A few days ago, I emailed the editors at the Mamamia Women’s Network and asked them if I could write a post about Sydney journalist and author Sam de Brito.
Let me back track a little.
Earlier this year I heard about a non-fiction book by New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks called, “The Road To Character”. The book’s primary talking point is Brooks’ examination of what he calls ‘resume virtues’ versus ‘eulogy virtues’ on the road to developing a strong character.
He writes, “The resume virtues are the ones you list on your resume, the skills that you bring to the job market and that contribute to external success. The eulogy virtues are deeper. They’re the virtues that get talked about at your funeral, the ones that exist at the core of your being – whether you are kind, brave, honest or faithful; what kind of relationships you formed.”
Kind. Brave. Honest. Faithful.
In other words were you a decent human being during your time on this earth? Will you leave the world a better place because you were here?
I read those words, thought a lot about Brooks’ point and then – if I’m painfully honest — promptly forgot about them in the swirl of my life with three little kids. That was until yesterday when I stumbled across an article where Sam de Brito’s family and friends shared their stories on how their ‘Sambo’ lived his life.
They talked about a man who wore his heart on his sleeve. A man who was so passionate about his daughter that he embraced parenthood like “he invented fatherhood”. They talked of a 6’1″ man who was unafraid to give his male buddies big hugs and who took his mates’ phone calls at 3am when they were blue. A man who routinely told his colleagues and friends and family how much he cherished them. I mean WHO DOES THAT?
They talked about a 46-year-old-man who was prepared to be vulnerable.
De Brito was a gifted writer – no question. And yet the talk this week after the news of his death hasn’t been about his journalistic legacy as formidable as that nor his success as a novelist. Every article I’ve read this past week has been about how Sam de Brito was the kind of bloke who did the right thing. Who cared. Who listened. Who championed the success of his friends and mentored the careers of others. Who stuck his neck out to defend his tribe. It was about the all-encompassing love and devotion he had for his daughter, Anoushka. It was about how he used his profile and platform to shine a spotlight on causes close to his heart like animal welfare.