mainly.  A friend of mine attended a wedding recently, too hard she said, too many memories, couples everywhere.  Another friend of mine was expressing similar thoughts about a wedding he is going to.  There is a common thread about these feelings, negative experiences, hurt and cynicism inform them.  I have attended a couple of weddings since I became single, after thinking about them I have to say that I had different attitudes and experiences at both.

Weddings and funerals have a lot of similarities, both take a lot of planning and involve preparation and expense.  They are where friends and relatives come together and share emotions, love, mostly, and grief, yes grief even at weddings.  Sadness and happiness inextricably linked with each other, even at their most base level, grief only comes through knowing love.  Weddings and funerals have elements of loss and gain in them. Rites of passage they are both and they are important milestones in society.

For me they are a reminder of my own singleness, however I am not going to bang on ad infinitum about me.  I am going to talk about regrets.  As I was driving home from Auckland the other day I reflected after another near miss as a camper van took a sudden turn towards me on the express way.  I have had closer experiences with disaster, squashed between a truck and a power pole in a vehicle crash, electrocuted underneath a house to mention a couple of experiences.  I vowed then to live a fuller life without regrets.  Most of the regrets in my life have come from inaction rather than actions I have done.  I counselled someone this week that doing nothing was not an option for them, someone close was dying and they were not sure if they could cope with visiting them.  “paying respects” at a funeral just doesn’t really cut it.

I understand some peoples reluctance when they are going to see someone who is terminally ill, what do you say to them, whispering, weak, wet platitudes, how are you doing doesn’t seem to cut it…..  There are some people who thrive on the drama of death and dying, professional mourners almost, I have experienced these at some funerals and at death bed scenes, noisy and seemingly abject grief which at first glance looks like they must have been extremely close, yet the reality is far different.  Similarly I have been at funerals where people have said they won’t last 5 minutes.

In the case of the former I do wonder if through their very public showing of grief if they are trying to make up for actions past?  Perhaps they are mourning the cost of their own actions.  In the case of the nay-sayers at weddings, I don’t see why they would come to a wedding that they thought won’t last, why would you waste your time, surely the lure of food and drink is not that strong?

A constant theme that emerges at family funerals I have attended is the narrative that we should meet as a family at celebrations of joyful occasions, we just don’t seem to be as close today in terms of contact with aunts, uncles, cousins as I was in growing up.  The effects of separation and divorce hit this as well.

None of these reflections probably come as a surprise to most people I am quite sure, these  is  symptoms of a modern society that is extremely focused on the individual and are a natural consequence of the all-pervading religion of consumerism that drives society today.  Our dog eat dog world is a pernicious sickness that invades and pervades every institution from the church through to that unholiest of places parliament.

I know this because I recognise it, I see it in myself and it disgusts me.  If it is not in something external that I do it is that which I see in my own heart.  I have seen it in a new light recently and I have had to make some decisions about that which I value and give my time to.  It means that some of the things that I have given value have to fall away whilst I concentrate on doing the primary thing that needs my attention and that is being an effective and caring parent.

What does this have to do with weddings and funerals you may well ask.  Weddings and funerals are places where regrets are often remembered.  I hope that I don’t have those regrets at any of those life markers that I attend.  I have enough regrets about things that have impacted on my and my children’s lives already. I do not want to add to that list.  My hope is that you read this and examine your own lives and if need be make some adjustments of your own.

With peace and love,

Paul

 

Testing times…

I have had some integrity challenges lately.  One of them was when I was in my local supermarket the other day, I was buying some sliced ham Continue reading