Teach your children

June 25, 2012

Last Thursday, Aung San Suu Kyi became the first lady, and the first non-head of state, to address a gathering of the combined British government, both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Sky News covered her speech, which lasted 30 minutes, and brought a lengthy standing ovation afterwards.

Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of Aung San, who in 1947 negotiated the independence of Burma from the British. Later that year he was assassinated by those who opposed him. His daughter was a very young girl at the time, but throughout her life has campaigned for democracy in Burma.

She was educated at Oxford, married and had her children there, but on returning to Burma in 1989 to look after her sick mother, was put under house arrest.

She was only set free in 2011, and had missed much of the lives of her family in England, and also the death of her husband. In 1991 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which she collected in Oslo just a few weeks ago.

In her speech, she described the first steps to democracy that Burma is now taking, with elections having taken place, and a constitution underway. She called for western countries to help with the standards of education, and to encourage businesses to develop in her country to assist employment.

She joked with the British politicians about the openness of the prime minister’s question time, where political banter between opposing ideologies is encouraged.

I was struck with the courage and determination of this lady. How proud her father would have been to see all that she has achieved in adversity, and to hear her words of cautious optimism for her homeland.

Now that she is free again, her story will be told the world over, and the positive impact she can make for Burma is considerable.

Each of us, in our own ways, must help to teach our children right from wrong, and the correct ways to live both their personal and business lives. My wife Charlotte (aka Management) has always excelled with her love for our three children, always putting their needs first.

Our youngest, Georgie, is here in Muscat now gaining some work experience with me. It may be in this field that I can also help out.

Taking her to meetings has been very rewarding and our clients have welcomed her input. The most important thing to learn is to have a positive attitude to all one does, just like Aung San Suu Kyi, even when times are tough.

Work to the best standard one can, on time, and follow up to make sure all the bases have been covered.

Only certain basic skills can be taught through education, and they become the foundations of a career. These skills, coupled with a determination to succeed and a strong work ethic, complete the picture.

I regret that I do not see enough of this positive attitude in many of the workplaces I go to here. Both business leaders, and parents, must reinforce this message so as to improve the performance of the workforce, and the levels of service that are offered. And each individual must step up to the plate, and do his best.