Neil Smith

5 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Passing On The Hit

Passing On The HitBack in June of 2015 I happened to come across an article in my Linked in feed. It was by a man called Mark Moore-Gillon. A successful executive in the Pharmaceutical business and professional mentor he seemed to be all that I wasn’t. Amongst other thought provoking short articles he wrote this and it really chimed with me.

After reading I wrote a comment but for whatever reason the Pulse section of LinkedIn was feeling buggy that day and wouldn’t allow me to post it.

The upshot was that I went away and expanded my intended comment into this longer post about my own life at the age of twenty two. How my experiences then had shaped me as a person and were moulding my relationship with my young daughter.

I then stuck it up on Pulse. The first time I had ever put my name to a publicly available article. The response was great. People posted comments, feedback and advice from all over the place. Innocently, I assumed that as my LI network grew so would my audience but as it happens this remains my single most viewed post on LI. I hope the members on BeBee enjoy this reworked version.

The Early Years.
At the age of twenty two I was in the first year of a community and social education degree at Strathclyde University in Glasgow. Surrounded by the school leaving offspring of middle class professionals I could certainly have used more confidence. It took some time but eventually I came to realise that these people around me were in actual fact my peers academically, socially and in life generally. They were not at all in some way genetically superior. Self confidence and the beginnings of self awareness were the prizes I took from University. The paperwork was just something for my mother to hang on the wall.

Prior to this I had spent several years travelling and working around the world. Hitch hiking around the US and Canada, ski teaching in Europe, washing dishes in Norway, and countless other oddball jobs lasting for anything from hours to months. The experience of this was the essential foundation for my life as it is now.

Learning resilience in the face of the word No. The flexibility to be an instant expert on roping cows on a dude ranch before moving on and becoming the world authority on removing tough stains from ovenware. These were the baby steps of the long slow process of learning to believe in myself and my ability to rise to a challenge. The lessons dispensed were often hard, delivered without sympathy and ultimately, unforgettable.

Everything I take from these early experiences is a part of who I am. Not all great experiences. Not always something I could be proud of but all a very important part of me.

Passing On The Hit
Applying the Lessons.

Recently, as a middle aged bloke I have become the father of a daughter who is without doubt the shining light of my life. It seems that as a middle aged bloke I have developed an urge to wrap her in cotton wool and protect her from Life, the Universe and Everything.

I regularly have to remind myself to let my daughter be more like I was. To let her take the tumbles and scrapes and learn in the only way she's going to, that running into solid objects is never likely to be the easy option.

As a parent I have had to learn to fight the urge that most in my position feel to make things as easy and smooth as possible for our kids. The current me would wait on her hand and foot. Clearing all obstacles in her path. The earlier iteration of me would let her get on with it and see what happens.

In this regard the 47 Year old certainly has more to learn from the 22 year old than vice versa.
If the time machine existed I strongly suspect that my 22 year old self would tell me exactly where I could stick my advice before blundering out into the middle of another adventure and however scary that may seem to me now that is precisely as it should be.

Passing On The Hit

Thank you for your attention to what is undoubtedly a personally indulgent post founded entirely on nostalgia and thanks to Mark for the original article which sparked off my reverie.

Following the publication of this article I received few lines from @Jim Murray offering advice and tips on how to make my writing more readable. I would like to thank Jim publicly for this assistance I really appreciated it. His articles on BeBee and previously on LI are entertaining, provocative and contain a world of information for anyone struggling to put a few words together on a blank page.

Thanks for reading.

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