Through happy coincidence or divine appointment there are people who cross our path during life who have a great impact on us. One such person for me is definitely Colin Jones. Since well before I started ‘Metamorphosoz’ I have been convinced that you have to know where you are coming from to know where you are going. History shows us through successes and failures what works – and what doesn’t. However, random history taken out of context, with contrasting perspectives of the same historical event as witnessed by different nations, may result in incorrect conclusions being reached. It is important to find a mind that can meld information from many sources, interpret it through comparison or language translation and explain it in simple terms that can be readily understood by those searching for answers. In Colin I have found such a mind, such a mentor. He has shown me that it is often the slightest nuance, the minutest of detail that can deliver to us an accurate story or a complete misinterpretation.
On our first meeting he left me speechless as I listened in awe of his knowledge. His ability to make connections between history, geography, different cultures and their achievements was inspirational. The depth of his understanding and logical reasoning is backed by research. His willingness to freely share his knowledge has given me a much better understanding of the world and its history. It has brought clarity to issues that have troubled me as I have attempted to put reason to the historical events that have taken place, not just in Australia but throughout the world.
In his spare time Colin visits high security prisons to teach and lecture to the inmates. Through his gentle but firm approach he helps them explore their past, question the reasons behind their wrong doings, bring understanding to the choices they have made and offer solutions through the knowledge he imparts. During his lectures he makes a point of letting his students question everything they hear and learn about, getting into the habit of researching the facts to ‘really know and understand’. He offers security and empowers them to stand up for themselves as they understand who they are and where they have come from. I have seen his students make connections between their own lives and the history that they have learned about, drawing parallels which in turn enable them to be proud of who they are, their heritage, and – most importantly – shows them where they are going to.
David Unaipon believed that ‘the Aborigines transition to European society should be facilitated through education’. Colin has perpetuated this belief. Stressing, that there is power in knowledge and history. His depth of knowledge is an inspiration, his desire to share it unlimited and his love of people palpable. He wants to see his troubled students turn from violence as their way of solving a problem to a life where knowledge is their strength. In this way they can turn from a life of adversity to one of victory.
To reinforce his teachings, he uses the following quote as a constant reminder:
‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’
(Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, 1803 – 1873, British politician, author and playwright)