A gift at any age

A gift at any age

 Temple Lodge, Bali

I have just said goodbye to Mario, a friend who has been staying with me for the last week.Mario is nearly 20 years my senior, he was born in Italy and lived there until he was in his 40s. After many adventures he has ended up building a 7 room hotel on the cliff tops in Bali, called Temple Lodge, which he runs with his wife and eldest son. I met Mario when I was travelling and knowing that he was coming to Australia I invited him to come and stay with me.

So for the last week we have shared meals and stories.

I have consumed more olives, oil, fetta, parmesan cheese, bread and red wine than I imagined possible. I have sat wide eyed as he has thrilled me with stories of his time as a racing car driver around Europe in the 60’s and 70’s. Been fascinated hearing about his upbringing at a time when shirts were tailored, shoes were custom made, could be re- soled and lasted a lifetime. I have listened intently as he has talked about his father and his father’s father. All having been through wars and times of deprivation and then building mini empires from scratch. I loved his tales of learning to surf at the age of 55 and taking on big waves that men 30 years his junior would find extremely scary and challenging.

Stories are such a gift at any age.

They teach, they make us think and they pass on wisdom. I always loved hearing my parents stories when I was a boy and I still do. My sons loved hearing my stories and when we take boys on our Raising Men camps instead of telling them what to do or how to live their lives we simply share stories.

Mario has been reading my book, The Making of Men.

With Mario I have also been very aware of the attitudes and beliefs that come from growing up before the introduction of technology and the social changes of the 70’s. Mario has been reading my book, The Making of Men. For hours we have discussed his relationship with his sons and I have been able to challenge him around his idea that he knows what they should do with their lives and if only they would listen to him. He has a deep love for his son, he doesn’t want to be like his father was with him and yet it is the way that he learnt how to be a father.

If we are open, learning can come at any age.

What a pleasure to see a man who is nearly 70 being prepared to honestly look at what sort of father he has been and be keen to find ways to improve his relationship with his sons going forwards.

Thank you Mario, thanks for telling me such fabulous stories, thanks for re-introducing me to the beauty of sharing good basic food and long conversations.

Thanks for showing me that you really can learn and grow no matter what age you are.

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