The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

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It was in 1930 and a slender, white bearded, elderly gentleman left his home in the late afternoon sun to post his letters. He would always set off at the same time and take a short cut through a nearby park to his nearest letter box. Friends he met would smile and say, “Good afternoon Mr Shaw,” and he would reply politely, raising his hat to them. George Bernard Shaw, the famous author, playwright and actor, was born in Dublin in 1856. His father George Carr Shaw, had three children, two daughters and a son.The family lived a rather impoverished life in Ireland and one day his father decided they would move to London, where he could look for better paid work.

George has decided at an early age that writing was to be his future career and he spent many years writing for newspapers and magazines, whilst trying to get his own books published. Then in 1910 he began to write successful plays and his career suddenly took off and he was famous at last. This, unfortunately brought him another problem, he now began to receive hundreds of letters from budding authors asking for his help and advice about getting their own work published. He was famous now and he could have ignored them and no one would have thought badly of him, but instead he set aside two hours each day and would reply to ten of them, hence his regular trips to the post box.

Towards the end of his life, he would say to friends, tongue in cheek, “Just think of how many more plays I could have written, if I hadn’t spent all this time writing to people I don’t even know.” George Bernard Shaw realised that he couldn’t help everyone, but that didn’t stop him from trying to help a few of them. Perhaps we should follow his example in our lives.

Happiness in life is a conscious choice and not an automatic response to the ups and downs that we all have to face.

Published Sat 18th Mar 2017 08:17:43
Last Modified on Sat 18th Mar 2017 08:17:43

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