Friday, December 16, 2011

The Lighting of a Fire

'Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.'
William Butler Yeats

On Monday of this week we celebrated yet another wonderful occasion, my little sister graduated from her university degree!
Doesn't she look super smart in her cap and gown? Born to wear it I say.
After four years of hard work, late nights, and more cups of tea than I can count, Jess achieved her Bachelor of Urban Development in Urban and Regional Planning. For the rest of us that means that she is a town planner, working to make our cities better in the future and consulting with communities to understand what it is they need most from their towns.
I am insanely proud of her.
Congratulations Jess. After all of your hard work you truly deserve to be recognised for all that you have achieved so far. You inspire me every single day.
Jess's group of graduates, and two of their proud teachers.
In our family, education is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself and the world. I am not talking about just university degrees or academic accolades; we value life education, the thirst for learning about the world that comes from really living every second of our lives, the skills that we learn from those who walk the road before us; in fostering the natural curiosity that lies within us all.
There is no end to what we can learn, no limit or bounds to the human mind. Education, learning, wisdom, all of these are the keys to so many doors. There is no lock strong enough to keep out an open mind.

Jess and Rachel, who reads this blog. Hi Rachel!
Growing up Jess and I were surrounded by books. Our parents talked to us about the news, about ideas that were larger than just our lives, about dreams and hopes and the history of our own family. 
Mum and Dad lit a fire, nurtured the two young curious minds that had been entrusted to them.
There were no rules about what girls 'should' learn. Jess can wield a drop saw to help Dad renovate the house just as well as she can frost a cupcake. I can hammer a nail as surely as I can sew a button on a shirt.
We learnt from a young age that hunger is good. 
Hunger that leads to devouring books late into the night, filling pages with stories and poetry.
Hunger that fills your soul with a yearning to observe, to create, to question, to listen, to seek minds greater than your own, to never close the door on an opportunity to learn more about the world and it's people and their ideas.

Two more curious minds. Or just curious people really.
Our parents showed us that you never know who has something to teach you. Your greatest teachers in life may not have an education degree, or work in a classroom, or have even finished school. They will not have succeeded in every venture they have tried. They might be years older than you, from a generation so removed from yours that it would be easy to dismiss them as old fashioned or out of touch. Your teachers might be younger than you; wisdom from the mouths of babes.
Trent and Jess.
The most important thing is that we keep an open mind.
Learn every single day. Discoveries will not always be grand or life-changing or even immediately recognisable.
Just remember to stay curious. Nurture the minds around you, young, old and in between.
Read, watch, listen, write, be in the world every day.
All those around you have walked different roads. They all have something to teach us.
If only we take time to learn.
Take time to light the fire and keep it burning.

'I am still learning.'


  1. such a wonderful tribute...and CONGRATS to baby sis!!! so much to be proud of, u two are such amazing women! :)

  2. LOVE THIS!!! CONGRATS to your sis! i am such a strong believer that there is ALWAYS more to learn and room to grow! love love love!

  3. WOw! Such wise parents, I hope I am one of those! Congratulations to Jess, so lovely reading the fabulous sisterhood you two so obviously cherish.

  4. Congratulations to your sister. Such a lovely tribute!

  5. Congrats to your little sister and her big achievement! Love what you said about keeping an open mind, so important! In regards to the comment on Inspired... I agree... a double wall oven is a must! I have one and it is just so useful around the Holidays!! Have a great Sunday, Cutie! xo

  6. Congratulations to your sister!!! What a wonderful achievement! You are right, everyday we learn something and keeping an open mind is so important.