Family Matters

The thoughts of a husband, father, brother and son

Archive for the category “Optimism”

Good Times For A Change…

Some bits of really good news this week.

First, my nephew, H. This is a young man with a very tough home life. His mum has advanced MS. His little brother has quite pronounced physical challenges, and although he’s an exceptionally cute little lad, is very demanding of his parents’ time. H gets lots and lots of love from his family, but they don’t have much money and live in a council house in an inner city.

H is just coming up to the end of primary school, and the thought of him trying to survive in one of the inner city comprehensive schools for which he was bound was not a happy one. But this week we heard that he has won a full, seven year scholarship to the very prestigious private school which was the port in a storm for my eldest son when he was driven out of our local school by homophobic bullying. H did this all by himself – no coaching, no tutoring – and if there is a prouder, happier uncle anywhere in the world right now, I would very much like to meet him. If ever a family deserved a bit of good fortune, H’s family is that family.

It’s disappointing that the state system couldn’t offer H or my son any more support, but that seems to be the way of the world.

Next, my dad. He’s been discharged from the care of his psychiatrist. Whilst he’s still something of a shadow of the man he was before depression put him in hospital two years ago, he’s much recovered, and we do seem to have avoided a double-dip depression (I wish I could claim credit for that phrase but have to tip my hat to my mum).

Finally, my wife, the Beautiful Armenian. After weeks and weeks of frustration and set-back she has finally been given the go-ahead to start writing up the transcript of a counselling session that is one of the requirements of the final year of her course. That’s a bit of a two-sided coin. The frustration of waiting is over. Now comes the joy of living with her in writing mode.

Back on the subject of depression, but to end on a lighter note, I was watching England play rugby on Saturday and moaning mildly about the dark nature of Brian Moore’s (ex-England player) TV commentary. But, I explained to the Beautiful A as she passed through the room, he was abused in childhood, has suffered from depression and has had the courage to write a book about it all.

Her response was priceless. She did check herself towards the end of her question, but she definitely said it and I definitely heard it:

“Oh,” she said, looking at the television. “Is he the one who committed suicide?”

She isn’t blonde, but I do wonder occasionally if I ought to get her a wig.


Some Things To Make Us All Feel Hopeful

One thing I did over Christmas was finish reading this very uplifting book.

It deliberately looks at what good news there may be for us all in some very rapid changes in technology going on at the moment.  And, if it’s all to be believed, there is potentially a lot of good news.

Stevenson talks about things that most of us probably don’t know or hear much about – micro-technology, genetics, robotics etc.  There’s understandably a lot about climate change and energy policy, and suggestions that there may be answers to both well within our grasp.  He also argues that we could in our lifetimes see the western capitalist model replaced with something new.

It all sounds a bit heavy, but it’s not.  This is one of those books about science that non-scientists can easily follow.  And quite funny in places as well.

For all the discussion of science and technology, one of the most interesting sections is where he describes how something as simple as putting fences in different places can completely transform the drought-scarred Australian outback.  Although equally interesting is the fact that many Australian farmers are resisting the new ideas because it’s not how their fathers farmed.

A little easier on the intellect, but equally uplifting, was the family trip to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.  Not one for the homophobe or anyone with a Victorian attitude to all things naughty, but in our collective opinion, utterly, utterly brilliant.  In the best traditions of theatre, it will make most people laugh and cry.  On top of everything else, I get a real buzz out of seeing almost anything done to a very, very high standard, and this was world class.

Not everything about Christmas was this good, but these things, and the extraordinary behaviour of the Very Precious Daughter, have left my pointlessly optimistic nature in good shape.

And we’re going to the panto this afternoon – for me always one of the holiday highlights.

I need to cling onto this warm, fuzzy feeling.

Happy New Year!

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