Celebrate… because life is short

October 18, 2014

Life is over in a flash. It’s made of wonderful moments and terrible times. The trick is to make the most of the good times, so that we can survive the shit that comes around all too often. So this week, think about the things in your life that you can celebrate. Celebrate the small things and the bigger things – they all matter, they all help us live our lives to the full.

Some small things…

Losing 5 kilos in a month – the pain is worth it!

Getting fit and strong – living better and longer is also worth it

Passing your driving theory test – no matter how many goes

Surviving the week at work – no mean feat for many of us

Making it to the end of term – utter bliss

Not opening your mouth and speaking!!

Making new friends

graduation

The big bits…

Getting married

Having a baby, having lots of babies

Buying your own house

Graduation – completing any qualification is a big deal, so stick with it

The Prom – the chance to be utterly beautiful and happy

Getting that job, being promoted

Getting published

Getting engaged

Birthdays are most important – because you’re still alive, because getting older is something to be pleased about, because you should celebrate life – yours and others.

Christmas – because family and being together matters, every year

 

These lists have many possibilities. What would your list look like?

If we don’t celebrate the small wins, the special little moments and the small personal victories, if we don’t count them up and remember them it makes the bad times all the harder to survive. So, find something to celebrate this weekend, and smile, life is good, especially here as we gather to celebrate the baby girl’s birthday – the last of the teenage years. (Images courtesy Private Collection)

Comfort Food

October 11, 2014

As I write this it’s raining – which is fine as I like the rain and it hasn’t rained for a while. But rain keeps you indoors and makes you think of fires and being snuggled up safe and warm inside, or a day watching movies, or in bed reading, ignoring the world. You can watch the weather beat and moan and whip the world, while you’re all nice and snug in your own little cocoon. And it makes you think of food – food that comforts and nourishes your soul as well as your spirit. So I got to thinking about comfort food and compiled this little list. A list of simple, every day foodstuffs that can make you feel so much better.

 

Bread type products

Peanut butter and fresh bread

Vegemite and toast – at all times of the day

Honey and toast

Tomatoes on toast – with butter and salt and pepper

Toasted ham and cheese sandwich – perhaps with tomatoes

Toast, just with butter, just the smell of toast is enough really

And of course, fresh bread which always smells divine, always makes you feel better – especially warm and buttered

 

Hot and savoury

Soup – in a mug or a bowl, packet or home made, as long as it’s thick and hot, but preferably Pumpkin or Tomato

Sausages – I do like a thin BBQ beef snag or 3, in bread with sauce; or a thick pork English sausage with Bramley apples

Sausage rolls with tomato sauce

Eggs and bacon – simple and wonderful

Scrambled eggs – with thickly cut toast

Roast chook – what is better, other than a leg of lamb on the Weber?

Fish and chips – wrapped in white paper, oozing with moist heat

Baked beans on toast (does this belong above?)

 

Sweet Treats

Wagon wheels – a childhood favourite, guaranteed to make you feel better

Hot chocolate – made with warm milk

Marshmallows – out of the pack, in your hot chocolate or melted in the fire

Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate

Any sort of chocolate really…

Scones – all sorts, must be homemade – plain with jam and cream, date, cheese, and pumpkin

Cup-cakes – I’ll settle for store bought but the best cup-cakes I’ve ever had were made by my wonderful big girl when she was better than anything on telly!

 

Comfort foods are simple things, often from childhood, often reminiscent of gentler, kinder times – certainly times when we felt loved and protected. So, what are your comfort foods, what treat fills you with pleasure and happiness every time – just the thought of it makes you smile?

Oh, and quite possibly wine too – red wine in front of the fire, with your marshmallows and toast! (Images courtesy Private Collection)

The Fish Rots From the Head

October 4, 2014

The saying goes that the fish rots from the head. Now, even though I’ve been a fishing girl all my life I cannot attest to the veracity of this statement but I like it and it has a certain ring of truth. It makes sense that the rot would set in from the head, given the brain and eyes and liquidy, mushy things reside there. I’m sure we rot from the head too, given the right circumstances.

But if we take the saying metaphorically, which is how it is meant most of the time, we can see the truth of the matter. Most organizations don’t fall apart from the bottom. No, businesses, companies and countries founder on the decisions and errors of those at the top, those with the big salaries, the big responsibilities, who are supposedly paid these astronomical figures to not fall apart.

When the banks went bust a few years ago, it wasn’t because of the tellers, or even your personal manager at the Commonwealth or Barclays. It was the traders, the CEO’s, the guys who deal in numbers not people, who earn ridiculous salaries for playing all day with other people’s money. Yes, a few got sacked, but we all know their bonuses are as robust as ever, while we, the innocent pay for their excesses with this endless English Narnia winter of austerity. When Greece and Ireland went bust a few years ago it wasn’t because of the normal taxpaying worker. No it was greedy governments, corrupt businessmen, grasping corporations. And now people can’t pay their bills or feed their families.

This unpleasant truth can also be applied to families. We learn everything first from the home. We learn how to behave, how to treat others, how to learn, how to take responsibility for ourselves. You name it, it all starts at home. And if the head of the family – the parents – are useless, absent, negligent, abusive, casual, unloving, uncaring (you get the picture), you can hardly blame the poor children for not knowing what’s what. A family is a little business, a little company all of its own making and parents shouldn’t even begin to start their own ‘company’ if they’re not going to ensure they do the job properly, with some integrity and consistency.

My good friend, Sir Michael Wilshaw has also noted that schools rot from the head. He’s on the record about the importance of good leadership, of good governance, of accountability and holding head-teachers to account more rigorously.

leadership

But what is good, effective leadership? There are tomes out there about it, the qualities you need: there are endless training courses to become an effective leader. Education has its own special training for aspiring leaders – Future Leaders. But I will not dwell there, not even for a nano-second.

Based on a meager 30 years in Education at a mere 11 schools across the planet, this is what I think good educational leadership looks like.

1.Vision – personal, true and realizable, that people understand and go with

2.Energy – drive and passion about education and children – that inspires others

3.Intellect – a clear understanding about what education is, how it works and what is needed to make it work

4.Integrity – personal integrity, and for the organization – follow the maxim that if you can’t tell your partner about what you did today then perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it

5.People skills – a clear ability to understand your staff, what they need, how to support them and take them with you – not in a matey over-familiar way but in a ‘we’re in this together, making it better together’ authentic way. Key to this is the ability to listen to your staff and students – to accept their views, giving them serious consideration, after all the school does not belong to the head-teacher alone

6.Courage – to do what is right, to stand up to external forces of darkness and do the right thing by the students, the staff and the parents of the school

 

leadership2

Whereas this is crap leadership

1.Bullying and intimidation – despite schools supposedly being ‘bully free zones’

2.Telling people what to do – are we all in the army now?

3.Changing procedures and requirements all the time – never giving anything time to bed in, be reviewed or improved or allowing the TIME for things

4.Not listening to anyone, because as you’re HT, you know it all – especially not allowing staff meetings where matters are discussed

5.Not understanding that education is a human endeavour – it’s about people not numbers and data, and teachers aren’t machines, nor are students

6.Constantly monitoring everything teachers do – because clearly having a university education means we are incapable of thinking for ourselves or doing our job if someone isn’t there to make sure we are!

This is the cascading shit model of leadership, shit decisions made at the top, cascaded down to the minions at the bottom who simply have to do, not question, no matter how non-sensical or counter-productive, who end up in shit up to their knees, because they can’t shovel it away quickly enough before the next wave comes down. This is the epitome of crap leadership, and a lot of it’s to do with fear, fear of the masses, who might actually know something, so at all costs they cannot be allowed to speak or question. Just do.

The sad fact, as observed by Douglas Adams amongst others, is that all too often the exact people who shouldn’t be in leadership positions are often the ones who are! Think about your average psychotic leader – Hitler, Idi Amin, Vladimir Putin, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Abbot, etc and I think you get my drift.

Perhaps we need more dolphins in charge – thoughtful, intelligent, sociable creatures? But didn’t they leave the planet just before the Vogons struck… (Images courtesy Private Collection)

Not My Finest Week…

September 27, 2014

In all honesty it’s been a shit of a week. I know bad things happen all the time and we’re all quite used to life not being sunshine and thorn-free roses, but some weeks are more full of shit than others. This is such a week.

I know there are, as ever, horrendous things happening, and there are a great many parts of the planet that you do not want to live in no matter what. But this week, this particular week I’d rather not be in my part of London, but in a cave somewhere, preferably by a beach, where I can be simply left alone.

deviot jetty

I have had worse weeks, and I know others have had a rough week too, and while that’s no real comfort, it is a reminder that life spends its time going up and down. If you follow the Tarot, or subscribe to Shakespeare you are familiar with the Wheel of Fortune. It is ever rolling on, and you’re always stuck to the wheel, either moving up, or moving down. It is that inevitability of the down that sucks. Oh, if only we could keep going up, or perhaps be on a small wheel, where the gaps between the apex and the pit are kinder, less extreme. Oh, for a kinder life!

So, following that line next week should see a movement upwards. But, dear reader, I am not holding my breath. Instead I am going to make some counter moves of my own and do a bit of shit-removing from my life.

love

Try these on for size

1.Keep my own mouth shut more often – think it but don’t say it

2.Ignore the idiots and the fools that populate my life, knowing most of them are only temporary visitors in my soap-opera

3.Take some advice from someone who knows more about certain things than I do – yes, take professional advice when needed

4.Firm up my escape plans, ensure they will enable a stress free move to the next chapter – perhaps sooner than anticipated…

5.Be with people I love – and hopefully laugh, feel some joy and stop feeling sorry for myself!

6.Go for a walk, get some fresh air in my lungs and endorphins in my brain

7.Drink wine, because no matter what’s gone down, everything looks better once you’ve had a glass or two (all right bottle or two) of your favourite wine.

I’m sure you have your own solutions to add to my meager list. Just remember: shit happens, sometimes all at once, but perhaps that means we get it out of the way for a while? You can only hope… (Images courtesy Private Collection)

Dear Parents – you need to do so much more…

September 20, 2014

We’re three weeks into the new school year and once more, dear friends, I wonder what parents actually think being a parent is all about. Let me share with you the letter I’d like to send to many of them…

Dear Parent

I am using that term loosely, perhaps essentially biologically because the rest of the parent-child deal you seem to have entirely ignored. Perhaps accidentally because you don’t really know any better, or perhaps because you don’t really care, and like the rest of the country believe it’s up to teachers to, well, teach your child about everything.

I must inform you that already your child is miles behind. They’re so far behind, they’ll probably never catch up. And you know what, it’s nothing to do with me. By the time they get to me in secondary school so much damage has been done that it is virtually impossible to correct. Yet, we are expected to. We’re expected to do your job as well as ours. We’re expected to devote our lives to your children. I wonder why you aren’t expected to do that?

And, luckily for your child, I will do my best to be their mother, their teacher, their confessor, their therapist, their social worker and anything else Ofsted, or senior management think I need to be to do my job. Fortunately for you, it’s not just me but a plethora of equally devoted, hard working teachers, whom you simply take for granted or complain about.

 

Do you want to help your child? Do you really want them to learn at school and become decent, thoughtful, functioning citizens, instead of the ignorant young lumps they are now?

family

Listen well, then, because here are some practical, straight forward and useful things you can do for your child, regardless of your income or social status.

1.Buy a map of the world and stick it on your walls. If you manage to have dinner together then look at it and discuss it. Your children need to know where places are, what oceans are, how far away New Zealand is.

2.Buy a dictionary and a thesaurus – don’t just rely on computers for everything. Reading a dictionary helps your word power, your ability to spell. A thesaurus will also help word power.

3.Read to your children when they are young. They will love it and it will do wonders for your relationship with them. Read fairy stories, myths, legends, classic children’s stories. Don’t let them know the world only through movies and screens. Reading helps them in everything – spelling, grammar, expression, empathy, understanding the world and people in it. Oh, and reading helps you learn to concentrate and concentration spans still matter. And those who run the world are readers.

4.Get an atlas too – look through it, read it together, talk about the world – it’s an interesting place.

 

 

5.Take your children out – not just to Thorpe Park. Living in the UK, especially around London means history and Art and Culture are but a train/bus ride away. It’s scandalous that children living in London do not know there is a river running through it, or haven’t been to the Globe theatre or a gallery. Lots of things are cheap or free. Take your children out and let them learn about their city, their world.

greenwich

 

 

6.Eat together. Have meals at the table, eat with knives and forks from plates. Eat healthy food – meat, fish and vegetables. Talk to each other. Leave all electronic equipment turned off.

7.Teach your child manners and respect for others. This means tolerance too.

 

8.Teach your child to take responsibility for themselves – give them chores and expect them to do more than sit on their increasingly fat arses doing nothing, being waited on by all and sundry. Expecting others to give them a bloody pen!

9.Check that they’re doing homework. Challenge them, help them, expect more from them. This lets you know what they know, if they’re coping or not, when you should get more involved.

10.Talk to your child, and, very importantly, listen to them.

11.Finally, be prepared to say NO to them. Give them limits, give them rules. Don’t let them be brats. No-body likes a brat, or a bitch.

Is that too hard? Is it too much to expect that you take some responsibility for your child becoming a decent adult, someone people like, admire, want to employ and spend time with?

But you need to start at the start. When they’re young and pliable, and love you no matter what. If you leave proper parenting until they meet me it’s too late for you too. They’ll be rude, argumentative, horrible, sulky, aggressive chunks of uncoordinated hormone driven, pimple infested teen monsters.

out tog

Perhaps you need to think harder about what being a parent really means? Perhaps you need to take your job as seriously as I take mine?

Yours

Ms Pink (Images from Private Collection)

In the Zone

September 13, 2014

Are you in the zone? I was hoping to be in the zone to go hard on my study this weekend but life being the fun thing she is I have a hideously sore throat and serious snuffles. Yes, germs already from the unwashed teenage beast. Not happy…

Being in the zone is one of those phrases we toss around with gay (old meaning of the word) abandon. We use it to mean being ready, being in the right place to do something. Being in the zone is a state of mind, of preparedness and we mostly know it from sport. But being in the zone is more than that. It’s actually about being fully immersed in your activity, your work, or your sport – no it’s not about being fully immersed in the pleasure of your bath.

Being in the Zone or Flow is about being so immersed in the activity you feel energized, fully involved and find it enjoyable. Think running, think swimming – once you get over the initial pain of getting fit, you find the experience up-lifting and highly pleasurable. Flow – being in the Zone – has been explored by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (and others) and is connected to a wide range of fields. He first stumbled upon the concept through noting how artists would essentially get lost in their work, to such an extent that the need for food, water and rest was ignored.

 

6 factors equal the experience of flow, or being in the zone

*intense and focused concentration on the present moment

*merging of action and awareness

*loss of reflective self-consciousness

*a sense of personal control over the situation or activity

*a distortion of temporal experience – to wit, you lose all sense of time

*experience of the activity as intrinsically rewarding

zone3

Do you recognize yourself in certain activities? If you are into fitness or artistic pursuits you should see yourself there. I also see something that would be most useful in a classroom – if we could get the little darlings there, into the zone of learning, how successful they would be!

 

But getting into the zone is the hardest thing. I need to be in the zone for a range of things:

To mark my books

To write

To work on my study

To regain fitness (oh, yes & diet)

zone1

In case you were wondering, there are agreed to conditions that need to be met to be successful in the zone, to find your flow:

1.Your activity needs clearly set goals and progress points – how many kilos off this week, how many chapters written?

2.The task needs clear & immediate feedback so we know how to adjust performance and stay in the zone – the mirror, your clothes, your readers, editor, supervisor

3.You need to have enough confidence in your ability to complete the task at hand – do you have the skills and the desire to complete your task – or when you falter can you get back on the horse?

 

Can I manage to get into the zone this weekend? Is there a zone you need to be in? Hopefully I can be so fully immersed in my zone that the annoyance and discomfort of my throat is magically spirited away. (Images from Private Collection)

Why FB Quizzes Are Good for You

September 6, 2014

I am:

Samantha from Bewitched

My Spirit Animal is a Wolf

Athena, Goddess of Wisdom & War

72% Right Brain

My Aura is Purple

My famous boyfriend is Robert Downey Jr

rdowney

Can you guess what I’ve been doing?

It’s a no brainer: oodles of Face-Book quizzes, like many others of you out there, because I get them from you. That list of results only scratches the surface! I have become addicted to them – not all, I hasten to add, but too many, it’s true. It’s not a good FB session if I haven’t had a go at at least one quiz.

But FB isn’t the only place for quizzes. I do the Brain Teasers in the Metro every morning as I psyche up for work; the Literary Quiz, Word Watch and Two Brains in Saturday’s Times and just to be even handed, I had a spell where I was addicted to The Guardian’s on-line quizzes, where I got scores ranging from 2/10 – 9/10! High scores were usually related to utter trivia… I never miss Pop Master on BBC2 when I’m home and I have managed a couple of good scores – 27/39 last time. Of course, there are pub-quizzes and all sorts of other places where you can team up with mates and pit your wits against others at quiz nights. Love them too – even when I don’t win.

There’s also a whole swag of quizzes on TV too. The old faithful reliable likes of University Challenge, Mastermind, Jeopardy and others like Only Connect or Eggheads, but that’s a bit slow.

paxman

You could spend most of your waking hours playing quizzes. There is a quiz for every sort of person in the world. If you move onto Sudoku and crosswords and other puzzles there’d be no room for anything else in your life.

Downsides to quizzes:

They waste a great deal of your time

Many of them are excessively trivial

They mostly tell you nothing useful about yourself or the world

They can be addictive

They can make you anti-social

They can make you feel more of an idiot than you already are

 

But there is a significant and important up-side to doing quizzes and puzzles and it should console those of us who are starting to feel guilty about how much of our lives is disappearing in a fug of on-line quizzes and vegetative states in front of a TV screen.

quiz2

Quizzes (and puzzles):

Keep your brain moving

Keep all its synapses and neurons firing

keep you sharp

Give you new insights into yourself

Give you new information

Keep dementia and Alzheimer’s at bay

 

So, ditch the guilt, do your quiz, keep your brain moving. Remember it’s like the rest of your body, if you keep exercising it you get to keep it longer. And in this era of increasing dementia anything that fires up your grey matter has to be a good thing. (Images courtesy Private Collection and Non-commercial reuse from Google)

The Fear (it’s that nasty old back to school feeling)

August 30, 2014

Have you woken this morning feeling uneasy, a bit distracted, not particularly refreshed, something niggling at you somewhere? Have you woken feeling like this on and off for the last week? Then I bet you’re a teacher two days away from returning to work, the summer holiday just not long enough. The fear of what awaits eating into you, ruining your last few days.

It’s not fair, is it? You spend the first week of the holiday getting over the year, the traumas and excesses of your life in a classroom, an edge of fear about your results hovering as you leave, wondering if you have done enough, if your students will do well. And then you can spend another week at the end as the dread, the fear about the new year builds again.

holiday

What I find amazing is that this fear never goes away. I’ve been doing this job for thirty years and STILL I have the dreams of dread, the uneasy awakening, the confusion about where I am, and what day it is. Then the dream crawls its way back to the front of my brain and I realise it was only a dream but that my days in the sun are numbered.

Last night I dreamt I couldn’t find my own classroom, or even a desk to work from, there were no IT facilities for me, I was meant to be preparing for an observation, I’d been away for too long and didn’t know my students and then the lesson I was preparing had been done by someone else in an amazing whizz-bang way and I knew I was doomed. Oh, yes, it was a fun dream.

Signs You’ve Got the Fear

*Dreams about – the students, no classroom control, being unprepared, being ignored, not belonging, being outside looking in, being in a school that isn’t really your school but you know it is, being rejected, results that swim before your eyes

*Unable to settle to a good night’s sleep again – unable to get to sleep, waking too often, not wanting to get out of bed in the am, feeling shit when you do wake up

*Looking for other jobs – there has to be an easier way to earn a living!

*Playing lotto – perhaps it is your turn this weekend…

*Face-booking your sadness, knowing your teacher friends will sympathise and join you in your suffering

*Feeling hopelessly inadequate about all parts of your life, not just your job

*Shopping for new clothes anyway, because shopping always makes you feel better

*Endless last drinks with mates to prolong the holiday vibe

 

Sadly I know of no cure for this. The fear seems to be one of the nastier side effects of being a teacher, the downside of the long holidays. I’m sure other professions have something similar, something you just have to endure, like childbirth to have a child.

Never mind, Sunday nights often make you feel as bad, don’t they? And Monday morning makes you want to pull the covers over your head and stay there forever.

bed

Never mind, we’ll plough on, just the same, be sparkling and bright for Monday’s endlessly mind numbing round of meetings, telling us what we already know, a mixture of aren’t you all shit and aren’t we going to be wonderful, and without any time to prepare or do anything really useful.

Never mind, we will still be the best we can, won’t we?

I guess it’s a bit like stage fright for actors, the fear is part and parcel of the job. If you don’t feel the fear you can’t do your job, you don’t care enough about it, you won’t be good enough.

So, feel the fear and do it anyway. (Images courtesy of Private Collection)

 

 

4 Simple Steps to Happiness

July 26, 2014

It’s nice to see the amount of people doing positivity posts on FB – looking at the good things in their lives. It seems a good thing to be doing, especially at the moment when so many terrible things have been happening. It is time to count our blessings and search for simple ways to be happy. Here are a few simple steps into happiness, this lovely sunny Saturday as we embrace the summer school holidays.

Music – the impact of music on mood is widely known – from its affect on soothing babies and children to firing up head-bangers. Today I have a few songs that are guaranteed to make you happy:

Happy by Pharrell Williams (Of course!)

Waterloo by Abba

Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears (drive to it)

Love is in the Air by John Paul Young (always makes me feel happy)

Beautiful Day by U2

Echo Beach by Martha and the Muffins (my personal favourite song ever)

IMAG1578.JPG

 

Smells – also known for their impact on your mood. Try these out:

Freshly mown grass

Smelly dog

Chlorine from the swimming pool

Your young baby’s head

Scented candles

The world after its rained

Fresh brewed coffee – especially early in the morning

 

Do something simple but satisfying

A walk in the park – move that body, every day it makes you feel so much better

Baking for others – the smell of baking is also mood elevating

Cleaning your home so it sparkles and shines and becomes a haven of tranquillity

Completing any task – a puzzle, a task for work

Have a long bath with loads of bubbles and nice smelly stuff

Reading – of course!!

 

Appreciate what you have – so many have lost so much lately, look around you and see what you have, look at it, hold it close to your heart and treasure what you have.

Family who love you

Friends who care about you

Work that pays your bills and sustains your ‘real’ life

A safe home to enjoy

A peaceful place to live

Be aware of what you have, of how precious it is and how easy it is to find and hold happiness and positivity to your life. (Images courtesy Private Collection)

Who Do You Hate Now (that Michael Gove has gone)?

July 19, 2014

Hate is a powerful emotion, as powerful as love, possibly as destructive as love, but without the power to heal and redeem us. So, dear friends, what do you do when someone you hate is no longer there, when the figure of all your negativity, your anger and frustration with your world is gone? To wit, what do we do now Michael Gove is no longer running Education in the UK?

It’s easy to see why Cameron has removed him. In the end Gove was too divisive, too antagonistic, too easy to hate and blame. It was a powerful move, bust him down to Chief Whip, losing more money than many of us earn in a year from his salary, before he got locked in the loo. The Gove haters amongst us could not have hoped for more. If ever there was confirmation that Karma existed here it was.

The man who had spat vitriol and bile at teachers for the last four years, who had marched through his agenda for change with nary a thought for students, or parents, or schools or consequences had got his come-uppance. Indeed the viral world was full of rejoicing. Which was fair enough. And it was made even sweeter when his silly wife revealed how betrayed the Goves really were, how terribly ripped off they felt. Altogether now, ahhh…

Gove:guardian

But now, who do we hate? Gove may be gone but his policies remain alive and afloat, if only for now. We have a clean-skin replacement, a woman and a mother, Nicky Morgan. So a clear attempt to soften the voters, despite her stance on gay marriage and being a corporate lawyer, deep in the bosom of acquisitions and asset stripping (watch this space). But she talked about stopping all the Tory hate-speak. She seems to be the face of reconciliation – not someone teachers or unions or the Labour Party will be able to vent their spleens about. We can expect soft words and perhaps some lessening of the reforming zeal.

Cameron may be a fool and an idiot and an awful lot of other useless things but the removal of such a hate figure as Gove seems to be a very smart move: it takes the wind out of a flotilla of sails. It seems it will beach the opposition, as Tristram Hunt has done little but criticise Gove, not his policies.

We need to hate. Sadly it is one of mankind’s uglier traits, along with anger and jealousy – all emotions that do very little for you, as an individual or nation. Is not the Middle East conflict based on hatred going back years? Is not the current War on Terror between the West and Islam similarly about hate?

Do you remember when the Berlin Wall came down? I was in Alice Springs, it was my first appointment as Head of English, I was pregnant, young and saw the world as full of possibility. The Wall coming down seemed to be an act of hope: the end of the Cold War, the beginning of peace between the West and the Eastern Bloc, the end of the Red Terror.

But how long did we survive without an enemy, without someone to hate? 1990 when the Wall came down to 2001 when the Twin Towers came down (Albeit with the Gulf War in between). Just over ten years – not very long, not long at all. Once again we live in a world driven by hate, by the need to have an enemy.

Is there someone in your life you need to hate? Do you need to have an enemy, are you in a constant state of war? Are you spending your time and energy in negativity, in hating someone that probably doesn’t know or care? Yes, we hate our bosses, our parents, our partners, former lovers, devious friends. But do we need to? Is our hatred of them simply hatred of something in ourselves?

Abbott:news.com.au

Life is too short to hate. Hatred has no up-side. It depletes you, makes you bitter, nasty, twisted. It takes time and effort to hate, time and effort you should be putting to better use. Rejoice that Gove has gone. Be pleased you no longer have to hate someone you didn’t know, who didn’t care, but who has got what he deserved. And you know what, he’d have got his Karmic punch without you (and me) hating him as much as we have. Now go and be positive somewhere else in your life and do not look for another object of hate to waste your life on.

But if you’re lost without Gove, remember there’s always Tony Abbott, equally offensive, arrogant and stupid. (Images: Michael Gove – The Guardian; Tony Abbott – News.com.au)


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