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  • Chloe O'Sullivan

If You Could Ask Me

My grandfather and I were very close, but he died when I was 8. I often wonder how our relationship would have changed over the years and what he would have to say about certain topics. Although he was born in the 1920s, mum always told me he was conservative in some ways but open-minded.

Several years ago, I started writing a book that I hope no one sees for a very long time. It’s title – If You Could Ask Me. Its entire purpose is that if I get hit by a bus, the kid knows what I might have said about a particular issue. I would like to think I’m raising her to be a kind, ethical, independent thinker but sometimes it’s nice to be able to get advice from your mum.

I write furiously in the middle of the night when something comes up in our family, or if there is something the kid and I have discussed that I would have explained in broader terms had she been an adult. I also write when something comes up that becomes part of the zeitgeist. Issues that are part of living in this particular place and time and I think will become part of the generational shift. Of the last several entries these are the ones I wanted to share.

Friendship – There are people who I know who are part of our lives, who are not related by blood, but even if I am not around will be there for you. There are two friends, both of whom I have known for over 30 years. It makes us all feel very old when we say that. Both of these women you call Aunty.

In very different ways, they are both two of the most amazing humans I know. Both very free-spirited in their own way, non-judgemental, spiritual and caring. Understand that real friendship is not about talking every day or geographic closeness. It’s about being able to pick up where you left off no matter how long it has been since you last spoke. It’s about being able to tell them absolutely anything and knowing that not only will they listen but they will have your back and be honest enough to tell you the truth in response. There will be friendships that come in and out of your life. They change as your ideals change and your interests change. You will learn over time to find your people. You don’t need to have known them a certain amount of time, but there should be a soulful connection that makes you feel safe. I have been lucky to find a few of these over the years, one thanks to a friendship that you formed at school. These are the people who will get you through the hard times.

Climate Rally – Just last month, thousands of school-aged children took the day off school to protest Climate Change polices which they feel are largely being ignored by the government. That day, a lot of adults took to social media to criticise these kids by calling them names and belittling their intelligence. Firstly, know that if you ever have an honestly held and well-reasoned ideal point of view, I will always have your back. If, as an adult talking with, or talking about children, your first reaction is not to reason but to belittle and insult them, then you need to rethink what your time at school has done for your intellectual skills. Perhaps joining the debate team might have been helpful. The other main complaint was that the kids were missing a day of school. Given the science, in this case, is on their side, you wonder why they care if they are missing class, when they are being asked to ignore scientific facts, which would be taught in those classes.

These are some of the things I want the kid to know. What do you want your kids to know?

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