The Golden Windows

   I consider myself to be a pretty lucky person. In my role as the main writer for our local community paper I get to meet a lot of wonderful people of all ages from all walks of life. My responsibilities as the marketing director of our local shopping centre also afford me many opportunities to encounter local residents who are actively involved with the churches, sports organizations and service groups.
   However, perhaps because of the 28 years I spent as a classroom teacher, I always enjoy getting into the schools where I can talk to young boys and girls who have so many questions about the exciting, yet unpredictable future that lies ahead of them.
   One boy I met recently spoke about how he felt about living in our little town of Valley East. Sudbury is such a terrible place to grow up. I cant wait to move away from this dump and live in Southern Ontario . Everything is big and modern down there. Life must be wonderful in the big city."
   I sat down with the young lad and told him that I understood how he felt.
What you are feeling is quite normal. Even adults often think that things would be better in other circumstances. We are always looking for better jobs, better houses, better places to vacation, etc. A lot of people think that Sudbury is a dump, and not a place where they want to spend the rest of their life.
   I then told him a little story called, The Golden Windows.
   There was once a young boy living on a farm which seemed like it was so far away from everywhere. He needed to get up before sunrise every morning to start his chores and then go out again later to do the evening ones. During sunrise he would take a break and climb up on the fence so in the distance he could see the house with golden windows. He thought how great it would be to live there and his mind would wander to imagine the modern equipment and appliances that might exist in the house.
   "If they can afford golden windows, then they must have other nice things too." He promised himself that some day he would go there and see this wonderful place for himself.
   Then one morning his father told him to stay home and his father would do the chores. Knowing that this was his chance, he packed a sandwich and headed across the field towards the house with the golden windows.
   As the afternoon went on, he began to realize how he misjudged the distance, but something else was also very wrong. As he approached the house, he saw no golden windows, but instead a place with a broken down fence. He went to the tattered screen door and knocked. A boy very close to his own age opened the door.
   He asked him if he has seen the house with the golden windows. The boy said, "Sure, I know." and invited him to sit on the porch. As he sat there, he looked back from where he just came where the sunset turned the windows on his own home to Gold.

   And so, I said to the young boy I was speaking to that day, and I say to all of my readers, regardless of your age or personal circumstance, what appears in life to be "golden" is sometimes just an illusion. You may not realize it, but there are a lot of things about living in the Sudbury area, and Valley East in particular, that people in other places would love. To them, you are the lucky ones. You have everything they are looking for - all you have to do is look at things the right way.
   In the story, the first boy saw the sun reflecting on the distant windows each morning. To him, that was the place where all the riches lie. To the other boy, who saw the sun reflecting on the first boys windows as the sun set in the evening that was where the riches must surely lie. Its all a matter of perception.
   I told the young boy that he will soon have his chance to discover for himself what lies outside this region. However, all I asked of him was that he would every once in a while look back to where he was coming from and see the golden windows that we have right here in his old home town of Valley East .


The Private Practice of
Robert Kirwan, OCT., B.A. (Math), M.A. (Education)
Independent Education, Training & Career Development Consultant