THERE’S “five things” Ian McIntosh credits in his early morning routine as keys to productivity and contentment.
“I pray and while I pray, I walk,” the Townsville author said.
“(And) as I walk, I thank God for things, I’m big on gratitude.”
Ian said early morning prayer, walking and gratitude are combined with listening and reading.
“I listen to something Christian or motivational,” he said.
“I read something motivational, it could be Christian or even business-related.”
Such a daily routine allows “coming up with solutions”.
“I think people don’t take the time to think about why they are struggling, or why they are feeling a particular way,” Ian said.
“I like to think about what is behind what I’m feeling and what I can do about it.”
A “gratitude journal” is key to capturing these insights and he “fills it out every morning”.
“I normally fill the journal with something good that happened the day before,” Ian said.
“Then I have a general journal where I write down something that God might be speaking to me.
“(And) I also plan.
“I’ve listened, I’ve read, I’ve prayed, I’ve thought, I’ve planned, I’ve written and I’ve walked by the time it gets to 6.30am.
“I do it because I’m passionate about being the best person I can be and that requires me to be committed to get up between 4am and 4.30am, no matter what.”
With God central to how the day begins and unfolds, Ian has the impetus to take his story of newly-found creativity and a love of literacy to schools far and wide.
Catholic schools are set apart, he said, having visited some in not only Townsville but also Collinsville, Hughenden, Ayr, Innisfail, South Johnstone, Rasmussen and Cairns.
“The first thing I notice when I go into a Catholic school is the friendliness of the administration staff,” Ian said.
“I’ve also noticed that Catholic school teachers appear to love their jobs and be really happy.
“This is something I don’t always see at other schools.
“I find also that students are generally more polite and respectful.
“I believe that Catholic schools have a unique culture – joy, respect, self confidence, supportiveness and inclusiveness.”
Also a popular visitor to state schools, Ian’s armed with his signature green-rimmed glasses, testimony about self-belief and an ability to animatedly connect with and inspire students of all ages.
He engages in “story time sessions, my author talk, creative writing workshops, positive mindset, and personal leadership activities” as well as helping students develop story ideas.
Self-publishing three books – Watch Out for the Bickie Monster, Silly Socks, Sleepy Socks and The Little Kangaroo – Ian reads the latter and enjoys witnessing the response.
“I’ve been reading The Little Kangaroo (to students) for a while now and I know the parts where they’re likely to react,” he said.
“All ages can identify with the characters, whether it be the little kangaroo or the playful perch or the wise old emu.
“The story is like a modern-day fable and even adults see themselves in those characters.
“The message is it’s okay to not be as good as others at something, to be happy about being good at something else.”
The energetic father and author said his purpose is to inspire others.
“I’m passionate about helping people find what makes them excited and what they’re naturally good at, so they can live happily,” Ian said.
“I’m passionate about helping older students realise that when they get out into the big, wide world, they have to back themselves.
“(And) that they don’t have to do what the world wants them to.”
Ian’s purpose became clear after trial and error.
“It took such a long time to figure out what I was naturally good at,” he said, adding, “And that was writing.”
Saying he “writes from the Christian perspective” Ian’s “first experience of God” was at age 12.
He found himself within a medical emergency and when adult relatives “grabbed car keys” and fled to hospital, he immediately prompted other youngsters remaining, to pray.
“No one had ever told me to pray, at that stage of my life, but I knew we should,” he said.
“I felt the presence of God which I never really knew about before.”
All ended well that particular day and two years later, more certainty was felt with instinctive prayer for with a friend with glandular fever.
“No one had spoken to me about divine healing but I had the sense to tell my friend about God,” Ian said.
“I knew God was speaking to me.”
Baptised Anglican aged 14 years, Ian said he went to Mass “every so often”.
As a young adult he found himself at a rodeo in outer Brisbane where the Word of God came alive.
“I was having some challenges in my life,” Ian said of the early 1990s.
“Someone pulled out a bible and I’d never heard anyone talk like that (about God’s Word) before.
“They were a group of cowboys I could relate to and they started talking about who God could be in your life and I never forgot it.”
The “ex-rodeo cowboy” said it was the company of faith-filled others in the rodeo environment that continued to inspire his walk with God.
With a few rough rides still to come, Ian said God’s “done a lot of miracles” in his life, citing “close encounters with death”.
“I knew there was a place for God in my heart but I hadn’t understood how to have a relationship with Him,” Ian said.
“For me, it’s all about the relationship and what God has put on my heart for me to do.”
Another realisation has allowed deeper personal growth.
“As I was reading The Little Kangaroo one day, I realised it was about me,” Ian said.
“I didn’t do so well in school, I had a bad experience with an apprenticeship, moved around from job to job and wasn’t particularly good at anything.
“But there was a light bulb moment when someone believed in me and that made all the difference.”
Today, Ian is close to completion of two new books with others in the pipeline.
He has long enjoyed the blessings of a supportive wife, daughters and now delights in the new family dynamic of a grandson.
“If you trust in God, eventually all will come your way,” he said.
For more details about his work visit www.ianmcintosh.com.au and www.juniorwritersclub.com.au