Our children need to know how fortunate they are to live in Australia.

As an adult, I have visited 22 countries, mostly in mission/aid capacities and mostly with our musical family. In most cases we were working with the poor. Not the rich. To put it bluntly, we got to know what was happening and wasn’t happening in each nation.

It is possible to visit a nation as a tourist and not really see what is going on. When working with NGOs, you get to see the good, the bad and the ugly.

One of my most vivid memories was when our family helped out at a public hospital in Uganda.

The theory was that, as the name indicated, this was a public or free hospital, paid for by the taxes of the people and overseas aid money. Medicine, food and lodging was meant to be free to the public.

The reality was that people could starve to death in this hospital if your family did not bring you food every day. Many patients from country areas did not have family nearby, so the NGO we were working with was there with food supplies, free medicine and a little money.

The sight of mattresses strewn across the concrete floor with people laid out on them and the fetid smell of urine and faeces was quite overwhelming at times.

Furthermore, if you were unable to bribe the doctors to give you medical attention, you may never be properly treated. This level of corruption would never be tolerated in Australia, which has a top twelve ranking, out of 180 countries, for transparency and lack of corruption.

So, our children should be glad.

In many countries of the world, people still starve to death. The poverty and crushing need of the people in parts of Africa and Asia can be overpowering.

In Australia, even our poor people are rich in comparison. Australia is in the top ten countries of the world for GDP per capita, not to mention having one of the best social safety nets in the world. With all its faults, Medicare is a wonderful utility.

Some people in Australia are poor, but they can get a bed and they can get food if they need it.

So, our children should be glad.

Again, looking back to our time in Africa, education was theoretically free, but in reality, you paid for it, or bribed for it. In some public schools, the teachers taught their students to cheat in order to pass the education standard exams set by the government. This was done so they could keep their job and get paid.

Private schools run by Christian NGOs are at such a premium in Africa, because there is some level of ethics taught to the children.

Australia is again in the top ten countries in the world when it comes to education quality. Education is free in Australia.

So, our children should be glad.

From all our travels around the globe our whole family would agree that Australia is the best country in the world in which to live.

On Australia Day, 26 January, much ado is being made about it being a day of shame by so-called Indigenous-friendly activists. Interestingly, in my many visits to aboriginal communities throughout Australia, I have never met these activists.

It irks me greatly that such activists are using the Indigenous people as their human battering ram. Aboriginal leader Jacinta Price calls it emotional blackmail.


Most of the Australia Day protestors don’t really care about my Aboriginal friends, but just want to use them as human flotsam and jetsam for their political cause.

My dear tribal friend Anderson George (pictured above), said in the Great Hall of Parliament House at a prayer event, “Thank God for Captain Cook!

Talking to Anderson later, I found that he is very much aware of the massacres and injustices that his people have suffered, but he is a realist and knows he can’t turn back the clock. None of us can!

Anderson said to me one day, “You can’t forget, but you can forgive.” For this reason, Anderson George has been the major public proponent of Forgiveness Day in the Northern Territory, if not Australia.

Yes, bad things have happened in our history, but many good things have also happened. We need to exercise our forgiveness muscles to move forward together and concentrate on the good.

For instance, our children should be glad that Captain Cook was an advocate for non-violence in his relationships with indigenous people, when compared to the Spanish explorers of South America.

Had Australia been settled by the conquistadors, I don’t believe there would have been indigenous person left in our nation today.

Captain Arthur Phillip, leader of white settlement in 1788, exercised forgiveness when he was speared in the leg in a confrontation with Indigenous Australians. His officers wanted to kill dozens of Indigenous Australians by way of retaliation, but Arthur Phillip forbade them and showed the forgiveness that Anderson George has been advocating for the last ten years.

We have all suffered pain and injustice as individuals. The same goes for nations. The truth is that unless we embrace forgiveness, as Captain Phillip and Anderson George have done, we cannot move forward.

When we do, our children WILL be glad and very, very thankful.


Talk to your children about the wonderful nation we live in.

Tell them about the good and the bad things of our history, but share about Captain Arthur Phillip’s commitment to forgiveness.

Tell them about Anderson George’s commitment to forgiveness. Explain to them that forgiveness is a necessary part of life and it is very important in families.

Unless we all embrace forgiveness both individually and nationally, we will be forever stuck in the past.

Yours for glad children,

Warwick Marsh

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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