You Can’t Be What You Can’t See.

Lewis and I have had quite a big weekend. He has started the process to join the ADF (Australian Defence Force) and at his interview he was encouraged to consider the studying for a degree at the Australian Defence Force Academy. On the strength of that recommendation we organised travel and accomodation to attend the ADFA open day in Canberra.

As Lewis is the youngest of our four children we’ve seen our fair share of university open days over the years but I’ve never looked forward to attending one before. What an incredible day it was. We were at ADFA for over 6 hours and we were busy for the whole time. So much to see and do: fly-bys by the Roulettes, fighter jets and a Navy helicopter, repelling, dogs, precision marching, bands, infantry demonstrations, tanks, drones and of course information sessions on degrees and the possible jobs that might follow.

Sunday morning we went to the Australian War Memorial and I saw it in a whole new light considering the great possibility that we might have a son in the ADF in the not too distant future. Every story whether It was from the point of view of a soldier or their family had a whole new meaning. Photos, letters and those dreaded telegrams that informed parents in WW1 of the death of their son or husband. The recorded voice of a widow of a soldier killed in the Middle East speaking of when she had the knock on her door when she knew that there had been casualties in the campaign her husband had been a part of. Heart breaking.

I know there is so much I take for granted and I’m sure I’m not the only one. A story of a bank clerk from Narrabri who was conscripted for the Vietnam War. One moment living a relatively quiet, unassuming life in rural Australia and the next accepting the call to defend our freedom. This gentleman made it home after completing his service, not everyone did. Now that seems difficult to imagine.

Vern and I have always tried to encourage our kids that all things are possible. In many ways rural kids are up against it when it comes to life post high school. The saying, “you can’t be what you see” limits what a teen considers as possible for their future. While Vern and I haven’t had a tertiary education our siblings have studied a wide range of topics from design to many forms of the sciences. As a result our kids know that others have come from rural households, through public schools and achieved great things whether via the university or other pathway. Lewis’ older siblings have all gone into different sectors of Allied Health (future carers in our old age- unlikely).

While Lewis’ eyes are set firmly on the Australian Defence Forces, the possibilities within that organisation are many and varied. His eyes sparkled as we explored the Defence Force Academy. Anyone who has had much to do with 16 year old boys knows that is a pretty special thing. Now it is up to him. His father and I know he’s capable of achieving what he sets his mind to. We know that he will have the full support of his teachers at Kaniva College. We all have confidence in him, hopefully that will help him realise just what he is capable of.