Sunday, June 15, 2008


Photograph Sutton Estate ©

There is a passage in the Old Testament of the Bible stating that ".. the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son ". It is true of course because the negative behaviour both in and outside the family of the 'significant others' in our lives have repercussions for the sons and the daughters - sometimes the 'sins' can have inter generational significance. But there is another side to this old testament gloominess and that is that the positive and joyful actions of the significant people in our lives can have powerful positive effects on us.

This is a photograph of my grandfather (on my mothers side) standing next to the 'Tahiti Ketch' he built in Christchurch. He built it in Bamford Street in Woolston. When it was completed in the late 1950s a team levered it across the road and launched it sideways 'American Style' into the Heathcote river. She was taken down to the bridge at Mt Pleasant and the masts lowered into place. Those who recognise the area will recognise the Port Hills and Castle Rock in the background.

The reason my grandfather was a positive influence on my life is not just that he provided an example of yacht building (positive as that was), but for an entirely other reason.
My mother's father and mother always engaged me in conversation as an individual. They talked to me, about ideas and experiences. They were interested in me and my siblings as individuals with our own ideas and opinions. We were respected. We weren't indulged with expensive presents, talked down to or seen as 'cute'. I remember that aspect of my interaction with them as being a gift for the growth of my self hood and confidence. Life batters all of us, but for me my grandparents have put down many deposits in a special sort of bank account of the soul which has a balance that never diminishes. They are two of many people from the past and the present whose unconditional acceptance helps me as I sail on this voyage towards human wholeness.

Both my grandparents had a very hard time during the great depression of the 1930s and my grandfather had to go away from his family for long periods of time to work in government work camps. Despite all this my grandfather's dream was to have his own yacht. He took seventeen years to build it. The example I was shown was that dreams are achievable even in the toughest of circumstances, that projects have a beginning a middle and an end and that you get to the end with hard work, determination and perseverance.

My grandfathers boat is the same size as mine - 30 feet - the biggest yacht anyone should undertake alone. I sometimes think of him when I am sailing as I think about my dad who was another big influence in my love of the sea and sailing, but the story of my dad I shall leave for another post.


Charlotte Smith said...

Dad, You are an amazing, wonderful, deep person. I am left speechless, I have just discovered a very beautiful part of my Father.

Love , Your daughter,
Charlotte xo

Alden Smith said...

Thank you Charlotte. I am blessed in many ways, one of them is that I have a beautiful amazing daughter.

I think your InsiteMedia website is very professional looking and aesthetically pleasing. I have placed link to your site on this blog. I am looking forward to seeing its development. Your presenting on the site is impeccable.

Love Dad

Charlotte Smith said...