What is the difference between a well-dressed charity donator on a unicycle and a poorly dressed charity donator on a bicycle? Attire. We compare so much in a joking manner in life but when it comes to charity, no jokes are needed; just time and action.
“So, you give how much to charity?” At the end of the day, no one really cares about how much you give in material worth, what matters most is time. Likewise, if these charities earned a dollar for every time someone said, “I’d do that”, more people in need would no longer be needy. The point here is that unless there is action, nothing will ever be achieved, regardless of intent.
Charities, great and small aren’t after scamming cash to feed their own pockets, despite being one of many excuses we use to: a) avoid giving and b) relieve ourselves of guilt when ignoring need. Many charities are more worthy than others so before you go giving away money to just anyone, I urge you to think about the substitutes that are just as helpful to these causes.
I have to say; I was rather surprised recently when my peers almost deliberately turned a blind eye on my call to arms for charity. And moreover, the turning of that same blind eye from my own generosity. I am not some filthy rich aristocrat parading around in an Aston Martin filled with the latest gizmos and gadgets. Nor am I trying to flaunt my amazement, I am merely using my minor status within the community as an author and semi-professional footballer to promote positive action. The message I convey is that giving is taking, in that you give, then take the reward of feeling good. It’s the ultimate win-win. Anne Frank famously said, “no-one ever became poor from giving”. For me, it is not too difficult to analyse the importance of this giving and in return, feel great. It helps me tick. Why don’t more people give? I have been asking myself this for a while now. Let’s indulge a little.
Giving is great; it releases these amazing hormones into the body that have been more or less on the ice, waiting. Oxytocin, otherwise known as "the love drug", is the single greatest drug on earth and it comes free with positive interaction. Better yet, we produce it ourselves. In the words of Toyota, “Oh what a feeling”. So why don’t people get off on it more often? I mean, if it feels great and it is good for you, shouldn’t we be raving home about it? The answer is still as unclear for me now as it was when I first researched it. I gathered this much. In this narcissistic, pompous and self-absorbed world we live in, who has the time to even think about others, let alone the benefits of helping others through positive action?
It is difficult to even spark ourselves into action when we are the only ones who will directly benefit- diet, exercise, saving, gardening, getting out of bed- so how can I expect others would even bat an eyelid when prompting a charitable coup? Here’s where our society gets nasty, envy creates bitterness and hence, forth comes hate. Take some time to digest that. Scientists say, “68% of the western world will actually retract further from giving to those in need when called upon by someone they feel they are better than”. This is not only heinous and true but really alarming, almost unfathomable. Then I thought of that guy in Melbourne, Swanston Street, standing there, waving his BIG ISSUE asking for aid, you know the one. We are certainly more likely to be happy accidentally losing a gold coin on the train than to parting ways with it, to this guy, right?
I wondered why I’d get the reaction I have, time and time again when calling on others to donate. Like people, charities don’t want money, what they pine for is time. So, there is hope, people; you don’t have to give money. Some people, I mean, really good people just need your time. Perhaps a smile, a hand or an ear will help in ways you didn’t think possible. Time is the single most important asset we have to give. Most of us have it in bucket loads so please don’t waste it.
At JustZeusBooks, we kindly and proudly support the staff at Perth Children's Hospital and its foundation. $3 from every sale of Timothy's latest children's book, 'I'm The Best', goes directly to this amazing foundation. We maintain that the single most satisfying thing is to watch kids and their families in need smile. This act is magic. Help us create a little magic.
PMH BIG WALK, November 12.
“It’s raining men. Hallelujah!” The melody rings true in our ears, we visualise the film clip or even just a vivid memory that links to this song. What doesn’t exist though, is the image of men in the modern day primary school classroom. It’s in a drought and, if recent research is anything to go by, it ain’t showing any signs of precipitation anytime soon. In fact, the trends are telling us that if the rapid decline in this once abundant wetland continues, the male primary teacher may cease to exist completely in the not too distant future. The question everyone is asking is, "why?"
In light of this alarming information, I deem it necessary to inform you of the benefits in which the male primary school teacher brings forth to not only a school but also a child’s development as they enter a swift roller coaster ride into adolescence and beyond.
Oh, and whilst I’m there, I may as well throw in my two bobs as to why men are leaving, or worse, scared to even enter the primary school classroom in the first place.
We all hear (or tell) those stories about 'this school' or 'that school' and their scarcity of males roaming the school grounds. Most have one, even I do. My first school was amazing! It had such a supportive group of mentors, inspiring educators and a well looked after axillary staff. It was a place where, as a teacher, you wanted to be. What it didn’t have though, was a male existence. Of thirty-two classroom teachers, I was the only male. The Physical Education teacher was male and one of four assistant principals was male, but that was literally it. It was certainly something that I took note of, particularly following my recent departure from university studies whereof the eighty-four students to have graduated, just nine of were male.
So why this starvation of such a powerful resource? Let’s uncover some pros and cons of the modern day male teacher, perhaps this will allow an insight as to why this occupation is becoming more and more dominated by their female counterparts.
As an intrigued male teacher, I empathise with those who have left the profession and stand with those who remain. In a recent study of entry-level teachers, one in five leave the profession within the first four years of practice. In fact, the ratio of men to women has now hit an all-time low of less than one to five and this number continues its dramatic decline. That’s right, only 18% occupation from men in primary classrooms around Australia. With first-hand perceptiveness and many tales to tell, I have summed up a diagnosis of why this statistic is becoming more than just alarming and the slide may just hit extinction in the not too distant future.
Within this industry, there’s a really big elephant in the room, always. It may be swept under the carpet in many schools or tucked away behind the art supplies but its festering head is near inescapable. Male teachers are paedophiles. ‘Ummah! He said the unthinkable.’ The longer I stay in the industry, it seems to be creating some warped perception in society, males simply do not belong in the classroom. Why? It's a good question. But, as a male, you feel the brunt of it. 'They wouldn’t be mingling with kids unless there are some hidden motives; some really creepy sinister ones, right?' It is actually really saddening but it’s undeniably true- these comments have been passed. The slightest hint of students in a learning space with a male and questions are asked. Any form of care, nurturance or support for welfare beyond the, “she’ll be right, up you get. You’re tough, wipe those tears away and get on with it”, eyebrows are raised. “What is he doing? That’s unprofessional”, more remarks continue to arise. And the vicious cycle regenerates. Meanwhile, data continues to forecast that, at the rate we are losing males in the classroom, there will be none by the time our calendar ticks over, 2054. Con.
Classrooms need males; their kooky personalities, their leadership and their experiences (yes, this differs to that of women). The men of today grew up in a different world; one filled with stigma and more importantly; one without male teachers. Without them our youth may not be as able to adapt to the rigours of new adulthood as a male of tomorrow. Men need to be brave and tough, yet sensitive and kind. They need to handle stress as if it doesn’t exist, yet open up and talk about their feelings. In a classroom, many a student barely interacts with a male of any kind, let alone a male teacher. Many even grow up without a male role model at all; Dad moved on, Mum and her girlfriend don’t have many male friends to look up to or the child’s iPad is too important to join a football team where the male- to- male relationship can flourish. All of these issues may not have been around thirty years ago and, let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the bond a teacher and their students can establish. Role models come in many forms but the male in one’s life is memorable. A teacher spends just as much, if not more time with a student than its family, hence setting the ideal path for development on social, emotional and academic trails - this is critical. The male teacher fills this void idyllically. Pro.
Huge generalisations here. Men are scary, messy and extremely lazy. Women are tidy, proper and driven. Kids, as we know, are like sponges; taking in mannerisms, traits and even the way we demonstrate basic functions such as; respectful body language, empathic emotions and taking pride in one’s day to day routines. With the aforementioned generalisations in mind, it’s clear to see why men are a decreasingly meagre resource in the primary school. And with these generalisations, modern-day stigmas are being established as well as a robust refutation to the teaching profession entirely. Con.
The reality lies in the facts. Male teachers are disappearing. My experiences though, showcase some of the most rewarding endeavours I have ever met. The journey of teaching, from year to year, can often be tumultuous and as a male, most of its tribulations occur away from the realms of one's own classroom. Within its walls can be sheer bliss; the bright personalities are worthy of life’s gold stars and the mesmerisation that occurs whilst watching skills, relationships and a sense of belonging mature is beyond inspiring. Men are hearty beasts and dealing with the day to day politics and misconstrued messages behind the scenes, alongside a continual demand for unnecessary catalogues of data are quite frankly turning men away. I, like most, love a yarn, thrive on challenge and aspire toward great relationships. Many schools are in discord and men, again speaking in general terms, haven’t the time nor patience to resolve with pettiness.
A more driven focus, based upon nurturance of positive relationships with kids and their community would enhance the attractiveness of the institutes. The learning should be based upon lifelong skills, allowing for growth in a range of areas and be all-inclusive of individual needs. At the moment and with current directional trends, schools are spiralling toward unwanted territory; rigour is sought yet confrontation and defiance is achieved, respect is commanded though authoritarian bias is clearly evident. As a male teacher, more over, as a human being, I like knowing that my opinion counts but the way schools are headed, teachers are becoming just another brick in the wall. So, what hope is there for the students?
To conclude, boys never really grow up and one of their favourite things to do is bend the rules; and that’s entirely fine, actually, it should be positively reinforced. Within reason, this act in itself should be encouraged. The best kind of learning is done in an environment where we mess up, push boundaries and ask why?, yet do so without fear of ridicule. If we delve in and actually investigate why men are no longer wanting to teach in the primary school environment, we would find the answers in this very same philosophical notion. Men and boys are merely the same - just in different developmental phases of life. How do we expect the classroom to be more appealing to a male when the very system the teacher is asked to enter is handing each a strait-jacket on arrival? All this is difficult to swallow; but try swallowing when being strangled. You ask, “why don’t more men teach in primary schools?” I ask, why would they?
Dusty Martin; not necessarily the traditional type, but a role model for the ages.
Just the sight of him, for those not knowing he’s an elite athlete, could be the showcase piece in your children's nightmares. Yet, these same distinctive features; rapidly becoming the most recognisable in the business, offer something so remarkably desirable, it’s actually hard to ignore. On the surface, Dustin Martin reeks of bad news and just a few months ago I would have undoubtedly broadcasted, ‘he is!’ There’s a certain waft of “thug” when his presence ceremoniously arrives. But this is certainly not the case. Most noteworthy, if one who is indeed lucky enough to come into his presence you may witness an impression that is quite the opposite. And with this we stand in ovation, this champion idol, his very finest endowments in tow, has shone gloriously on the mightiest of stages. This Richmond icon, 'Dusty', is a lot of things but foremost an ideal role model for all.
The old saying goes, ‘never judge a book by its cover’, and within this incredible script, albeit one that would sell millions of copies regardless of what was slapped upon the shell, the contents would embrace something far beyond the imagination of its readers. Of what may occupy the mind when peering at the book’s jacket, a very different tale would ensue. This rough, tattoo-laden and uncultivated bloke brings a certain wonder in all walks of life but throughout what will most likely go down as the most brilliant year of his life, a charismatic, almost adorable personality has surfaced from beyond his image. He smacks of swagger and arrogance, yet instils warmth in thousands, filling the hearts of not just his Tiger faithful. You could be forgiven for preconceiving Dusty as many things; a footballer straight from the brute-lit eighties perhaps. Alongside Dermie, David Reece-Jones and ‘Wacko’ Jacko, carrying on with hard-hitting thuggery, instead, we watch in awe the bullocking prowess though within every inch of our great game’s rule book. His attack on anything that resides in his path is relentless, his power is jaw dropping and his sheer will, nauseatingly intimidating. What is most captivating though, and perhaps unrivalled, especially now Bob Murphy from the Western Bulldogs has retired, is his selflessness. I know right, who would’ve thought this attribute would leave such a mark on us? Using your strengths to strengthen others and bring about solidarity is something even the world’s greatest leaders are unable to achieve. Yet Dusty practices this. All the time. This Richmond icon is an ideal role model for all.
His story voices a careless kid, who left school at fourteen, drifting meaninglessly; in every sense of the phrase. No doubt, he gave his teachers little respect in which the favour would’ve been returned but for this lad, dreams weren’t to be chased in text books within a classroom. Once again, this image of society’s failure emits itself but Dusty had other ideas. He matured quickly and took great pride in three things: loyalty to his family, his hair and his footy. A distant drought that was the Richmond Football Club’s premiership tilt was beseeching upon a forecast of rain. Despite many in this teen’s life stamping him a good for nothing failure, Dusty devised how his dream of AFL glory would become a reality; for, on this platform, he could show his doubters he was made to create history, his way. Once again, the cover could never quite tell this tale.
Like all fairy tales, Dusty’s road to his happy ending (which culminated on AFL Grand Final day as he etched his name in history as the first, perhaps never to be repeated, to win the medal treble, winning the Brownlow, Norm Smith and Premiership Medals all in one season) had plenty of potholes; many threatened to derail his journey completely. None more so than his off-field misdemeanours. But, ever resilient, this determined greenhorn proved everyone wrong for not the first time in his life. He grew wiser; his preparation become more diligent and his performance enhanced accordingly, becoming exemplary in his consistent ability to dazzle in front of a stirred footy nation. The mental rigour, robust and uncanny, lays a foundation for the softer, more palatable (in the eyes of mothers around the country) side of Dusty. He inspires others to give only their best, regardless of the, what he tongues, “outside noise”. He generates excitement and puts bums on seats. This man is contagious, even addictive. His expertise on the footy field is transfixing, "will anybody ever tackle him by the hips?”, we query whilst shaking our heads in sheer delirium, for haven’t we seen this before? Consistency is a product of the ‘behind the scenes’ work this weapon completes but surely he can’t keep fending off and baffling his opponents. Can he? This guy is so driven; it is hard to see him ever slowing down. His dash excites and we will continue to question whether he will ever be beaten in a one on one battle. These individual attributes are simply special but they are not what makes him so uncompromising.
We watched his interviews on Brownlow night and the ensuing days with cynical smiles. Many even patronised. We loved his honesty yet couldn’t help but giggle at his manner. Clearly uneducated, at times inarticulate and often leaving a distasteful lump in our throats. He is a ruffian; bordering bogan so why is he so appealing to listen to. We hang on every short sentence he tries to project; he is helplessly mitigating incomprehensible lines of questioning to the best of his ability. He is not a journo, nor is he a scholar; he’s a footballer and a bloody top bloke. He, like his statements in response to a Bruce McAveney ‘special’ proposition, is raw. We, as an adoring cheer squad for the guy, hopelessly hold our hearts, for the bloke is as genuine a person as we’ve seen. He navigates difficult prophetic interrogations like he is talking to his high school councillor; a shrug of the shoulders here, a nervous and defensive profanity there. There’s so much to pick at this guy but we don’t, we just sit and admire. What Dustin Martin brings to the table and the footy field is realism. He is who he is and that’s commendable. He has had leadership of a different kind inherently bestowed upon him now and kudos to that. Kids should go out try the ‘don’t argue’ and inside out banana kicks directly in front of goals, why not? Heck, even let them shave the side of their skull like the Tiger number 4. If it makes them more driven, to aspire to be like their hero; their role model, then so be it.
Nobody is perfect and Dusty Martin is far from it but what his imperfections allow us to marvel at most is his ability to do just that: be imperfect. He has and will continue to make mistakes; on and off the field. We acknowledge he, like everyone else, is human. We long for our own kids to look upon this unfolding reference in history as they make independent choices in life. We realise people don’t need ‘the look’ or pretentious badges in life – the private school upbringing, the model citizen of the month certificates or the clothes which radiate ‘darling kid you take to neighbourhood bbq’s with pride', we just need undisputed authentic individuals. And one Dustin Martin encompasses this with high distinction. Champion player, a role model for all.