The importance of love, honesty and respect
The core values that have underpinned my children's book are there for a reason – to inspire and help children understand the importance of love, honesty, and respect.
One of my inspirations as I was growing up hung on the wall in my parent’s house – a beautifully designed print of ‘If’ by English Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, written around 1895. It is a literary example of Victorian-era indifference.
The poem is written in the form of paternal advice to the poet's son, John and when my eldest son passed out as a firefighter, winning the silver axe in the process, I had this re-framed for him to hang on his wall to be an inspiration to him and his growing family, my grandchildren.
I share this with you now…
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Nothing more needs to be said.