I’ve recently been the guest speaker at an event organised by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in my home city of Belfast.
Their goals are laudable, a desire to ensure that everyone in Northern Ireland has aspirations of decent, affordable housing, which they work towards by linking up with communities and other organisations in order to meet the housing needs of not only existing generations but future ones as well.
So it meant a great deal to me to be able to meet and work with them, delivering, in the process, one of my keynote speeches at their annual Finance, Audit and Assurance Conference.
More so because, as I was there, I took a moment or two to think about my parents and how they’d both grown up in the social housing that had been made available to them.
My dad was one of nine people packed into a typical two up and two down terrace house, whilst my mum was one of a family of twelve living in a similarly designed local authority home. It wouldn’t have been easy for either of them, or their respective siblings and parents, all living, eating and sleeping together in such a tiny space but they all made the most of it. Difficult as it must have been at times, they were never ungrateful for what the Housing Executive had done for them. Far from it but, like all parents, they wanted to live to see their children’s lives be an improvement on the ones they’d had and that included a bigger and better home for them.
Mum and Dad started their own aspirational journey with relish. They worked hard with the intention of providing, both, themselves and their family with all of the very best things they could, which included, for my siblings and I, growing up as part of a family of six in a 3 bedroom house in west Belfast and I’m sure their parents would have been very proud of them.
Three generations. All with aspirations they believed in and tirelessly worked at.
An aspiration is a dream that becomes a plausible goal, something you work towards achieving, to be or become something that is seen as a better or a more desirable situation than the one you’re currently in. It might be your home, your work, your relationships, your hobbies or pastimes.
Now, fifty plus years on from when my parents were growing up in social housing, one of their sons was back at the organisation that had provided it in the first place giving a Keynote speech on mental performance and aspirations to around 100 of their staff.
I’m sure, wherever my dad is, he’ll be looking down on me. By the way, he’s not dead. He’s just very condescending!