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Staying the distance

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Great people stay the distance. I remember in the summer of 1992, passing my driver's test.  After my test, my instructor, an ex-army tank-driving legend, said very firmly, "James, you might have passed your test, but you are not yet a good driver.  A good driver is one whose driven for 50 years without an accident." with this in mind, I've not proved wrong!

The BaviansKloof in the Eastern Cape RSA is a unique wilderness. It was there that I met a farmer called Boetie.  It was clear to me that he alone was the reason the English lost the Anglo/Boer war.  An enormous, witty and extraordinary man. I asked him, "Boetie, how long have you been farming here?"  he said, "James, I'm embarrassed to say, we've been here for 90 years, and we're still fixing the fences!" Boetie and his family have stayed the distance. My father stayed in his job for forty years, and in doing so, he became something of a school legend.  Maybe he was not the sharpest with new technologies, the latest literature or different learning styles, but he did care genuinely for his pupils. He lived the famous adage, "They don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."  Bear Grylls in his autobiography says, "Mr Quibell was old school and a real character- but two traits made him great: he was fair and he cared. And as a teenager, those two qualities really matter."  In turn, they esteemed him, honouring him well after he stopped teaching.

He, like many others, stayed the distance, showing the content of their character. They sought and solved challenges every day digging deep into the suitcase of courage.

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