Something Different is Possible

Recently I was speaking at a Gr. 9 retreat, an event geared towards giving them an enthusiastic and positive start to their high school experience. I did the 20 dollar bill exercise with them (which you can find here) and commented, “We, as a society, have done a better job of recognizing the value of money than we have at recognizing the value of the people around us.” Much to my surprise one young man in the group reacted immediately with a loud, “So?!” that could be heard throughout the room.

Now is the Moment

“I'd like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor, insignificant preamble to something else.” – Cynthia (Dazed and Confused)

The other day my wife and I were having a conversation about whether or not we were ‘done’ having kids. I found this conversation unsettling for some reason. I determined that my discomfort was coming from the fact that this whole thing about being done having kids is rooted in the future.

Because of the Shame

I've had the song "Because of the Shame" by Against Me! in my head over the weekend. Particularly because it really connects with the last couple blog posts.

The chorus goes;

Because of the shame I associate with vulnerability
I am numbing myself completely.
Can you hear me right now?

Hold Fast

One of the first questions I often get asked after talking to a group of youth is, “What does it say on your knuckles?” From time to time I have dismayed having my knuckles tattooed; simply for the fact that instead of something profound, instead of some deep personal question that perhaps my talk has ignited in someone’s heart, I am getting asked, yet again, what is written on my fingers. Despite my disappointment that I have not ignited a passionate discourse I slip off my wedding ring and present my fists for inspection. “Hold fast?...

Dare to Journey Through the Painful Places

We sat around the drop-in sharing stories and laughter, remembering the life of a young man who had brought smiles to the faces of his friends countless times. At the same time there was a weight in the room, a sorrow that is unavoidable when a life comes to a close at such a young age. For some reason though, it felt like no one wanted to acknowledge it. There were tears, but it was like grief and sorrow were being ignored; pretending that we were shutting the door to them, when they were already in the room. “He would hate us being sad,” someone shared... and perhaps...

Tribute to Jack Layton

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. - Jack Layton

Searching for Beauty

A couple photos from Meadowvale's Graffiti Alley;

Our Worst Fear

“You don’t belong here.”

I don’t remember the actual words he used, but that is what stayed with me.

Billy is Scared of Suzie!

Suzie gets picked up from school, she is 10 years old, she expresses frustration to her mom that Billy has been picking on her and today he pulled her pigtails. Suzie’s mom smiles and explains to Suzie that Billy might have a crush on her. Suzie’s mom isn’t worried. This is normal and the smile on her face is a signifier that we have long accepted this twisted reality. Suzie’s education is beginning, “Boys are stupid!” she might respond. The more accurate response however would be, “Boys are scared!”

Justice Not Jail

 It would take a lot for me to believe that someone belongs in prison; even more if that person is a youth. Yet, Canada has had a history of high youth incarceration rates, even higher than in the United States. All the experts know that prison will not rehabilitate and is no place for a young person. That is why we continually rework the way we deal with young offenders in Canada, the most recent being the Youth Criminal Justice Act which desires to keep youth out of prison and in good community programs.

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