Saturday, June 21, 2014

the path

IMG_9965 IMG_9964 IMG_9963 Last Thursday Little Red Pepper dressed up to celebrate the end of Fairy Tale learning at school and I rugged up in two pairs of woollen socks, tights, leggings, a singlet, a long sleeved top, a woolly jumper, cover-alls, a rain jacket, a scarf and a beanie. She looked adorable and I could barely move.

A few days earlier, the principal of the girls' school had asked farmer Bren if we could come and lay some pavers between the preps' classroom and the main building where the high traffic and the wet weather had made a muddy, slippery mess. One parent had donated the pavers and we filled the back of the ute with shovels and trowels, a rubber mallet and a broom and we drove to school to get to work.

First we marked out the winding path, then we cut out the dirt and grass and levelled it, filled it with buckets of sand-pit sand, laid the pavers, banged the pavers in, poured sand over them, swept the sand in the gaps and cracks, built up the edges with the dirt we had dug out and then stomped on the whole thing back and forth a few times to make sure it didn't move.

And although we had chosen Thursday because it wasn't meant to rain, I think it was one of the coldest days I can ever remember. The clouds were so low that we couldn't see Wombat Hill right behind the school, the ground I was kneeling on felt like a wet block of ice and I'm certain my fingers and lips were blue. But gosh we had fun and laughed a lot.

I loved spending the day off the farm with Bren working hard and doing something really constructive. I felt warm and fuzzy every time a teacher or parent or student walked past us and chatted and thanked us, I loved how excited the kids were with their new path and I enjoyed that exhausted feeling of a job finished and well done at the end. But by far the best bit was at home time when we stood with a bunch of school people at the end of the new path and watched as one by one people danced and moon-walked and shuffled back and forth down the path. There was so much laughter and silliness and happy community feeling. It felt like we were part of something wonderful. Something really good.

I have no doubt that by next week the path will be just a path, used but not really noticed, but that afternoon it was something more.

Later on after we got home, showered, changed, had a few cups of hot tea and finally thawed out a little, I told my farmer boy that that day had been one of the happiest I could remember. I feel like we are so lucky to be a part of such a special school, so blessed to be able to spend our day together getting stuff done and I am so grateful for the kindness we receive in return.

And then my farmer boy told me that he believes that the real key to happiness is doing things for other people.

Yeah!! Real, true happiness is not a selfish act. Real true happiness comes from giving and from community and from a place of generosity.

And then I had one of those moments where everything becomes really clear and makes sense. I love it when that happens. Now I can't stop thinking about how to put all that into play in a bigger way in my life.

I hope you have what you need friends.

Happy solstice!


The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes.

His Holiness Dalai Lama


  1. I love the red riding hood dress up! If i was still teaching, i would totally do that with my kids! I loved teaching fairytales - so much fun and creativity! Things like this make me miss teaching...

    Your school is really lucky you did such a wonderful job with the path! The school certainly sounds special!

    Take care

  2. What a lovely story and how true you are. Happy Solstice to you and your whole family. Linda. x

  3. What a wonderful post, thank you so much for the reminder. It truly is a beautiful thing to help other people. We are so very lucky that our children go to a school that sounds similar to what you describe with such amazing community spirit. Yay for those beautiful 'different' schools! :)

  4. So very true, your school sounds fantastic.
    After reading your post about meditation and your girls doing it at school I have introduced my child to meditation through the smiling mind app - it's really making a difference to her ability to turn off and relax especially at bed time - thanks for the inspiration. We did fairy tale dress up for school last year - so much fun.

  5. Too true. Farmer Bren is a wise man.

  6. It has even been proven that helping others is a useful way to recover from crappy things that happen to you in your life. Those people that start organisations or petitions etc to help other people after them, they tend to move to a happier place than people who don't do anything. Does this make sense? Basically, helping others is just a win, win, win thing to do, and it's amazing there is so much less of it in the wider community these days.

    1. Agree. There is always someone in a worse position than yourself. While you are helping others with their concerns, you forget about your own for a time and come to realise that your own worries are usually not as difficult to handle as first imagined. The satisfaction of helping someone else, possibly helping to change a life for the better, has a much longer lasting satisfaction and significance than some material item from the shops whose novelty will wear off in less than half the time.

  7. Such wise, warm words Kate x

  8. Beautiful ! Happy solstice to you too Kate. xxoo

  9. Oh I love the Fairy Tale dress-up - terrific!

  10. Yes. Doing something for another person is the essence of happiness I agree philosopher Bren. Like supporting their kick starter or sewing for days for girls. All of those things! I am also about to do some very exciting things at Marlo's school- we are building a huge nature playground and the plans we have made are so exciting! Can't wait!

  11. Your farmer boy is wise Kate...and you are both generous and kind x

  12. You two are good eggs! Hard working too!

    I always come away from our school busy bees buoyed by the sense of community and by the sense of having achieved something. Although, with Aila and Elliot both at different schools, I'm starting to feel a little stretched...

    Hope you are all well and keeping warm.

    Rachel xo

    PS I was flicking through magazines at the newsagents yesterday and you guys kept popping up everywhere!

  13. Your blog helps me reflect on my life and gain a different perspective - by generously sharing that part of you, you are helping others, so I hope that makes you happy too!

  14. Every time I read your blog entries you give to me -- of wisdom, inspiration and making me feel OK to be human. Thank you so much.

  15. That first picture is just amazing. I can't stop looking! RE: the cold - I totally understand its f-r-eeezing in Melbourne at the moment.

  16. Beautiful post. That happiness comes from helping others was the conclusion of the the book 'The Good Life' by Hugh Mackay. It's easy to get lost in simply trying to cope and stay on top of things - but its the selfless acts for others that we'll remember in the end. I imagine that path will be making you smile for years to come. x

  17. little red pepper pics are gorgeous!
    what a fab way to spend a day... so rewarding... you guys are so on the right path :-)
    love lama man quotes ... he's got some pearlers...
    my fave at the moment is 'be kind whenever possible. It is always possible'

  18. What a great way to start my day! Thank you for sharing your story and reminding me of the importance of giving. Hope your day is wonderful too!

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  21. So beautifully said Kate. Giving to others is where happiness lies. What a lovely little community your school sounds like. I went a school with 60 kids when I was in primary school. I am so thankful that I grew up in a small country community. So that your girls (and you) get to experience that.


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I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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