Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Noel Hackett

As I walked home tonight in the warmth of 11 at night, feeling the heat radiate from the brick buildings I passed and talking to the young people playing football while their meal cooked upstairs and waving to some neighbours sitting outside talking in the semi-darkness of the night...I knew I wasn't going to sleep.

So I got together what I needed for tomorrow's trip to check out plans for the summer residential. While I was doing this I found amongst my certs some old references. One was from a teacher who had supported me and my friends setting up a junior club at our school as well as in the Debating society. His name was Noel Hackett. I didn't have to read it to know. I never forgot the name.

I would like to thank him. He opened my eyes in the same way that I would hope to with the young people I work with as a youthworker. He encouraged, challenged and informed me. He spoke about what mattered - everything. He made me question - everything. I would like to be to the young people I work with what he was to me.

There is a certain irony in the fact that he was a lay teacher teaching Religion in a school run by nuns. We didn't just learn about Catholicism, we learned about other belief systems...our horizons were broadened. The nuns told us pull up our socks and say our prayers. He discussed the hows and the whys and let us sit on our desks and taught us what revolution was.

I don't remember him advocating one set of beliefs over another. I don't remember him telling us what to think. I don't remember him trying to manipulate us or mould us to a standard set of rules.

I remember him accepting us as we were. I remember feeling that everything was open to us, that we weren't shut out because we had different opinions, we weren't less important than anyone whether adults, teachers or the clergy and we weren't bad if we didn't pull our socks up or say our prayers.

However he might have had something to say about being still awake when the birds are singing and the sun is coming up...he'd probably say 'Appreciate it!'

I'm going to. Then I might even get a little sleep.


At 4/7/06 3:37 pm, Blogger Keeley said...

You are really great to us roz and you do make us challenge everythig which is a good skill we need in life and i don't think i say it enough but thank you. now i feel to soppy any way i hope you got some sleep and i hope you had a good day


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