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Edition 165 – Bill

Today is our eldest son, Callum’s 23rd birthday. Life passes us by very fast. It feels like a minute ago I held him in my arms and the length of his body was from the inside of my elbow to the tips of my fingers.

I call him Bill as William is his middle name – after both of our grandfathers. I met mine once, but don’t remember him. Trish also met her Grandpop, however he passed away when she was 3.

I’ve long argued the pregnancy and birth process are a window into the personality of the individual that is growing in the womb. Trish had a difficult pregnancy with Callum and, being 11 days late, the birth was tortuous, complicated and dramatic. He was very unwell immediately after he was born, and so was Trish. However, he was showing us early on that he was always going to do things at his pace, even if it wasn’t the pace that we wanted to see.

He’s also accident prone (a characteristic of mine) even though he posseses sporting prowess (a characteristic of Trish’s). A broken hand as a result of a freak accident playing school softball five weeks out from a long awaited family holiday in the USA and Canada almost saw the whole thing cancelled. He underwent surgery and the trip went ahead.

Upon his recovery, school sport was banned, except for his passion for AFL. When he phoned Trish one afternoon and asked her to pick him up from school as he’d injured himself (again) playing AFL for the school team, Trish was less than pleased. In actual fact, if I remember rightly, she told him she had too much work to clear up and he should just take the bus home.

So, he took the bus and his brother helped him off the bus and up our steep driveway. He didn’t fuss too much – though when we later found out he’d completely demolished his knee and it required a full reconstruction, Trish was somewhat contrite on reflection at her unwillingness to play taxi.

Upon finishing school, Callum decided to study Commerce and International Studies at the University of Wollongong. In my accounting practice days, he took a job in our firm, suggesting that he was keen to learn more of the work that I did.

When I went solo in 2016, Callum stayed on our payroll. However, it was painfully evident that he wasn’t enjoying what he was doing. Eventually, he had the courage to say that it wasn’t for him and decided to seek pastures elsewhere. I was relieved – and also proud of him being honest with himself about what he should do with his life. I’ve seen a lot of family businesses over the years – and I’ve seen a lot of adult children employed in roles they’re not passionate about, but are willing to accept the pay cheque nonetheless.

Today, whilst he’s still studying, he’s immersed in AFL. He coaches school clinics for the AFL under the wing of the GWS Giants. He’s one of the youngest ever senior team coaches at his local club, the Camden Cats, being appointed just after his 22nd birthday. He’s chasing his life passion – something too few people in this world actually do. 

In a time where the media seems to be full of twentysomething males behaving badly, Callum is working to a plan (at his own pace), enjoying his life and building a future for himself – something a parent can be truly proud of.

If you’re not passionate about doing what you’re doing, then why are you doing it?