It was a series of peak moments, a highly memorable affair - the day (19 September, 2014) our daughter, Danielle Hillary Ross, was admitted to the Bar, as a Solicitor and Barrister to the High Court of New Zealand.

This was a ceremony of significance. Apart from ‘the proud parents’ part, we were in the Old High Court (the oldest in the land); all members from the profession were in their gowns and wigs; and the whole thing was presided over by one of the five Supreme Court Judges: Justice William Young. It was a dignified (and dignifying) exchange.

It was my first experience of the ‘Majesty of the Courtroom’. I could actually feel the profession’s tradition seeping out from the courtroom’s carved oaken panels… and being absorbed by this new generation.

Lawyers get a bad rap as a whole but today, for me, has been an altogether different exposure. It was my opportunity to experience their inner sanctum, the enthusiastic eagerness of bright minds declaring their allegiance to upholding justice, the alliteration of intelligence and acumen as Justice William Young offered “sage” advice to NZ’s newest lawyers.

In the midst of a changing, uncertain and unpredictable world, here is one institution that clings adamantly to a commendable intent – seeking to uphold what is just. Call me naïve for taking this view of the justice system when so much of it has been tarnished… but this is what remains with me from my conversations with my daughter.

The adamancy of her views, the passion with which she speaks, the curt abruptness when she corrects me about legal matters is reassuring. The noble intent of ‘Upholding Justice’ feels to me to be in safe hands.

She’s been working as a Court Registrar and now has a position in a law firm attending to Family Law at the gritty end - domestic violence, CYPFs (Children and Young Persons) and child custody issues. Not sexy or well paid - but essential because this is where the pain bites deepest. Because it is where the warriors stand firmest. Where corrosion gets experienced in generous measure and compassion has to be fought for, inch by inch. It is not for the faint-hearted.

Some may think, ‘Yeah but just wait 10 years and watch the system blunten her spirit.’

I don’t know. She’s always wanted to make a difference; she’s a feisty fighter, absolutely loyal, and utterly dependable. And she hasn’t had it easy – hasn’t had the privilege of connections within the profession, worked part-time through her studies and has experienced, first hand, what emotional trauma can do in close friends. She’s no ‘hot-house flower’, she’s got mettle.

Today has been a good news day. Public confirmation of Danni’s dedication. Private celebration of her fulfilled intention. A good thing happened today.

And, at a personal level, there’s also been a re-definition (and re-dedication) of my role as a parent… but that is a different insight and one that will be explored in Part II. I am, after all, a student of Leadership… and leadership is about change; especially what enables deep change.