Growth happens in tiny little steps, imperceptible to the eye, or in one or two massive stages that blow your world apart, to be rebuilt or adjusted to. Glacial pace or like lightning, it’s about stimulating and feeding life, moving forward and providing new opportunities for further growth.

I recently witnessed something which really resonated with me at the time, but which I didn’t realise would have an ongoing impact on me. However, when I least expect it, the memory pops into my head.
Every day I, like many Melburnians, get the train to work.
One day, as we approached the CBD, I overheard a conversation.
A man and two boys had gotten on the train a few stations back, and as seats became more available, they took them although it meant that they could not sit together.
The man was in front of me, and he continued to chat with his son who was seated behind me. I tuned out, and their conversation seemed to lapse for a couple of minutes.
Then, the boy put his hand on the top of the seat I was sitting on, prompting my attention. He called to his dad, saying, “dad, I’m going to try to have a good day today. Yesterday was really hard, but it’s over, and today is a new day.” His dad nodded and commended his son, and the conversation changed to another topic without either of them elaborating about what had happened on the previous day.
I gathered that the boy had gone home, after a rough day, and in some way or another, had related the events to his parents. Who knows whether he came right out and told them, or whether it came out via a bad temper, or a story, but it seems that they’d talked about it. The words the boy used seemed so mature, as though his parents had calmly talked to him about his situation and had tried to give him the benefit of their wisdom.
We all have crappy days, and sometimes we need to have someone there to remind us that we’re good people, and that, like the other crap days we’ve lived through, this too, shall pass.
This boy looked to be in year 7; starting secondary school is a huge period of growth. His ability to determine which experiences will benefit or retard him, and which are best dismissed immediately, or worth worrying about, will hold him in good stead.
For the rest of his life, he’ll be faced with opportunities to let days like that break him, but his early developed resilience will ensure that he keeps moving forward and lives the best life he can.
When I was that kid’s age, all I wanted to do was fit in, and it was hard. At that age, you’re still finding out who you are, what sort of person you are. At the same time, everyone else is imposing their personalities and views on you. From one minute to the next, you don’t know if a thought you had was yours or someone else’s.
Having good people around you, who already know who they are and who want you to get the best from life, is a huge asset. Parents who spend time with their children, and who instil good values and a firm set of standards will likely find that their children continue along that vein into adulthood. Subsequently, that young adult will live their life on a solid foundation. They’ve already got the basis for what makes them tick, and then experiences teach them more about why those foundations are so important.
Their standards will be tested, and it might be that they’re dropped at times, but then they’ll realise that they weren’t being true. Perhaps they were influenced by someone else again. Whatever the reason, if their standards are ingrained deeply, they’ll revert. Without necessarily thinking it, they know that who they are, what they stand for and what they’ll accept for themselves and their life is the key to everything.
I was so impressed by this boy’s acceptance of the sage advice, and his earnest sincerity in the way he raised it to his father, completely out of the blue.  It was both vulnerable and matter of fact; an exhibition of his comprehension of the lesson. Parents talk to their kids without confirmation that they’re listening or taking it in, only to hear their child repeat the words at a later time.
At an age where he could have rejected his parents’ words, he absorbed them, and recounted them back to his father, and in a public place.
Devoid of the embarrassment some children feel about airing such personal matters, he pledged to grow and, unwittingly, to invest in his future. I was proud of him, and, no doubt, his father would have been even more so.
I was honoured to have witnessed a display of such respect and acknowledgement of the strength of their relationship, and a willingness to do what he knew was right for himself.
If that’s not growth, I don’t know what is.
marie louise pawsey
Marie-Louise Pawsey is a Life Stylist. She coaches people who want to improve their lives to take calculated risks which lead to better jobs, relationships and social lives. She believes that realising you’re not what you thought you were, and deciding you need to fix it can be a huge opportunity for growth.
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