When I was growing up, my father used to say that those who lived next door to the church were nearly always late to mass, by this he meant we can take living in certain locales for granted. This statement is true for me. I arrived back in Ireland on Friday, August 1st and I am taking in my surroundings with a different set of glasses than I did when I lived here. They are by no means rose colored. Some think I am the typical immigrant coming back and romanticizing but this is not true. I am well aware or recession, and unfortunately terrible service in restaurants. Yes, it rains and prices are high and people hate the banks. I have been reminded frequently about them, people volunteering their opinions freely and unsolicited. That being said, I am an Irish woman and a Cork woman to boot. As I write this, I am on the train from Killarney, Co Kerry to Dublin. The sky is grey, with patches of blue far off on the horizon, but every time I think we have reached the horizon, the blue patch just seems further away ! This is not new to me. I spent many a day or hour chasing that patch of blue as a child. Holding on to that hope when we were shivering at the beaches in Ardmore or Schull that the grey would disappear and eventually clear up completely ! Now at the age of 43, I am still chasing that blue patch.
This describes the Irish people very well for me, at least it describes me and people that I like to associate myself with very well. Rude and negative people are everywhere. In life, there are those that you meet that simply make you tired. I choose not to be around them as much as possible and when I am , I simply let what they say wash over me. The Irish people are a creative people. Creativity comes in all forms, it is not exclusive to crafts, cooking and music. Getting yourself out of a situation, creative thinking, strategizing , bartering and wheeling and dealing are all forms of creative thinking. Some, it is true are not put to good use. You can have the type of mind that can be used one of two ways. When my now 15 year old son was in pre-school, his teacher said to me “He has the ability to do two things, he can rule the world or ruin the world, how he does it is up to you” That was quite a statement coming from a teacher about a 4 year old but almost 12 years later is still as impactful today as it was then. You see, you can have the type of mind that is so creative and so brilliant that you can become a world class chess player, become CEO of a major corporation or you can end up in prison. You may well laugh or scoff at this statement or opinion but the prisons are indeed full of people with gifted minds, they just took the wrong path or detour somewhere back along in their lives. This is what my son’s teacher meant all those years ago. Harnessing that potential is the responsibility of every teacher and probably more importantly, in my opinion every parent.
I now understand with the benefit of hindsight , experience, knowledge and time how I felt in school. I did not understand but I do now. I was by no means a bad student but was not an exceptional student. I am referring to grades. They ambled around in the C’s and B’s for math and sciences but A’s for English and Irish. I could not get enough time with my grandmother knitting and sewing and was always hanging out in kitchens. I constantly asked questions and was never satisfied with a little information. Today we have a lovely label for me and indeed for my son. ADD & ADHD. Namely attention defecit disorder and attention defecit hyperactivity disorder. These names are indeed very beneficial for health insurance companies and doctors but once you have that label, there is a slight stigma associated with it in school. It is most unfortunate that they have to use the word disorder. People with ADD & ADHD have the magnificent ability to multi task and hyper focus under pressure. My husband has frequently asked me why I leave things until the 11th hour. Does this resonate with you? I do not plan or intend on leaving it until the 11th hour but quite simply when the pressure is on, my brain works in a way that I cannot get it to work when I have months of lead time. On the other hand, with absolutely no disrespect to accountants or engineers or people who work with ‘processes’ they are not labelled as LTD, linear thinking disorder. (This is my description of people who do not think like creative people !) They are simply linear thinkers. We need both in industry and commerce to succeed, the dreamers to think, dream, create and innovate and the other to implement and ensure success.
This week, I have traveled around Ireland with some clients from the States and it was never so evident that we are indeed a nation of ADD people. We chatter and multi task and offer new and creative ideas and suggestions. People talked in somewhat confusing circles to these people but I knew they were going to reach the point eventually ! I felt at home again. They are indeed my people ! I know how they think and how they create.
Brendan O’Carrol was born in Finglas , Co Dublin in 1955. He is well known in Ireland and the UK for his production skills and for his comedic genius . He is becoming somewhat of a sensation in the States on Facebook and YouTube also for his portrayal of the scandalous Irish mammy, “Mrs Brown”. Brendan left school at the age of 12. He has an IQ of 156 and is a member of Mensa, reminding us that grades are not a measure of intelligence but mere guidelines.
The beginning of this post talks about taking your area for granted. I rambled for a few paragraphs but like the people we met this week, I am getting back to the point. After all this time abroad, it takes many visits home to really appreciate and love what I had growing up in Ireland.