A rising tide of young, principle-driven leaders

The climate crisis is important to many Canadians, and leaders like Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg have empowered and inspired youthful voters

A rising tide of young, principle-driven leadersThe Dalai Lama recently tweeted, “I am encouraged to see young people trying to bring about positive change. Confident because their efforts are based on truth and reason – therefore they will succeed.” As one who works with young people, I find these words so encouraging, and I look around me and see that they’re…

Let’s make ‘vapin’ in the boys room’ a thing of the past

Young people are getting hooked on vaping, despite the many unknowns. We need to develop effective counter programs before it's too late

Let’s make ‘vapin’ in the boys room’ a thing of the pastIn 1973, the band Brownsville Station released the song Smokin’ in the Boys Room. At the time, nearly half of Canadian adults and teens smoked. Reports had been coming out for years about the dangers of tobacco use but smoking was still seen as a cool thing to do. Over the next several decades, the…

Giving voice to our concerns and desires validates democracy

Democracy in action illustrates how important it is for Canadians to talk with their government officials on all levels

Giving voice to our concerns and desires validates democracyOne of the most important tasks I have as a public school educator is empowering my students to take an active role in the Canadian political process. And if I’m going to ask my students to be active citizens, I need to model the desired behaviour. I’ve honestly been very impressed with the responses I’ve…

Are electric cars really a solution to the climate crisis?

There are serious social, economic and environmental costs to driving any kind of vehicle. We must consider the implications of every choice

Are electric cars really a solution to the climate crisis?American actress Alexandra Paul summarized the sentiment of much of the world when she said, “The cars we drive say a lot about us.” The climate crisis also says a lot about us as a society and one of greatest culprits related to that crisis is the automobile. As a result, many people are choosing…

The essential values of having courage and being kind

Instinct says to fight or flee, yet often neither is possible. Examining the story of Cinderella shows us that being kind and having courage can be enough

The essential values of having courage and being kindThough The Walt Disney Co. has been criticized for changing traditional fairy tales to make them palatable for modern audiences, sometimes it simply brings the lesson of the legend into very clear focus. A good example is the 2015 live action version of Cinderella starring Lily James, of Downton Abby fame. Cinderella’s birth mother gives…

Superhero movies teaching us the wrong lessons

No matter their appeal, superheroes fall far short of teaching us principles which will make our world better

Superhero movies teaching us the wrong lessonsRolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards once said, “I don’t think rock n’ roll should be analyzed or even thought about deeply.” As much as I admire Mr. Richards as a musician, I can’t say that I agree with him. In fact, as I developed my own thoughts I found myself listening to his band less…

Questioning government is fundamental to democracy

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and academic freedom are core principles in the functioning of a democracy. Yet today those who embrace these ideals are seen as anti-American

Questioning government is fundamental to democracyJewish-American songwriter Bob Dylan tells us, “Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.” We put democracy in peril when we equate questioning government policy with being unpatriotic or even racist. This is why the current situation in the United States is so puzzling. They actually established the international standard for good government…

What can we learn from one another today?

Each of us is worthy of dignity and respect. The more we embrace this truth about ourselves, the more we can see it in our neighbours.

What can we learn from one another today?In his book Horton Hears A Who, Dr. Seuss reminds us, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Being mindful of this is one of the keys to finding joy and fulfilment in life. Everyone we meet, above all else, is a person. Each of us is worthy of dignity and respect. The more…

Compassion and acceptance pave the way for a better life

But before we find compassion for others, we need firm personal boundaries and strong self-respect

Compassion and acceptance pave the way for a better lifeCompassionate people are happy people, and compassionate people understand that everyone is simply doing their best. They acknowledge there are those who do rotten things to each other, but we have no idea of the internal torment these individuals struggle with. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t have rules in our society or that…

How a journey through hardship can inspire your life

The key is not to run away from life but to embrace every challenge, to find its meaning and the lesson it offers

How a journey through hardship can inspire your lifeThere’s a medieval legend about an alchemist who discovers how to turn common materials into gold. Of course, we know that adding a piece of the philosopher’s stone to molten lead will not turn it into gold, yet the story provides a beautiful metaphor for life. If we look at the life of any great…

The Raptors elevated basketball to an art form and lifted us all

The most ethnically diverse team ever to win an NBA championship reflected the nation’s diversity

The Raptors elevated basketball to an art form and lifted us allIn our age of enormous salaries for professional athletes and overpriced tickets to sporting events, there are many reasons why the Toronto Raptors winning the National Basketball Association championship is worth celebrating. Behind all the hype, the team succeeded because it was built on the solid principles. First and foremost, the Raptors won with tremendous…

Pay teachers well and classroom results will follow

It’s no accident that Canadian schools are among the best in the world. But if we withdraw education funding, the damage will be deep

Pay teachers well and classroom results will followCanadian schools are among the best in the world, and B.C. schools are arguably the best in Canada. This is so much the case that the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is studying our educational system to see how we’re achieving such exceptional results. It’s no surprise then that Canadian teachers are among…

Human spirit has the strength to tear down walls

Many walls remain in the world, including physical ones and those of racism, sexism and economic injustice

Human spirit has the strength to tear down wallsThe most significant global event of my lifetime has been the fall of the Berlin Wall. It not only changed the geopolitical climate we live in, it also demonstrated the power of the human spirit. As a teacher, I often bring up this event. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently spoke to the graduates of Harvard…

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gap

I have to do all I can for peace and truth, even posting my Middle-Aged Middle Eastern Guy rap on YouTube

If we’re laughing together, perhaps we can bridge the gapSometimes you need to risk appearing foolish to speak a very deep truth. As a person of Middle Eastern ethnicity, I’ve long felt a tie to all peoples of that area of the world. As I watch the news, I see a horrible conflict between the Christians, Muslims and Jews of this region. Perhaps it’s…
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