October 26nd, 2017.
Thought for today:
"Many years ago after my first two children James and Adam were born, I experienced an event that was to radically change my attitude towards personal possessions and personal feelings. Often on a weekend, I would take my three and five-year-old sons to visit the home of a widowed work colleague called Brenda in Huddersfield or a spinster work colleague in Dewsbury called Joyce.
During one such visit, one of my boisterous children knocked an ornament off Joyce's side table. I apologised profusely as I knew the ornament was a precious family heirloom. Upon seeing her ceramic figure broken in pieces on the floor, a look of instant disappointment and annoyance crossed Joyce's face. This look, however, was instantly followed by Joyce's huge smile, the adoption of a gentle and reassuring voice, and giving my son in question a big hug. I apologised again to which Joyce replied, 'Please don't concern yourself, Bill. No ornament, whatever its cost or significance is worth the pain or slight discomfort of a child.' I have never forgotten that lesson.
I must admit to liking things of antiquity in my house, especially paintings that are pleasing to the eye. Being often confined to my house when my absence of immune system leads to me being ill, I find it comforting to be surrounded by pleasing scenes. Our weekly cleaner, Jane, is always wary when dusting, in case she accidentally breaks an object but is now, at last, reassured that they are 'things' in my eyes and can never mean more to me than her hurt feelings. The same applies to child visitors and their parents in the event of an accident occurring. Should a breakage occur today, I instantly recall those wise words of Joyce, that even precious artefacts can never bring as much pleasure to one's eyes as the smile of a happy and healthy child. So as far as the things I own go, 'if it pains too much to experience them broken in an accident, then better they are not part of my possessions at all', has been my motto for many years.
Being a spinster of her time, Joyce never gave birth to children, but by God, she understood them far better than I ever would!That wasn't the only thing that I'll remember Joyce for. There were few occasions when I heard Joyce use her choice swear words, but when she did, the look on her face would signify her profound anger. Unlike all the rest of her colleagues, however, her swear words did not resemble the consonants found in the 'bloody hell,' 'Shit!' or 'F... it!' they might utter, but in her expression of 'Rats!Rats!Rats!'
As someone who specialised in Behaviour Modification Methods, I recognised that where the strength of expressed anger is being assessed, it isn't the words uttered by the angry person that really matters, but the nature and strength of the emotion that is attached to it! I knew that in the world of Joyce's emotions that her 'Rats!Rats! Rats!' meant, 'F... it!F... it!F... it!'
I am so grateful to Joyce for having taught me these vital lessons of life and especially the undeniable truth that no price can ever be placed upon the hurt feeling of an individual nor any amount of wealth purchase the comfort of a friendly visitor to your home. I would sooner break a Ming vase or some other valuable artefact than break the wings of a butterfly or stir hurt and guilt in an innocent child or bring a tear to their eye." William Forde: October 26, 2017.