Friday, 6 April 2012


I have a bee in my bonnet at the moment about religion. Or rather, about the open warfare that seems to have started between believers and non-believers. Now, for the sake of the argument and to avoid singling out individual belief systems and getting bogged down in a quagmire of "my god is better than your god" type of blows, I'm going to split the world into two lots of people. People who believe there is more to it all than this life and this moment and this planet, and people who don't. Believers, and non-believers.

Now, by no means am I good little Christian. When asked (note the emphasis on "asked"), I will profess to following the fundamentals of Christianity: a belief in God, a God that I can relate with, who acts as my conscience and guide, a set of rules for living my life with the minimum of harm and maximum of helpfulness I can muster. No doubt there are plenty of believers who follow pretty much that formula, and I'm sure there's a shyteload of non-believers who also do pretty much the same thing, but without reference to God.

My Bible tells me to spread the word of the Lord. I'm always happy to chat and debate religion, belief systems, philosophy... what I refuse to do is insist that I am right, non-believers are wrong, and everyone should believe as I do. I just couldn't do that to another person. Who am I to tell anyone else what to think?

I'm constantly startled, however, at the number of non-believers who insist upon telling me I believe in fairytales, that my belief system is wrong. I don't understand how it is that you find my belief system so offensive that you need to attack me over it. I've never even mentioned my belief system to you, yet you have an inkling I believe and BAM: wade on in to sway me to your point of view. I wouldn't dream of doing that to you: it's your life to live as you see fit.

Christians seem to be the last minority it's ok to debase. It's not politically correct to comment on hair colour, nationality, race, Islam, gender, Buddhism... but Christians? Fair game. I find it very disturbing. So many non-believers who are happy to shout about how they don't believe, because beliving incites hatred...

Pot, meet kettle....

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Glass jars

A childless friend shared a theory recently. Apparently, he was reading a book in which the author proposed that children were like glass jars: no matter how careful you are with them, and no matter how gently you treat them, they will become damaged. Even a smudge from a fingerprint is damage, thus there is no way to raise children without damaging them in some way.

That seems to be a rafter bleak viewpoint.

If having children means having glass jars, then let's take the analogy a little further. The creation of glass requires sand and heat (at least one element of which is required to create children), and from these two base ingredients, a product is made. Rather than having jars to damage, as parents we create jars, and it is our responsibility to create glass that is filled with light, that adds pressure to the world, and is tough enough to survive damage. So even if a fingerprint is left, by the parents or the world, it does not detract from the delight of the creation.

So yes, parents may inevitably "damage" their children in some way, accidentally, inadvertently, and with all good intentions... But the children should be better, more resilient people for it.

Monday, 2 January 2012

The Dunny queue

I was at a public event yesterday. The downside of attending a public event with small children is that they want to examine the toilets a lot. And I mean a lot. This particular event was designed as a family friendly event, and one of the concessions made to the family-friendly status if the event was the toilets. Rather than the standard big blocks on hire and dropped in the middle of the parklands, the City Council forked out and hired a row of individual cubicles.

So this was fine. The first time we went to the toilets, there was no one waiting, so the kids picked a toilet each and went on in. The second time, there was a short line, so we explained about waiting our turn and then taking whichever toilet became vacant, rather than choosing one. The third time, the queue was a bit longer. The fourth time, the single line for the 7 cubicles was getting quite long.

As we attended the toilets on the way out, something really interesting had happened. There were 6 separate lines in front of the 7 cubicles.

I can see you thinking "so?" HA! Human brings do not behave like that. Have you ever seen individual queues for anything at an event, let alone the toilets? The bladder motivated folk waiting for their turn have broken their programming, left the safety of the herd and breached the British tradition of forming an orderly queue, in favour of 6 queues!

It was dreadfully inefficient. Joining a queue required not only assessing queue length, but guessing how many of each family group actually needed to use the facilities, whether they were going to take turns or share one cubicle vs doing into adjacent cubicles as they became free, guessing at a contribution of liquids, solids or both, and figuring out how long the whole process would take them...

Quite a challenge.

I just wish I had seen what caused an entire group of people to abandon the conventional line up in favour of a less effective solution. Fascinating.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Don't squash my duck!

I heard my 4 year old yelp at her brother today, as he attempted to part her from a new toy goose, "DON'T SQUASH MY DUCK". I chuckled quietly to myself, and wished I had a duck, just so I could use that line. Then I realised she didn't have a duck, she did, in fact, have a goose.

I think we all have a "duck". It's that little voice in your head that conducts imaginary debates and conversations with people. It's the voice that reasons with you, that argues with you, that tells you things you don't want to hear, and quite often things you do want to hear, all the while disguised as someone who isn't you. You don't believe it when you should, and you do believe it when you shouldn't.

It rarely stops quacking. That particular duck produces a lot of duck poo, but it also produces eggs at regular intervals, which is mainly why you keep it around. And, despite you blatantly seeing the converstaionalist in your head as a duck, most people see it as something else... odd, quirky, crazy, individual... Not a duck, but a goose.

My duck starts quacking at the oddest of moments, and I"m done wasting those great discussions by only having them with myself.

So here I am.

Don't squash my duck.