‘Life is Good’ according to the Man Who’s lived through 101 January’s.

Last updated on April 16th, 2018 at 11:40 am

I was at the library in December and I looked over, as I felt drawn to a sandy coloured book and indeed the title appealed immensely

” Life is Good.”  Sounded like the perfect start to my holiday break reading.  Was it ever!

George Dawson’s life is expressed beautifully by Richard Glaubman, and was an incredibly inspiring journey.


Here’s the back of the book blurb : “What makes a happy person, a happy life? In this remarkable book, George Dawson, a 101-year-old man who learned to read when he was 98, reflects on the philosophy he learned from his father- a belief that ‘life is so good’ – as he offers valuable lessons in living a fresh, first-hand view of America during the twentieth century.”

George was born into the 19th century,  experienced the 20th Century and lives in the 21st Century.  I can’t even imagine what he’s seen and been through. This book allows us a wonderful glimpse into history. George was the grandson of slaves and despite hardships, lack of access to education in his childhood, poverty, danger and discrimination used his Father’s words and respect to live a rich life.

Here are some of the wisdom gems from George Dawson with 101 January’s to back it up.

After witnessing a murder,  George is justifiably angry, and he tells his father. His father’s view is matter of fact. He says ” His suffering is over, son…You don’t need to worry for him.” George is still upset with the injustice, naturally at the loss of life and blames the group. To which his Papa responds:“Some of those white folks is mean and nasty. Some were just scared. It doesn’t matter. You have no right to judge another human being. Don’t you ever forget.”

These are words that set the course of George’s life, to which he abides by even to this day.

This for me is a reminder despite all the evil and stupidity there is in life we don’t know what is going on inside another. Who among us has not done anything we feel some remorse or regret for?  Not judging another is a good axiom to live by and of course we need to include ourselves

I am a eternal optimist and believe in the good of humanity. That’s why I do the work I do.

The flower blooms from earth, water and fertiliser to feed them
The flower blooms from earth, water and fertiliser to feed them.
The Dalai Lama lives love and non-judgment.
The Dalai Lama lives love and non-judgment.


We learn more from encouragement to see our ‘mistakes’ as opportunities to learn and grow from.

Richard let’s George voice narrate an elegant epithet of George’s response to his 16-year-old son Junior getting into trouble at school leading to him  being sent home.

With his hard working, ethic George was never late
With his hard working, ethic George was never late

The first thing he did was call work and tell them had was going to be late. George prioritised his child’s need for him to show up at the school. Mind you George had never been late. George prides himself on being a hard worker.

When George got to the school with Junior he addressed the Principal.  He said “I got a have to do every day and I can’t come in all the time, I expect my son to do his job  at school. His work is at school. If Junior does something wrong, you don’t need my permission to punish him. That is your job to discipline him at school.”

Junior never got into trouble again, doing really well in school.

Here is the key piece of George’s parenting wisdom – : “Mostly I told them something and they listened. I only said something one time. See, I respected my own father and did what he told me. With my own children it was the same. We was the parents. It was our job to have the children ready to be in this world, A child doesn’t learn so much by words as he does by watching, The children were always watching their mother and me. That’s how they learn right from wrong, by watching what we do.”

George lives his own words.  When Richard shows him the terrrible news heading 15 CHILDREN DEAD AT COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL, and asks what he thinks has gone wrong? George responds with “Children killing children.. is a terrible thing. Its not just the children. It’s the grown-ups too.”

Children are the blooms we parents produce through our efforts
Children are the blooms we parents produce through our efforts

His take on parenting is “With children, you got to raise them. Some parents these days are growing children, not raising children, and there’s a big difference .”

I understand this coming from a family that once had market gardens. Every year we would plant the seeds. One of my favourites were the runner beans, we used to sell them on an honour system for 80 cents a kilo at the our gate. Can you believe how cheap things were! This is in New Zealand where I was born. When the beans first poke out of the earth sprouting, they need protection from the elements and gentleness. As they reach for the sun the trip skywards needs them to have something to climb on so they don’t collapse. We put up wire mesh and rope for them to hold firm to and raise their bounty. They flower in appreciation, delicate red jewels and it is time to harvest the crop of beans sown and cared for with love.

If you ignore your beans they will wither and die. Too much food or water and they are dead from kindness. Raise them well those little sprouts of yours!

From these little sprouts majestic trees, wonderful food and sources of joy emerg
From these little sprouts majestic trees, wonderful food and sources of joy emerge

George didn’t read about history he lived it. He became a student at 98, learning to read saying he had always had a dream he would learn to read. For nearly a century he kept this secret. He worked around it by listening. He has been going to school for three years now. Every day he is excited to be learning. When Richard asks him if he was afraid he couldn’t do it, George replies ” Son, I always thought I could drive a spike as good as a any man and cood as good as any woman, I just figured if everybody else can learn to read, I could too.”

All dogs can learn new things, so can we at any age. Thanks Mr Dawson
All dogs can learn new things, so can we at any age. Thanks Mr Dawson

I love this, and totally believe the old saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is now defunct. We now know from the research on neuroscience and plasticity our brains and our behaviour can change. Hallelujah.

There are many more pearls of wisdom from George long existence, which Richard has given us access to ( thank you both!), in this delightful book. I highly recommmend it to you as a heart warming read to share with your friends.

I’d be ever so grateful if you wish to purchase this fantastic book, please click on the book image to go directly to Amazon. This is an affiliate link through which I make a small commission. If you would kindly buy via the link it helps us to offset the cost of running this website. Of course you don’t have to use the link, you can search for “Life is Good” and buy it without the affiliate link. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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