The Smith\’s 2010

“I just wanted to say how much I get from your site. I’m a therapist in private practice and I also supervise therapists in training for licensure. Your writing has helped me reconnect with my Family System Theory roots. I share your writings with clients and supervisees. It’s also really helped me in my own “self work” – an important part of the process! Keep up the good work.” Anne Ferrell Leggett

“Have I ever told you, you are one of the most incredible people I have ever met? I am so fortunate that you (and your family) have had a part of my son’s life.” Lauren Ryan Cislak

“Anyway we don’t need you to fix things, we need you to fix us! Stick to giving us advice on our loves, hates, bossy husbands and cranky wives. I am an avid fan of yours living in Durban…….so is my 85 year old mother Thora, she is still taking advice from your column on how to live her life. You rock!!!”

Elaine De Fonseca, Durban


I have been following you for a while. Congrats on your two boys Rod, I can imagine you being an incredible father, you were always an amazing person and someone we could all talk to and feel safe with.

Bradd Bendall


I still take pleasure in reading your column in the local paper… and tell my family that that wise chap once taught me.

Clive Kidd


“I attended the MMBC in Chatel, Switzerland the spring of 98. I don’t expect you to remember me, but you and your teaching was, and is key to my counseling and walk with the Lord. Thanks! You did an exercise with us and I volunteered. You told me to let lose but I didn’t as I would have gotten physical, throwing things around. We met after lunch and your grace covered me like a balm. I don’t know how many times I have used your open hand in helping people to understand how others treat them vs. how God treats them. I have wanted to IM with you on several occasions but didn’t want to bother you, as I know that you are busy but I read everything that you post and I am blessed by YOU and who you are and then by your ministry. I appreciate reading about you and your handsome sons and what goes on in your lives. Thanks. And again THANK YOU for being you. You have dedicated years of your life to training, to serve God and others and give away what you have received. I want you to know that you are LOVED by the Father and by countless others who you have served and loved!”

Cliff H. Estonia


Hope all is well with you Rod. Just wanted to let you know, I will be in Cleveland this spring doing an internship for my favorite chef Michael Symon. Thanks again for all you ever did for me. Things are finally starting to work out.

Dear Rod

Thank you for your column that appeared in the Mercury today, 18 June. I have been feeling particulary sorry for myself after the death of my wife 18 months ago. The added responsibility of bringing up a family on my own and holding down my job as a school principal has made me feel this way. I guess it is just time to grow up and get over myself at the age of 48? You are so right. The only person who can change my life is me!


Dear Eugene:

And it is YOUR letter, this morning, that makes the countless hours I sit at this computer worthwhile. Yes. It is deeply sad that your wife (anyone’s wife) will die at any age and it is deeply difficult to rear children and keep a job and mourn great loss — no doubt. You have a LOT of room for feeling sorry for yourself BUT….. it will probably not be helpful to remain there.

Thanks. Thanks. Thanks. When I come to RSA I would like to speak at your school either to students or to parents or two both. Please keep in touch. I want to hear how you are doing.

Rod E. Smith


Dear Rod Smith,

Thanks for your posts. Your posts have had an incredible result in helping to improve my understanding of men and relationships. Even more, I’ve really come to appreciate how great my life is in comparison to the situation of others. I guess the old adage of learning from other people’s mistakes has terrific merit.

I’m one of those lucky women whose father took the time to tell her all the lines guys come up with to use women. Keeping up with your blog has opened my eyes about emotional affairs as well. I have very little relationship experience in the area of dating. Therefore, I’ve come to regard your blog as setting out warning signs for emotional road-hazards. Can’t tell you how much grief I’ve been spared by taking your words seriously.

For example, a married male acquaintance admitted to me that he has had (or is having) emotional affairs with other women. He added, there are plenty of ways to be intimate without intercourse. Having read your blogs, I was on to him as soon as he admitted these things to me. I went from liking that fellow to actually having pity for his life and his wife. More importantly, I ran quick and far in the opposite direction.

I appreciate the profession you are in and have myself benefited from years of working with excellent therapists. Thank God for good therapists who have the courage and patience to tell their patients the truth.

Thanks again.

S. E. Moore



I just wanted to thank you for everything you did for me during my crossroads time spent with you last week. It was such a memorable marker for my life…. a sure turning point for me! I knew that I needed a turning point and you helped facilitate that for me. It was exactly what I needed!

I am very aware that I needed to grieve the loss that I have had and that was a necessary season for me. You helped me to make sense of what could be and accept what could not be reasoned out.

Thank you for helping me see how to put closure to that part of my life. I appreciate so many words of wisdom that I was able to take with me.

But it didn’t end there, your blessing to my life will ripple further: you encouraged me to seriously think about, embrace, and step into the dreams and goals that have been laying dormant within me…to embrace my life…abundant life.

I have already started working towards some of the “heart-storm” ideas (I love that word, by the way). It is life giving and exciting to step into those areas of me. I had hope for my future, but now I also have excitement about my future. Thank you for helping me to see this.

I truly see that you have a gift and talent for facilitating healing wings and encouraging embracing abundant life. I truly wanted to do that!

During my time there, your way of working through life issues was very transforming at just the right time and season of my life. Thank you for investing into my healing and growth. Thank you for encouraging me in practical ways of “how to” pursue and embrace my life and goals.

Also, I really appreciate you transporting me from and to the airport and working out accommodations while I was there. That was very helpful! I know that you made a sacrifice with your boys to help me in this season.

Thank you so very much! Blessings to you and your sons!

Kathryn, USA
“You helped me look at my past, current and future and challenged me to love my wife and daughter all the more. You are one of the best speakers I have ever met.” David, Korea

“Everything you have taught me is contrary to what I have learnt in the past.” Lisa, South Africa

“Thank you for the hours you have spent with individual students and staff.” DTS Leader, Scotland

“I have felt like I am walking in a heavy storm all week. You have challenged me to grow up.” Jongchel, Korea

“You are the most provocative thinker I have come across.” Joyce, Malaysia

“I had a great time getting to know you and Thulani.” Andrew, Indonesia

“I did not find it easy to connect with you.” Juanita, Costa Rica

“You said ‘Anxiety is more damaging than the Beastie Boys’…. I liked that!” Michael, USA

“I loved the teaching about confused intimacy. Thanks.” Elaine, England

“The material you presented is astounding and quite overwhelming. Right now I am more than a little perplexed.” Daniel, Colorado, USA

“Of course you are welcome (to come to Egypt). I thought it is not good (for you) to teach in Egypt. I don’t think they can accept (you). It’s a risk” Usama, Egypt

“First: Thanks for the enormous effort it is to gather up a little fellow of this age and travel many miles to share with us the truths of your experience and learning.” Jean, USA

“Your statement that unresolved issues between a dad and a son get passed on to the next generation helped me realize that I want to work with my own son to resolve what we can to break that cycle. You are blessed to have Thulani in your life.” Jim, USA

“It has been almost one year since I had your teaching in the Children In Need School in Seattle. I wanted to let you know how much impact these lessons have had in my life.” Brigitte, Brazil

“Thanks for putting up with us. Actually, it wasn’t really easy to put up with you.” Evelyn, Germany

“Thank you for saying many times we don’t have to agree. I will never forget you. You were the strangest, most interesting, most unpredictable teacher I ever had.” Lisa, Switzerland

“Freedom can be frightening in the beginning, but at the same time a big relief!” Susanne, Switzerland

“You would be a challenge for a woman to marry.” Bunty, New Zealand

“You are the first person to ask me sincerely what I want to do with my life.” Pippa, England

“I can’t remember a speaker getting so much reaction out of me.” Vivienne, Switzerland

“I appreciate (that) you can accept many hard questions and challenges from us. Your book helps me. Wendy, Hong Kong

“You have shown me much I want to make part of me.” Merete, Denmark

“You are like a controversial commercial on the screen.” Poh Moi, Singapore

“You have encouraged me to deal with my past in order that I might have healthy relationships in the present and future. I am excited about working through the tasks in your book!” Alison, Canada

“Your book is good. Thank you for reminding me that we serve a colorful God.” Nicole, Canada

“Though I don’t agree with all your teachings, I do respect your views.” Paula, Canada

“The Open Hand offered me questions to so many of the answers I had.” Sarah, Canada

“You have not only open hands but you also have an open mind.” Monique, Switzerland

“I tried not to be fully convinced by what you said.” Yorshu, Korea

“I am very glad that you came here.” Michael, Austria

“You are original and full of colours. To be honest, sometimes I got irritated and frustrated and even scared to tell you my thoughts about things because you seem to be so convinced bout your opinions. In other words you are often on the edge of arrogant.” Elsbeth, Scotland

“I like your face.” Elizabeth, Sweden

“Thank you for the challenge to focus on strength rather than weakness. I can summarize the week in one word: turbulence.” Minyoung, Korea

“Thank you for coming even if it was only for me.” Mamy, Madagascar

“As I listened to your teaching I realized I felt a burden gone. I am tired of being nice to people.” Eun Sook, Korea

“Very intense.” Theresea, USA

“Dangerous. This book could break up marriages.” Peter, UK

“A couple of years ago, you wrote a piece about adultery and the venom it spews. I was taken aback at your descriptions of couples so engaged; the pictures you painted were too vivid for comfort. I remember cutting that article out, carrying it with me for quite awhile, and whenever temptation reared, I’d pull it out of hiding and pray on it. Sometimes it saved me. Sometimes I was weak. I knew you were right back then. I didn’t want to acknowledge it.” Reader, USA

“Outstanding writing from your mind and pen.” Jim, USA

I have been meaning to respond to one of your articles from a few weeks ago. It was the one regarding someone who said you shouldn’t adopt. Well, that is balderdash! I applaud your adopting the two boys. I enjoy your stories of your life as their dad. I work as a child advocate volunteer and I have seen way too many homes where though there were two parents there was not nearly the attentiveness and love you show your boys. I applaud you. Melissa, USA

“This is the most helpful book I have read.” Shannon, Indiana, USA

“This time last year I attended a seminar you held in Durban where I was struck with insight about quite a few things in my life. I saw how I had allowed my husband to dominate my thinking (actually, I allowed him to steal my brain). Slowly, over the years he took complete control of everything and every time I said how unhappy I was, people told me to have more patience. Thanks for showing me that being patient with a cruel person just lets cruelty grow. After the seminar I made some very important decisions and in the past year no one has called me stupid, no one has shouted at me, no one has made fun of me in front of my grandchildren or neighbors. I can wear whatever clothes I want and I can talk to my sons, daughters and their children without his constant jealousy and interference. I can go to the mall and I can stay longer than I planned without his thinking I am having an affair. I am a person again. It took some time, but I have my identity back. My only regret is that I allowed myself to be trampled on for so long. Thank you, thank you.” Finding Myself, South Africa

“I was expecting a full on lecture of the same old blah blah about relationships I have heard a million times before. Instead what I got was a time of true enlightenment through the concept of the Open Hand. Now I am longing to see my parents because now I know how open their hands have been to me. Thanks for sharing your free time with us at Karaoke and Scrabble. Also, thanks especially for sharing Thulani.” Charity, USA

“Your meddling into another countries customs with your western views are absurd. People that have the holier than thou attitude that you display threaten American credibility over the world. You may have the right to free speech here, but you go to Africa for any period of time I wouldn’t take any bets on the value or length of your life as a meddler. Good Luck.” Anonymous Reader, USA

“I need to thank you for your column in the Indianapolis Star today regarding abusive relationships. Midway through your column you said something that I needed desperately to hear: that no matter how dysfunctional, how miserable a relationship is, there is no excuse for any kind of abuse.” Reader, Indianapolis

“You have very unique way of teaching. I want to be as funny as you when I teach.” Na Young, Korea

“You make all the mothers in the class decide they will never complain again about taking care of two children when they hear you take care of Thulani and Nathanael and your house by yourself. Thanks for your teaching; the school is lifted up. I was very nervous when you came. Someone told me that you are a good teacher but your material is unacceptable. This is not true.” Family Ministry School 2003 Co-leader, Jonathan Sook, Korea

“Your teaching makes me want to study family therapy.” Young Jae, Korea

“Thank you for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your advice. I recall reading your article a while ago urging one not to be bitter towards others even though one has been wronged. You said ‘bitterness will have your soul for breakfast.’ I found that article most powerful in managing my thoughts while working towards a positive future.” Nisch P., Kwa-Zulu Natal

“Thanks for saying ‘when you find your self you will find your size and you will find your voice and it will be beautiful. It was nice to finally meet the infamous Rod.” Vicki, Kiev

“I was at Open Hand in Romania this summer, clearing out a loft and I came across a copy of the Open Hand. I found it incredibly helpful myself and gave it to my Dad to read. My Mum, fed up with my Dad not reading it, and having read it herself, gave it away to some deserving friends for Christmas. How can I get hold of another copy?” Lucia, Scotland

“Your compliments made some tears flow.” Pat, USA.

“My book just arrived. It is most spectacular. Thank you for the years of devotion you put into your calling. I will certainly share the message written within the pages, through the my excitement of the message, but hopefully most as a living example.” Ann, Georgia, USA

“Your column today – Valentines Day 2004 – is one that will be kept to share with my children. I plan to have them read it now and especially when they start to look for a life partner.” Gayle, USA

“I am not surprised (that) many former pupils communicate with you. I read your column every chance I get. I think you are making a huge contribution to society.” Chairman, Glenwood old Boys Association, South Africa

“Thanks for quietly carrying on with your column in the absence of any feedback (from the editorial staff). Your writings have really matured, in my view, and usually hit the mark perfectly. You have become the unsung hero on our leader page (and it is) one of the most popular features among readers, judging from some of the comment of my friends. Have you thought of entering your column into any of the journalism competitions that run over the year? Devi Rajab, our Monday columnist, last year won the Vodocom journalist of the year award. The Mondi Newspaper Awards are coming up. If you are interested I will get my secretary Liz Swart to find out if your column is eligible. Please keep the good work – it is much appreciated.” Dave Canning, Editor, The Mercury

To The Editor The Mercury:
“One feature in your newspaper that I never miss reading is Rod Smith’s column. The advice he gives out can only benefit those that read it and judging by the responses to his columns, I am not the only one whose life has received added value through this medium. I recently sent him an e-mail asking for advice and was pleasantly surprised to receive not only an email back from him but also a phone call at his expense to provide and discuss a solution to my problem. Thank you for providing his services to your readers.” Chris Brown, Durban

“I have been reading your column and advice for approximately the last 4 years and have re-assessed my life and after two failed attempts at leaving an abusive marriage, I have eventually managed to get out and start to rebuild myself. The road is full of potholes and speed humps but with a lot of support from family and friends and a wonderful teenage daughter, we are slowly but surely getting to a better place. To all those out there, who like me read your column, hang in there and when the time is right things will fall into place and those true friends and family will stand by you. Thanks a million. Marcelle, Durban

“I read your column in The Mercury every day and keep promising myself to drop you a mail. We knew you in Glenwood School days. Do you remember Kevin J. who lost his Mom unexpectedly when he was in Grade 8? Well, as you may know my late husband John and I fostered Kevin and over the past twenty years has become our son in the true sense of the word. He is now married and has a beautiful baby girl Taylor; he has his own business and is a very committed Christian. I know that you helped him greatly 20 years ago through his trauma and I just thought you would like some news of your “old boys.” My beloved husband John was tragically killed in a car accident two years ago – that experience was naturally very difficult for all of us, but we count our blessings from the Lord and try to carry on. You would have been so proud of my two boys; they said the eulogy at their Dad’s funeral to a packed church. They were outstanding. Anyway, just thought you might like some good news rather that the sad problems you deal with such dignity. Laura Palmer, Durban

“If I am in a hurry you are the only thing I read in the paper!” Pat, Durban

25 Comments to “Feedback”

  1. My husband and my parents just do not get along. They seem to be fighting about everything and anything. My husband says he’s not at fault and my parents say they are not at fault. But I feel trapped in the middle. How do I deal with both without hurting or betraying the other.

  2. my husband says that he never love me and that hes in love with my doughter . how to handle?

  3. I am looking for my father Kevin Joseph Burden approx 66 years old last known address somewhere in Glenwood Durban South Africa please tell him me and my brother Mark are looking for him

    many thanks

  4. I wish you would also address that men can be abused by their wives as well. I have two brothers who are in very problematic marriages and to see the spirits dimished to nothing is heart-breaking. Their wives manipulate them and their chilren, shower them with guilt, forbid them to see thier families, and feign contant illness, while my brothers slave away their jobs and have to take care of the entire home as well. Please remember that it is not only women who suffer abuse, often they perpetrate it themselves and also direct it at other women.

  5. Dear Josi:

    Thanks for the reminder. Of course you are correct! I have counseled with many woman and only a handful of men who have been victims of the abuses you mention – and thus, I believe, my focus on women.

    It remains true for men and women that, as difficult as it is, all victims have to reach a point of taking a stand, of finding a smidgen of internal strength to begin the process of ending the vicious cycle.

    I certainly do not want to blame your brothers or any victim for being victimized, but a perpetrator is most unlikely to reach any point of insight or change while the abusive behavior is rewarded.

    Thanks for taking the time to write….


  6. The website, perhaps outdated. We talked briefly on the phone the other day and I felt compelled when I got home to check this website out furthur.
    I admire your work I have to admit, I too have had my share of difficulties, trama, abuse, tragedy and heartache. Heartache eems the worse of all ailmaints however I find they seem to be part of the larger picture as well deeply entertwined with past relationships good and bad with several people I have met in my life.
    I have discovered that on this road I have decided to stay, to continue to travel forward despite the obstacles. I figured out I had choices, that my fate had not yet been written. I discovered the role I had played in past decisions and hurt feelings as well as the tragedies. Live has so uch to give, but if I am not participating, I can only blame myself.
    My heart still aches for the one who does not know I am even alive, I wonder at times if he even thinks of me, It has been over for a year now. Is there such a thing as loving too much? I choose no, but wow, thanks for the insight today, and get the kid an Ipod it is easier on the computer!!! And South Africans Rock!!!
    Wendi from the telephone

  7. I know you deal will relationships most of the time but my problem is way out of the line but will like you to help me handle my daughter who will turn 15 this year and she has became a different person, disrespecting ,moody at all times and sometimes Im scared she’ll kill her self because she doesn’t like to be disciplined please help me find the solution to my problem sometimes she thinks that i dnt love while I love her to death.

  8. I have asthma. I was diagnosed last year.. but I also have anxiety issues that have led to depression… My parents took my inhaler away from me because they didn’t think I needed it, but when they took it almost right after a friend snitched on me telling a counselor who told my parents that I had taken the entire inhaler at once; and I did.. I had overheard that doing that could put you in a medical coma…and I was hoping that would be a wake up call to my mom and my dad who have caused a lot of the pains and stresses I have had if not all of them. So now, they have an ACTUAL reason for keeping my inhaler, when it was initially because they just didn’t believe the doctor. I have troubles without it sometimes, I don’t have severe asthma; just exercise induced, but simple things such as skipping down the side walk or rollerblading are difficult and painful. I want to go to my doctor, tell her the whole situation, and get a new inhaler and medication for my anxiety. I found out that it runs strong in my family on both sides to have an anxiety disorder, and I think that’s the source of my depression problems. Thing is…even if I am diagnosed for asthma (AGAIN) and anxiety, my parents will deny it. they deny a lot of things. I figure you don’t know what to do about it…no one would. I just thought I could give it a shot; asking someone for advice that is. I need help with my anxiety…often controls me, makes it hard to function around people, to work on school stuff, to deal with conflict. I don’t know what to do. I feel alone…without a helping hand I guess. thanks for listening,


  9. Hi Rod:

    Praise the Lord for the Holy Spirit working in you and through you! I hope we can stay in touch via emai! If you get a chance, go to

    In Him,

    Bob Hutt

  10. We have been married for 20 years, very seldom argue, have a happy family life (or so I thought) have been on overseas holidays, have 2 boys aged 17 and 13. My husband has a successful business, I work part time from home. My husband doesn’t drink or abuse me and is a good father and provider.
    Well, my husband told me 4 weeks ago that I am the perfect wife, mother, kind and generous BUT he loves me like a sister, feels disconnected from me and doesn’t want to spend the next 20 years feeling unhappy. WHAT!! I feel so gut wrenchingly betrayed. He says he has been unhappy for as long as he can remember. I cannot believe what I am hearing. I thought we were happy. We are the shining example to all our friends of a good marriage.
    Our sex life has never been great as he has never been highly sexed, so it has been the same old same old, I felt as long as we had the foundation, respect and happy family we were fine. I have never stopped him from doing what he wants, so I sit at home while he golfs or is away for business. I feel like a fool. I noticed his irritability over the past 6 months and repeatedly asked what the matter was, I did not get any answers, so I put it down to business stress. We are seeing a phsychologist who has put us both on medication for depression. The medication has helped my emotions in the sense that I dont cry all the time, I have this pit of fear 24/7 that wont go away. I am trying to hide this from my children. We are still together, acting normal but I feel the situation is out of my control as he simply doesn’t love me that way anymore. I know other men admire me, so why doesn’t he.
    After 23 years together I am afraid of being on my own both financially and emotionally, afraid of what this will do to my children. I am trying to get through each day hour by hour. I have thoughts about taking an overdose but I am scared to do this to my children.
    I have pulled out all the stops and having been loving (sex) and caring but it has made no difference. I sense so much tension in him and am now afraid to ask him how he is feeling as when I do I am told the same thing that he is feeling empty and disconnected which just brings me down even further.

  11. hi rod
    congrats on touching a chord with many and finding a way to be accessible to many. i remember sitting in a psych group visiting westridge school durban with you as students. I now am principal at Browns special , pinetown. Who would have dreamed it ? Have enduring friendship with brian alborough who consistently falls off his mountain bike providing a poor role model for the next generation. Relational understanding is a wreck out here – your column is needed and timely. Good to see. DS

  12. Are you familiar with BPD? Any tips for someone married to a textbook case?

    • Rod, I check back here regularly, still hoping for a reply….

      • Dear Anonymous—

        Since your comment was identifiable only though your computer id number it was difficult for me to know which was your initial question. But I did a search and your BPD question was clear for me to see.

        SInce the spectrum of BPD is large it is tough for anyone to offer anything but general guidelines: meds are important and ought to be carefully monitored, the patient usually has quite a good take on his/her own patterns and can often begin to self-monitor, family members ought, in my opinion, to err on the side of challenge rathe than lean toward empathy.

        Write more — I need some more details, as will any reader who wants to chime into the conversation.

  13. Hi Rod,
    My husband and I have been married two years and it has been kinda rocky. Both of us are head strong, but I’m normally the one to give in. I show love a lot more than he does. Two weeks ago he left and said he didn’t know how he felt about me. He loves me but don’t know if he is in love with me. I found out he has been talking to another female for about two months. He said it was just phone conversation and texting, but they do it very often and conversations last atleast 40 minutes to 1 hr at each time. I have left him alone to give him time to think, but I’m ready to atleast know where he is. I feel like in two weeks he should have some idea of which direction he is leaning in. We talked today and the conversation was nice, no arguing. I took the opportunity to ask that question about where he was so far with his feelings. He still responds with he doesn’t know. He admits he hasn’t thought about it much. Wow! Talk about a dagger through my heart! Then he said he was going to start travling in his job and would be out of town about 8 months out of the year and that would not be good for a marriage. Then he says maybe we ought to just throw in the towel. I told him that was not what I wanted but if he did then I would respect what ever his decision was. I am devistated! I love him so much and don’t want a divorce!! Do you think there is any help for my situation? If so, can you give me some advice on what to do next? If not, then tell me what you think about that too. Thanks so much!

  14. Hi Rod,

    I liked your blog really and i think you are a very intelligent and sensitive person. Can you share your ideas on Infidelity Issues… and maybe you can write why women choose to stay with a philandering this a manifestation of weakness or there is some psychological roots behind it…

    thanks and more power..

  15. What are parents of adult children supposed to do. We have found out that our 35 yr old son has been abusing 3 relationships. 1st was a marriage that produced a wonderful daughter. Our Son has now lost his business, ruined his credit, cannot get a decent job and is currently going through his 3rd arrest. We have paid out tons of money. We do not feel we can “throw him away” but how do you make him take responsibility for his own actions?

  16. Hi Rod. I am a 35 yr old south african muslim woman. i am an ardent follower of your inspiring columns. I find your solutions to problems to be family oriented and unselfish. you promote self growth and maturity and your approach is non judgemental. you hate the action not the perpertrator. It is in this spirit that I would humbly recommend that you read a biography of the prophet Mohamed(peace be upon him). He won the follwing of millions of people soley based on his exemplary character. he tamed the most uncouth.. A famous saying of the prophet” the best amongst you(men/women)are those who are best to his spouse and family and I am the best to my family” attests to his fine character. One learns more of his character through the eyes of his wife and close friends-he was an open book. Which leaders can boast such openness at any point in history? I think it would be an asset to your vast knowledge to make his acquaintance!

    thank you for your daily inspiration

  17. Hi, Mr. Smith, this is Jeremy Klotz from St. Richards, I am always so impressed when I see your website. Keep up the good work. I will never get over its ‘awesomeness’. I hope you post more stuff about your cool students.


  18. Jeremy —

    I thank you for your comment. I had no idea you were a regular reader of my work in the “other” part of my life. I hope to see you before you begin at your new school. You might change schools but I will be your teacher (among many) forever.

    Thanks for reading and thanks for writing,

    Mr. Smith

  19. Rod, I find that the more you write, the better your writings are. Thank you for sharing your wealth of wisdom with the world. I forward your articles to so many people – family and friends and counsellees and fellow-counsellors – and share on facebook often. This is a rich legacy you’re passing on. Bless you and the boys. (I like the way you bring humour into your writings too!)

  20. Dear Rod,

    I find your blog to be very practical. What a service you perform to give hurting, confused people a place to process their problems and perhaps find solutions. Here’s my situation…. I recently turned 50. I am single, childless and gay. I struggle to earn a living and age is yet another point of discrimination in employment. Even if I land a job soon, I fear it will be in a role I won’t be good at or enjoy. Maybe others get to do what they love, but it hasn’t applied to me these past few years. There is little hope of retiring and being able to support myself. Being gay and having faith has been a very difficult journey. Gay equals rejection and mistrust by many, mostly undeserved. I was ousted from a religious group many years ago for it and that is a pain that never quite goes away. So, I sometimes find myself thinking I may as well quit this life. Other times I think that if I were diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, I probably wouldn’t fight it. It would be my ticket out of this life.

    On the other hand, I am physically healthy – albeit uninsured, currently looking for work – but shelter, food and transportation needs are met. I have friends and support in a 12 Step program, am active in volunteer work. I garden and work out regularly, have a couple of dogs and some extended family, especially a sister with whom I am close.

    Am I depressed? I try positive thinking every day… say mantras, pray etc… and so much of this life just seem futile. Is it really so bad that I think death would be a relief? I must think there’s a problem or I wouldn’t be writing to you.



  21. Dear Mr. Smith, This is Cheri Walton from St. Richard’s School. George’s mom.
    Every now and then someone will mention their regrets or ask what do I regret about my own life. Or what would I do differently if I could live my life over again. I am not really the sort of person to worry about the past very much but I do have significant sad feelings of regret that I never adopted a child. So my question to you is, am I too old to adopt now? I will be 57 this summer but I am very healthy and happy and still busy parenting George who is 12.
    Perhaps there is a book or a resource you could refer me to, that would be great. Maybe the answer is, “You’re really too old”. Either way, I await your thoughts.
    Thanks, Cheri

  22. Hi Rod, I read your column in The Mercury this morning (as I do most mornings). I was struck by your comment re homeostasis. Of course, this hits the nail on the head and happems to me every time I determine to eat less, drink less and exercise more. I understand the concept but wonder if you have some advice regarding how to withstand this natural internal drive towards homeostasis? regards Penny

  23. Hi Rod,

    Thank you! I was in the open week of the DTS in Amsterdam where you taught a few years ago. And that week of teaching from you has changed my life and all my relationships. You have taught and shown me so much about how to be a healthy and fully functioning adult and how to have healthy relationships. Of course I always keep learning, and that’s fun and I’m loving the process. But your teaching has allowed me to take an absolutely massive step! I see the direct effects of it and I am a much happier and relaxed person, and I am able to enjoy my life and the people around me a lot more! My marriage has also become more beautiful and easier, you have given me some tips over coffee as well, if you remember, and it has greatly improved my relationship with, and love for my husband. It also works through in my family and friend relationships.
    I never actually thanked you or told you just how big a difference it made, so today I wanted to do so.
    Thank you!


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