I decided I was going to write this email 1. After our applied leadership training 2. After reading a lot of positive stuff on the internet ( peoples blogs etc) and 3.Because I believe it may prevent some people from spiralling down a path of stress and trauma caused by negativity.

AM I ALWAYS POSITIVE ?  – Of course not !!! Just listen to my dummy spits downstairs sometimes, and you will know that certainly isn’t the case. But I regret that for most of my 32 years with this job, and in adulthood, I have allowed myself to look to the negative far too much. I know that at times I surrounded myself with too many negative people (sound familiar within the force). It is so true that if you surround yourself with negative people you will be that. If you surround yourself with positive people, you will take that path. I know the negative side has held me back, and I know now that it is not the best way to go.

At the Applied Leadership it was acknowledged, (not that it needed highlighting), that unfortunately due to the conflict, trauma, bad human traits etc, that we witness in this job, policing by its very reality is negative.  However if we take off the blinkers we will see that there are many positives as well. The community, by and large, do appreciate us. We, by and large, are winning the fight (statistics show it). There are (yes you know it) more good people in the world than bad. For every hoodlum down at the park drinking on Saturday nights, there are hundreds of kids the same age at home with their families. For every drunken idiot, there are many more people just out for a good time. I could go on and on.

I was thinking about what I was going to write here, and I came up with my own analogy in relation to thinking all is bad and negative. DEFENSIVE DRIVING –v–  LIFE AND THE FUTURE IN GENERAL.

To be a good defensive driver you shouldn’t focus all your attention on the car in front, but look as far down the road as possible to see the hazards and risks ahead – True. To be a positive person and see how life really is, you should not just look at the things immediately confronting, and in front of you, but further into the future where there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. We know that this is true, otherwise we wouldn’t start a relationship, start a family. In fact we wouldn’t start anything. Why would you bring a child into a world with the thinking that all will be bad! I don’t think you would.

I honestly believe I see some people going about their job thinking all sucks. Everything and everyone is bad. The sky is always falling. I honestly believe I see some people who, because of this attitude are heading for a depressive type crash. Remember – it really isn’t that bad !!!!.  If you think it is, you might have to look at other options.

I am not going to go on and on, and I must here stick in a caviet – IF YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING IT TOUGH AND NEED HELP – PUT YOUR HAND UP AND SEEK ASSISTANCE.

So – fill the glass, don’t empty it. Always look on the bright side of life. Look in the mirror. You and your life isn’t bad, so why do you think everyone else’s is.

You may not agree with all I have written, but hopefully you get the underlying meaning.  If you don’t agree, so be it as that is your choice.

I just hope that for the next ??? years of my life within the cops, I can personally be, and encourage others to be, far more positive about all things in life.

Can we always be positive? Of course not, and perhaps that is where the discussion changes from Positive –v- Negative to Dreams –v- Reality. But as Ringo Starr always said at the end of Thomas the Tank Engine Episodes – “that’s another story”. 






This writing is going to be mostly focused on our Australian ways and issues but I have no doubt it is relevant in many other places in the world (mainly western countries)  about being a mate (a friend) by keeping them out of trouble.

Mateship – I am just going to quote one definition being from Wiki.answers .“Mateship means loyalty and comradeship, being a selfless friend who looks out for his “mates”. Mateship means enjoying your friend’s good times and helping them through times of trouble”

I love mateship, but I sometimes wonder whether some people practice  it when they profess it.

Where I am heading with this blog, is the lack of mateship shown when I see the damage done to the country that invented the word “mateship”. If the “mates “ of some people, were truly that (mates), then our streets would be cleaner, safer, and our country more crime free.

I have just finished watching the news where another young man, 18 years old, has had his life support turned off after being the victim of senseless, one hit violence. This of course follows our sorrow for a family of a very similar crime a year ago. A one punch killing that some call a “king hit” but is now being called a “cowards punch”. There is one thing in common with these. In both cases the reports state that they had openly bragged about their intentions to assault people, to the “mates”  they were with earlier in the night. What did their “mates” do when their “mate” said  this ?What did their “mates” do when they heard that their “mate” was going to do something really bad.

We are about to celebrate Australia Day on the 26th of January. Again there will be excessive alcohol consumed which alone is not a problem individually. But at the end of the day I have no doubt I will witness the disgrace of people’s behaviour. I will wonder why some peoples “mates” didn’t say something to them about what is right. I will witness the “drunken youths” walking around with flags professing to be “Aussie and Proud”, but will then see the smashed glass and rubbish they leave behind. I will see the ones that have lost control and fallen foul of the law. I will see our beautiful country denigrated, and wonder why, the peoples “mates” didn’t look after them. Why they didn’t pull them into line and look after them. As for Australia Day – why they weren’t mates to their country.

If I look back at the Wiki meaning where it reads- “ being a selfless friend who looks out for his “mates”, I would suggest we should look out for our mates by keeping them out of trouble in the very first instance. If they are doing the wrong thing , look out for them by pulling them into line early.

As for our country ? It isn’t Ronald McDonald’s fault that a consumer couldn’t walk the ten metres to a garbage bin. It is the persons, and any “mate” that were with him and too lazy to go to the bin, or tell him where the bin was.

One last phrase to remember – BLIND LOYALTY, IT MAY NOT BE THE BEST THING TODAY.

Your mate might not like what you tell him when you are right – BUT THAT IS A FACT OF LIFE that he can live with, because your mind will be clear.

Coping with life, Uncategorized

Always look on the bright side

A beautiful moment worth sharing. I am at work walking into Erina Fair. A lady about 40 who had obviously had a stroke stopped me. She struggled to talk but pointed to my name apologizing and telling me she had had a stroke. She got out “have a good weekend”. I thanked her. She was then struggling to say something and I guessed and said to her “you have a merry Christmas” and she then wrapped her arms around me with a big smile. It made me feel good, and again thank my lucky stars.
Unfortunately after this beautiful moment I go to a place where a lady in her fifties takes her own life because of personal {not health} difficulties. One person is strong one person is weak. I don’t want to judge, but one knows how to love and one doesn’t. Suicide —– you don’t do that to friends and family you love. If you need help reach out. Put up your hand. But ultimately move on. Things may be tough, but heh “it’s just a fact of life” ——get over it. Oh and by the way – it’s Christmas



Rutho the LIFE COACH


I decided to sit down and write this blog after a young man said to me on the phone the other day – “You should be a life coach. You would be great at it.” I had heard this reasonably modern phrase many a time, but never really given it any great thought.

So I just Googled the phrase “Life Coach” and noted the first definition – “somebody who helps people improve lives: somebody who provides advice and support to people who wish to improve their lives, helping them to make decisions, solve problems, and achieve goals.” Is that me?

In this little bit of research I decided to google further. I have a friend who I know lists “Action Coach” in her resume. I also know she follows a lot of other “Action Coaches”. Not having given any of this a real thought, I wanted to know the difference. In simple terms, I suppose the Action Coach is just another branch in the coaching tree, being primarily business focused. I intend going back and reading more of these pages as I can see the motivating, communicating, team leading and team building skills etc, that are still applicable to my role in a government job. Already I have enjoyed two brief readings in http://www.actioncoaching.com/tag/action-coach & http://www.lifeactioncoaching.com/pages/about.html.

But what about me, the life coach?

I was going for a long walk along the coastline the other day and gave this a big thought. Aren’t teachers life coaches? Especially the really good teachers who manage to not only teach the academic things to their student, but establish such a rapport that their students look up to them and take on board every word. So what about me?

In my role as a Sergeant of Police, I am obviously a life coach. I lead and mentor a team of 25 plus police. My advice and guidance is sought numerous times a day. I am required to lead, guide, teach, motivate and supervise. I do all this and more. I am proud of the team of people around me, and I’m pretty confident they think highly of me. Often referred to as the “cranky sergeant”, those that really know me, know how much support, representation, assistance, guidance, and the expected results they get with and from me.

Outside my staff, I am always trying to pass on words of wisdom to people. I pride myself on the empathy I have for all people including those who fall foul of the law. Especially if I see things in their backgrounds, that have led them astray. I have seen the offenders who were a victim of family abuse in growing up. I see the offenders that unfortunately haven’t resisted the temptations of drugs. I have seen the offenders from really dysfunctional family and community life. I don’t judge these people, preferring to offer them incentive to move on.

Young people especially are a focus of mine. If they listen to my words then I am happy. If they don’t then I am satisfied I have tried. But it is positive attitudes, and words I try to profess. I wish I had always practiced these words in my life.

With the young man who told me I should be a “life Coach”, my first conversation was with his mother. He had committed a pretty serious drink drive and mum thought it was the end of the world. Of course his actions were very serious, but luckily nobody was hurt and it was a big lesson in life. The mother on the other end of the phone couldn’t stop thinking about her sons’ misdemeanor. She needed to accept what had happened, but then come together as a family and move on. The phrase “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life” is an oldie but a goody. Her son was a great young fellow, who I had no doubt would pick up the pieces and succeed in whatever he does down the line with his life.

I then had the conversation with him that he obviously thought was pretty special. He to needed to accept, learn, repair, learn, and then move on. He will. He needs to cop the consequences of his actions, but at the same time prepare for the rest of his life that has hit a minor speed hump. He will.

Then I thought further. I am a father of two children. They are now 22 years old but as a parent aren’t I a ‘life coach” to my children? Of course I am and have been all their growing days. The role of a parent is A LIFE COACH.

It isn’t the first time somebody at work has thanked and complimented me for my work. But it always feels good and gives you reason to keep going. It was just this young fellow using the modern phrase – “life coach”. It got me thinking about my role, my place, and whether I am making a difference in what I do.

I will go to work tonight and again perform my primary function, but it has just dawned on me that I have to go back to a home and speak to a young girl of 15 years with her mother. She needs to look at the big picture and not follow her current peer group on a downhill spiral. Here I go again. John the life coach! I just hope she listens to me. If she does then great. If she doesn’t it will just be “a fact of life” I suppose.




I have just enjoyed another country drive to a far west Australian town in NSW and feel compelled to again blog about country towns and their people. With four other people, I got in the car and travelled out to Condobolin for a charity golf day.

In my previous blog on Cobar (still my favourite country town), I asked the question of myself, as to why I don’t leave the comfort of where I live now. The answer remains the same, that being that unfortunately I couldn’t even get my wife to go out for a holiday, let alone move to the bush. I am also not at a stage in my working life where it is really an option, and yes being 800metres from the beach is a luxury. However I will always be prepared to journey out for a visit and really wish more people would do it. Our country towns need our support.

On this trip we drove for four hours, before stopping at the very small town of Millthorpe, NSW. We booked into the hotel and proceeded to enjoy a few cold beers, meeting the very hospitable locals before a beautiful country pub meal. Our accommodation was amazing with large rooms, high ceilings and queen sized beds. How good is our country? The town is tiny, but beautifully presented. The railway station is like a scene out of an old western movie.

The next day we started with our own cooked breakfast in the park before continuing on to our destination. Nothing stopping us having our own cooked breakfast in the park at home, but you never seem to take time for that unless away on holidays, do we. We did check the signs to ensure there were no local rules preventing us from setting up our portable barbecue. There wasn’t.

So we arrive at Condobolin in the Central West of NSW Australia at midday after two and a half hours. Another really well presented town with all the facilities of bigger places. First stop our hotel to check in before a snack for lunch. Then off to the golf club for a preliminary game. A small country town of less than 3,000 people, yet it has this very well kept recreation facility. Yes it is red dirt off the fairways, but the greens are grass, unlike Cobar that had the sand greens.

In the night we head to another hotel in town for a meet and greet with other people. Totally friendly, and no pre conceived ideas about anyone. In country towns you can just be yourself.

The next day we played in the golf day, and again it was a treat to play in an old fashioned community fund raiser. Volunteers had worked to raise money and put on a great day for all. In Australia we are very proud in the knowledge that without volunteers we would not be where we are today. Our country has been built on people giving of their own time, and continues to rely of those organisations such as Lions, Rotary or other volunteers groups.

The next day unfortunately was the long drive home, but in such a large country, long drives for people outside of the city are part of the territory. After all, many people travel four hours each day to go to and from work.

So what would I like to say in this blog? As you consider where to go on a short stay holiday, don’t write off leaving the coastal areas and heading inland. Head in to where I believe the people are most often far more friendly and genuine. What you see is what you get. You will get far more “giddays” and “how are you going’s”.

I have no doubt that this is the same throughout the world. A major attitude change when away from the hustle and bustle of the city. My neighbours next year plan to do route 66 in the States. I am sure if they stop off at the smaller places the atmosphere will be of a similar nature.

It is also the case that the major tourist attractions tend to attract us to the city areas of larger population. Then again from my memory the Grand Canyon is a way out from Vegas. With limitations of holiday time, you are not going to miss Sydney Harbour if you are from overseas, or the Gold Coast if Australian. But if you can just venture out a little bit, you will find another world.


Country Hotel – Millthorpe NSW Australia







The word or deed of thanks is a gesture sometimes expected, sometimes demanded.  I personally have never really been a person that expects to receive thanks for my actions, whether paid or unpaid. In my employment as a police officer I get paid and that is all the thanks I ask for.


Mind you, we should always be polite, and give thanks when thanks are deserved. A religious person gives thanks regularly in prayer and grace. I believe that we should give thanks to God for every day we walk on this earth.


Of course there are times when we go beyond normal expectations of our work. When we go beyond normal bravery or work performance. We step out from the norm, and it is then perhaps when I do have the expectation of a thank you.


Although on a similar line of stepping out from the norm, I remember Paul Hogan talking about a bravery medal he received for stopping a fellow worker from falling from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Hogan stated “I wasn’t brave, I was fearless.  I use to hang of the Harbour Bridge all the time, so it was something that came natural to me. I wasn’t brave”. He deserved a big thank you, but not necessarily a bravery medal.


So where is the line in the sand, and when should people absolutely go out of their way to show thanks. In surf lifesaving I have ‘rescued’ many people who believed they were in trouble. I never waited for the thanks, and I never expected the thanks. Most people thanked me because it is the right thing to do. Some didn’t because of the embarrassment they felt in front of the other swimmers.


Sometimes I think I have more pride in myself by just walking away. I know when I have done a good job, and the best thanks I get, is my own self-satisfaction. I actually get very shy and embarrassed when I am publicly thanked. Even after I have been on stage for a few hours playing Master of Ceremonies, when I am thanked in front of everybody, I feel the embarrassment go through me.


I remember one day last summer when I was at the Rotary Park, with my wife, niece and her two young children.  The park is an excellent facility with a fully enclosed play area. As we were started to walk away from the park there were people becoming hysterical. It was obvious they were looking for a lost child. I went to just leave, but noticed the lady who was obviously the mother heading far away, making her way to the nearby lake. In my experience, lost kids are never far away, so I decided it was time to step in. I went down to the lady as other people were running in different directions. In short, I acknowledged her distress but calmed her down. I told her that I really didn’t think her son would be far away, and I needed her to come back to the playground. Another lady told me we had to call the police, and I informed her we would do that. I then asked the lady what her son looked like and pointed out one boy still in the playground, but it wasn’t him. She then went into the enclosed area and within a minute was cuddling a little boy. The other lady looked in my direction and gave me a signal that the boy was located. I went straight to my wife and niece and we walked away. Nobody came after us to thank us. I don’t know if they tried, but I was extremely proud of what I had just done. The good feeling in my heart was all the thanks I needed. I was only really Mr Citizen.


But there was an incident that occurred when I was at work, and I still think we deserved some extra thanks. My workmate and I went to a home at where it appeared a break in had happened. The front yard was a quagmire with the hose running, and I saw a mattress down the side of the house. We went to the open front door, and looked inside and saw that the front lounge room had been trashed with empty beer cans and bottles and chips and biscuits were everywhere.  We then saw that the main bedroom had been completely emptied of all furnishings, bed and all, with it all put into another room of the house. Before we could figure out what had happened, a car pulled up in the driveway and out hopped the young bride and groom, fresh from their wedding. The young man was well affected by liquor and thought it was a great joke. We quickly figured out that some young mates had gone overboard on the party trick. The young bride was ready to go home to mum. She was distraught. She jumped on the phone to her parents asking them to come and get her. We went to leave it with them, but I stopped. I suggested to my partner that we should at least put together their bed so they could consummate their wedding in a conventional way. The bride was in such a state, sex on the floor, shower or kitchen bench was not going to happen. I told the young groom to go and console his wife and then there we were putting the bed back together, slats and all including tucking in sheets. “Of all the things Frank, I never thought we would make a bed together”, I said. Job done I went out to the young couple. I suggested they get the bottle of wine out of the car, have a great night and worry about the cleaning up I the morning. The young bride was a lot happier, and the young groom had sobered enough with the realisation his mates went too far. Frank and I left, and I have no idea how this marriage or the night went, but I think we went beyond normal expectations. I really expected a call or card, a thank you, from somebody. Either the young couple or the brides’ parents, but nobody did. But at least I still have a good feeling about what we did – self satisfaction.


I didn’t want the medal for working during the severe storms of 2007. I didn’t collect my medal for working at the Olympic Games, as I get paid for my work. I didn’t go beyond expectations. Give those rewards to unpaid volunteers.


Sometimes a special thank you is just that – special. Not by email, that’s too convenient. Not by gift or card, because whilst it is nice, it may be over the top. Just to have somebody take the time to actually say the words “thank you” or “I just wanted to thank you” goes such a long way. It builds what is most important – the feeling of self-satisfaction.


However some people will never say the words THANK YOU. I suppose that’s just a fact of life.



Best Country Town in NSW.
So I have just returned from 4 days in the NSW country town of Cobar. This was my place of birth 5 decades ago when my father was a country school teacher. He has always said that Cobar was the best country town he lived in. I can see why.
It is the third time I have returned for a weekend visit, and twice in the last two years. Right from the time I step into the town I get a welcomed feeling. I even feel something in my inner self. Am I kidding myself, or do I have some indigenous tie to this town?
This town which sits very close to dead centre of our state if you draw two diagonal lines from corner to corner. It is nine hours’ drive from the coast. It has all the necessary facilities, including the schools, and the sporting facilities. It has the pubs and the clubs. It has employment opportunity. Yet still it has the problems of many (most) country towns. People won’t move there.
As our country still experiences a mining boom, people prefer to fly in and fly out. I can understand this with some mining areas which are out in the middle of nowhere, with temporary accommodation built for the miners. However Cobar is on a main east west road, and the town within driving distance of the mines. People should consider how much better their life could be, if they moved their family to the town. Parents could see their children every day, instead of only on those blocks of days when they go home. What is more important to a parent, money or time with your family?
I understand the luxuries of living on the coast, or bigger cities are hard to leave. But the experience of country life is also there to be had. I accept that people reading this are wondering why I don’t go back and live there. The answer is simple in that my work is where I live now, and my wife would never consider it.
My wish is for the fly in and out workers to consider options. My dream is that this country town, and others like it, survive. We need our country towns.




Losing The Verbal Skill

A World Of Poor Talk.
I know that life moves on. The world continues to evolve. But I think one of my biggest concerns is the ongoing loss of the art of communicating verbally. Everything has to be done by computer technology (so I say as I type away on my iPhone).
Let’s think text messages. Text tennis. Bouncing text messages back and forth. Surely after text 3 or 4 it’s time to make the phone call. After all, you will then know you are sending the full message. I wonder with some people whether it is just quick convenience, or is it their preferred option of not confronting a two way conversation. Don’t take me wrong. I know texting has its place.
Then I get really concerned about online shopping. No doubt a big money saver, but what about local jobs for our local community. Local jobs for our kids. Recently we took a friend to the local bike shop to buy a bike. She was going to get one online. How impersonal. How risky that you don’t get what you want. This shop has been around for many years and the service is great. The little bit you save may be a big mistake, and add to the loss of local business. Again I know it’s about the money and then I also had the conversation with the owner. We talked about the sport shoe shop that closed recently. We both knew why. How could it complete with online. They knew people would try before they would buy, but when they bought the right shoe, the right size, it wouldn’t be at the shop. They would go home to their computers. Very sad, and maybe I should even say unethical. Some people love sitting behind their computer shopping. Me, well I like the social scene at Woolworths. It a meeting place.

Our soccer club found out the hard way a few years ago how unreliable texting can be. All season the coach had been texting the team. Then in the semis when an important message needed circulating, some people didn’t get the text……they hadn’t got them all year but didn’t realize until this important time. For god sake, why didn’t the coach ring them!!!!
Then overall I see our youth starting to really lack the art of conversation. Why don’t you talk to them I feel like shouting. I am lucky, because I know being a talker has seen me on stage, resolving issues, avoiding a fight etc.

Modern society and the online shop. Technology not requiring the vocal word. An impersonal society where we avoid personal contact. Is it a good thing ?
I don’t know for sure, but I know one thing. It is the way for many, and unfortunately it is A FACT OF LIFE…



First Impressions – some people put total faith in their first impression. So do I —-BUT ?

Trust you heart. Trust your instincts. But don’t prejudge the person in front of you. Until you talk, or until you communicate with them, you cannot fully understand where a person is coming from. What their expectations, or intentions are. Even then though, you can judge people the wrong way. But yes, it won’t take long for you to form your own opinion.

I have 2 examples where people’s impression of me was made on first meeting. One person thought I was arrogant and uncaring when they met me through work, yet all I was trying to do was put them at rest and ease, when they were clearly distressed. I still did my job thoroughly, and they are still good friends of ours. Another lady I met years after helping through my work, commented on how nervous she was coming to report clothes taken from her clothes line, but that I “made her feel so relaxed”. Had it been somebody else, they may have taken my comments and humour the wrong way.

So whilst we should continue to trust our hearts and instincts, we have to be open to change those first impressions. Funny enough, a female told me over our first dinner, that on first meeting me “When I first met you at the bank I thought you were arrogant and up yourself. I still do really”. Well, at this time we’ve now been married for 22 years. Luckily she didn’t persist with her first instincts or this earth would have two less people in it (my children).




Why would I, a person who is proud of his oral communication skills, and loves writing rhyme, (poetry without conventional rules), want to write blogs onto the public domain of the internet. Especially bearing in mind, I have never professed to have any great writing skills, never been a grade A English student or reader (except for spelling). The answer is – I don’t know.

The urge may have come upon me, after reading very open, meaningful, and spiritual blogs, written by a very good friend of mine. She has the academic writing skills, and demonstrates spiritual and other really deep thought processes, something that I may not. I have read these blogs quickly, and then gone over some of them again, with the aim of accurately interpreting the meanings, and trying to fully understand the message of the author. Maybe it isn’t important to get the authors meaning, but to form my own. But I have loved reading them, and will add comments to some more of them over time. So somehow, one day I thought I might sit down and start recording some of my own thoughts.

I have made a start with a couple of writings, which are saved on my personal computer. One day I may bring them onto my blog, but at this stage they are likely in need of amendment.

I am an infrequent user of Facebook and twitter, and not being right on top of networking and blogging sites, I don’t know where best to record blogs. However, after reading my friends blogs on WordPress, thought I would sing in. Now I have, and this is my first.

For anybody that may read this, another question may be “why the title “fact of life”?

In a nutshell, it is a comment I make often. Possibly too often, to the point that my wife insists she will have it endorsed on my headstone.

What does it mean? The Collins dictionary states “an inescapable truth —especially an unpleasant one”. I don’t know whether I use it in a negative or a positive way but believe the latter. Too late in my life I adopted more positive attitudes to things. My latest phrase to people when they are making negative comment ,is to tell them to “fill the glass, not empty it”. My wife always comments on how easy going I was when we first met. My attitudes of “not to worrying about anything you can’t control”, was at the forefront of my thoughts. “If you can’t do anything about it, don’t worry about it” I would affirm.

In the end these things, or these happenings are just “A FACT OF LIFE”. (not to be confused with “the facts of life – those are for parents to teach).

It may be the line in the sand, the end of the worry. Maybe it is just a phrase so that after it is said, means it is time to move on.

It might be cold and seen as uncaring at times. I suppose that is why caution when and where to say it should be used. If somebody comes to you with a problem, or concern, or something that to them, is a big issue that they can’t change. That’s when I need to learn that this is not always the right time to say, “oh well, it’s a fact of life”. But most of the time it is just that…..