Being a good bloke by Susan Grimsdell

There’s a programme on BBC called the Kindness Test designed to show the level of kindness in the general population.  The questions are along the lines of “Would you go to someone’s aid if you could see they needed help?” or “Do you hold doors open for other people?” “Do you give to charity?” “Do you volunteer?” and so on.  Now I grant that kindness is a difficult thing to measure, but I contacted the researchers to suggest that superficial small acts of kindness are not really an indication of the underlying… Read More

Scooters then and now by Susan Grimsdell

There was a wonderful photo in the Christchurch NZ newspaper a week ago.  It showed about a dozen 10-year-old boys in the year 1921 at a primary school in a small Canterbury town, lined up on their home-made wooden scooters, looking deadly serious, several of them with bare feet.  The picture tells a story about each of those boys and their scooters.  We can be almost certain they had help from a parent or sibling through everything it took to get to the finished scooter.  Planning and designing, scrounging timber from around… Read More

The source of happiness by Susan Grimsdell

We’re living in an age of self-fulfilment, finding ourselves, getting to our inner selves, mindfulness, meditation, all about looking deep into ourselves to find happiness.  Self, self, self.  Ancient values When I was a kid, we had no idea who we were or what we were all about – such notions never entered our heads.   It was drummed into us that we didn’t matter, other people mattered – don’t be selfish, stop thinking of yourself, share your toys, share your lollies, children should be seen and not heard, don’t talk about yourself… Read More

The tale of the sealion and the shark by Susan Grimsdell

Recently a sealion was bitten by a great white shark and lived to tell the tale. Well, the sealion didn’t tell it, a reporter did.  A feel-good story The tone of the news story was very upbeat – a happy story told entirely from the perspective of the sealion.  If it had been told from the shark’s perspective it would have been quite different.  Perhaps it might have been told like this: “There has been an unprecedented and alarming increase in the risk of extinction of great white sharks.  According to “Nature”… Read More

NZ farmers’ protest by Susan Grimsdell

Taking to the streets Hundreds of farmers recently took to the streets in their expensive tractors.  The vehicles are big bullying things, and that makes me think the drivers are too.  Sitting way up high, big wheels, the whole rig shouting – “I’m big and powerful and rich so get out of my way.” As far as I could make out, that was the essence of their protest – “This government is telling me what to do.  I won’t have it.  It’s my land, and I’ll say what happens to it.”  Farmers… Read More