There was a look of relief and concern on the principal's face when, at 16, I marched into his office to announce I was leaving to go to sea.
Soon after I was involved in the nation-wide waterfront strikes, and like many found myself unemployed and broke.
I was now a member of the University of Hard Knocks.
I had been brought up in a Christian environment, but who would want to sit in church when the sky was blue and sailing was available on the harbour?
A few job failures, and family heartbreaks, and I found myself reading Christ's words in the New Testament.
I took the recorded advice of Christ, which resulted in employment two days later. Fluke?
No. I'm now 85, and have lost count the number of times prayers have been answered, often in many ways. Answers have come in spite of tears. It's shot the law of averages to bits.
Science and archaeology have posed questions about some early writings in the first books of the Old Testament, but the words of Christ, as recorded, are the best advice ever given.
Now, at 85 years of age, after a life of adventure, highs and some dreadful learning time lows, I've outlived many loved ones and mates, and live alone, like so many oldies, but sort of not alone because of Christ's words.
Let there be laughter and optimism. Read the history of the Industrial Revolution — and life in New Zealand in the 1840s — and be thankful.