Can It Be True? . . . Who Knows Anything For Sure?

Someone Holding The Sun

“We often see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear”

I recently read an article about the Jian Ghomeshi vs the CBC mess, his unceremonious dismissal and the $50+ million lawsuit that has been threatened by Ghomeshi and his ‘people’. Now it has become about how this Ghomeshi guy is ‘getting out in front’ of all this bad press in order to skirt the inevitable outcome of being found guilty of something that may or not be true. The media sure wants it to be true, it seems, and now it’s become a David and Goliath type struggle and . . . and my freakin’ head hurts with all this posturing and rankling and accusing.

The truth is no one knows, yet, what really happened and the point is the only folks who really know are the ones directly involved. Should we not allow the legal system, the one we have chosen to live by, to do its job and gather information about the charges that have been made. Involving the public, in my view, does not ensure honesty and but rather fear. Scrutiny can and will come when the facts are produced and then the media needs to swing into high gear. Now they can go to work to prove or disprove the facts as they have been prepared and presented. The legal system needs to be free to gather evidence without pressure or bias and present that information when it can be done in a way that leaves no doubt about the need for a trial or hearing. Shouldn’t that information be presented in a court room instead of a newspaper. Papers should print the news not make the news. Shouldn’t that info gathering be done quietly and professionally thereby creating an environment of respect, dignity and protection for the women who were courageous enough to bring forth their charges instead of enduring the media frenzy and the circus that is sure to follow when the public has gotten its taste for blood in the water tweaked? In reality the public can be much more harsh on the ‘victims’ than on the so called perpetrators. The public will always want to know and believe the worst. Think about the ‘rubberneckers’ that slow down at an accident site hoping to get a glimpse of blood and gore only to say ‘Oh isn’t that awful’ when they witness death or carnage of some kind. Why do so many go to hockey games? Not always for the game itself but rather for the fights and violence that often breaks out.

According to this blog that I read the women who brought forth the charges are claiming that Mr.Ghomeshi struck them with a closed fist or an open hand, bit them, choked them, impaired their ability to breath and verbally abused them during and after having sex with them. But by making all of this ‘news’ public at this time diminishes the chances of either side receiving a fair hearing and the information being proven. It becomes a ‘he said/she said’ situation with both sides revving up the rhetoric. Of course he will deny it and of course they will claim its truth. So who knows for sure? The author of this article talks about Mr. Ghomeshis’ PR team working at full tilt thereby, somehow, suggesting his guilt. There would be no need for a PR team to be involved if the ‘circus’ hadn’t come to town but here we are. The PR guys are as bad as the media sometimes. Both salivate at something like this happening because one gets employed and the other gets to stay employed.

Another of the authors concerns is about how powerful people always seem to get away with things that the regular folks always get nailed for. Is this a personal or professional opinion? I would agree this can happen and does. But I would also say that it often doesn’t work that way. Just ask Bill Clinton, Richard Milhous Nixon and Conrad Black how their power managed to free them from public scrutiny and accountability.

The other major point to the authors article revolves around consent. Was consent given and rescinded? Was consent given at all? Was it completely ignored? There is no question in my mind that it can be rescinded at any time and needs to be respected immediately–bar no excuses or pleadings.. That’s just part of the rules of the game and, make no mistake, this is a game. A very serious one to be sure but still a game that is played out for stimulation and pleasure. Perhaps those who want to participate in the game need to be better versed about just what it is they are agreeing to. Perhaps this is no place for amateurs to tread until they know more. Perhaps there needs to be more discussion shared between what each would-be participant likes and doesn’t like so there can be no misunderstandings about what is about to happen and where the boundaries lie. This is not something that should be taken lightly nor with an attitude of ‘Oh this sounds like fun-let’s do it’.

If things got out of hand and things happened that weren’t discussed nor was there any consent to certain behaviours given then it most certainly was criminal in its essence and that is that. But no one knows for sure what happened in this case. All we have heard is what has been said by each side. However, now that the genie has been let out of the bottle there is no turning back. The reputations of all involved here are at stake. No one has more to lose than the other unless you reduce those losses to just money.

In the end isn’t it up to each of us who we decide to spend time with, doing what, when, where and under what circumstances. If we make the choice and it doesn’t work out well and laws were broken then someone needs to be held accountable for what happened. But at what point do we each become solely responsible for the decisions we make no matter how reckless or callous or risky? But because they didn’t turn out so well we can’t, then, point fingers at the other person for the choices we made. I am not suggesting that we blame any one side or that one side is more to blame than the other. As we move toward an egalitarian society part of what we need to accept is taking responsibility for what we say, what we do and who we do it with. We all have a right to pursue our freedoms and above all to preserve our safety and our right to make our own choices. Let’s just remember that door swings both ways for all of us.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim

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Three Things Our Kids Need To Learn From Us Are . . .

Group With Canadian Flag

This past week will be remembered as the time when Canada lost its global innocence. No longer will we feel totally safe and exempt from the violence that goes on in the rest of the world. We suffered the loss of a soldier in Quebec who was callously and viciously murdered by a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil. Apparently,the murderer, traded all the freedoms of this great land for a Jhadist ideology. Another soldier was injured in the same act of terror. Then there was the unspeakable tragedy that happened in Ottawa where a soldier doing his duty at the cenotaph was murdered as well. He was shot to death by an assailant who later was shot to death inside the Hall of Honor–irony strikes again. I fought the need to start flinging people out of our country. I wanted to tell them to get out and go back to the hell hole they had left. My anger was quickly subdued by the questions which arose instead. Why did this happen? How did this happen? What drove two young Canadian men, both citizens, to randomly select and then take the lives of fellow Canadians and to do so right here at home on Canadian soil? I realized that this is a home grown problem and in so many ways has nothing to do with those who come here. These were disenchanted Canadians who chose to kill their own.

I have no desire to give either of these two murderous ingrates any of my time finding out about who they were. I know who and what they were. But knowing ‘why’ is important. When I think of the last 20 years and all the horrible mass murders and shootings and rampages that have taken place I see that the vast majority of them were created and fashioned by angry, disillusioned young men and this brought me back to what I wrote about in my book. This is about fatherless boys who struggled to find their place in this society. They were not connected to much of anything or any one. They were cut loose and left to find their own way when their fathers abandoned them. The internet became their classroom. They got connected to anyone who seemed to care regardless of the message. They wanted to punish as they felt they were punished. Anger and power become a deadly combination. Outside voices saw this and took advantage of it. If you hear the same message over and over again after a while and without any thing to counter it, misplaced passion grows and converts rise up. Suddenly they believe in something and they find others who are disillusioned. They find a group out there who seem to agree that our way of life is at fault and needs to be challenged–brought to it’s knees–punished for going against the laws of nature. Terrorism is born of less.

Now our primary question becomes how do we prevent this from happening again? We need to understand that it will if we don’t recognize what we are not doing. For me it goes right back to the messages we send out to our kids–our sons in this case. What are we telling them? What are we teaching them? How are we engaging them and how do we make sure that they feel important and connected and clear about what their role is in this society? How do we in-still a sense of importance, ownership and allegiance to this country? How do they become proud Canadians?

How do we fix it? We can start at the beginning:

As stewards and teachers to our kids we can begin to demonstrate the importance of spending more time re-building our nuclear families. Unfortunately, many who have abandoned their sons either physically, emotionally or mentally can’t bring themselves to think that they may be, in some small way, responsible for harming their sons. However, once we commit to the mindset of reconciliation there are three things that our kids, especially our young men, need to learn from us:

1. We need to STOP trying to protect them from the world and all its lessons. Our kids are not fragile and they wont die because they are heart broken or disappointed. If we do our job right we can teach them how to use these set backs to their advantage so they will become better equipped mentally and emotionally to manage what comes their way. Right now many of our kids are poorly equipped to deal with most of the negative emotional states they will have to engage at some point. They need to learn from their mistakes. They need to be free to make mistakes and not be judged by them. That is how we learn. We need to stop trying to protect them from pain, disappointment and discomfort. Let them live by their strengths. They will be healthier for it.

2. We need to STOP excusing them from the consequences of their decision making efforts and we need to stop blaming others for our parental shortcomings. Our job should be to teach them how to live their lives with confidence and dedication and competency. Excusing them from the natural consequences of how they live their lives teaches them nothing and they will flounder aimlessly when they are closer to manhood especially when parents are no longer around to make their decisions for them. Give them a break and teach them how to think for themselves. Hold them accountable.

3. Teach them how to be self sufficient. Teach them how to use their given talents to their advantage and STOP trying to make them into people they were never meant to be. Teach them about respect, equality,and tolerance and how to live as men in the new world.

When we get back to doing these things with our young men we will be less likely to hear about tragedies, like the ones from this week, less often.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim

Reasons For Why Dad Is So Important . . .

Father And Son Shaving

October 16, 2014

“A young man with an absent father faces a considerable and well-documented number of social, academic and emotional difficulties because of a lack of mentoring from his father guide.” A bold and troubling statement to be sure but, also, a very real one.

We read, hear and witness media reports daily concerning the unnerving, senseless and sometimes violent acts young men engage in primarily because they have not been taught much about the meaning of responsibility, duty, respect for property, for themselves, for others or authority. What is considered socially acceptable, now, often borders on what was, at one time, considered to be criminal and accountability is, almost, a thing of the past. Hedonism is fast becoming the new religion. An inflated sense of entitlement concerning most things has replaced the concept of working for your simple pleasures. Much of this, quite frankly, comes from not having been introduced to the ideas and concepts of what it means to live as a man in the world today. This is a message that can only be delivered to a young man from another man (preferably his father) who has been there and done that–he who has experienced the transition from boyhood to manhood.

Questions and confusion reign supreme and need to be answered and explained. Questions like: What does it mean to man-up? Where is my place as a man in society? What does manhood look like today? What can I expect? How am I supposed to treat others? What do I tell MY son when it’s his time? Is this generation of angry young men a consequence of our culture’s blurred gender roles? True. The world has changed and it will continue to change. Change is our only real constant. Indeed the focus and the state/sense of manhood is constantly under scrutiny and criticism but that just underscores the importance of having our sons, our young men, introduced to those messages from the get-go. Like it or not fathers are solely integral to the process of educating their sons in this regard and for fathers to NOT fulfil that role is, in my mind, socially criminal. If you look at the outcomes,the reality that is today, it is not difficult to see that by not having fathers involved in their sons lives and not leading them into a state of manhood there is some validity to my claim.

As parents, we can no longer just sit idly by and hope that things will change. This ‘phase’ will not, somehow, magically end. We must develop some new practical ideas about how to change what is happening. Perhaps getting back to a time when we actually took time out from our busy schedules to spend some regular quality time with our kids is a place to start. Getting involved in activities that are more community oriented; spending time and talking about how their lives are going; actually listening to them without comment or judgement; playing some pond hockey; perhaps a round of golf together–anything that is family oriented. These are things that we have stopped doing and these are the things that we will need to begin doing again if we are to create a different kind of relationship with our kids but we need to do it and do it now. If we want them to become good citizens in the world we have to lead the way and we cannot depend on the current educational system to address any of it.

My latest book, ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’, tells a story of a young man who is going through this vitally important part of his life and is doing so without the help of a male role model. I outline many different situations that mimic true life and, within the dialogue of the story, discuss solutions to what the young man is struggling with. It becomes a good resource for fathers who want to repair or rebuild a relationship that has turned cold and distant. It’s also a great resource for single moms who struggle to understand the day to day challenges that their sons are experiencing as they progress through the transition from boyhood to manhood. The post feminist world is new to many men both young and old. We all need to join together to help and support each other to understand how to live in harmony and equality without having to forfeit our true nature as human beings.

There is hope if we accept the inevitable changes in our culture and re-establish a clear and dedicated father-to-son relationship. As men, we need to take responsibility not just for being a parent to our children but also, specifically, to be mentors to our sons. It’s time for us to become the teachers and the life coaches we were not so long ago. We need to stop abdicating our responsibility for our sons social, mental and spiritual education. We need to begin to embrace what we are naturally driven to do. It must, again, be part of our reason for being here. As fathers we need to accept the opportunity to be a part of shaping another human life as the privilege it truly is.

That’s the way I see it anyways–Jim

If you are interested in purchasing this book please go to jamescloughley.com and then click on the title bar tab ‘Life Choice Books” and follow the cues.

Who Did You Say The Bad Guys Were Again?

Jet Fighter Breaking Sound Barrier

“War doesn’t determine who is right, it determines who is left”–author unknown to me

I’m as Canadian as the next guy and there is no way that I want anyone-ANYONE-to threaten the stability, safety, cultural heritage or the freedoms of my country,children,friends or my neighbours. I don’t question the decision to stand up and say enough is enough. If folks can’t sort this crap amongst themselves then the rest of the world, who seems to want a more peaceful co-existence, will do it for them. But is dropping bombs the only way to validate this statement? To listen to our PM stand up in the House and try to sell us a rancid bill so goods about how we must join the fray and do our part makes me retch. If he were the first one to jump into the cock pit of the first Canadian war plane to travel to enemy territory and hit the trigger that unleashes the first bombs/missiles of the next part of the same war I might feel differently. Perhaps if the decision makers had to send in their kids first there might be a different ‘will’ to waging war. Isn’t this the same war we declared having won-the same war that just keeps coming back to haunt us-the same war that costs us billions of dollars that we are told don’t exist or we don’t have and yet there always seems to be enough to wage war? We have demonstrated that we, the allied forces, can’t win using the strategy we have adopted but we keep trying anyway. Isn’t that the definition of insanity–to keep doing the same things over and over again expecting a different result each time? Here we have a government who can’t fall over itself fast enough to please our U.S. neighbours. I wonder if they have even thought about ‘collateral’ damage and what that means. How much or how many are acceptable?

So who is/are the enemy? Can anyone explain this to me so I can grasp what is happening? In some cases we are supporting those who are our enemies but who are also the enemies of our enemies. But then we are supporting our allies who are enemies of those we are supporting who are our enemies. Are you more clear now? And now we have agreed to fly over there and start dropping bombs–on who? Will that be our enemies or our allies who are supporting our enemies? In the end we are going to kill innocent people who just want to live in harmony and enjoy a full belly each day. But then we’ll hear that war does produce ‘collateral’damage and casualties. It can’t be helped. It’s part of the sacrifice that must be made. Really? It’s a much easier decision to make when you don’t have to worry about whose going first.

We have some of the best thinkers, planners and visionaries in the free world at our disposal and yet we can’t come up with a plan that brings us some peace and stability outside of blowing other people to smitherines. How well has that worked so far? We are fighting people on their own turf–a no-no apparently but we march ahead anyway. Fear of dying usually brings acquiescence but in this case it doesn’t seem to count for much in the Middle East.

So why don’t we ‘starve’ them out. Them/they being the ‘enemy’. Where does their money come from? Well-much of it comes from us. They use our petro dollars to finance attacks against us and we continue to do business with them. What would happen to the warring tribes and factions if the money dried up? What would happen if they woke up one day and there were trillions upon trillions of barrels of oil sitting on the docks or in pipelines going nowhere? Likely our enemies would up their purchase of oil but if THEIR supply of petro dollars was dramatically reduced how would they finance those who want us dead? What if we stopped doing business with our enemies or those who support our enemies? Where would the money come from then? I understand that big business in the free world would never abide this. Patriotism is a fickle commodity that comes with a price it seems. Multinationals are not prepared to make this sacrifice. They are familiar with making money from war not having money go the other way.

Have a look at the following photo and read the messages on the placards and then ask yourself-Are these our allies or our enemies? We need to come up with a long term solution instead of trying to bomb them into the next century. We can, however, agree on this: this group needs to be stopped before we no longer have the domestic strength to defend ourselves.

Islamic Supporters in London
Photographer Unknown-photo taken in London, England.

Like any good revolution or uprising it takes passion and fervor to be successful but it also takes truckloads of money and without money I doubt the fervor and passion would continue to manifest itself as it does currently. A bigger concern to me is what are we teaching our children–the next generation of thinkers and citizens–about how to co-exist with those who have other ideas regarding how the world should be run. The current message is ‘might is right–the bigger the problem the bigger the bomb’. We need to be teaching them about developing long term global solutions. We have a better chance to affect change if this becomes a war of money. At least we would be going to our strength. At best the current plan is a short term solution and a good number of innocent human beings are about to be slaughtered only because they have the misfortune of living in a different part of the world.

That’s how I see it anyways, Jim

Imagine you are the leader of the allied forces. What would you do to win this war? Please send your ideas to jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

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Feminism. What Does It Really Mean Today ?

If They Can Get Along Then Why Can’t We?

Recently I began reading a collection of blogs on a site I follow hoping to gain a greater understanding of what feminism means. I don’t claim to know more than anyone else and I will openly cop to that but it seems that the topic has become an ‘ideological football’ with teams claiming to know better than the other guys. What started out as spirited dialogue plummeted into name calling and character assassination and the points trying to be made got lost.

Feminists are on about the treatment of women in foreign countries and how awful it is. To be clear as a male in the world I, too, am horrified-really horrified-that the rest of the world accepts the brutality and the logic of beating someone who has been raped or a young girl who is held down and, against her will, is circumcised with a broken bottle or a knife. The so-called civilized nations of the world and I include the toothless tiger referred to as the United Nations in this criticism, turns a blind eye because the behaviour is said to be cultural in origin and therefore somehow is OK. Sadly, these practices and others appear to be beyond the reach of world condemnation or judgement or sanction. It is not OK. It is nothing short of barbaric and needs to be condemned in the strongest way possible by the rest of the civilized world. But the bickering, and the negative emotional energy that is being spent by feminists defending who said what about what is self defeating and polarizing. And to even hint that men don’t have any idea about what this is like is simply absurd.  While we are scrapping amongst ourselves we are not paying attention to the real issues. The feminists and those supporting feminism need to clearly define what ‘feminism’ means today because I suspect that the definition would be quite different from what it used to mean.

One strong voice speaking for all those who want to see this brutality stopped is needed but those who favour a unified voice are finding it difficult because they are not quite sure what they are fighting for any more. Can we not take ‘feminism’ and ‘masculinism’ out of the glossary of terms and just say those who care are speaking as one. There are a great number of males out here who really do support gender equality as a global concept.That concept, however, needs to include children and other men as well.

There are those women who want to rule the world and there are men who wish to do the same. Theirs is a different struggle. They are not going to be much help to any of us who hope to see the world become a more accepting, caring, encouraging and tolerant world.

Trying to affect a change in a foreign country concerning their traditions and their cultural obsessions is, in my view, beginning with a non-starter. Expending a great deal of emotional energy and valuable resources trying to do that (change the unchangeable) allows us an opportunity to vent and threaten and not much else. We have no voice ‘over there’ and we have no power or control over what does or does not happen next. But we do have some control over the people we elect to represent us and perhaps if we were to:
1. energize and organize those who support the idea of a single voice speaking for all those who value equality for everyone (it is not just a ‘feminist’ ideal) then we could work to ending global barbarism.
2. encourage them to begin voting for representatives who have proven or pledge to support efforts to end the unjust, horrid and brutal tenents of Sharia Law.
3. just plain stop doing business with those countries who don’t support our view of equality where it concerns the rights and freedoms of women AND men AND children. Perhaps the celebs could contribute to that effort with their wealth and their public statements and support for such an approach. I’m not sure how many would get on THAT bandwagon but it would go a long ways in terms of touching people in other countries because of their international face and notoriety. People around the world may not know who Steven Harper is but they know who Wayne Gretzky is. Celebs carry weight–use it wisely.

MOST importantly we cannot take our eyes off the ball here at home by allowing any discussion to gain a foot hold regarding Sharia Law and how it should be applied to members of the Muslim faith who reside on our home turf. If we aren’t careful the ‘wolf’ could and would sneak in the back door while we are guarding the front door. Don’t be naive enough to believe that that could never happen–not here. 911 could never happen either we were told.

Let’s make sure that our own house is in order and safe before we begin running off trying, with the best of intentions, to be trail blazers in other countries where we have no power. Let’s try to control what is within our power to do so. Once we do that we can encourage other ‘free world people’ to follow our lead and build a world force armed with resources and world political support. Then we would have a better chance of effecting some basic changes regarding world accepted standards for living in freedom. I would imagine that the countries who live by Sharia Law would have to pay attention to the call of the ‘free’ world if the ‘free’ world stopped doing business with them.

?????? Ever wonder how many of our commercial dollars currently go to groups who are dedicated to wiping us off the surface of the planet? Are we not financing our own destruction?

I often wonder why Muslims who live a free and prosperous life in the west or other parts of the world don’t do more to end the horrors in their own country? Why they don’t fight their own battles?

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

Please pass this article along to friends and have them do the same.

Comments, pro/con are welcome. Connect with me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or go to jamescloughley.com (web page)

When Did The Feminists Start Running The NFL?

Lightning In The Desert

Picture Credit: Metro.co.uk (Picture Editor: Pejman Faratin)

Well it seems that lightning has struck again. I am referring to the Ray Rice scandal that started out as a domestic assault case and has developed into the next inquisition. When I look at ALL the things that went on here it seems to me what Ray Rice did was but a part of a larger fiasco that all parties need to be ashamed of. Please don’t read me wrong here. I DO NOT CONDONE WHAT RAY RICE DID IN ANY WAY-UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES-EXCEPT SELF PRESERVATION. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HAS BEEN, IS, AND ALWAYS WILL BE UNACCEPTABLE. But if we are going to be fair about this and learn something from it we need to consider all the things that went on here:

1. Roger Goodell is as complicit in this train wreck as anyone else. Perhaps more so because the ‘buck’ is supposed to stop at his desk and it did not. It just blew right through the station and honked on the way by. He didn’t even get a chance to wave at it. He reacted in every terrible way possible. If anyone should lose his job here it is he. He misrepresented himself, his office and the situation to appease owners and to protect the already tarnished reputation of the NFL. He turned a lapse of judgement and self control by a player into a center stage circus.

2. Ray Rice and his wife are really the only two who know exactly what happened. However, he not only displayed a lack of class and integrity but he punched is girl friend hard enough to render her unconscious. He didn’t have any concerns for her safety or health and could have seriously harmed her permanently. You just can’t go around punching people when ever you feel justified. That goes whether they are male or female. It is not right and the sanctions need to be adequate enough to send the message that it will not be tolerated. What is not clear is if they had been drinking-how much-for how long-and would they have done and said the things they did if they were stone cold sober. This is not to excuse his behaviour or hers. No-I am not trying to put the victim on trial here. The facts remain as they are and they need to be seen and treated as such if we are to move toward any kind of equality among us. If both jump in a pool of water is one more wet than the other when they come out?

3. Has anyone thought about charging Janay Palmer for assault? Apparently she spit in his face–twice. That, supposedly, does constitute assault. Am I to accept that her behaviour was OK but his was not? Again his treatment of her was most disturbing and the sanction for his behaviour needs to reflect that. But if we are to move together toward equality then the same rules need apply to all of us and need to be equally applied. Perhaps Janay Palmer needs to pay more attention to her own behaviour and act with a bit more class and integrity.

4. If there are those who need to be hit hard it’s the owners who tried to have this buried. They placed the well being of their business above the laws of the land. They were playing CYA above all else. What sanctions are appropriate for them? Will there be any at all? At the very least they need to be suspended from all team activities for the reminder of the season. It is only because they were caught that they are all clamoring to ‘do the right thing now’. This is/was no act of conscience.

The last two points are more about what stands in the way of resolving this issue fairly and without bias.

5. Last but certainly not least: The feminists need to disappear. They add nothing to the process except acrimony. They need to acknowledge that their efforts were, at one time, noteworthy but now it’s time to stand aside and let the culture grow its egalitarian roots. My hope is that they would take political correctness with them. PC is killing us. It has outgrown its usefulness. It thwarts free speech and open discussion of ideas and counter ideas. Healthy debate is becoming more difficult. It penalizes those pioneers who risk standing up and being heard. If we look around at what is happening in our homes, schools, play grounds, arenas, stadiums and legal institutions we become aware of the rights and freedoms lost as a result of not feeling safe enough to say “I don’t like that and I won’t support it”. When we can’t risk being different or not agreeing without being called a terrorist, a malcontent or anti-something then we have become victims of political correctness.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:”Not to speak is to speak; not to act is to act”. Quite true.

In the spirit of risk-taking I don’t think that Ray Rice should have been stripped of the opportunity to earn his living because he was not able to control himself. He lives in a culture of violence where each week he is expected to physically dominate other people, to do it well and if he doesn’t he’ll be replaced until he can. I think Ray Rice should miss the remainder of the season–no pay. While sitting out he completes a residential program that is actually designed to teach clients to control their anger and moderate their behaviour to the satisfaction of professionals who are qualified to say he’s ready to return to society.

I concern myself more with what our children are learning by listening and watching how the ‘adults’ handle this mess. The message being sent is:”It’s OK to lie and cheat as long as you have enough money and power to pull it off. Just don’t get caught”.

Anyways that’s how I see it, Jim

10 Things We Need To Think About More Often–Such As . . .

The Thinker2

There are nights when I lay awake for hours just thinking about what is going on around us. So–what is really going on and am I one of a few who sees things that apparently others don’t see or don’t care about?

In the interests of sharing these things, here are 10 observations I have made over the last few weeks. Let me know how many of them you have concerns about as well.

1. The closer we get to being a true multi-cultural nation the less we get to enjoy our own traditions and national identity.

2. The more money we earn–the harder we work–the less we can afford.

3. The more rights other groups enjoy the less freedom we seem to have.

4. The longer we live the more sick we become.

5. The more Mr. Harper (The Teflon Man) denies any involvement in some of the ongoing scandals the more those around him seem to end up in shackles. (But never him–nothing sticks.)
6. The older we get the faster time goes by us.

7. The older children get the smarter their parents become.

8. The more we depend on technology the less safe and secure we become.

9. The more we share our country with others the closer we get to being a minority.

10.The more we accept other spiritual beliefs the less we see evidence of our own.

Actually there are 15–I lied.

11.The longer we endure political correctness the closer we come to our own demise.

12.The more we continue to place our trust in those who have proven to be untrustworthy the greater the risk of losing the hopes and dreams we held for our children and their children.

13.By trying to enforce the unenforceable the weaker and more hopeless we become.

14.The more we allow entitlement to flourish unchecked the more restricted we become.

15.The more we leave things to be done for us the more they will get done to us.

A quote by Jay Leno:
“With hurricanes, tornadoes, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?”

There will be those who agree with none of these. There will be those who agree with some of these and there will be those who may agree with all of these. In any case please let me know what you are thinking and include your comments.

Anyways, that’s the way I see it.

Thanks for your time, Jim

We Have To Stop Doing This To Our Kids And Others.

A Lost Child

‘Our kids will live what they see and hear’–Jim

Recently I had an epiphany–a sudden flash of insight that struck me right in the heart. I immediately knew that this was one of those life changing events that come only so often. I also realized that I do this and I have to stop. I don’t do it consciously and I don’t do it to be mean or to hurt anyone. However, the outcomes certainly can, and often are, the same.

What I am referring to is the act of ‘labelling’. We label music, literature, other people, our own kids, our partners, medical assessments and diagnosis, movies, fashion, personal appearances, different preferences, odd behaviour and the list goes on. We have an almost insatiable need to label things so that we can then place them in a slot so that we can then deal with them as we have for so often. In this case it is by using labels such as as silly, stupid, ugly, awful, useless, dumb, freakish, terrible, disgusting, poor, not up to standards, lazy and again the list could continue on for a bit. As parents or citizens or neighbours we need to keep in mind that once something or someone has been labelled that label sticks for a long time-sometimes for ever.

Adults, if we don’t like current clothing styles will often find a derogatory comment to make about them like they are ‘slutty’ looking; make reference to a hair style that makes you look like a moron or stupid; to music that sounds like two cats wailing at each other; to movies which aren’t like they used to be. In my time that’s when movies were really good and not like this crap; to literature that has no soul and is all the same; to what’s with all the tattoos or the body piercings. You look like a walking junk yard. These and similar responses are likely about the parents/adults comfort zone and their inability to accept or understand that things have changed. Parents most often see their kids as an extension of themselves when in public. If the kids are messing up that falls on the parents. However, and perhaps with good intentions, their remarks are mostly damaging, demeaning not very constructive. They end up creating a real sense of doubt and acceptance in our kids regarding their attempt to be accepted into the world they live in. With no sense of acceptance or connectedness a growing sense of detachment, loneliness and isolation develops. With no place to belong a deepening sense of depression often follows. Some times this can lead to suicide, erratic behaviour, sexually acting out, destructive behaviour, violence, gang membership and a great deal of the time the kid becomes a bully. He has a need to inflict his will and his anger and confusion on others. He/she may also want to feel in control over others to show they have power too.

I encourage you to think about some of the following:
–Most labels serve to marginalize, limit or disparage someone or something. It may not be your goal but it is often the outcome of labelling?
–Any type of mental health label is like a life sentence that follows you around. It shows up on doctors reports, school records and insurance forms for example. To say,”He has mental health issues” can mark him/her as unemployable and in many cases makes it difficult to enjoy a ‘normal’ educational experience. Let behaviour be the guide to determine the level someone can function at. It’s like water seeking it’s own level. If you are labelled as exceptional or gifted the expectations made of you are often times unfair and disproportionate and extremely difficult to live up to.
–Why do we feel the need to label ourselves or others according to religious beliefs? It’s really no ones business. Personally I don’t need or want to be known as an Atheist, a Catholic, a Muslim, a Protestant, or a Republican, a Democrat, a Liberal or a Conservative for that matter. Unfortunately, when these labels are exposed, we make them into a ‘my dad can beat up your dad’ thing. How childish is that. Friendships and relationships often succeed or fail based on these labels. I’d rather be seen as a decent human being who tried to make this a better place to live. Label me that if you must label me at all. We are supposed to be the adults. We run into trouble when we try to force others to see things as we see them and they don’t agree with us. Can’t we simply agree to disagree and move on.

So when we become frustrated and emotionally charged when dealing with our kids and the changes that they make, sometimes daily, think about the comments and the labels we attach to our response(s) to them and to their behaviour. When we call him/her a ‘dumb-ass’ or a ‘punk’; when we make reference to them being lazy, stupid or ridiculous looking; when we get critical of some of the choices they make around music, that their drawers are actually hanging where their socks are meant to be, the fact that they can’t figure out which is the front or the back of a hat they just put on think about the damage you might just be doing by not taking another tact. There is a difference between inviting them into your world to present an alternative life view and demanding or insisting on accepting yours as the only alternative. Your motivation may not be at fault but the use of ‘labels’ will stick to them for the rest of their lives.

Anyways, that’s how I see it–Jim

As always comments are welcomed and please pass this along to others–thanks

jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

www.jamescloughley.com

So Help Me Understand: What Is It They Are Teaching Our Kids?

Albert Einstein About Technology

I remember when I was going to school and how I felt about the teachers that I had. Although it was a while ago I can still remember the respect I had for most of them. As I got older and moved into high school I still felt the same but not for as many. It seemed there were more teachers who didn’t quite present the same sense of urgency and desire to share the knowledge that I believed they were there to impart–their hearts didn’t seem to be in it. I have come to understand that they were but casualties of the system. They were expected to put out what they were told was relevant and that change was a good thing. I once read that the only thing for sure is change will happen. However, the changes that have been made that involve school curricula have taken us down a path that has been nothing but a failure. The scheduled changes, I fear, will not fare much better. Part of being responsible educators, it seems to me, is about recognizing mistakes, admitting them, correcting them and then moving on. I am not looking for perfection but rather honesty and leadership.

There was a time when our educational system and our world ranking kept us ahead of the pack. Those very standards have slipped more than dramatically and still the brilliant minds that shape our learning experiences continue to defend thinking that has proven to be more than defective and without vision. When we look at what has happened we see that the testing standards and outcome expectations have decreased substantially. We are more worried about a students self esteem then we are his/her capability to learn and to compete. You can’t spend self esteem and it, alone, will not get you a job or prepare it’s owner for the future.

Not so many years ago students could not bring any electronic devices into a classroom and certainly not during a test or exam. Now they are encouraged to do so because the process of finding the answer is not as important as being able to come up with the right answer. I was taught that if you understood the process then you could apply that process to find the answer to almost every similar problem you face. Teach someone how to hunt and he will always be able to feed his family. Give him dinner and he only learns how to eat.

What would happen to us if suddenly there was no power to drive our computers and our electronic gadgets?? The educational system and the wizards that direct it don’t encourage the simplest of math skills–addition, subtraction, multiplication and division skills and the theory behind them. Some kids find it difficult to read at more than a ‘Dick and Jane’ level, to write at basic levels let alone create complex sentences, articles or passages one might find at the university level. Spelling is a joke–spell check is quicker. And now they have turned their attention to writing skills and have decided not to continue to teach our kids how to perform the most basic writing tasks by limiting the time spent on cursive skill development. It’s surprising how many kids can’t even fill out a cheque or manage a cheque book. Now they are also considering eliminating the need for homework and lessening the possibility of rote learning. How do we help our children understand that success takes some work and that it will not always be given to them. It wont be from a system that was once a leader in education and our pride in the world. Other nations are more likely to look at what we are doing regarding education and do the opposite. We worry more about how many students we can claim graduate and not the standard that is shrinking to attain those numbers.

So where will our ‘graduates’ find work in the future? Will they be able to work in a foreign country? Will they be able to compete right here at home with foreign students who are likely to be more competitive and better prepared for the workplace? What will they be able to teach their kids? What skills will they bring to the table? It has been our high standards and our doggedness to detail that have created and brought forth the thinkers, the writers, the poets and the dreamers–the creators that have separated us from many other countries.

I don’t blame anyone for this mess and certainly not our teachers. This is a systemic problem. Currently the system is showcasing a group of tired thinkers too stubborn to reach out to fresh ideas. Perhaps it’s time to include a broader based influence group to help the tired. We need to hear from the captains of industry, labour leaders, ceo’s, international players, legal and social representatives. Not only do we need to hear them but they need to have some power and influence in the development of curricula. They are the ones who really understand what the world looks like, where it is going and how we need to function to get back to the top of the list of first world nations who lead the way to success with passion and compassion. The system needs a new vision.

Take a good look at the photo at the top of this page and read again the quote by one of the greatest minds of our time and then think about where your kids are going and how prepared they will be to be a world citizen and to contribute on, at least, a basic level playing field with kids from other nations.

That’s how I see it, anyways–Jim

Always enjoy feedback pro/con

Contact me at:
jim.lifechoice@gmail.com e-mail

More about my book ‘A Man’s Work Is Never Done: A Novel About Mentoring Our Sons’ at:
jamescloughley.com

What Were They Thinking When. . . ? (2nd Edition)

Parents and gun

Please take a second or two to look at the picture above and then ask yourself “What was he thinking?”

When I started writing these articles my goal was to bring another view point to the table and if I knew something that I thought might be important or might move someone to consider another point of view I would share it. I want to pass onto the next generation a world where our children can be safe, can flourish and thrive, can become all they were meant to be and a place where we, all, could feel safe walking down the street day or night or leave our homes knowing that when we return we will find them as we left them. Sounds idyllic I grant you. How many other folks have wanted to do the same thing. However,that path is fraught with danger and best intentions. I understand all of that. But I want to try anyway. I get that we can’t limit other’s life choices to satisfy our own beliefs around what is best for everyone. But when does common sense make an entrance? Always the question isn’t it.

So this week we find ourselves in a familiar place when we talk about guns and gun control. A young girl was being taught how to shoot an Uzi by a qualified gun instructor in Nevada when she lost control of the weapon and shot and killed the instructor. Tragic. Absolutely. Necessary? Absolutely NOT. What were these guys thinking when they decided she should learn how to shoot an Uzi? Obviously NOT much.

If we try to look at guns dispassionately, which is difficult to do these days, guns can be seen this way:

1. Hand guns are used for close quarter use only. Folks don’t hunt with a hand gun unless the quarry is human. So basically that means the other use would be for self-protection. Who or what does a 9 year old need that kind of protection from? Perhaps her father’s ego. She should be playing with her friends and doing what 9 year old kids used to do not all that many years ago. That would not include learning how to use a killing machine.

2. Rifles and long guns can be used for longer range human hunting but mostly for putting food on the family table or sport which is becoming more difficult to accept since scopes and stuff take the element of skill out of real hunting. You want to hunt then use a bow and arrow set-up. Give the animal a chance to outsmart your sorry a–.

3. Then there is the favoured semi-automatic and full mag types where mega shots can be fired off in a few seconds. What these weapons are used for, outside of military applications, is beyond me. In urban settings they are used to instill fear and intimidation. The idea being that if I can shoot off more shots than the other guy then I stand a better chance of killing him before he kills me. Brilliant. If you’re a gang banger or a wanabe try doing it the old fashioned way–use your fists and a metal bar of some kind. The point is there really aren’t any good reasons why a 9 year old girl would need to know how to use anything outside of a pea shooter. Really not a great decision on the parent(s) part and I would have said that before this tragedy took place. What were they thinking? The instructor is dead and the little girl is messed up for life. For what?

The supposed civilized world is addicted to guns and violence. We seem to enjoy the power and control that comes with killing. Some might say it is euphoric. What is troubling to me is that our young men and women are participating in stabbings and shootings more often with less concern about the outcomes. Human life seems to be losing its value and its importance. And please lets not go waving the 2nd amendment around in everyone’s face. This whole thing is strictly about money and the enormous amounts to be made. I didn’t know until recently that some manufacturers of weapons (guns) have designed rifles that are smaller than the normal ones so that kids can handle them better. What are they thinking? Proponents of owning a gun point to the number of child related accidents involving guns having decreased. Wow! Are we supposed to be happy with this ground breaking news? There shouldn’t be ANY reported incidents or accidents involving kids and guns. Even the name of the place in Nevada where this killing took place-‘Bullets and Burgers’-smacks of the effort to ‘normalize guns and their use. It’s a blatant effort to proselytize-to gather the next generation of gun owners and nothing more. It’s like let’s all go to the Dairy Queen for a cone and pop off a few rounds while were at it. There is such a concerted effort to ‘normalize’ gun ownership. What are they thinking?

So it gets back to providing responsible parental guidance. As their mentors we need to be sending the right messages concerning individual freedoms that are tempered with self control and positive regard for others. I’d hope to see parents teaching their children how to be leaders and the importance of respecting other people for who they are. Let’s teach our kids about valuing human life. Our children become who we train them to be for the most part. They will exhibit the values, morals and behaviours that we demonstrate to them and that we emphasize as important and necessary. We do that by showing them how we choose to live our lives on a daily basis. It takes us to be less greedy and self centered and more cognizant of the others we share the planet with-that’s all.

What will we be thinking?

Anyway, that’s how I see it–Jim

Please share this article with others if you agree.

TO comment please connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com or visit my web site at: jamescloughley.com

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