Talking the talk with Jack and George
By LEE McDOUGALL
GEORGE is sharing a yarn with Jack.
The story goes like this: it's Friday night and George is waiting in the car to pick up his 16-year-old son from a party.
Suddenly there is a knock at his driver's window and a teenage boy is standing there, looking a little nervous.
"You haven't got a condom, have you mate?" the teenager asks hopefully.
He and his girlfriend had just done 'paper, scissors, rock' to work out who was going to knock on the car window and, losing the game, the boy had to ask.
No doubt, being confronted by George Negus would have added to the embarrassment and nervous energy of the exchange.
Jack Thompson roars into laughter over the story.
"Well, you should have had a condom," he chides George.
"That's what a responsible father would do. When I was a young man my father (adopted father John Thompson) handed me two condoms and said: 'A gentleman always carries these. There is no greater crime than an unwanted child'."
It is obvious that Jack and George are great mates who enjoy sharing stories, but the focus of the stories during this rare interview opportunity is teenage boys: specifically, their own experiences as teenagers and their great role now as fathers to their own 16-year-old sons.
And it is these stories that will be shared at a fundraiser dinner being organised by the Bellingen-based Youth To Adult (Y2A) organisation.
Y2A is a branch of the Pathways Foundation, which offers support to parents of teenage boys and camps for the boys to share with their fathers or guardians.
Last year Pathways ran its first camp in the area for 16 boys and their fathers. The fundraiser dinner hopes to raise funds to ensure camps occur in the future.
"My father died when I was four, so I had no father figure and no-one to tell me what sex was as a teenager," George said.
"My mum found a condom and asked me what I had one for, the inference being that I didn't need one, which I probably didn't, but like all young men I was hopeful."
George and Jack are hopeful that through sharing their own experiences with parents in similar situations the load of raising teenage boys will be shared, and thus lessened.
"Blokes don't know how to talk to their boys because their own fathers didn't talk to them," Jack said.
"We think that the relationship between father and son should be so natural and easy," George said.
"We take it for granted that the relationship should just last, but look at how much work we have to put into our own (marriage) relationships. It takes effort and hard work."
And here is the crux of the matter ? or rather the focus of the impending evening ? for George and Jack.
"Sex is just a three-letter word for what is essentially a much bigger issue ? relationships. Relationships with ourselves, with each other, and with the greater world as a whole," George said.
If you would like to be part of the 'audience' for an evening of conversation with George and Jack then phone Paul Tipper on 6655 2244.
The event is being held on March 25 at Breezes Restaurant, Boambee Bay Resort. Tickets for the three-course meal and talk are $99 and are available from Kakadu Clothing, Park Beach Music, and Paul Tipper and Associates.