“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”

History is full of policies established to determine which human lives were valuable and which were not. Are we comfortable going down that path again?

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”By observing history without judgment, we can learn from our mistakes. By examining primary documents – artifacts from a particular era – we can begin to understand the thinking of the people of that time. In an effort to create a more objective perspective, I tell my students to imagine that they’re living in the…

Can meditation create a more peaceful world?

Studies show that meditation and mindfulness training lead to better health in body, mind and spirit. Is that enough to solve the world’s problems?

Can meditation create a more peaceful world?The Dalai Lama said, “If every eight-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” This quote has gained a great deal of traction through social media in recent years. Is the answer to all of the world’s problems really this simple? While meditation does bring with…

Tackling conflict in the Middle East cauldron

The importance of human dignity, forgiveness of our enemies, destroying prejudice and living together in peace

Tackling conflict in the Middle East cauldronAs a third-generation Arab-Canadian, I’ve long been troubled by the conflicts in the Middle East. When I read about riots, fighting, hatred and killing in the land of my ancestors, I experience an odd mix of emotions. Sadness, anger and love all broil inside me, demanding to be heard. My Syrian grandfather left Aleppo and…

Forever young: idealism is the fountain of youth

We’re all born with a purpose. By staying committed to that purpose, our lives can be full of joy and achievement

Forever young: idealism is the fountain of youthLongtime consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader recently said in a radio interview, “The only true aging is the loss of idealism.” Nader, the man who changed the auto industry in the 1960s by publishing Unsafe at Any Speed, continues to be active and inspire others. His most recent book Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think illustrates…

The moral roadblock at the end of ethical shortcuts

The world is full of stories of people who have done the impossible, and it always begins with a goal. But is it a worthy goal and are the methods ethical?

The moral roadblock at the end of ethical shortcuts“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal,” author and radio personality Earl Nightingale tells us. The truth is that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to. We really can achieve what we visualize and believe. The world is full of stories of people and groups who have done the impossible, and it…

Free speech: Be open to debate or become irrelevant

The danger arises when we become too attached to ideas and are no longer open to healthy discourse

Free speech: Be open to debate or become irrelevantHanna Holborn Gray, former president of the University of Chicago, said, “Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.” So it’s quite ironic that issues of freedom of speech have…

How to make a New Year’s resolution that sticks

By turning resolutions into goals, writing those goals down, revisiting them daily and imagining yourself accomplishing them

How to make a New Year’s resolution that sticksBroadcaster and motivational expert Earl Nightingale tells us, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” Many of us come up with New Year’s resolutions every year. Unfortunately, we often end up frustrated and overly self-critical when things don't go as well as we hoped, and we don't reach our goals. How can we improve this…

Building the root system for personal success

Live with integrity and gratitude, work hard, be kind to others and focus on your potential and you'll ultimately accomplish great things

Building the root system for personal successThe Chinese bamboo tree shows little or no apparent signs of growth for four years. Then suddenly, it can grow as much as 25 metres in weeks. That’s a powerful metaphor for the growth of successful people. Over those apparently-dormant four years, the tree actually is growing, we just can’t see it. It’s developing an…

O Tannenbaum symbolizes the entire celebration of Christmas

The Christmas tree is a universal symbol that delivers a message of endurance and light during the dark winter months

O Tannenbaum symbolizes the entire celebration of ChristmasThe traditional German song O Tannenbaum is often translated as O Christmas Tree. This is only partly true, however. The English version is quite different from the German. The essence of the German song is far more universal. One of the beauties of learning languages is discovering what words and poetry mean to the people…

How to rise to meet – and conquer – the challenges of life

It’s often not the most talented people who become very successful, it’s the people who know how to deal with adversity

How to rise to meet – and conquer – the challenges of lifeSelf-help author Napoleon Hill loved to tell the story of how his grandfather would let a few oak trees grow in the middle of his fields. He believed that exposing them to unsheltered winds resulted in stronger trees and thus more durable wood for the wagon wheels he would build. The same can be said…