My father is the type of man who loves a good conversation. He loves people, hearing their stories, hopes, fears and problems. I grew up in the regional Victorian city of Mildura, and my parents were both very much community stalwarts. Going grocery shopping seemed to take a couple of hours as they’d be chatting to someone in every aisle.
On a Friday night, we’d head for a counter meal at the local pub. It was an opportunity for Mum and Dad to catch up with friends. As part of my dad’s work in policing, he always thought it was essential to remain connected and approachable with the community. He always encouraged all his officers to do the same.
I’ve been reflecting on dad’s approach to community and people very much lately following a conversation we had about connection. “Everyone is always on their phones these days people, and it’s damaging normal conversation,” he told me.
“Everyone should get off their phones and talk like normal human beings.”
Dad’s from the old school, and we went on to debate how to build up that ‘know, like and trust’ factor necessary for business development. This morning, on the eve of Australia’s federal election, our conversation went one step further as we discussed the death of former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke.