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FREE STORIES

I am such a lucky man!

I am a very lucky man. After a very long time as a self-sufficient bachelor, a beautiful lady came into my life and in a moment I was married to her. I was notoriously slow and fearful in matters of love. Arthie, bless her active spirit, arranged a birthday party for me on my 45th birthday, bought a ring and on bended knee proposed to me! She then waited for me to set the date for the wedding.

After a brief time she asked me for some time on Valentine’s day - her birthday. I was hoping to take her on a helicopter, a yacht and a train ride on the day. I knew Arthie did not particularly like being up early - so I jokingly said, "Ok. How about 2 hours, between 7 am and 9 am. On the 13th we both participated in a fire walk, once more proving the resilience of our relationship. That evening Arthie sent me to the local pub, for a business meeting. Lo and behold, all of my friends were there and I began to put 2 and 2 together! It was my stag party! I felt a an amazing rush of excitement - I was getting married the next day!

We arrived early the next morning, at the beautiful Botanic Gardens. I was guided down to the tranquil bird-filled, tree-lined lake to await my beautiful bride. About 30 members of the family and our friends had gathered to witness our wedding. Arthie had arranged for the ceremony to be officiated by a marriage officer. He in turn had gathered as many hymn books as possible and handed them out to our pre-dominantly Hindi guests.

My heart skipped a beat as my beautifully smiling bride appeared, flanked by her family. She glided stunningly towards me in her beautiful white wedding gown. Her image was reflected on the walkway in the pools of rainwater, as she stepped into my life and into my spirit.

The ceremony was incredible and many scenes stand out for me. My mother sang "The best things in life are free." The marriage officer, as a lay pastor, decided to carry out a full Christian ceremony. He even had our families and friends singing Christian hymns! I later found out that he was unsure that I would agree to this "surprise" wedding!

I remember the beautiful birds gliding across the lake and a tiny one-legged bird scrounging for insects as we took our vows. In terms of South African law we had to sign the registration forms under a roof and we all squeezed tightly into a tiny office at the garden’s restaurant to do so.

I will always take with me the special love and beauty of my incredible friend, guide and wife - Arthie. She is so much to me and to our little boy Lliam. She is a nurturer and a leader. She is a doer and designer. She is humble, yet she is strong. She is firm and yet she is sensitive. She is loving and forgiving. And on top of all this she is a great daughter and daughter-in-law, a marvellous business person, an excellent sister and friend, a teacher and a listener, a shining star and a forward-focussed wunderkind who lives in the now, whilst building her legacy for the future!

One of the greatest leadership lessons that I have learnt from Arthie is that of standing back. I am a very strong person and often I take over when something needs to be done. My way gets results but no-one learns from it. Arthie takes a different tack, she shares some wisdom and leaves others to do complete the task. In this way the work gets done and someone else grows. A prime example is our son Lliam.

When he first began to totter around our home, I went onto Daddy standby. The moment he stumbled, I would rush to catch him. My cool and calm guide said, " He learns by falling. Let him fall." I struggled against my protecting nature. And now Lliam falls, dusts himself off and carries on at full tilt into his next adventure. When he really hurts himself Arthie is always there for him, but she knows the difference between falling and hurting.

When Lliam picked up a sharp knife, I nearly had a heart attack and Arthie showed him how to use it. When he made a mess, Arthie bought him a small broom and a mop. "I am not going to raise a man so that I have to clean up after him." He is now 2 years and 8 months old and is an accomplished sweeper and mopper and even makes his own peanut butter sandwiches!

Making sandwiches at his age may sound like a great achievement but that is not the half of it. The peanut butter and syrup are on a shelf more than two metres above the ground. The butter is high up in the fridge. Lliam pushes a bar stool to the high places, takes what he needs and makes a perfect sandwich! To top it all he returns each item to it’s rightful place!

And two weeks ago he suddenly began washing the dishes. He kneels on his bar stool at the sink and washes away quite merrily. He then stacks the clean items in the correct places. This all started by being allowed to experience life without being affected by a bigger person taking over the task or by the unreasonable fears of a parent. "Get down! You will hurt yourself." or, "Don’t touch that knife! You will cut yourself."

Standing back takes a lot of courage and selflessness. It is often selfish to take over when helping people and it takes bravery to allow a child to walk down stairs for the first time! Arthie has taught me that managers create controlled and limited results and that leaders create leaders who create brilliant results. Our little boy is fast becoming a leader who comfortably speaks English and Zulu and greets in 12 languages.

Lliam climbed into his gran’s car recently, released the brake, took it out of gear and "drove" it down our gently inclined driveway until it came to a stop. Arthie and I arrived at the car at the same time. Arthie gently asked, "What are you doing Lliam?" Our little boy firmly stated, "I drive my car!" And we smiled and kept quiet. Later he told, all who would listen, how he had parked his car. Indeed he had! He then asked for the car keys so that he could reverse the car back to where it came from. We didn’t give him the keys. Sometimes a leader understands when his student is just too short to reach the pedals or to see over the dashboard!

Lliam is also offered choices. If he is doing something that we are not comfortable with he is offered a choice of other activities. Instead of wresting a knife out of his hand he may be offered a ride on his pushbike, or a paintbrush and paper. No attention is drawn to the knife, which he hands over without fuss, as Arthie draws attention to a fun and safe activity. I was raised with a strong focus on what I did wrong. Arthie always focusses our son on good activities and praises him on what he does well. Within 1 week of moving out of the diaper stage, Lliam was getting out of bed saying, "Look mommy, I am dry! Yeah! Yeahhhh!" Within a few weeks he is a "dry" baby, who notifies us when he needs the toilet. Arthie’s praise had created pride and she was rewarded with good behaviour - another great lesson for leaders.

Yes! I am a lucky man. Not only has Arthie helped our child to grow, she does that for everyone, including myself. She has taught me that I can "unite or be right." A great lesson for those of us who have "all the answers", or who try to manage every situation. Often when we over control, we lose control and break relationships. She has taught me that very few situations require my input. That I have greater value by allowing people to be and to do.

She is a great speaker and a guiding light in our transformational team-building business, where our focus is on uniting diverse people through their uniquenesses and their actions. She always intuitively knows when to move on to a new process. And if the group needs something special or something different, she knows and makes the change in pace and direction. Arthie is in tune with herself and with people and has saved many failing relationships, with her ability to listen and gently help people move from being victims to becoming leaders.

She has taught me the value of giving and the sheer freedom in personal forgiveness. She has taught me that humanness far out-weighs "winning". She has taught me about the power of "us" and the value of family. She has taught me that the world rewards action and not thought.

And she is so incredibly beautiful in every possible way! Yes! I am indeed a very lucky man!

Brian Moore© - 3 November 2003 - Durban - South Africa.

....feedback from our readers

Re: A lucky Man.
This is such a beautiful story of how you met and continue to thrive. Each time you send an e-mail I learn a valuable lesson, fact or feeling. Each
time I read this one, I feel such a warmth and comfort at the same time it is exhilirating because I have learned something new.

Please keep the lessons coming.
Brian, you are a VERY lucky man, and Arthie is a VERY lucky woman

SR - EXXON Mobile - Texas - USA

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This was very inspiring - and educational in a very effective way.

You have a real gift at writing and telling stories. They are so engaging that they even get busy people like me reading them when I don't intend to.

Thank you for sharing.

MS - Project Manager: The National Training Directory

*********

All I can say to the article below is WOW!!!!.. How did you two become so wise? Please teach me! Your account below clearly shows the depth of the love you three share. The respect you have for each other (all three) is remarkable. Is it unfair of me to also want what you have? Brian I shared quite a lot with you in the car park and perhaps you may understand why I control everything but there are so many benefits to just being and just enjoying. Please keep in touch as our paths were meant to cross.

God Bless!!!
KR - Public Affairs Manager, International Marketing Council of South Africa

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You are a lucky man indeed and even better for recognising it! Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts about meeting Arthie and about your wedding. Your description of the birds brought to mind a memory
of the wedding of two young friends a couple of years ago. They decided to hold the wedding outdoors in the mountains of Alberta. It was spring time so one could expect anything by way of weather. As it happened it snowed the evening before the wedding so they thought the outdoor wedding was out of the question. The next morning it was cold but the sun was shining and it was a glorious day indeed. They decided that we would all dress warmly and have the wedding outside as planned. In the midst of the ceremony an eagle circled overhead and right behind the bridal couple a male and female deer along with a young one rummaged through the snow trying to find some grass. It seemed to forebode good things ahead for these two fine young people and they, like you and Arthie, are proving to be a match made in
heaven.

Your description of Arthie's way of teaching reminded me very much of Omar Khayyam's description of a teacher in the " Rubaiyat". Your description of LLiam and his wonderful learning warms our hearts.

May life continue to be beautiful for the three of you.

Strini Reddy - Canada

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