I have spent the better part of fifteen years studying philosophy, religion and science looking for answers to the big questions. However, it was only this year that I realised I had been going about it all wrong. I had been reading a viewpoint only to reject it - so I knew what I didn't believe. But I realised that I hadn't a notion of what it is that I did believe. Of course the answer was simple - what I believed were the things which were "truth" for me - which I had synthesised into my life and which worked for me. Not surprisingly, many of these insights came from my family and (because of the time I spent with her) - from my Nan.
So here are a few of the things I do believe which my Nan taught me…
I believe in hard work. Nan was always a hard worker no matter whether it was for love or money. I never heard Nan say "that will do" as some are often heard to mutter when completing some menial task for work. Nan wouldn't work to a standard set by her boss or for any external reward. Nan taught me to work for the intrinsic reward - work until you are satisfied that you have done a good job - a good message to send to a child.
I believe in reading. The love of reading is a great gift to give a child. Nan would buy us comic books full of fun stories and high interest articles. Nan bought me my first Dolly magazine - a magazine my daughter now reads because of their dedication to young people. Nan provided us with library membership - which opened up a whole world to us. I still remember the feeling of getting a new book which no one had "stamped out" yet. I have moved to many towns and have more library cards than any other souvenir of my life there. We are a family of voracious readers. What a legacy!
I believe in good food. My Nan was the best cook in the world. Is there anyone who could doubt that statement? Nan taught us all how good food can warm the soul. This is something that she has passed to us all - that love was the secret ingredient. When I taste my daughter's pikelets, my aunt's trifle or the way my mum makes sandwiches, there is a little element of Nan in there, that they have made their own.
I believe in family. Nan taught me that family is important. That is a lesson that stays with a child forever. I spent so much time trying to "be" something, until I learned that being a mother WAS being someone. Nan was always so proud to speak of her family, her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren. She was one of the best teachers I had.
Finally, I believe in laughter. All of us have a memory of laughing with Nan. She taught us the old adage - that laughter is the best medicine. In the face of adversity, embarrassment or just uncomfortable situations, Nan's ability to laugh at herself kept us all in good spirits.
I last saw Nan on Easter Sunday When we walked in she was reading a book. She chatted with us, had a laugh and a joke and we had our picture taken with her. Then with hugs and kisses all round - she went off for her evening meal. Nourishment for the mind, body and soul. That's what Nan taught us.
Nan taught me to laugh...