Bucket List #4


These are the collection buckets we used to raise money for the Hope Foundation.  Gavin, Jerry, Esha and I have variously waved these buckets at the very many generous people of Cashel, Thurles and various Tipperary townlands.  We brought them to Rugby matches in Dublin and Limerick, and to Hurling games in Semple Stadium.  They have seen the warm days of summer and the cold dark days of winter.

They have earned a proud position in my “Bucket List” as they contain many great memories of a good year.

Four years ago my oldest son Jerry participated in the trip to Kolkata with Rockwell College.  He documented his journey on his blog:


This year it was all about my younger son, Gavin, who made his own trip, which he recorded on wordpress, twitter, snapchat, etc.  His fundraising exploits are on his  wordpress site:


PLEASE DO NOT SEND THEM MONEY.  They have finished their trips and made their visits to Kolkata.  But if you would like to support the fabulous work of the Hope Foundation feel free to do so at their site:


What I like about the Hope Foundation is that it is a charity that strives to make itself useless.  What do I mean by that?

Some charities operate in a way that perpetuates dependency.  Their business is to “help” disadvantaged people.  But if they are “too successful” there will be no poor people left to help and they will effectively be out of business.  Self-perpetuating charities are not things I like, or appreciate.

I am very much of the mind to take people out of dependency.  This is where Hope operate.  They focus on educating kids to escape the cycle of slum living.  They help the parents to escape the cycle by supporting small enterprises, and by freeing up the parents to work by caring for the kids in crèches.  The greatest day for Hope Foundation will be when they can happily close down their facilities in Kolkata because their job is done.

That is not a pipedream.  It can happen.

As my son Jerry reminds me frequently “Give a man a Hamburger and he eats for a day.  Teach him to Hamburger, and that metaphor only works for Fish”.

The Fish:  by William Butler Yeats

Although you hide in the ebb and flow
Of the pale tide when the moon has set,
The people of coming days will know
About the casting out of my net,
And how you have leaped times out of mind
Over the little silver cords,
And think that you were hard and unkind,
And blame you with many bitter words.





Work Experience


I have four consecutive “bring your daughter to work days” starting today.  Should be interesting.

The original “Take our daughters to work day” initiative was started in 1992 by Marie Wilson and Gloria Steinem for the Ms. Foundation for Women.  It was a feminist led initiative to break down career barriers for girls.  Of course it rapidly evolved, in our over PC world, into “Take our children to work day” entirely defeating the original purpose of the initiative.

In Ireland we have introduced a year into the secondary school curriculum which is called “Transition Year”.  It is a year that is not driven by exam results.  It is a time for teenagers to explore some of the subjects and activities that are sidelined in a goal oriented, exam driven education culture.  It includes modules on volunteering in the community, participation in arts and expanding the mind in a non-linear fashion.

One aspect of the year is to help students understand their own interests, to help them choose a career direction for their Final (Leaving Certificate) exam.  This process involves time spent in the workplace, experiencing the realities of the work environment.

As a College lecturer I experienced the far end of this process.  I could see in my students how the Transition year equips them with a maturity and confidence in their choices.  They are less likely to choose a University course and then run into a dead end.  They have a clearer idea of their final outcome.

They emerge from the year with a better idea of the fullness of life experience.  This helps them avoid the trap of becoming workplace automatons,  modern day wage-slaves for unfeeling global corporations.  They are less likely to fall for corporate brainwashing.  You know the stuff.

  • We value loyalty – but not when we are downsizing.
  • We value flexibility in the workplace – when we need you to do unpaid overtime, but not when your mother is sick.
  • We value ambition – but we won’t actually promote you or pay you extra money, unless you get a job elsewhere, and we have to counteroffer.
  • We want you to speak your mind – as long as you are parroting the corporate mantra.
  • We want you to have a spouse and family – and a heavy mortgage that creates a fear that keeps you in the office until 8pm every night.
  • We want to build a family, a community, and if you don’t attend the company barbecue you are labelled “Not a team player”.

The Sleep-Walkers; by Khalil Gibran
In the town where I was born lived a woman and her daughter, who
walked in their sleep.

One night, while silence enfolded the world, the woman and her
daughter, walking, yet asleep, met in their mist-veiled garden.

And the mother spoke, and she said: ‘At last, at last, my enemy!
You by whom my youth was destroyed–who have built up your life
upon the ruins of mine! Would I could kill you!’

And the daughter spoke, and she said: ‘O hateful woman, selfish
and old! Who stand between my freer self and me! Who would have
my life an echo of your own faded life! Would you were dead!’

At that moment a cock crew, and both women awoke. The mother said
gently, ‘Is that you, darling?’ And the daughter answered gently,
‘Yes, dear.’