R U OK Day 2021: Checking in Today and Every Day

Some years R U OK Day marks a rolling sense of invisible struggle… But this is one of the good years…

Randall and Elle
It’s a father-daughter birthday for Randall and Elle!

Four events are coming together today on 9 September, 2021…

  1. Today is my birthday. I am 52 years old.
  2. Our eldest daughter, Elle, celebrates her birthday too. Yes, I share my birthday with Elle and today, she is 16 years old.
  3. I am taking Elle down to the Department of Transport and Main Roads to get her Learners Permit this afternoon and begin teaching her to drive. Her excitement is contagious and I have been cleaning up the little learning car for her first session behind the wheel this weekend.
  4. It is R U OK Day.

Listen to full article on our podcast, The Churchill Education Experience:

Every year, on the 9th September, my wife, Tricia, asks Elle and me what we would like for our birthday dinner.

Elle always replies, “What do you feel like, Smithy?” (She is the only person in the world who I like calling me ‘Smithy’. Makes my heart melt every time and Tricia says I get this goofy grin on my face.)

Every year, I reply “I feel like whatever it is you want, Elle.”

And I mean it.

When my beautiful daughter arrived 16 years’ ago on my birthday, celebrating being her father became the best part of my birthday every year.

Sweet 16 for Elle!

So, today, well, today I am okay.

I am more than okay, actually, I am feeling abundantly lucky to be alive to share this day with Elle, Tricia, Declan, Amelia and Will.

And today, I know people who care about me will check in with me – wish me a happy birthday, let me know they are thinking of me.

Not everyone in my world is doing okay, though.

I have friends who are struggling and family members who are not faring so well.

I understand.

I have been there too.

Life has ups and life has downs.

The people who cared about me have always got me through the downs and been ready to celebrate with me through the ups.

I do my best to return the care.

That means more than only checking in today, on R U OK Day.

It means reaching out on many of the other days that are not particularly remarkable from a calendar point of view.

It means remembering that when any of us are not okay, the calendar can seem to roll from one unseen day to another.

Sadly, the rolling sense of invisible struggle has a tendency to push us further and further away from those who can most help us. Until someone is brave enough to call our number and say our name.

A name said by a voice who cares, a question asked us by a person we trust, “how are you travelling …” these simple things can be the difference between drifting further into the darkness or beginning to see some light.

If you are okay today, I’m happy to hear it.

If you not okay and you need a hand, Tricia and I are here for a chat: 1300 793 002.

Take care,


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