Should Learners Design Their Own Educational Futures?

Many people who are parents, professionals, business owners-large and small, teachers and students are beginning to voice their thoughts and feelings regarding the very question that headlines this article. Some are saying ‘yes’ and some are saying ‘no.’

My answer to this question is an enthusiastic “yes.” The following is “why.”

First of all there are the very basic thoughts about this question.  Of course there are many questions that will come from the question itself. Generally speaking some of the obvious ones are: Why shouldn’t they be able to decide what they want to do to earn a living when they grow into adults? Are learners mature enough to make these important decisions? Parents worry that junior will pick all the “easy” stuff and won’t be prepared to “do battle” upon graduation for those diminishing employment opportunities?  If I am willing to pay the cost of tuition and all the attached costs why shouldn’t I study what I feel adds interest and relevance to my life? There are many more but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m writing about.

There are concerns about education becoming too dependent upon technology to adequately educate our children and that we are moving much too fast. Learners still value contact and the connectedness they experience with human beings–mentors/coaches. If the learners aren’t getting what they need, they’ll slow down the use of technology.

For me my reasons speak to the need to grow the understanding that our learners need to be more competitive on the International stage. We need to demonstrate, more clearly, the need to address the long overdue changes identified with the current pedagogy. In 1962-Hall-Dennis suggested dramatic changes in how we educated our kids and not much was done to address those ideas. Now we are playing “catch-up” because many other countries who were struggling with global standards and ranking saw the need to change-did so-and now we are following their lead in many cases.

This is not a condemnation of our system. This is not a criticism of our teachers. This is, however, a comment on some of the decisions that were made years ago that have hampered our growth and our inability to change how we do things in education. The University of Toronto-a fine school by all accounts ranks 22nd Internationally tied with The National University of Singapore. U of T is the only Canadian School in the top 25. Oxford and Cambridge rank 1 & 2 Internationally. These are the 2018 rankings.

The point to this is we have to change the way we do business-the way we do education in this country and we need to start by letting the actual drivers of the system have a much greater say in how things are done–student satisfaction and success go a long way to changing the perception other countries have of us.

Here are my 5 reasons why learners should design their own educational futures:

  1. The most important driving force in education today is the learner. They are the ones who foster change in the system and we would be well served if we paid more attention to what it is they have to say. In a true sense the system is supposed to work for them and not the other way around. They would be the ones who regulate the overall content and the amount of influence technology would have on course design. They recognize the importance of the human factor in any learning environment.
  2. It’s a given that there still is some need for rote learning in a number of the courses the learners might choose. If we listen to the learners they will tell us (the system) how much is enough. It needs to be dropped as a practice but continued as a necessity for those professions that require it. It still can be a learning tool.
  3. Learners need to be able to select and study what they favour–what they are interested in doing when they grow up. They will never know what those interests might be if they are never exposed to the information and a hands-on opportunity to experience working in a particular field. We need to get over the idea that university is a 4 year  plan and that we know what’s best for them. If it takes 5 or 6 years to graduate then so be it. Kids learn at different speeds-It is too great a mistake for kids to be pushed through a course of study to graduation just because they changed their minds half way through a program. Better they have a chance to pursue something they are interested in than to work at something they dislike.
  4. In the future certifications will not hold much value. The true proof for a potential employee will be how well they do with on the job examinations testing for particular skills sets and how successful are they are with the competency based testing they are likely to experience. Kids need to select particular skill based programs that they will need to develop so they can be more successful. THEY are the ones that know what they need more than others. They should be able to choose what they need to be comfortable and more confident.
  5. Kids just learn better and faster when they choose to study and learn about topics that are of interest to them. The system needs to put together a study plan that includes these interests but also prepares them for the supporting education that helps them to succeed.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, All the best, Jim

Comments can find me at

(Disclaimer: Photo resources used in this article were used for Education, Research or Criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this image.)

Truth Talkin’ Thursday: Episode #73

Greetings All–this week Jane and I talked about whether or not employers should be able to drug test their employees. Keep in mind that alcohol is considered a drug as well. It’s not just about cocaine or heroin or cannabis. Alcohol is in there too.

No surprise that I fully support the idea-Jane was almost there as well although we came at the topic from different places we ended up in the same place. Click on the link below for our reasoning and if you want to weigh in on the discussion please send us an email pointing out how you see it. We would welcome the feedback one way or the other. My email address is: and Janes is:

Thanks for stopping by

All the best, Jim

Wisdom Of The Ages . . .Not What I Thought

It is interesting what we remember as we grow older. I can remember my parents or grandparents?? saying something about “the wisdom of the ages.” Now I always thought what they were talking about was related to history and how we are supposed to learn from it because it has great lessons to share. I always supposed that was correct and so I always tried to learn about what the message was from history. Perhaps it is still like that for some but I no longer count myself among and amidst those folks.

My experience has been different. Now that may not surprise some but that’s the truth of it. I have now come to understand that wisdom of the ages does not refer to any point in time or an event but rather it refers to all of us who have managed to live this long and who have travelled this far. It is about me, the person, and us the people–not a space of time. We are the wise ones now who bring with us what we have seen and heard. WE are those “ages”-right now-in the flesh for all to see and interact with. Although I have found some interesting lessons to be learned concerning things that happened before I arrived it was not because the “ages” taught me anything profound. It was due to the fact that the combination of experiences I have had and the consequences of some of the decisions I made coupled with how I handled myself and those around me who might have been affected helped me recognize that certain things happened when other certain things happened and the result was I learned something important. It is about me NOT about the time that it happened or any particular “age.” It is me who passed and continues to pass those “wisdoms” along to my kids and a few important others in my life. Others do the same for me so that I can learn from them. And on it goes.

So those “wisdoms” are what I offer today. After all the thinking and all the relating those thoughts to folks who might be interested I have come up with a couple of thoughts that make my remaining time here so vitally important. I believe it is the time to share some of my wisdoms. Most aren’t new but they are to me and that’s all that matters. I have come by them honestly and have not incorporated them into my life because someone said I should. They mean a great deal to me. My hope is that others whom I care about and trust to a large degree will share their wisdoms with me.

  1. I do not and will not tolerate or trust those who only take and don’t share their good fortune with other people. I have no time for greedy people.
  2. I trust the children of the world to tell me how things are. Of course they can only tell me what they witness but they haven’t, for the most part, been subjected, yet, to the dishonesty and duplicity of evil people so what they tell me is likely close to the REAL truth.
  3. Simple pleasures are, by far, more enjoyable than those that take a great deal of effort to create.
  4. There is nothing-not money, not fame and not fortune that is more important and more valuable than time.
  5. Do all that you can to satisfy your passion while you still can. Live it now. There is no guarantee that “next week” will come.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best and thanks for stopping by, Jim

Comments will get to me if you send them to:   OR   by way of my web site:

One Relationship Killer Most Don’t Think About . . .

After 25 years working in the Human Services field there is one thing I have come to understand and that is we, as human beings, are capable of changing our behaviour but not our DNA. We are what we are but it remains to be seen who we become.

Fast forward to the time when we are dating and we are introduced to someone we really take a shine to. In my case she would be energetic and adventuresome; self confident and yet not self absorbed; intelligent and excited to learn about new things; be her own thinker and able and wiling to defend her beliefs, morals and values. I would need to be physically attracted to her as well. Not a lot to ask–is it?

There is nothing quite like a new and exciting relationship wherein you find yourself thinking about being with the other person all of the time. Time really does stand still at times and goes by so quickly when you are together. Most other things that seemed important at one time seem unimportant now.  There isn’t much you wouldn’t do to preserve the quality of the time you spend together.

So why are there so many failed relationships? Why are so many people tired or bored or willing to give up on a relationship that had so much promise not so many years ago? When I look at the climbing numbers of failed relationships/marriages I have to believe that the “experts” are missing something really important.

Lets go back a bit and think about when we were dating. Do they still call it “dating” by the way? For the sake of discussion I am going to say yes. You knock on the door to announce you are there to pick him/ her up–he/she answers and you are smitten all over again. How many females would answer the door with no make-up on or your hair not done just the way you know your date likes it. How many guys would show up dressed like they climbed out of a grease pit at the garage with hair that hadn’t been washed in three weeks, breath that would stop a truck complete with your smelly old running shoes on? I still believe that most would put themselves together in a way that says they care about how each is seen by the other.

Most, even today’s folks, want their companion to see the best side of who they are most of the time. Agreed, that effort does, sometimes, wear thin a bit the longer you are around the same person or people but for the most part, we are still interested in making sure the other person isn’t going to start looking for someone else to start hanging out with. If we care about the other person and are contemplating a long term relationship most will continue to present themselves in a way that remains quite favourable to the other person. Each of us holds this one belief–this one EXPECTATION very near to our hearts. It is the one thing that needs to remain constant and seldom does. Most of us can’t or don’t want to see anything or anyone who isn’t who they used to be when they were first seeing each other. We demonstrate our best and that’s who we believe we are getting for the rest of our lives. We don’t expect that part will change. When it does, as it almost always does, that is more likely the time when disappointment, confusion, even resentment begins to set in. Relationships and the desperately needed communication that needs to be engaged in seldom takes place. Things often hit bottom shortly thereafter. Couples will try counselling and weekends away but at this point there is a basic trust that is often missing or that is questioned. Is he/she just doing this so that we don’t separate? Will it matter after we have “reconciled” things?

EXPECTATIONS held by each partner, to me, present the most important talking points in any relationship and are likely the least discussed by the “professionals” or by the partners. Once these expectations are abused, refused, discounted, forgotten or bargained away the walls go up and things don’t get much better. We hang on to our expectations because that is what/how we first got connected. This early person was our reality in the beginning and we expect that who we fell in love with back then will remain the same way all through the relationship. That includes the physical and emotional parts of who we are. Is it unrealistic–certainly. Does that matter–nope.  It is easy for some to jump to the conclusion that should those expectations change then the relationship must be over.

When we are helping our kids through their mine fields called life we need to be sure to help them understand not only the importance of sharing the expectations they have of their partner with their partner but also to ask what expectations their partners have of them. Don’t assume that it won’t matter. It does and it will.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. Thanks for stopping by.

All the best, Jim

Please feel free to forward this article to family or friends. Any comments pro or con can be sent to me at: or go to my new web page at:

Is It A Porn Addiction Or A Sex Addiction?


Coming to a house near yours: Certainly not the newest but one of the most harmful addictions to hit the public streets in quite awhile. Addictions to pornography and sex are insidious. No one is immune so don’t be naive enough to think that “that would never happen to anyone I know.” In all likelihood it probably has. I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist and I don’t want to be a fear monger. However, you need to listen and read what I am about to post. Believe it when I say to you–“you need to know this stuff and understand how it could very well happen to someone in your family–even you.” If it does what would you do?

In order to be on the look out and understand more about sex addictions and porn addictions you need to understand that not all porn addictions are the same. In fact unless you know the differences between a sex addiction and a porn addiction you will really struggle trying to figure out how or if you want to help your loved one in some way.

To indicate how ingrained sex and porn are in our lives here are some basics you need to be aware of:

  1. Pornography is not just a man’s issue any longer if it ever was. Some of the latest research and statistical information shows that 25-30% of viewers or participants are women who are into either pornography or are struggling with a sex addiction. That number is slowly rising and one group that is paying more attention to sex and porn sites are teen age girls. Sorry ladies but it is difficult to point that long pointy finger in our direction any more.
  2. Considering all the searches made on the Internet each day 68,000,000 are porn related
  3. US Internet porn sites generate 2.8 billion dollars per year. Considering world wide sites that figure jumps to 4.9 billion dollars per year.
  4. 40,000,000 million Americans are regular site viewers
  5. 12% of sites available on the Internet are porn related. That is 24,644,172 sites currently (give or take a few hundred thousand)
  6. Teens are regular viewers with the youngest age group beginning to gain more than a passing interest 10-11 years of age

The key to treating, helping or supporting someone who is addicted to porn or sex is to know that they are very different from each other. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING AND THEREFORE CANNOT BE TREATED THE SAME WAY.   

There are three very fundamental principles that must be accepted before going any further here:

  1.  There is no “cure’ for a sex addiction but sex addicts can enjoy a normal satisfying relationship with a partner.
  2.  Using a 12 step approach to “treat” a sex addict is not a very useful or helpful approach. Why? Because the goal for the sex addict is not abstinence or celibacy but rather to work to create a loving environment where a sexual relationship is possible with his/her partner. 12 step programs are abstinence based–they are regressive by design meaning that abstinence is the goal. The alcoholic needs to stop drinking. The gambler needs to stop gambling. The sex addict doesn’t have to stop having sex but needs to be enjoying it with his partner.
  3. The best most constructive help and support a partner can provide for the addict is a clear understanding and having the knowledge to see the two addictions as separate and not similar. If you can do that your role in the program will be much easier-not easy-easier and a great deal less frustrating.

So what is the basic difference between a sex addict and a porn addict.

As we can see there is there is quite a difference between a sexual addiction and being addicted to pornography. A porn addiction is centered around the creation of a fantasy world in which the addicted person is the central character and he/she controls what happens, with whom and how. It is a world that is very difficult for partners to deal with because no matter how great the real life sex is between partners, the “imagined” outcome of a porn fantasy experience will usually be better. It is very difficult to compete against an imaginary experience. Someone who is sexually addicted is living in a “real life” situation. His/her addiction manifests itself with real life people or circumstances. Some characteristics of a sexual addiction would include sex with prostitutes, anonymous sexual partners, high-risk sexual activities, voyeurism, multiple sexual partners, sex with a partner soon after finishing with another partner, feeling out of control, being in a depressed state, obsessive sexual thoughts and being unable to control those thoughts, and constant self-stimulation to name a few.

This has the potential to be a very serious in-your-house situation and not just with your partner. Your kids could be at risk too. Some folks would tell you that sex or pornography addictions are harder to shake than a powerful drug addiction. Don’t believe for a minute that this could not reach you and your family.

Anyway that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim

Got any comments please send them to me at:

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To Be Or Not To Be . . . Why This Should Matter To You

” I love you” are likely the most misunderstood words to be strung together since language became important. This phrase has caused more grief and sadness and has brought more joy and happiness than most other statements made. What does the word love mean? How do you describe love? It’s much like trying to describe what a cherry tastes like. Can’t be done. But most everyone who walks the planet says or suggests they they “love” someone without really knowing what that means. People talk about loving their pets or a song. Really! The problem is most of us have our own understanding of what the word “love” means but not really knowing what it means to others. We just assume that it means the same to others as well. When our expectations regarding what it means to us aren’t met relationships tend to end or are seriously altered in some way and not always for the best.

Back when this declaration of “love”, for me, was primarily connected to hope, fervour, and fascination with someone else’s physical attributes. Sex was also something that, for many, was shared as one way of demonstrating “love” for a partner. The point is that sex was and still is an integral part of developing and maintaining that “loving feeling” human beings have for one another. But what happens to a relationship when the sex stops or is infrequent? When we are young we fall in love with a Hollywood image. It is often based solely on “looks” and when the looks change or begin to fail so does the passion and the closeness of the relationship. Just look at the rise of divorce rates and the instances of common-law relationships. Much of this change has to do with babies and boredom.

There are many “senior” relationships which survive all of this and enjoy a closeness, a respect, and a “love” that defies description. Perhaps it’s because they truly are “in love” with that special person they met a long time ago. I still haven’t come across any senior who can tell me what love really is or feels like but there is a twinkle in their eyes that says they got it.

Unfortunately there are many seniors who are unable to enjoy sex any longer. There are some who are relieved and some who see that inability as a sign of old age-that life is passing them by much too quickly. Not being able to enjoy sex for many is a sadness that deeply affects them. ( I plan to write a piece about this later on) It affects their self esteem and messes with their mental health. It is in our best interests to learn how to enjoy our partners and maintain our interests in our relationship with them without having sex.

I have put together a few ideas that some might find helpful.

  1. One of the things that we often share is the same sense of humour.  Even the young have to come up for air once in a while and so having a common sense of humour is most important for them. They wouldn’t stay together long without it. It is the same for seniors. They enjoy laughing together and finding they still have a common interest in what makes them laugh. It is a commonality that connects them and is special to them.
  2. One of the most exasperating things is to constantly be corrected by your partner and for you to do the same to them. As we age our minds will start to slip a bit, our hearing becomes a bit more taxed and our memories will also be challenged a bit more. To be reminded of these deficits is never pleasant to hear. No one needs to be keeping score about who is right or wrong more often than the other. Someone once said-“and he exercised his right to be considerate and kept his mouth shut.”   Real solid advice.
  3. Don’t be afraid to catch your “honey” under some mistletoe at Christmas or to steal a hug in public. I saw a beautiful couple the other day, I’d guess in their late seventies, walking along all dressed up in their winter gear.  As they approached what looked like a slippery patch on the sidewalk, the first thing he did when they got a bit closer was to grab for her hand to make sure she didn’t slip or fall. Kindness with no thought of reward still works really well to say how much someone cares. Try it. It feels good.
  4. Do nice things for each other. Most can still hold a door open for the other. It’s a show of respect and kindness for the other and not an imagined weakness. Screw the politically correct and the feminists. Since when did being considerate get pushed off to the side like a piece of trash. Try making a cup of tea or something as a surprise for the other. It says, “I was thinking about you sweetheart.”
  5. Always be on the lookout for something new to do that you both can enjoy learning more about–together.

Our relationships become dramatically more important as we move through time. Sometimes it gets down to deciding whether or not you want your last vision to be that of someone you “loved” or being alone because you didn’t pay attention to the really important things in your life.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim                      

(Disclaimer: the photo resource was used for education, research, or critical purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of these images.)

The Secret To True Happiness Is . . . ? What’s The Answer Worth To You? I’ll Give It To You For Free.

I hope everyone had a truly remarkable and enjoyable Christmas season. After all isn’t this supposed to be the season of Peace and Love and Joy? This is the time of the year that is supposed to see new beginnings blossom along with forgiveness of past transgressions. This is the time of gift giving and going above and beyond. But why do we wait for one season of the year to show our kindness and humanity?

Staying with this theme I decided to share a secret so special that many spend their fortunes to get a glimpse of it. Some get so close to it (at least they believe it is what they seek) only to see it vanish like smoke passing through their fingers. To be honest I came by this “secret” completely by accident but I certainly believe that it is true and the science bears it out. The truth of this is time tested. I will share it with you in a minute or two. So many stand in their own way of finding happiness. Many will only accept that the solution to find something as wonderful as this must be more complicated and difficult to realise. Some would ask, “If it’s that simple why isn’t everyone doing that?” Good question.

We have been told that the secret to happiness or being happy comes from hard work or earning vast fortunes or becoming important, powerful, envied, held in awe, being free and independent.  Not true. There are two things that money will not and can not buy. Those are class and happiness. It IS true that money can buy us comfort and power but not happiness–at least not true happiness. Not the kind of happiness that can actually extend the length and quality of our lives.

We have lost or perhaps misplaced the true meaning of the word HAPPINESS. Scientists, of course, have tried to explain it as a chemical reaction in our brains. Others have suggested that it is a state that is void of sadness. I believe that we will know it when we feel it. Who cares if we can explain it as long as we believe we have found it. The closest I can come to explaining it is to say that it will be a state of being that I have never felt before. That’s about as good as it gets.

The source of the “secret” is the Harvard Grant Study. This was a study that began in 1938 and continues to this day. It is one of the longest running longitudinal studies of its kind. The study began with 268 males. Females were not included in the study because Harvard, at that time, was an all male institution. It would be truly fascinating to do a similar study of females and compare the outcomes. Perhaps someone will take it on. Out of the original 268 men that were studied there are still 19 men living. They are presently in their 90’s. I have included a paragraph or two below which comment on some of the findings of the study and there is also a link that will connect you to the actual article outlining the study in more detail:

“Researchers who have pored through data, including vast medical records and hundreds of in-person interviews and questionnaires, found a strong correlation between men’s flourishing lives and their relationships with family, friends, and community. Several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels were.”

“When we gathered together everything we knew about them about at age 50, it wasn’t their middle-age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old,” said Waldinger in a popular TED Talk. “It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”

“The researchers also found that marital satisfaction has a protective effect on people’s mental health. Part of a study found that people who had happy marriages in their 80s reported that their moods didn’t suffer even on the days when they had more physical pain. Those who had unhappy marriages felt both more emotional and physical pain.”

“Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, said Waldinger, and the loners often died earlier. “Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

It is important to recognise that the reference to “relationships” is not limited to marital or intimate relationships only. It includes those relationships we may have with friends and community as well.

This may be one of the most important documents you will ever read on the net or anywhere else. Please don’t write it off as some silly science of some kind. This is an opportunity to see life for all the good it has to offer and to understand more about the pursuit of true happiness in our lives. This article and study could be the most important “gift” that you will ever receive–Merry Christmas. A bit late but no less important.

Anyways, that’s how I see things. All the best, Jim

Comments can be directed to me at:

(Disclaimer:  Photo resources and quotes are used for education, research and/or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of either examples.)


Our Kids Aren’t As Smart As They Used To Be . . .


Now more than ever we think we are so much smarter than our predecessors. We equate technological “smarts” with “living smarts” when there really is no comparison. No one disputes that today’s teen  gets around a key board with little or no trouble but that doesn’t make them smarter when regarding life skills.

There is a growing body of work and research that suggests that kids from the mid 70’s were just as smart and in many cases smarter than today’s “wunderkind.” The following is an excerpt from a study done at Kings College in London, England that supports the previous statement.

(By Charlotte Bailey)

But average achievement was found to be similar in teenagers from both generations. Professor Michael Shayar, who led the study, said: “The pendulum test does not require any knowledge of science at all. It looks at how people can deal with complex information and sort it out for themselves.” He believes that the decline in brainpower has happened over the last ten to 15 years and could be a result of national curriculum targets which drill children for tests as well as changes in children’s leisure activities, such as an increase in computer games and television watching.”

As parents we have been told that our kids are growing up much faster than they did 20 years ago. There is a great deal of truth in that statement but only if you consider physical growth as the only criteria to be considered. Considering mental and emotional growth these test results say exactly the opposite. Are we expecting our children to grow up much faster than before and if so does that mean that they are better prepared to make “adult” decisions? Does that mean they are better equipped to deal with the consequences of those decisions? My answer to that would be a simple and emphatic “NO” they are not.

We, as those who are supposed to be responsible for preparing our children for adulthood, have, for the most part, been woefully ignorant or reluctant to do what is required in order to do that. Not all adults or parents of course but far too many. We expect the school system to perform that duty and parents are saying “that’s why we pay you guys.”  In the end we have a generation of kids who are trying to figure out who and what they are supposed to be. How are they supposed to behave? They don’t feel they can talk to their teachers or parents about the issues they face and are accessing public and social services at an unprecedented rate. Go to the Canadian Children Rights Council/Fatherless children in Canada to see just how dire this situation is.

So the question remains: “Are our kids as smart as they used to be?” If we believe the outcomes of these two studies and the information attached to the link I listed above–It is clear that we need to pay attention. Our children are not learning what they need to learn in order to be more confident, successful and hopeful in the new world they live in. When our children are trying to tell us they are more fearful of being bullied, that they are fearful of the outcomes of exams because of the pressure put on them to succeed–we need to pay closer attention to them. When their behaviour indicates that using alcohol and drugs is the answer to many of their emotional and spiritual problems–we need to listen. Perhaps if we pay closer attention we can help reduce the number of teenage suicides per year.

Our kids are doing their job by trying to tell us what they need from us. Now we need to do our job as parents. We need to expect much more from our school system. Education is more than just feeding facts and information to kids who are often bored and disinterested with stuff they don’t feel has any relevance to their future lives. We need to listen more closely to our kids and let them know that we have heard them and help is on its way. We need to stop believing that our kids are smarter than we were and they will handle life more effectively than we did because they are growing up faster. We need to understand that that is just not true. We must stop expecting them to make adult type decisions using a child’s view of the world around them. It just doesn’t work that way.

Anyway, that’s how I see things.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas

Thanks for stopping by, Jim


Please pass this along to family and friends. Comments are always appreciated–

(The study information and the photo image have been used for research, criticism or educational purposes. I derive no financial gain from the use of that material.)


What’s Worse Than Being Angry, It’s Being . . .

This past week presented me with an opportunity to re-think an old issue–trying to understand what the difference is between anger and revenge. It appears to many this is the same issue just spelled differently. I have come to understand them as being very different from one another.

Anger is an emotion. It is often triggered in us as a response to something unjust–something that has happened that is wrong, unwanted or something that has challenged us in some way for which we may have no reply. For instance, being criticized in public in the presence of family or friends or being challenged in some way that is clearly an effort to embarrass us. Our response to anger is usually not pre-meditated but rather a defensive act of some kind either verbal but sometimes physical. Anger is also very powerful. It can be used to summon energy or direct emotional energy into an act that sometimes focuses on a reply that is not warranted or is not calculated. It just happens. I’ve known people to experience ‘whiteouts’ meaning losing all sense of what is happening around them at a particular time and then becoming aware that damage of some kind  has been done to another person or property.

ANGER can also be used as a force for change-a cause of some kind. It can be used to focus on creating positive outcomes when tenacity may be needed to stay a particular course of action. Anger can be used to mobilize and motivate people to become engaged in social change where ‘wrongs’ have been perpetrated on those who have little or no political power-no voice. Perhaps they are people who are always being used in some way for the gain of others. It could be about helping the homeless folks receive a better deal than they are getting currently. It can also help us deal with danger and threats to our personal safety. The point is anger is NOT always a negative thing.

So anger is an emotion. It is usually displayed as a more immediate reaction to a threat or challenge of some kind. Seldom is it planned.

REVENGE is a crafted response that has been created after thought and consideration over a period of time. There is no real good that can come from acts or behaviours that are born from ‘getting even, proving a point or showing up the other guy’. I can hear many who are reading this groaning about another ‘do gooder’ or ‘bleeding heart’ but the fact remains that some people spend countless days, weeks or even years planning and plotting their revenge. Hate grows and poisons people to the point where they can think or feel nothing but negative emotions. There is no room for joy or celebration and certainly no chance to gain any peace.

Some believe that to do nothing about a perceived wrong would be, in some way, disloyal or perhaps indicate that you don’t care about what happened. That is not true at all. We all show our grief in different ways.  I admit it feels good sometimes when a bad guy gets what he has coming to him/her but it is short lived. In the end it is not as satisfying as the planner would have hoped. Once the deed is done there is a huge vacuum left in us with nothing to fill it with. As good as it may feel at the time the ‘bad guy’ wins again because he/she has stolen something from us and we gave it up willingly–our time.

The other day a guy asked me the inevitable question: what if someone took or hurt your child. Wouldn’t you want to get even? Wouldn’t you want to hurt that other person so bad so they would know what it felt like to be hurt as they hurt others? Honestly–damn right I would. I would want to see justice done. I would want that to be at my hand. No doubt about it.

The power of revenge has no bounds really. I know, for me, I would not want to waste my precious time on someone who didn’t deserve another minute of it. I would not spend time trying to ‘forgive’ nor would I try to forget. I would spend time, I hope, remembering my child and how precious he/she was and how important they were to me. I would want to remember what good they brought to the world. I would honour them and I would cry for them and I would live my life for them as well. Spending time plotting and scheming would only find me in a negative hole so deep I would not be able to climb out and carrying through with the plot to ‘get even’ would not help me escape the pit I had fallen into. Truthfully I’m not sure how I would overcome that but I do know what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t keep the hurt alive by remembering it everyday. That’s what happens when we try to figure out how to make the other guy pay.

So revenge is a behaviour. I understand that it is fuelled by an emotion but I ultimately have control over how much time and energy I will spend on planning and plotting my revenge. Once I execute my plan or plot I realize that nothing can or will be the same again. I’m not sure that is the legacy my child, using this example, would want from me.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best, Jim


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Technology: Friend Or Foe: Some Of Each I’m Thinking . . .

Truth?  I am of two minds, as many of you are, about the upside and downside of technology and its rapid growth as it relates to humans and our futures. Many find it difficult to cope with the speed of change. So do we just let it go where it will go or do we recognise some of the impending problems that will come with rapid growth technology?  To be sure there will be issues that we will be faced with that will not be in our best interests but which we cannot change because it will be too late. There are many benefits as well therein creating the problem.

It would take years to begin to see the issues connected to rapid growth technology and by that time those particular issues won’t be relevant anymore because of the continued growth of technology. A catch 22 in the making. Here are some of the issues from many issues that are currently affected and will continue to be affected regarding the life of our global family. In no particular order:

  1. Education–Kids are highly adaptable and skilled when it comes to understanding and utilising rapid growth technology. Certainly on-line education will become the norm very soon but without the full support, understanding and total cooperation of the learners, school boards, teachers unions, teachers themselves and families the students will get left behind. There has to be an acceptance that each student will learn at their own speed no matter technology and if there is no concerted effort to match intake and application of education with output and confidence the student will suffer dramatically.
  2. Medicine–There can be no doubt about the amazing and dramatic growth of technology concerning client care, bio-engineering, diagnostic imaging and positive treatment rates in medicine. Critical medical information can be transferred from place to place with incredible speed often making the difference between life or death. Robotics in medicine have made an enormous difference in surgical success rates as well. But the one side benefit,perhaps, is that clients are living longer. But there are ethical issues that have risen around that topic. Public costs of medical treatments have also changed rapidly. Has that change or will that change contribute to a more entrenched two tier health system? More accurate diagnostics and immediate results have saved millions of lives. Medical web sites, however, are proving to be problematic because people are now ‘self diagnosing’ themselves and family members instead of seeking appropriate medical advice which can often lead to negative outcomes for all concerned.
  3. Technology has added to the discourse around nutrition and genetically altered foods. The information can be erroneous or it may be good but in the end the consumer is left with believing what they will. They can guess wrong creating medical problems that might not have occurred otherwise. Just because it says so on the net doesn’t make it true or close to being accurate. Nutritional technology may not be as good for us as some would like us to believe.
  4. Changes in how we manage the environment, to me, are ALL good. Going back to old methods would be irresponsible and naive–pure and simple.
  5. The one great concern I have with rapid growth technology is this: a) children and young adults alike are losing the desire and the ability to communicate on a face-to-face basis. I have witnessed two kids walking down the street side by side talking to one another on their phones. Others have become ‘shut-ins’ by choice, have shunned their peers and have developed addictions to the net and video games. They choose to avoid day to day contact with the outside world believing it is safer and more healthy to remain inside. They can remain ‘in touch’ by social media instead of personal contact. Of course this is their choice but it takes away from the one important need of most humans and that is to remain connected to and in touch with other humans.  b)  As a society we have become dangerously reliable on our technological devices–what would happen if for or by some reason we lost our hydro supply for a week or two? Of course we would survive but how and under what circumstances is my question?

As for the rapid technology question what I see is some really helpful and transformative developments in the quality of our lives. I also see a propaganda campaign that is and has been waged to encourage us to believe we can not live without these devices in our lives. As a result a few visionaries have become obscenely wealthy because of it. Economically I don’t believe that the majority of average Canadians and Americans are better off. The question remains: Have we experienced an overall increase in the quality of our lives?

I think that rapid growth technology is a good thing overall but only if we remain cognisant of the pit falls and we understand how to remain in sight of our humanity. In the end WE still decide but for how much longer?

“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity”–Albert Einstein

Anyway, that’s how I see it–thanks for stopping by, Jim

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