And The Losers Are? . . . Us, Again

Really
“ALL THIS IS FOR ME?”

I promise this will be my only rant/article on elections but I can’t seem to help myself when it comes to this topic. I’m tired of being ‘a loser’ when it comes to our election process and what it has become.

I watched the ‘debate’ the other night, featuring the ‘three blind mice’, with a growing sense of loss. What I was losing was my precious time wondering when and if any of these candidates were going to get to the point of having this get together in the first place. As happens when considering a ‘debate of the issues’ it quickly degenerated into character assassination and trying to convince the viewer that a vote for them is a vote for the lesser of the three evils in front of them. Go figure. Instead of focusing on what they will do that is better or more reasonable for the electorate in clear, concise and understandable language we get excuses, condemnation and double talk. Mr. Hudak and Ms. Horwath ganged up on Ms. Wynne and Ms. Wynne tried to ignore the other two. What a train wreck. I found Mr. Hudak disingenuous, Ms. Wynne overwhelmed and ill prepared and Ms. Horwath lost in the middle somewhere trying to figure out how to salvage some semblance of political dignity. Quite an endorsement for why they should be given the reigns of power. Regardless, we are going to end up with one of these beacons of leadership and we’ll be stuck for another 3-4 years.

It seems to me that leaders and parties have been moving away from what their duties and responsibilities are regarding their ’employers’. That’s us by the way. They work for us not the other way around. When was the last time your representative, be they municipal, provincial or federal employees, came to your door and asked your opinion on anything? Too busy they say. Doing what I ask? That’s like saying to your employer that you can’t come into the office to talk about business because you have other ‘things’ more important to do.

So here is what I think we should do before it’s too late and we have no power left as an electorate:

1. In California they have a law on the books that allows the voters to impeach a governor for ‘misconduct’ and other stuff. We need to be able to hold our representatives accountable for their actions and not have to wait for 1 or 2 or 3 years down the road to do that at the ballot box. We should be able to toss someone out on their backside when they mess up. This is what it is like in the real working world and we are always being told how we must pay our public officials a competitive rate of pay if we want to attract the best or most qualified to work in the public sector. If that’s true then our public officials need to be held to the same standards and experience the same consequences as those in the private sector. If a candidate for public office, whether that is for the position of Prime Minister or Premier of a province or the mayor of a city or town stands up in front of a group of voters and says ‘if I am elected I will do . . . ” and within the first one hundred days in office has not moved to make good on his campaign promise(s) he can be impeached. We need to be able to throw his/her ass out where it belongs. We need to hold him/her accountable and with no ‘severance’ package–no golden hand shake–just gone. I truly believe that we would force those running to be more open, honest and careful about what they promise.

2. When they promise to do ‘this’ or give us ‘that’ they should have to describe exactly how and when they will make that happen. They need to state clearly where the money is coming from, what, if anything, will be eliminated or cut and when it will happen.

3. Attack ads should not be allowed once the campaign starts. I truly want to be informed about what someone is going to do for me that the other folks are not ready to do. One candidate should not be allowed to disparage another or attack their credibility. Let the voters determine the value of a candidates credentials–that’s our job. If statements are made concerning another candidate’s behaviour they had better be backed up by incontrovertible evidence. If they cannot be proven to be true then the uttering candidate would be out of the election. Enough of innuendo, false truths and out of context statements. Enough trying to discredit the other guy to make yourself look better. Besides when you do that you just look and sound like an idiot who cannot win by any other means.

The gist of it for me is this: I am tired of being used by insincere candidates who are looking for a great pension while the rest of us work our backsides off to put a bit away for a rainy day just to have it squandered away by some greedy or dim witted politician.

I’m tired of being lied to and taken for granted or worse–taken for an ‘idiot’ who isn’t supposed to know any better.

I’m tired of being treated as a second class citizen in a first class country and having my rights eroded by some jackass who feels that political correctness is a sign of compassion and understanding. I agree it used to have a purpose. Now it has become a tool to gain favour with a particular group or to get re-elected.

I’m tired of feeling like a ‘loser.’

That’s how I see it, Anyway

Please like this article and if you agree pass it along to others who may also agree

All the best, Jim

So Why Do They Go? . . .

Bird With One Leg

“Sometimes they only have one leg to stand on-at least that’s what it feels like”–Jim

After arriving back from a week long book signing tour in Vancouver and Victoria and after having been asked numerous times why this happens I thought it would be appropriate to toss in my two cents since Father’s Day is fast approaching.

The question is “why do men leave or just walk away from their families and abandon their children”? The response most often given is ‘because they are selfish, self-centered slugs’. I can understand how many men and women might respond this way. In some cases this is quite true. But in many cases it isn’t. This is seldom a knee-jerk reaction. There are many extenuating circumstances. However, I can say this with certainty. The reasons are varied, legitimate and numerous. Sometimes–sometimes men have or truly believe they have no other option. In this time of growing equity and equality I think it’s important that we understand and accept that it isn’t always the ‘man’ who walks away or is responsible for the demise of a family or a relationship. I will grant this: men are walking away from their families in record numbers–it has become epidemic. But increasingly women are beginning to do the same. Twenty percent of single parented homes are now headed by men.

Here is my top ten list (in no particular order) of the main reasons why men are walking away from their families:

1. Immaturity. The couple is not ready to be in a committed relationship yet. To many this is a short lived diversion from the real issues that plague them–like having a puppy or a new car. There are no seeming consequences for walking away. Many are not ready, in any remote reality, to be committed partners let alone parents. Too many kids-too fast with one income or social assistance to live on is nothing but a recipe for disaster.

2. Mental health. Often times the responsibility falls upon the man to ‘make it happen’. If he has few applicable skills he is hard pressed to make anything happen. If he left school prematurely he likely has little education or training and thus cannot compete for decent well paying jobs. He would be among the first to get laid off with no prospects for his family’s future. Hopelessness begins to rule–depression follows close behind. The struggle to ‘stay afloat’ becomes enormous and the stress becomes crippling. Anxiety grows with each rent cheque he can’t cover. The shame of failure becomes more difficult to deal with. He walks to get away from it–to start new somewhere else.

3. Lifestyle. Alcohol and drug abuse. No secret here. No relationship can withstand either or both partners using regularly.

4. Entitlement and selfishness. I want what I want and I want it now. I want what others have. Why shouldn’t I have it? Spending money when they don’t have it. Money is likely the number 1 reason why relationships fall apart or one partner leaves–often the man.

5.Constant physical abuse. Now I am talking about the physical abuse that is meted out by a female partner. It happens much more often than it is reported. What self respecting man would ever report or complain about his female partner beating on him? It’s reported about 10% of the time. Eventually he walks.

6. Anger. People seldom admit to being angry but rather blame their upset and distress on others. When the ‘upset and distress’ gets to be too much to endure everyday and they cannot seem to stop themselves from being physically, verbally, emotionally and spiritually abusive–they walk. Anger is really a poor man’s ‘pain killer’.

7. Rate of change. Men are finding it increasingly difficult to determine where they fit in to family life and society today. The rate of change and known or unknown expectations are often more than men can manage. Men find themselves disconnected from the life around them. They become increasingly unsure of their importance, value and usefulness.

8. Other partners. Often men, finally, just give up trying to figure out where and who they are supposed to be. Often they just walk away and hook up with another partner because she is more fun and less demanding. With less stress comes more control over their lives. In some cases it represents a freedom they believe they never would have experienced in their ‘other’ life.

9. Male pride. I’ve said this numerous times. There is nothing more fragile than a male ego. There are few things more devastating to a man than to be told he is not a good provider for his family. After a while it becomes painful to face his family day in and day out knowing that he can’t be what they want him to be–a good provider.

10. Lack of male mentorship. You can’t know what you don’t know and if you have never experienced a strong male mentor or role model it is that much more difficult to live life as a man in this world. Things like how to handle adversity, stress, anxiety and so on; how to exercise control over newly discovered or challenging emotions become much more difficult to master.

My greater concern when dads walk away is the finality of it. Many dads do not seem to understand the awesome privilege that has been presented them regarding the mentorship of their sons. They are not considering the grief, pain and loss they inflict when they walk away. If there are no children the loss is just as devastating for the partner left behind.

We are witnessing how that lack of mentorship is manifesting itself by way of increased violence and mass shootings. Fathers need to be involved in their son’s life on a consistent basis whether they reside in the family home or not until the son is able to demonstrate that he understands what it truly means to live as a man in the world today. Then he can pass it along to his son when it’s time. A man’s work is never done.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.

Let me know what you think. If you have any other ideas please send them to me.

e-mail: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com web page: jamescloughley.com

Please send this along to your friends or anyone you know who may be interested.

All the best, Jim

The Greatest Obstacle For Single Moms Is . . .

Tip of the Iceberg

“Photos imitating life–we only show a bit of who we are above the surface and keep the rest hidden below.”

I know. I’ve written wee pieces about single moms in the past but after spending a great week in Vancouver on a book tour/signings mission and having the opportunity to spend it with fellow authors as well as the owner of the publishing house we all deal with (Influence Publishing-Vancouver) I came away with some new thoughts, conclusions and a new question or two concerning the title of this article. One of those is ‘what is the greatest obstacle for single moms to deal with and the answer, I found is . . . themselves.

Before I carry on I want to say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for the sacrifices, dedication and the amazing job single moms do bringing up their children and making sure that there is food on the table and heat in the winter. They are masters at stretching a dollar and in many cases tireless when it comes to giving up their time often working a second job to be sure that the bills get paid. They try to give all they can so that the kids have what they need for school and on it goes.

I also don’t believe that parenting is much more difficult or different today than it was ten or fifteen years ago. What has changed about parenting are the beliefs that are attached now by the parents–in this case single moms–regarding the role(s) they must play in order to feel as though they are doing a good job-that they are successful parents. The kids basic needs haven’t changed. But the expectations that kids have now has changed and dramatically so. True–they still need food, shelter, clothing, water, and air. They need to feel loved, protected, safe and that they belong somewhere. But now, they have added the one thing to this list that is likely the most difficult to provide and that is ‘entitlement’. Many, not all, but many have made it known that they ‘deserve’ certain things in this life and that they should come with no fixed conditions attached.

As I have said before-the world is changing at an ever increasing rate. Technology sits perilously close to the edge of being out of control when considering the rate and depth of change. Many of us are struggling to keep up. Many aren’t or can’t cope and so they become unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Such it is with seniors for instance. With regards to parenting we need to consider doing this: The faster things change the more basic and simple we need to make or keep our parenting efforts. The parenting principles need to remain as they were. We need to consider our children as human beings first of all. Then we need to be sure that they are loved and that they feel connected, valued and relevant. We need to provide for the basics and make sure that our children participate in making that happen on a daily basis–there are no free rides–we all work together for the overall good of each other. Most importantly we need to be sure that as parents we are the leaders not the followers. That we set the standards especially in our homes and not our children. In the case of single moms the greatest obstacle that she needs to confront is that she can not be all things to all people. She can not be mother AND father both. Single moms also need to understand that there are basic messages that fatherless sons can and will only hear from their fathers or another healthy male role model. I know of many mothers who are single parents who feel guilty about not being a complete parent to their sons–that they are failing because junior is spinning out of control and she must be to blame somehow. Hear me when I tell you. You are not failing but rather you are doing all you possibly can to be a great parent. There is no doubt that single moms can teach their sons the social conventions–respect for self and others; respect for others property; respect for women; manners (there’s an old word that is near forgotten today); respect for law and order and acceptance of others and how they choose to live their lives provided their choices don’t reduce or lessen the importance of yours. But moms can’t teach a young man about being a male in the world and how /what a man does, how he thinks and why he feels and behaves as he does. She needs to stop trying to do this and if she does she will be less likely to burn out or give up when junior doesn’t respond to her efforts to be both mom and dad. So the greatest obstacle to moms peace and happiness as a single parent is herself. Mom. You can’t know what you don’t know. You will never know and understand what is means to be a male in the world today. It’s like trying to tell someone what chocolate tastes like. You can describe it in many ways but you will never be able to truly tell someone else what is actually tastes like.

That’s how I see it anyways.

Please pass this along to others.

This Is So Easy To Teach And So Tough To Do . . .

Father & Son Golfing

“Being a parent is like being a golf pro. Parenting is the easiest skill to teach and the hardest thing to do”–Jim.

Over the years I have had hundreds perhaps thousands of conversations about this very topic. Parenting. As I have said in previous articles I make no apologies for focusing more on young men and how they are struggling in today’s world. I know a great deal about being male. I know very little about being female.

For some, parenting is or was a very challenging activity. We want to do it right because we may only get one try at it. Others may have several shots at it. Many were seen as successful and others struggled mightily. For me I always wondered what makes a successful parent and what doesn’t? How do you assess that? Is it by the ‘product’ that grows up in the world and what he/she does as an adult? And who judges that in terms of importance?

As a man in the world and as a parent to two beautiful human beings who I have judged or assessed as being outstanding citizens of the world I have come to the conclusion that I had something to do with how they turned out but I think that it was more about what they did with what I tried to teach them. I did not tell them who or what they should be. Each of our children will figure out for themselves how to apply the lessons taught and that is how it should be. So the following are the five things that I thought most important for my children to know about, to understand and to practice so that they could demonstrate how they, in turn, wanted to be treated by others-what they would accept and what they wouldn’t. I believe that it is the extent of feeling connected to others that is more likely to ensure the continuation of the human species than any thing else.

In no particular order of importance:

1. About Money: How to use it for the better good, not to hoard it or collect it beyond what is needed to have and enjoy a safe, secure, healthy, comfortable life style and to help others attain the same for their families. So many believe that they will be judged by how much they have instead of what they did with it once they had it. Is a guy worth a million a better person then a guy who is worth ten thousand? The disparity between us has caused resentment and anger and not because people don’t want to work for their dreams but rather because the opportunities to earn it are very limited and often by those who have it.

However, the point here is about being willing to earn it and not expecting it to come freely. It’s about doing the work it takes to earn what you need to support your dreams but not at the expense of others and their dreams for their families. To me it starts young. Giving an allowance for good behaviour or ‘helping out’ to our kids,for instance, is not a great idea to me. Our kids need to understand that their good behaviour should be given because they are a part of the family and not as a reward for pitching in. They get what they need when they need it and not what they want when they want it. This is the consequence of being part of a family. They don’t get rewarded for working around the house but rather they work around the house to enjoy a nice home and that is their reward. You want money–go earn it.

2. About Respect: Our kids need to have this message sent to them daily and parents need to support a system that supports this and not downplay its importance by supporting kids who don’t respect others. An example of that would be how seniors are treated or spoken to or how deplorable teachers are treated for example. We are to respect others. We respect their rights, their freedoms, their possessions, their homes, and their property. We have no right to endanger or threaten or anything else in order to get our own way because we are bored or know there are no consequences for our ignorant behaviour.

3. About boundaries: Just because you want it doesn’t mean that you are free to go and take it. When someone says ‘No’ then that is what that word means–friggin ‘No’. This one is pretty clear.

4. About Free Rides: This is similar to ‘go earn it’–there are no handouts–no free rides. There is no ‘entitlement’ that is granted to anyone just because. . . . You are entitled to be treated in the same fashion as you treat others. If you are treating people like they are second class citizens then you will be accorded the same treatment. You are not entitled to anything without working for it and those opportunities need to be available to everyone.

5. About Mother Earth: We need to help our kids not only understand but we need,also, need to demonstrate that treating Mother Earth with respect is the only option we have. To do otherwise will, eventually, bring us devastation and extermination. It will take a while but it will happen. Just look at what the science is telling us now. Listen to what the so-called world leaders are saying now. Our children deserve better than what we are handing them. Teach them to respect the very entity that is providing them with life.

I understand that we get all caught up in our own ‘truths’ but our guidance concerning our children’s values and focus has become suspect. We need to get back to helping them understand what it means to be a good citizen.

These are my five and I’m sure there are many others that are just as important. Please share them with me as I want to understand how others see this most important experience. Send your comments to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Thanks for reading this article. Please send it along to your friends, neighbours, family members and anyone else you think might be interested in commenting–all the best–Jim

A Different Kind Of Relationships Book-A Must Have For Any Parent

“This book clearly lays out issues that, not only young men but adult men as well, struggle with regularly.The step by step approach within the context of a story, more than held my interest. This is a must read for single parents, co-parents and young men who question their place in today’s society. Teachers and professionals who want to learn how to support and assist young men in this time of uncertainty will learn valuable tips”–Phil Durrant, MSW,RSW, Niagara College, Ontario.

Greetings to all from Lifechoice. May 4, 2014

Finally a resource for single moms and dads
Finally a resource for single moms and dads

Some folks have asked if I’m doing any book related events in the summer so the following list outlines what I’ll be up to and where:

Influence Hybrid Publishing Group, which is the publishing house that I am part of, have arranged for me to participate in a BC book tour, along with 8 other authors, beginning on May 15th, 2014.

May 15-from 6:30-8:30pm—Book signing at Black Bond Books, 1-15562 24th Ave., Surrey, B.C.

May 16-from 6:30-8:30pm—Book signing at The Book Warehouse, 632 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.

May 17 & 18-from 2-4pm—Book signing during both days along with a Q & A panel at Chapters Victoria, 1212 Douglas Street, Victoria, B.C.

May 30-from 11-2pm-Book signing at Indigospirit Book Store (Chapters), 600 University Ave., Mount Sinai Hosp, Toronto, On (just me)

May 31-from 12-4pm-Book signing at Chapters Book Store, 55 Bloor Street West (Near Bay St), Toronto, On. I will be joined by Carol Teed who has written a wonderful book called “The Secret Language of Cats”.

November 13-16 at the Toronto International Book Fair at the Metro Convention Center

If you are around any of these places please drop in to visit. Love to see you . Please tell your friends as well—with thanks–Jim

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Books make great gifts at any time but especially for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or for just any day.

For more information on the book and how it can be used as a professional resource, a learning tool, to offer teaching points on how to re-establish damaged relationships especially between fathers and their estranged sons, a more broad based look at the journey from boyhood to manhood that faces all of our young men or if you are looking for a story about how human beings exist in relationships with others please connect by either e-mail or type my web site into your browser.

jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

jamescloughley.com

Hope to see you at one of the events, all the best, Jim

Let’s See How Hard And How Fast This Gets Dealt With. . .

Donald Sterling Shaquille O'Neal

So Donald Sterling decided it was his turn to be an idiot and admitted to saying some horribly degrading and utterly unacceptable racist statements about black folks. Unless you have been living under a rock you have likely heard about all the things he had said in confidence to his girl friend and how it managed to find it’s way ‘out there’ through TMZ. Just to sum it up: The NBA responded with light speed (once it was confirmed that Donald Sterling, had indeed, spoken those racist words to others) to mount a campaign justifying and satisfying a call for this guys head on a platter. And rightly so. It amazes me how someone could amass a fortune of over a billion dollars and yet be so stupid as to utter these thoughts so callously. And this is not the first time either. He has, apparently, been sued on at least two other occasions once by the Justice Department for housing discrimination and once by Elgin Baylor (ex- NBA great) for employment discrimination based on race and age. Now he is being fined 2.5 million dollars for this little faux pas–chump change to him really–and is being banned for life from any NBA business or personal activities connected to The Clippers. They are even trying to force him to sell his team. I doubt that could happen but his colleagues could refuse to do business with him and ‘squeeze’ him out that way. Who knows?

My point here is lets stop talking about this. Jesse Jackson has climbed out of where he has been to get his two cents into this. Nice photo op Jesse. The real message needs to be about needing all people to stop going around doing this to other people. But the longer we give this thing life the longer we are talking about the negative side of this ugliness. We need to be talking about the other side–the side that says the sooner we accept each other with grace, respect, and see each other through the lens of equality the less this will happen and the better off we will be as a society. As long as we keep talking about how awful this has been–and it has been just that, we also fuel the fires of anger, resentment and revenge. It polarizes us. Donald Sterling has been heard, tried, convicted and sentenced in the public court of opinion–as he should have been. Lets move on to other matters and stop giving him the spotlight he doesn’t deserve. All it is doing now is adding value to his franchise. He stands to make about a half billion dollars if and when it sells. Let’s not reward him for his ignorance and his no-lo class act.

However, that door swings both ways and so it should. It is not only ‘white’ folks who are guilty of racial remarks and no-lo class behaviour. There are many who seem to feel it’s OK to disparage ‘those’ people who are collecting welfare or who don’t want to work and would rather be homeless for instance. There are the groups who feel it’s OK to have and use pet names for white folks and have no trouble using those terms anywhere and at any time. The question does come up time and again as to why it is only ‘white’ folks who are racists or bullies?

Enter Shaquille O’Neal who is about to become or needs to become one of the ‘dumb-ass two’ that head this page. This is an event of similar, if not greater magnitude, if that’s possible, than the Donald Sterling episode. However, very little has been said about it in the media or anywhere for that matter. Apparently, on Shaq’s Instagram account, there was a picture posted of a young African American man who suffers from a disease called ‘ectodermal dysplasias’ which leaves the sufferer with reduced ability to sweat (which among other things helps people to cool off when overheated, missing teeth (which add to the problem of facial distortion), and fine to sparsely patched hair. If you view the picture below the face on the left is Shaquille O’Neals and the other picture is the young man with the disease. It is quite obvious that Shaq is mocking the young man’s appearance. I think that this action trumps Donald Sterling’s utterances hands down. True it appears that Shaq has since apologized to the young man but does he really believe that by apologizing all would be made right? Would he have called Mr.Binion if his public relations folks hadn’t told him that he needed to get out in front of this before it went any further? If the Donald Sterling mess stays front and center Shaq’s mess may not get the attention it deserves. That would be the most tragic outcome of all.

Donald Sterling’s behaviour has no place in our society. But what Shaq did was bullying-clear, plain and simple. It might not have been the intent but it sure was the outcome. It was also hurtful and childish. Perhaps Rev.Jackson will rush in again and be publicly critical of Shaq’s behaviour. Where is Oprah anyway? I thought she would weigh in on this one for sure. The biggest challenge now sits with the commissioner of the NBA–Mr. Adam Silver. Fair is fair. Mr.Silver was very quick, decisive and forthright in his previous response concerning Mr Sterling. Regarding Shaq will he be as quick, decisive and forthright? Should there be a life long ban on him from the broadcast booth? Should he have to give up his part ownership of the Sacremento Kings franchise? How about not being able to attend another Kings game? What is fair for one needs to be fair for the other. Otherwise the whole discussion around racism, bullying, what is good/appropriate for society and what is appropriate for an NBA star player is nothing more than protecting political correctness. Again. Or will it just be the ‘white’ guy who gets slapped down?

Jahmel Binion

“If, as adults, we cannot demonstrate an appropriate standard of conduct for our children to model then how can we expect any more from them than what we are currently witnessing”–James Cloughley

Anyway, that’s how I see it, Jim

If you feel like sharing this article please pass it along to your friends–with thanks.

If Only Some Dads Could Read This Before They Leave . . .

Friday, April 25, 2014

As I have mentioned before there are some things-some messages that only another male can deliver to a son.

Lately, I have read more and chatted more about this than in all my years working in the field of Social Work. The ‘this’ is the importance of fathers being in their son’s lives. The ramifications of not being there are simply too incredible to comprehend and yet fathers are opting out of the responsibility in record numbers. I wonder if they only understood what is happening because they are not taking an active role in their son’s lives if that would make a difference in their decision to not be present either physically or emotionally? Would they choose to do anything different? Then the question begs the answer to “why father a child if you are not going to stick around to be the parent the child most definitely will need?”

So I thought that, instead of rambling on I would post a couple of web sites and a really great video (a short one) that outline the importance in a far better way than I could using fewer words than I would and perhaps they will get it and step up. However, I will say this before I go. If fathers don’t get involved or stay involved in some way right from the start of this child’s life then they will be directly responsible for what many of these young men and women will do that society will likely have to clean up because they didn’t do the right thing when they had the chance. That’s not meant to be a guilt thing. That’s just the plain clear truth of it.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/niobe-way-phd/what-boys-really-want-from-their-fathers_b_878709.html

http://life.familyeducation.com/boys/fathers/55299.html

(This is a great video of a young father doing what he has to to help calm his baby to sleep. If you have seen it before it is worth another watch. This is what it is about-being a father)

This is NOT the time for fathers to be doing this but rather the time to step and do the right thing.

Labels: mentoring our sons, social indifference, parenting, relationships, being a dad,

I Would Have Asked Him This Question. . .

“You can’t let the fear of dying interfere with the excitement of living”–JC

I didn’t know the man. I had never seen him or talked to him or met him and yet I respected him. Of course I’m not alone here but I suspect my respect for him is based on something quite different than many.

Jim Flaherty was 5’3″ tall but cast a huge shadow as a human being and as a man. And he was an Irishman. On another day I would have something smart to say about that but today I think it’s enough to say that his heritage had something to do with why people enjoyed being around him and admired him. Many found him stubborn (in a positive way), intelligent, well spoken and when he talked apparently it was difficult not to listen. Most of those who did know him well have said that he was thoughtful to those around him, always had a good word for those he met, was straight forward without being aggressive, knew what he wanted and dedicated himself to getting it. He was a man of conviction in that he believed that he was always acting in the best interests of this country–a country, I might add, that he loved almost as much as he loved his family. He sacrificed much to serve and when it came time to put it all on the line for his country during the recession he did so with little reservation. As the man who controlled the purse strings history will recognize his great clarity of reason and thought when others wanted to procrastinate or go with which way the political winds were blowing.

I did not care for his political views much of the time but he was, in my mind, a great politician. He demonstrated to us what we have a right to expect from our elected officials. Among those attributes would be class and integrity. Again in short supply right across the board and from the very top to the bottom in my view. Unfortunately few paid much attention to how Mr. Flaherty carried himself. Many were too busy getting caught with their hands submerged in the public purse to learn the basics of what political life should be about.

Having said all that my question to Mr. Flaherty would have been this: “Sheamus–When you look at your life and celebrate what you managed to contribute to making this a better place for all of us, are you content–are you indeed pleased with what you are leaving behind. In other words are you pleased to take stock and accept that you are leaving Canada and your family in a better place than when you first entered it?”

By all accounts ‘Sheamus’ James Flaherty was a great politician and a good man. It’s the ‘good man’ part that interests me the most because that is an assessment that we really don’t have any say in. We do what we do because of who we are. Most men that I know would say that their main goal in this life would be to leave it a better place and to be remembered by their peers and their families as being a good man–one who will be missed and one who will be valued not by his possessions but rather by who he was and what he did–his legacy–his mark. I believe that he was successful.

My hope is that Mr. Flaherty had a chance to understand this before he left us.

May the Good Lord bless him on his journey–Jim

That’s how I see it, anyway

Jim Flaherty

This Is Too Important To Trust The Government To Do the Right Thing . . .

Homer And A Joint

“Society has gotten to the point where every body has a right but nobody has a responsibility”—Unknown

Of course I’m going to weigh in on this discussion. I am of Irish heritage and we have an opinion on everything. Just ask us.

To begin I can say that I have had an extensive and in depth relationship with cannabis and related products beginning in the late 60’s and continuing until the late 80’s at which time I straightened up long enough to realize what I was NOT doing and so changed my lifestyle to one of providing service to those others who wanted to salvage some meaning to their lives. I went back to school and trained as a Social Service Worker specializing in alcohol and drug treatment. I have spent over 23 years in service to others including families. That should qualify me.

If you are a parent, single mom, single dad, a grandparent, someone who works in the legal field, social services, if you work for a school board, FACS, Big Brothers, are a counsellor-private or public (I know I’ve left out a few areas) you really need to read this article and watch or investigate the two links that I have included at the bottom of this page. I’m referring to the ongoing debate and the governments’ on again off again position regarding the decision to legalize pot. No big deal say some. On the contrary it is a huge deal. The following information is just the tip of the proverbial ice berg that passively lies in wait for our ‘titanic’ to sail by oblivious to the perils that lie before us.

I need to state clearly that I am all for anyone using cannabis as a legitimate medical aid. That should have happened years ago. Again our decision makers let their electoral success outweigh the obvious benefits to their constituents and now it has become yet another vote getting gimmick made with little common sense and minimal solid information. Two things come to mind here for me: Governments have finally realized that they cannot win the so called war on drugs, as it is being waged, no matter how many billions of dollars they throw at the problem. Dah! By legalizing cannabis they will save boat loads of money. They will also harvest a great deal of money from the sale and taxation of the product to the public. I believe the phrase is it is a real ‘cash cow’. The timing is suspect as well. Just before the coming election the government of the day will give us back some of our own money and then tell us what great managers of the public purse they are. All this will assist short term planning without a hint of any thought going into what the long term ramifications could well be from legalizing pot. That includes the increasee stress on the ailing health care system. It is simply a decision of convenience and expedience.

Lets look at just a few of the negatives of legalizing cannabis here:

1. We would be introducing yet another mood/mind altering substance into our daily lives which adds exactly zero to the quality of family and community life.
2. The legalization of pot is often suggested as a way for us to get in line with what other countries are doing or have done. Well, personally, I don’t care about what other countries are doing. We have our own culture and belief systems here. Our civility is built on a different foundation. Other countries allow euthanasia, for instance, as an option for dying with dignity and yet we won’t even consider a proper discussion to take place. All of a sudden we want to be different from other countries. I’m already confused.
3. According to Dr. Bernard Le Foll, Chief Addiction Researcher at the University of Toronto and a prominent Research and Treatment official at CAMH in Toronto, there is much that is not clear about the long term affects of frequent, consistent cannabis use and until that research and science provides more definite results we should not be moving forward with this idea of making cannabis more accessible. We need to develop definitive, specific treatment programs like we have with alcohol, tobacco and opiate use before we go any further. There needs to be clear regulations around the distribution of this drug. For years it was an illegal substance and now all of a sudden it’s OK to make it legal?? What gives with that? What has changed?
4. There is enough evidence to indicate a possible relationship between consistent cannabis use and the onset of psychosis, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, a reduced ability to retain/maintain focus (great if your driving a car), diminished reaction time and response time in crisis situations, more difficulty correlating facts and information (don’t folks have enough trouble with this now?), also believed to negatively effect rational thought process (decision making). Then there are some of the health problems like the connection of consistent cannabis use to possible increases in certain types of cancer–head, neck and lung cancer (increased health care costs), lack of motivation/decreased energy levels, apathy, reduced immune system functioning, may lead to the development of cardiovascular and respiratory systems problems and, believe me, the list goes on. (For more on this check out those two links I enclosed)
5. Many folks want to compare cannabis with tobacco or alcohol–really? How many people die each year of alcohol related deaths? More than the deaths from most other drugs combined. As for tobacco–it kills nearly 50% of those who use it regularly. Not a glowing recommendation.

We don’t know near as much as we need to in order to make an informed decision. I have worked in this field long enough to know that this drug has the potential to destroy lives and not just those who use it but those who have to live around it like families and children. I’ve witnessed so much of the agony and misery that surrounds the addiction to this particular drug.

Your FIRST line of defence here is to become better informed. Check out these two articles (links below).

The next point is that this is much too important to let the government have the final say in what happens next. I DO NOT TRUST THEIR MOTIVES OR THEIR RHETORIC IN THIS MATTER. IT IS MUCH TOO IMPORTANT ESPECIALLY WHEN CONSIDERING THAT MOST OF THEM WON’T BE AROUND WHEN THE REAL MESS HITS THE FAN IN ABOUT TEN YEARS.

At the very least this issue should be on the ballot during the next election–a referendum needs to be called. This is a monumental decision that will have adverse effects on folks that live coast to coast and one best not left to politicians. A true majority needs to decide–one separate from party politics.

That’s how I see it anyway–all the best–Jim

Is marijuana dangerous? Should it be legal?

http://whataboutweed.org/?page_id=16

PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO OTHERS WHO YOU BELIEVE CARE–THANKS

Male Smoking A Joint

Are All Dead Beat Dads The Same? I’d Say . . .

Parents and gun

Would you say that the guy in the picture is a ‘dead beat’ dad? I would and I bet you he actually lives with this child.

I wrote this article to encourage folks to think a bit differently about the labels we put on people. In this case it would be the moms or dads who may or may not have the financial means to contribute to the care of their kids as we think they should. My views have stayed the same over the years: If you have participated in creating a life or bringing a life into this world then you had better assume that that life is as important if not more so than your own. Step up and do what is necessary for that little human being to make sure that he/she has the best possible chance to thrive and succeed. If it can’t be with money it can be with your time, interest, your love and energy. It can be by demonstrating a desire to be an integral part of your child’s life and to help them feel valued whether you live in the family home or elsewhere.

Here’s where it gets to be more tricky unfortunately. Often times the law gets involved and sends the egregious parent to jail or levies some kind of sanction on him making it more difficult to earn money to pay what he can’t pay. This logic escapes me. If he can pay and just chooses not to certainly that is a different circumstance which requires a different response.

Having said that I, for one, am tired of hearing about all the ‘dead beat dads’ out there as if there aren’t any ‘dead beat moms’. How about dead beat parents?

What is a dead beat dad anyway?
What does a dead beat dad look like?
Are all dads dead beat dads if they stop paying or can’t pay support?

I’m not suggesting that dads can just run off when the going gets tough, hook up with another partner and forget about what they left behind. Similarly, there are those instances where single moms get involved with other partners, often move them into the home expecting ‘junior’ to get along with the new guy. The new guy has all the rights and privileges of a permanent fixture. He may contribute to the fridge and the cable bill-maybe-and ‘dad'(the real one) is stuck supporting a life style that he can’t afford for himself. Should he continue to pay? Or lets say mom gets married again and finds true happiness. Does the ‘real dad’ still need to pay as much? Perhaps the ex and her new man get to go to Florida in the winter for a ‘break’ and the ‘old’ man gets to live in a three room walk up with rattling pipes because that’s all he can afford after paying alimony and child support. What if all he can do is see his kids once a week for an ice cream cone and a walk in the park. Is that enough if that’s all he’s got to give or does he still qualify as a dead beat dad?

Emotions, often raw ones, can get involved in the decision making process especially around how the kids will be treated.Yes you can see them or no you can’t–screw you can be a common refrain. How this goes often depends on how the relationship ends between mom and dad and who was responsible for the break up. In either case those emotions need to be put aside for the betterment of the children left behind instead of “I’m going to clean him/her out of every red cent they have”. Acrimony is a poor substitute for responsibility.

What about single mom’s who become dead beat moms–(taken from a site called: Canadian Children’s Rights Council a few years back). Apparently dead beat moms exist as well. Using just a percentage figure there are more dead beat moms out there then there are dead beat dads (don’t shoot the messenger). According to this study 57% of moms out there who are required to pay child support actually do pay some or all of what they are responsible for. That compares to 68% of dads who are required to do the same.

The point is there is enough bad news to go around for the children who are most affected. Dead beat parents are just that. They are those who, for whatever their reasons, choose not to support their kids financially. But for me, money is just one way. There are other ways of providing for our children besides dollars and cents.

We know what is NOT working well and we need to understand that we cannot legislate morality. We cannot force people to do what they don’t want to do or at least not without spending a great deal of our dwindling resources.

When considering certainties we know that as long as we are content to vent our anger and our self-righteousness, or to judge and label others with this or that instead of encouraging those ‘bad moms or dads’ who may not be able to pay but are willing to be a part of their children’s lives in some way, the kids will continue to suffer big time. That, for me, is the real tragedy here.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

Pass this along to friends, clients, family or anyone else you think may benefit from considering this.

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