Friday, November 11, 2016

Remember the parachute packer

I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor. How many hours did he spend on that long wooden table in the bowels of that ship weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of those chutes? I could have cared less…until one day my parachute came along and he packed it for me.

Source: Charlie Plump

Captain Charlie Plump would never have anticipated that day but it happened as his story on the above link will reveal. When we move through life there are moments of truth when you realize that sometimes you escape the undesired not because of your own doing or a good back up plan but because there was someone unknown to you who did their job well and made sure you made it out alive. I love the story of Charlie Plumb because it is a story of the unsung heroes of our lives. Those people stuck in the gallows of our lives but responsible for you as you stand on the big stage of life. The people who do the unseen menial stuff that no one even knows or even cares about, but which can be costly if not done diligently and with due care.

Have you ever stopped and thought about the many unsung heroes in your life. The people that are connected to the very core of your existence through what they do, but maybe you just have not had to use your parachute 'yet'. Imagine you have to use it one day because something went wrong as things sometimes do. Will the chute open up and land you safe on familiar grounds? It’s not a thought we consider is it? We expect life to carry on as normal until the nuts on the car tyres were not tightened, or the brakes fail on the highway. Life is never a one man show and the sooner one realizes it, the sooner one starts to respect those deemed insignificant people around them.

Everyone matters and every job is key to life revolving as it does. Let us always consider those who pack our parachutes as we go out to save the world daily and realise that without a proper parachute, things may not end as we wish. Many people pack your parachute daily. The food you eat, the car you drive, the elevator you use, the stitches on the clothes you wear, which withstand the strain. Yes you pay for good service and products and in today's world there are lawsuits and many ways of recourse, but at what cost? Is it not just wonderful when your life runs smooth without you fighting anyone for not doing their job well? You are also packing someone's parachute today. Do it well and bask in the glory of knowing that someone will save the world because you backed them up well.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Danno inspires hope!!

When I went out for dinner last week at the popular Winnie's Restaurant where good live jazz meets good company little did I know that it was going to be an exceptional evening. A live band of soulful krooners played a couple of old school jazz and after a while, a young man and his dad (this I didn't know at the time) joined the band with the dad on the piano and the son on the drums. I could not help but notice the change in ambiance as soon as they started playing. The tempo quickened, the vibe ignited and the sound became fuller and rich. I could not help but marvel at father and son action change the whole atmosphere instantly. I do have my musical interests, but have not in my life witnessed a boy of this age play drums at the level of skill he did. He exuded confidence, calm, control and experience that caught my attention. When they finished playing the father came over for conversation and told me a story I would like to share with you today. I had just witnessed an amazing 13 year old young man named Daniel (Danno) Petersen III go through his normal drum session.

Who is Daniel Petersen III

Daniel or Danno (stage name) is a 13 year old boy who was born into a musical dynasty which he has fully embraced. He is endorsed by Yamaha and Anatolian Cymbals since the age of 4 years of age. This is a major achievement for any artist let alone a boy of his age, coupled with a global stage. This is a plausible achievement for South Africa's young democracy. Danno received a full scholarship to study at the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp from June 27- July 15. Even the president of the Louis Armstrong Satchmo Summer camp is quote to have remarked that ‘This young musician is phenomenal. He would be an asset to the program’. According to his father, Danno is the youngest university student in Africa after going to the University of the Western Cape at age 11 on completion of his grade 5 normal school. He recently completed his grade 8 music qualification through Trinity College UK and will graduate from Trinity College UK with his LTCL - music Licentiate in November 2016. The LTCL compares with the South African Qualification Authority standards and is equal to a NQF LEVEL 6. This will make him the youngest person in Africa with a degree in Music. His Yamaha advertisement was voted under ADFOCUS – Financial Mail by more than a million people in the top 20 most liked ads on TV out of 70 000 commercials. He is also one of the youngest artists to record a demo album at Capital Records Hollywood in January 2015 and he also performed on the Movie Soundtrack Kalushi – Biopic of Solomon Mahlangu. Danno played at Madiba's 90th, 93rd and 95th birthday celebrations and also at a fundraiser for the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital. The Daniel Petersen Foundation was formed through which he helps underprivileged children to obtain musical instruments to reach their own dreams.

Inspiration from Danno

What made me want to write about Danno is his story as told by his father which stands out among other successful artists. Danno was born after several unsuccessful pregnancies and he then struggled with speech only starting to speak at the age of six years of age and yet he is now doing motivational talks around schools speaking to his peers about hope, hard work and not giving up on their dreams. His slogan is "its never too late to start" and he also speaks about discipline to achieve your dreams. When you meet Danno he is a normal 13 year old boy but when he sits on those drums he is no boy but an artist par excellence on a mission to conquer the world. Danno is turning 14 this year and will be doing a home coming and birthday concert celebrating 10 years as an endorsed artist at Winnie's Soul and Jazz Restaurant on the 1st of October 2016. I hope you can make time to attend the show should be around Johannesburg in South Africa during this time. Danno is quite a remarkable young man who is carrying a positive message for young children across the world. Check out the link above for more details on the event and you can also see Danno's brief journey and talent depth in the video attached. Connect with Danno and support his foundation through his Twitter pageInstagram or on his new Website from where you can book tickets for his upcoming show.  

Monday, April 25, 2016

How deep is your mud?

Having been unable to post for a while, I came across something that just triggered a post. The caption speaks volumes and I wanted to share this.

Life is basically the same for everyone but our capacity to deal with life is different. How true is that? Where one gets a little dusty someone else is totally messed up in dirt.  Where one gets splashes of water another gets drenched, where one gets stuck in a hole another jumps over it, where one cannot get over it another laughs it off and as the image says where someone gets a little mud on the feet someone is fully immersed in mud. That said, your response to the incident depends on who you ask. Where one response will paint a mountain of a problem, another will make it seem like a molehill. It's all up to the one you ask.

How are you increasing your capacity to handle the mud in your life? Is it through engaging in constructive conversation, enlarging your mental capacity through study, being part of groups that support you or creating financial wealth. Whatever it is, you need to create clearance for yourself so that you can scale some mud when the time comes and you will be able to walk to the other side. Because truly in life the mud will come up and you need to cross it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Love, sacrifice and acceptance

Artists are most times regarded as powerful social commentators who silently speak volumes through artwork. I am not aware of the artist who did the artwork herein, but can only say the person did a great job judging by the volume of words that came out to speak about the art work and the emotions it stirred. This picture was on one of the social media platforms and garnered hundreds of comments including my own. It is a picture of a reality between some parents and their children, but what is more touching is the fact that the father felt undeserving of the child's hand as he probably felt that he embarrassed for the boy, but the boy knowing the sacrifices his dad was making clung onto his father's finger in-spite of his friends laughing at them showing his own acceptance of his caring father . So below are some of the comments I found interesting which you may also agree with.

This child recognized the sacrifices his dad made for him in private by willing to hold his hand in public, even at the expense of friends laughing, he held on tight to his father's reluctant finger as dad quietly didn't want to embarrass his child and  thought the child would disown him in public. Great lesson of pure love from both sides. I'll always remember my dad paying all his bonus money one year into my extra lessons for maths.

My dad went 7 years with a broken washing machine that you had to manually spin for a few minutes to start up, just so he could pay our school fees lol. Made toys from recycling. The things that he did taught us key values in life. Hard work pays off, we get to where we need to be eventually. That's happiness.

Awwww... The father took pieces of his pants to put on his son's pants. This child will be the boss of those same kids laughing at him ... And he will give his father the world of happiness and riches.  And it's a shame that some parents don't teach their kids the how to appreciate.

This is a perfect example of how grateful we aught to be for what we have! Parents makes the darnedest sacrifice for their children!

A lot of kids don't realize the sacrifices parents made for them to have what the got, food, clothing, education, and shelter. They feel that is what parents have to do. They need to meet some of the kids that wish they had parents like theirs. Be grateful for all your parents do, it may not be all you want but what you need.

I wish my dad did that for me.

It's a powerful image..and yes to day theirs lots of dads and mam wit lots of holes so as the kids won't have any I pray the kids can know this.Love is the best blocker of holes.

Those children in the background are far more poor than they realize. I would much rather be a part of a family like the father and boy who have very little than be part of a family where everything is handed to me and become ungrateful. In fact, I do come from a family who has always had very little which is exactly why I have compassion and empathy. The father in this picture is filled with love for his son! Who could ask for more?

Image credit: Unknown

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The clear sky above the clouds

When someone is considered not to be in their normal state of mind and a decision had to be made, it is said that they may have clouded judgment on a matter and so their view may not be taken as an objective one. This could be because someone has deep emotions and feelings towards the issue or they may be intoxicated or there could be other things that make their mind impartial. Anyone who has traveled by air will know that sometimes clouds that make a day gloomy down below are usually low lying and above these clouds will be a very clear fine day with no one to enjoy but birds if they can fly that high. Clouds can create a dull gloomy day, but above them the sky will be spotlessly blue and clear. In life there are things that are not as bad as they seem, or as challenging as they want to look like. They are just blocking our view and clouding our judgment as the phrase says. Everyday is filled with judgments and decisions to be made. Some of the decisions we make are short term with no impact on tomorrow while some determine our destiny and life. The latter is when we really need to see the clear blue sky above the clouds and make proper decisions. This is when we need to disregard the low lying clouds blocking our vision and which make goals seem unattainable. It could even be raining  cats and dogs, wet and horrible below these clouds but the sun will still be shining above. Just because you can only see clouds now does not mean the sun is not shining, but you need to climb to the level where you can enjoy the sun. Climbing higher can be what you need to get out of your rainy day. Climb higher by improving your personal circumstances (studying, being a better person, better self management, dropping a bad habit etc). What is clouding your judgment today and how will you see above those clouds to determine your destiny? You need to soar above the clouds clouding your day. Mental soaring is key when you want to envision things above the reality that you face. It is much like when a submarine captain lifts the periscope out above the water surface to see clearly what is out there. The submarine will dive deep in the waters but it sends its eyes up above the clouded water so that the captain can see and make decisions. He cannot make decisions without a clear view and neither can you. You need your own periscope that can go above the clouds and see clearly where you are, where you are going and what action you need to take now. Enjoy, as you get your periscope up and see the clear sky above.