Life-changing acts can help the young and old
SOMETIMES in this world, an act so simple for us can be life changing for others.
So it was with Rotary and its project to help nine-year-old Leon Kanas.
As the story in Sunday's paper points out, the Vanuatu boy had been teased by his peers for a medical problem that, if he had been born in Australia, would have been swiftly fixed when he was two days old.
It was a great reason to be thankful.
Not just for Leon, but for everybody who lives in Australia and who can count on the wide, sturdy safety net protecting us all.
No wonder Leon and his family said they would not mind staying on in this country a little longer. Rotary Oceanic Medical Aid for Children has done an amazing job helping Leon.
The group helps up to a dozen children such as Leon each year.
Sometimes an act so simple can inspire.
The 2013 Australian of the Year, Ita Buttrose, has had a decorated career, but her brief words on Friday should remind the rest of the population about the smart and skilled elder citizens who have worked hard and shattered cultural ceilings. And still have plenty to give.
She may be able to do for her generation what United States journalist Tom Brokaw did for his father's generation.
Through his writing, Brokaw became the champion for a cohort of citizens who grew up during the Depression, went to war in the 1940s and rebuilt America, thereby stopping the erosion of a significant group of people from a country's record of achievement.
Perhaps it is short memories that lead to the discrimination against older people, referred to by Buttrose.
Retaining the skills and experience of Australia's seniors will become increasingly important in the coming years as the baby boomers retire.
And sometimes an act so simple for us, can hurt others.
Sunday's paper also reports a Canberra ambulance officer of African descent was allegedly called ''sooty'' by a colleague.
Reportedly, this has had a ''devastating impact'' on the man and his family.
It is a reminder that our actions can have long-lasting affects.
Let's hope we always act for the better.