Hasty conclusions about the past can result in lost opportunities

Monuments often reveal important stories, but can gloss over details. Unless we examine the facts closely, we can end up with a sanitized view of history

Hasty conclusions about the past can result in lost opportunities“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?” Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius said. We study history in part to understand the mistakes made in the past so we don’t repeat them. If we can truly learn…

‘Be not afraid.’ Why the words of John Paul II still resonate

No force on earth is more powerful than a movement that embraces the truths of personal empowerment, forgiveness, courage, acceptance and love

‘Be not afraid.’ Why the words of John Paul II still resonateThere are many dark pages in the history of the 20th century, notably the tens of millions of deaths cased by Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. Caught between the regimes of these cruel dictators was the Poland where Karol Wojtyla came of age. The leaders of Nazism and Soviet communism tried to convince people that they…

Bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice

When we’re able to see beyond the lies of hatred, racism and segregation, we see the enriching power of diversity

Bending the arc of the moral universe toward justiceThe racism and violence in today’s world can be horrifying. So it’s important to look at the wider scope of history. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” Perhaps many of us are disturbed by the racist words and actions today because they’re…

Finding grace and hope in the worst of tragedies

There’s tremendous beauty in compassion. When we seek to comfort others, we also strive to make the situation better

Finding grace and hope in the worst of tragediesHarold Kushner experienced a parent’s worst nightmare: to see your child suffer and die prematurely. When he learned that his son Aaron had progeria, a rare premature aging disease, Kushner embarked on a journey to understand why such a horrible misfortune would strike his child and impact his family. Humans have always struggled to comprehend…

High grades for Canadian students, high praise for their teachers

Canadian students’ results in literacy, mathematics and science are among the best in the world. What drives our schools to be so good?

High grades for Canadian students, high praise for their teachersA recent BBC article called Canada “an education superpower.” It referred to the fact that, in recent years, Canadian students’ results in literacy, mathematics and science are among the best in the world. We’re in the same echelon as countries like Finland and Singapore. The article drew primarily from results of the Programme for International…

Love is the most powerful force on Earth

It wasn’t violence that freed India from Great Britain. It was love. Weapons didn’t end the Cold War. It was people who chose to love rather than to hate

Love is the most powerful force on EarthViktor Frankl, while struggling to survive in a Nazi death camp, came to the realization that, “Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which one can aspire.” This realization came to the great psychiatrist as he thought about his wife and her uncertain fate. After his release, he wrote one of the deepest, most…

Becoming our best selves a challenge for each of us

We don’t control the future but we do determine the legacy we leave, positive or negative

Becoming our best selves a challenge for each of usIn the film The Lion King, the young Simba is visited by the spirit of his father Mufasa, who tells him, “You have forgotten who you are … you are more than what you have become.” This is an important message to ponder as we move through life, facing the normal ups and downs of…

An open and shut case: how the backfire effect closes minds

When evidence contradicts our deeply-held beliefs, we tend not to change our viewpoint but to become more entrenched

An open and shut case: how the backfire effect closes mindsIt’s interesting how open minded people are to the opinions of others. News programs regularly present debates that end with people coming around to opposing perspectives or at least agreeing to respectfully disagree. Of course, I’m only kidding. In fact, we see conservative news programs where hosts shout down guests with opposing views. We see…

Satisfaction comes with sharing other people’s joy

There are a number of ways to cultivate positive empathy (ability to share other people's joy): spending time with children and animals, and seeing beauty in art and athletics

Satisfaction comes with sharing other people’s joyHaving worked in education for more than 30 years, I consider myself one of the luckiest people on the planet. I look forward to continuing in my profession until I’m in my 70s. What is it about what I’m doing that gives me such joy? How does one achieve professional satisfaction? Stanford University psychologist Kelly…

Charting an inclusive, nurturing future for all Canadians

In celebrating Canada's history, we recognize our accomplishments and we acknowledge our challenges which, if overcome, will ensure our future

Charting an inclusive, nurturing future for all CanadiansAs Canada celebrated 150 years as a country, it was very clear not everyone believed the festivities were justified. While some may have found these sentiments unpatriotic, our willingness to examine weaknesses is actually one of the keys to our greatness. In her classic book Mindset, psychologist Carol Dweck explains how a person with a…