Wise Child

A memory came this morning from out of the blue. We were in Holyhead about to embark on the boat for Ireland. It would be 1951 probably and I was four and Tricia was almost three. Mammy could get anxious sometimes, especially travelling. Have we got everything? All the cases? When she got like this she would badger Daddy about it. He was always calm. After fighting a war, nothing bothered him at all.


One time, in Dublin, he got on a train for Dun Laoghaire to get seats for us all, and the train set off with all the family still on the platform. Mammy was almost beside herself with anxiety, and Daddy just smiled at us and waved his hand and said, ‘See you in Dun Laoghaire.’


Well, this night in Holyhead, Mammy began to badger Daddy with her concerns about getting on the boat, and that is when I piped up. ‘Now, Mammy,’ I said to her, ‘ don’t you start or else I’ll start.’

Years later they told me this story and I was very impressed with myself. I could sense when my mother was getting anxious and I did not like it, because it made me anxious, and I don’t like getting anxious. I like life calm.


Many a time at home my mother might say something and my father would respond, ‘Now why are you worrying about that at all?’ It wasn’t that he did not care. Rather, he had learned that nothing will be resolved by getting anxious. Think about things and address things, and also know that we cannot control everything. But do not lose your peace of mind. It is so precious.


We affect one another powerfully by everything in our life, not just by what we say or do, but more importantly by how we allow our inner feelings to create atmosphere for others. Many people use atmosphere very cruelly to manipulate others, and to sadden many a home. Our spirit is abroad in the world and we need to keep a healthy spirit within us.


We impart so much to the world just by the way we are. So be warned. Don’t you start, or else I’ll start.


Brian Fahy

8 May 2022

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