Little eight year old Bindi Irwin has been making the news a fair bit here in Australia since the death of her father – Steve Irwin. She and her mother, Terri Irwin, have done interviews and Bindi has released a children’s DVD. They are getting on with their lives and holding up well.
I’m so proud of Steve and Terri. They sound like my kind of parents. They appear to have based their parenting on love, honesty, reality, respect and putting their kids first.
The stories about Steve continue to come out. How he would drop everything for his children and even leave business meetings because Bindi wanted him to come play with her. My son was impressed by that but he said it would be easy for a man who is the boss, a man who has enough money, to put business second to his kids.
I said name one other man with the same amount of wealth, or more, that the Irwin’s have who would do the same. Neither of us could think of even one.
Most of the wealthy men in this world wouldn’t leave a garden party to see to their child’s NEEDS let alone their child’s WANTS and I seriously doubt any of them would leave a business meeting for anything less than their child dying! Some, I suspect, would not leave even then.
Bindi talks about her dad telling her when things go wrong you have to think about how that can make you better. Terri talks about how Bindi has grown up with wild life so she has seen the cycle of life and death. She has known all along that things are born and things die so she has been able to accept her daddy died.
Bindi Irwin is a little girl who is so secure, so certain, of her daddy’s love that she continues to feel his love for her even though he is dead! What a magical and precious legacy to leave your children! Well done Steve! You were a bigger and better man than I ever knew this world was capable of producing!
People talk about how unnatural Bindi is behaving. They say she is being asked to do too much, she is not being allowed to grieve, the family is using her to make a fast buck. That is not how it looks to me.
Bindi looks to me like a living, breathing, laughing, loving example of how children can reach their full potential if only their parents will put them first, love them without strings, let them be themselves, and be honest with them.
Death is a harsh fact of life and people often want to protect children from harsh realities but that is being dishonest with them.
Every time I watch a movie or sit-com where something bad is happening and a parent tells the child everything will be all right, promises the child things they could not be sure of delivering in such a situation, I cringe.
Terri is, I gather, telling her kids Daddy is in heaven because she and Steve were believers. She is telling her kids the truth as far as she knows. She isn’t lying to them or discounting their feelings. If someone misses Daddy too much to bear they have a daddy night and watch some of his footage. They wallow in their love for him.
Bindi shares her daddy’s passion. She wants to carry on his work as does Terri. It sounds like Steve left a blue-print of his plans and Terri said she plans to follow that blue-print.
I just hope she is not the one who is going to feel pressured to step into Steve’s shoes. Steve was helping Bindi find her place in the world. Terri’s place was by Steve’s side supporting him. It was a job she did well.
Now she is talking about taking over his work and forcing herself to do some of it like feeding the crocodiles.
That strikes me as a recipe for disaster.
Bindi would feed croc’s and wrestle them because she WANTS to just as Steve wanted to. It doesn’t sound like Terri wants to do those things – she feels she has to now Steve is not able to do them.
I hope someone will tell her it is OK for her to go on being Terri Irwin – the woman behind the scenes – the supporting act not the main feature. If she tries to be anyone else it can only lead to problems!
I hope someone tells her: “Don’t feed the croc’s if it is not something you really love doing Terri – you will only get hurt if you try to be someone you are not.”
Let Bindi take center stage now. She loves it, she wants it, it’s in her blood and as long as nobody is pushing her to do it she will cope with it better than her mum.
The major danger I see ahead for the family is if they let themselves be pulled off course by well meaning busy-bodies.
Steve was a strong personality and that means, by default, Terri would have been able to give in to him. The danger now is that she will give in to other strong personalities because Steve is not there to say “Ignore them – I know what I am doing”.
Terri has already given in to public pressure from the sound of it. She sent Bindi to see a psychologist and I suspect that was because she was afraid the public accusations that Bindi was behaving abnormally and was being pressured to step into Steve’s shoes might be true.
Strong personalities will move in on Terri. She is young and attractive and it will be hard for her to steer this boat without a keel. Steve was the keel – he cut the water and directed the boat. Terri is going to find it hard going without that and she will be tempted to let herself be directed by other strong personalities.
They could, and probably would, steer her wrong. Steve was a one off. I sincerely hope Terri won’t let her boat be side-tracked by public opinion again – Steve would not like that.
She needs to get her direction now from the people who helped create Steve, his family, and the people Steve helped create – his children. Those two sources are her best chance of getting directions Steve would approve of!
Good luck Terri, Bindi and Robert. Well done Steve. The world lost more than a man when it lost you – it lost a real hero!