It’s Time For Parents To Do This . . .

I have struggled mightily to stay out of the darkness that surrounds Donald Trump and for the most part I think I’ve done OK. I won’t waste much of your time here going on about him. He isn’t worth our time actually but again but one never knows what he will say next. I’m not sure even he knows. We need to ask a couple of questions: “Is he a joke for our time or is he a person to be concerned with in our time?” I don’t think he will be remembered for anything that he did that was good for our time. We do, however, need to protect or insulate ourselves against the possibility that his rhetoric doesn’t infect our sense of positive world citizenship.

As Canadians we should be very concerned about whatever drivel comes out of his mouth and yet he is, in many ways, in control of what happens to us here. However, there is one institution that he can’t or hasn’t affected–yet–and that is our educational system. How we educate our children and how we create our futures. I do believe that certain aspects of our culture could be at risk. That’s why I feel there is an urgency for us to re-write/re-create the pedagogy concerning how we teach our children and curriculum concerning what we teach our children. But in order to do that we have to re-write or re-create a new direction and basis for what we do in our schools from public school to university. There needs to be a new focus and a new method in place that allows our children to have a say for themselves what they are excited about learning so they can continue to move toward the eventual enlightenment and enthusiasm that comes from a desire to have a meaningful place in the society they want to live in. Up to now we have managed to provide just enough interest in the mainstream student to continue to move ahead and not settle for complacency. That complacency is what concerns me about people like Trump who has the power to do almost anything he likes and no common sense to know what to do with it. It’s like having someone flip a loaded gun around with the safety off.

Education will be the worlds salvation-of this I have no doubt. Those who believe the same need to rise up and be heard. We need to be sure that our children have a chance to develop their own innovative opportunities, to trust in their own creativity, decency and the value of the global participation of like thinkers. We need to be focusing on taking care for those who can’t yet and we need to come to the place where we understand that better for “them” means “better for all.” There is close to 8 hundred million humans walking around on Mother Earth who are illiterate who would see life much differently if they could read and write. Marginalising them is not the answer.

There are pockets of people on the planet who are beginning to move toward this progressive way of seeing the world but that movement is fragile at best. It needs more fuel to feed the fires of change. We do that by managing our educational systems much more closely and we become much more interested in how our kids are doing when looking at other children in other parts of the world. We guard against the complacency that still exists and the blind trust that “they” will do right by us. “They” are those who have the power and control over how education is done today. How we educate our children is not working well now. We have been doing “education” this way for the last 100 years and it no longer suits the overall needs of today’s learner. So says the learners who have gone through the system and so says much of the marketplace who are looking for more soft skill capabilities from graduates.

As parents we need to scrutinize the curricula that our children are exposed to and whether the methods of teaching are appropriate for the times. Our kids need to be enjoying the opportunity that school provides them to learn, how to think and to be innovators and creators and not be deterred by those who would be critical and closed minded. Parents are the ones who can do this by supporting their children’s efforts to be those free thinkers. Kids need to be allowed to choose their own field of interest based on what excites them. It is their life not ours to spend. Some will err no doubt. Some will not accept the responsibility of choosing for themselves-no doubt. But so many more will decide to work on finding ways to solve the poverty and fresh water problems. They will work collaboratively to help solve the worlds issues and are more likely to support diversity and what being human really is about regardless of where folks live. We just need to look around and listen to what our children are doing these days to see that they are more interested in global issues than making large sums of money in a career that has no life in it.

You want to make a difference? You want to be an important part of your child’s growth into adulthood then get to the town hall meetings coming up in your area and ask the candidates what they think about the state of education in your area or province. Vote for the ones that see it as in need of change. If they have no thoughts about it then DON’T put an “X” beside their name. They don’t have your kids best interest or yours at heart.

I have been asked to contribute to this topic a bit more often so I will. Thanks for stopping by.

Anyways, that’s how I see things, Jim

Comments can be sent to: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no monetary benefit from the use of this image)

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 jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(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.)

Teachers Lives Matter Too . . .

Unless you have been passed out under a rock somewhere for the last week or two you will know that 17 young lives were taken for no other reason than they were where they were supposed to be and the murderer wasn’t. Among those who were wounded or murdered were the teachers who get up every morning with the very thought that this might be the day. That’s a hell of a way to start anyone’s day. Those I don’t admire-are those who refuse to show a backbone and have placed children’s lives ahead of the right thing to do. That would include the politicians who spend their time sucking up to those who are positioned at the underbelly of the NRA.

Those I do admire are those students and teachers who have not shrunk away to the shadows to feel sorry for themselves but rather those who have stood up, brushed themselves off and have shown more grit and courage and passion to do the right thing than the so called leaders who are supposed to protect them. These kids will be heard and they will make a difference.

I guess what bothers me the most is that whenever an African American or Latino citizen gets shot all kinds of marches happen and cries of racial bias and lack of caring fill the air. But who is marching for the Teachers? Who is out there chanting for justice to find them?

These Teachers are the people who actually hold the nations future in their hands and yet no one seems to recognize the significance of what just happened. It is about far more than losing the precious lives of these 17 human beings and their minds. The world lost their creativity and vision as future scholars and difference makers. Every time a tragedy like this happens more people decide to either leave the teaching profession or they get involved in another career choice. When a suggestion like giving guns to teachers is made it is not only the most ridiculous and repugnant suggestion that could have been made but it shows a COMPLETE lack of understanding and empathy for teachers and what they go through every day to try to do the best they can as educators. They spend their days with one eye on the door each minute of each day not knowing who may be on their way through it with malice in their hearts.

The NRA can and will keep this debate alive and well for as long as it can because there is a fortune to be made each day the rules stay as they are. This isn’t about fundamentals. This is about cash-pure and simple. I believe the law makers need to stop trying to ban guns and re-think how guns will be tolerated. Here are three suggestions they might want to consider:

  1. There is no question or doubt that assault rifles need to go. They serve no logical purpose and they are only made and sold for one purpose and that is to KILL other human beings. A 357 will do the same thing. So assault rifles are to be owned by law enforcement or military personnel only. Home owners do not need an assault rifle to protect and defend their property and their liberty.
  2. If you feel you need to own a gun to defend your property then you would be able to purchase a hand gun after going through the proper and most thorough process known to man. Only after completing the appropriate assessments, background checks, criminal records and after an appropriate waiting time do you get the chance to purchase a legal fire arm from a legal retailer–no gun shows-no magazine purchases. If you are found to possess a hand gun bought on the street the time served should be on a chain gang (first offence-1 year-no fine) cracking rock and making new roads.  If you are able to purchase a hand gun you take it home and it stays IN YOUR HOME. It does not see the street. It does not see the light of day. If you need it to protect your home then it should stay in your home-locked, loaded and safety on.
  3. If you have a burning need to have a rifle of some kind then you join a gun club where they have lockers that can be secured. Join a club where the targets move and you can hunt them. When you are done the gun(s) are locked back up again and you leave knowing that it will be right there for you whenever you want to go back and blow off another 100 or 200 rounds-who cares.

The problem today is the NRA has people believing there has to be one solution that fits all situations and of course that is never going to happen. The NRA will continue to spill the “life blood” of the citizens and businesses will continue as usual.

The bigger problem for me is that more innocent children will die. More teachers will die or quit. The educational process that is absolutely vital for any country to succeed or survive for that matter will become an afterthought instead of a priority. Nature hates a vacuum. Dictatorships are born from citizens who demonstrate a lack of education which, in turn, creates limited thinking and no political will. Laugh if you will–would never happen here you say. When you look around at the troubled countries of the world there aren’t many that have the freedoms we enjoy at present. Our high rate of education keeps us insulated from the chaos that other countries experience. To continue to do that we need to protect our teachers not drive them away or worse yet kill them off.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

All the best and thanks for stopping by, Jim

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Photo image used for education, research and criticism purposes. I derive no financial gain from the use of this image or any others.)

 

I’m Not So Sure I Would Call It A Democracy . . .

I offer my sincere gratitude to those who witness and manage the outcomes of the human destruction and tragedy that seems to be increasing all around us. What they do is amazing and I’m not sure how they do it. I’m just glad they do. That goes for soldiers as well. Amazing people who are passionate and who care about their fellow humans. I thank them all.

I’m also thankful that I live in a place where most of my basic needs are met but saddened by the constant erosion of those rights in the name of my own best interests. Canada is truly the best country on the planet to live in-I would not want to live anywhere else. But I’m becoming more challenged to see it as a true democracy. The word ‘democracy’ suggests majority rules. The will of the people is supposed to stand above everything else. For instance, in a true democracy, Trump would have been removed from office a long time ago. He certainly does not have the backing of anywhere close to a majority. He wasn’t elected by a larger number of voters. I am not a ‘Hillary’ fan but she did garner 2million more votes than he did. Put two or three names on a piece of paper and a check mark beside the one you like. Count the check marks and there is your leader. Pretty simple stuff.

I don’t quite agree with the interpretation of ‘democracy’ as it stands. I do not want to put my vote in the hands of a politician who doesn’t know me or know how I feel on a particular issue. Why then should he cast a vote either yeh or nay in my name. If we lived in a true democracy we, being eligible citizens, would be able to have a direct say in the important issues that frame our lives in some way almost every day. A direct say would simply mean-ONE VOTE cast by each eligible individual. The person or issue with the most votes wins the day. It is considered to be the common will of the people. This is a true democracy to me.

And it is not true that anyone can run for public office. Money, time, support of power brokers, special interest groups and those who gain if John Doe is elected are some of the reasons why the ‘average Joe’ can’t run or would never win an election. Let’s at least be honest about that.

The following are some of the issues that I believe need to stay within the direct influence of everyday people and not left to the representatives we send to parliament to represent our best interests. I can’t remember the last time my ‘representative’ called me to ask for my thoughts??

For example: (I realize that rule by plebiscite isn’t ideal either. However, it is much easier to do now using the technology available and it sure is more ‘democratic’ than the current system.)

  • We need to have a way of impeaching a leader if he/she fails to live up to ‘election promises’ within a specified period of time. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver–it’s called accountability and honesty.
  • Declarations of war. Perhaps the leaders could send their kids to be among the first to fight the enemy. Would they be as anxious to wage war a half a world away?
  • Implementation of the death penalty. This issue should not be left to whichever leader has the strongest moral conviction one way of the other. It depends on what we collectively stand for and what kind of justice are we seeking.
  • Abortion-decision should be the sole decision of the mother.
  • Gun control. If you like to shoot go to the gun club where your secured firearm is located. It is different if you hunt for food and clothing. I understand hunting for sport. You just don’t get to keep the thing tucked away in your closet. Automatic and semi-automatic weapons should never leave the firing range or designated firing areas.  They are useful when hunting people and that’s about it. The NRA now wants to have silencers legalized. Apparently, it hurts their ears–HEY-get some friggin’ ear plugs.
  • Legalising cannabis–for medical purposes only and absolutely. It should be covered just as any other prescription is covered.
  • Major constitutional changes depending on what they are. If the outcome would interfere with how the government goes about it’s business then that outcome needs to be dealt with in a different manner.
  • Euthanasia–it’s MY life and it does not belong to anyone else. If I want to end it because I have had enough and I am deemed to be of sound mind then the state should not have a say in that.

These are some of the issues that we ALL should have a say in–a direct say-one vote-one eligible citizen across the board. If more people vote yes than no then it happens. If you don’t agree then go out and try to persuade as many others as you can that you are right and they need to listen to you.

Let’s leave the government to macro-manage the national systems like the railroads, highways, air travel, funding national education programs, global representation at the UN for example and negotiating international trade agreements, the judicial system, national medical programs, national defence, international climate change initiatives, funding R&D and energy production. These issues are discussed when elections take place-vote your conscience. The other issues are what we have to live with every day of our lives and for the most part direct the quality of our living experiences each day. We need to have a direct say.

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

Contact me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

(Disclaimer: the use of the photo is for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no monetary benefit from the use of it)

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

Comments will find me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Please pass this along to your friends and family–with thanks.

(This image by blogs.creighton.edu was used for educational, research and criticism purposes only. I derive no financial gain from the use of this image.)

10 Things Men Should Know Or Be Reminded Of About Women . . .

Commentary:

A while ago I wrote a piece about what women needed to know about men that could help strengthen their relationship with their partner. Turn about is fair play and so here is a list of ten important things that men need to be reminded of or perhaps are being informed of for the first time that could certainly help strengthen their relationships with their wives, girl friends or partners.

Gentlemen. I understand that we are under attack from many sides and this is a time where confusion and irrational demands and expectations abound. I also understand why we get upset with women in general, why we tend to want to hang on to some of the ‘old ways’ regarding some of our view points and we can be quite unreasonable when it comes to what we expect from our partners. Having said that we still need to understand that women are people too. They have needs as we do. They want to be understood as we do. They want to be treated as though they matter-that they count as we do. Women want to be seen as having value and importance just as we do. So why is it that so many men feel the need to hang on to the idea that only our needs matter and that women should just understand that that is the way it is. If we as men want to hang onto our families and our freedoms we had better learn how to ‘share the sand box’ with our mates and that they are just as important as we are.

I asked a good friend of mine to create a list of all the things that she feels are important for men to know or remember about their female counterparts. These are things that, if present in a relationship, could make a great difference in the quality of that union. I put together a list of 10 things that we can do right now that doesn’t endanger our egos or threaten our existence, as men, here on the planet:

These are taken from a list that was prepared by Dr. Anne Marie Evers-a friend and colleague. Check out her web site to see all that she is involved in. She has done some amazing things to help others.

  1. Don’t feel as though you have to fix my problems. Just be quiet and listen. That’s it. If anything more is required I’ll ask you to provide some input or feedback.
  2. I need ‘me’ time just as much as men do and that could mean spending time with my female friends doing whatever I feel like doing. I need to know that our kids will be looked after and that I won’t be coming home to a mess that I will be expected to take care of.
  3. When we walk together try walking with me and not ahead of me. And look like you really want to be with me–hold my hand or put your arm around me. Pull out my chair for me and treat me like I am someone special in your life.
  4. Don’t talk over me or interrupt me when I am speaking. I have things that are important to say as well. These things are important to me like an opinion or an idea or a point of view.
  5.  Be considerate and give me a break. I may have had a tough day too and don’t feel like having sex. Try some loving kindness and some help around the house.
  6. I do not need nor will I accept jealousy or control tactics as a behavior.
  7. Drop the road rage routine. It is not manly and it is scary. The other driver can’t hear your language but I can and I am tired of listening to it.
  8. Don’t embarrass me in public or in private for that matter by making lewd remarks or ogling other women in front of me and our friends. It is never funny-just crude, insensitive and uncaring.
  9. I don’t expect you to be perfect. No one is–not even me.
  10. Never compare me to others. We are all different. The grass could appear greener on the other side of the fence but it could also turn out to be artificial turf.

So there you have it, gentlemen. If harmony and respect is part of what you are seeking in a relationship this is a great way to get that journey started. There are many more suggestions as well. I’ll pass more along every once in a while.

All the best, Jim

Comments will reach me at jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Disclaimer:  The use of this image is for criticism, research or education purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this photo.

Truth Talkin’ Thursday:

Jane and I discussed the difference between praise and encouragement when speaking to our kids. Parents often get them mixed up and they are not the same. With the best of intentions, parents can actually do some harm by using praise as a way of trying to get our kids to do their best. Check it out by going to u-tube and  typing in ‘Truth Talkin Thursday’:  Episode 44

What I didn’t have a chance to offer to the discussion were these four points: These are what are not helpful to our kids–the ‘don’t do’s. These are often done with the right intentions but not so good outcomes.

  1. Don’t compare your child to some other kids who do things better or with more success. They don’t want to hear how ‘Billy stands when hitting the ball.’
  2. Don’t over protect. For instance, if he/she is trying to learn how to ride a bike make sure they have the right equipment and let them go. Running along beside them to catch them when they fall says that you don’t believe in their ability to learn how to do it. Pick them up, dust them off, give them a hug tell them that you love them and encourage them to keep going.
  3. Understand that praising is more about social control than it is about helping them to be all they can be because of their effort and desire to get better. It can’t be because they will feel you will have more love for them if they succeed. Don’t make it about you.
  4. Remember it is your child’s effort and his/her ability to solve their problems and excel because of what they learned by their own experiences and NOT how their successes make YOU feel.

Praise is about rewards. Usually based on competition. He/she is looking for your acceptance. Your acceptance is the reward.  

Encouragement is about recognizing effort and improvement. It’s about the child feeling worthy.

 

Music Video For The Week:

This is what I hope our young ones have to deal with right now. This is the life they deserve and not the one that is unfolding before our eyes with two ego maniacal ‘punk kids’-one in North Korea and the other living in the U.S.-playing with toys much bigger than anyone can imagine. They play with the world’s future as if it were their own. I thought we were better than this. Have we learned nothing about dictators and buffoons? What is more shameful is that the Republicans and the Chinese could end this tomorrow but seemingly choose not to. Wow!

When Good Isn’t Good Enough . . . Things I’ve Learned

I don’t mean this to be another flag waving article about being Canadian and how wonderful we are. That we are ‘wonderful’ is a given:) But it isn’t who we are. We are NOT Canadians. We are people just like Americans, Arabs, Chinese, Russian, Black folks, Red folks and so on. We are simply identified by geography. However, what distinguishes us from others in the world is how we have chosen to live our lives and we are identified for what that stands for in the world. We try to live our beliefs, our morals and hold up our culture to the rest of the world for all to see and we say, “if this is what you want then come and enjoy it.” The mistake we have made in the past is not including a clear follow-up statement that says, “Never-never try and take it from us.” As someone who values our freedom and our way of life as much as anyone else, I would feel much more generous, welcoming and accepting of those who want to live among us as equals knowing that that message is out there-loud and clear. There can be no agendas.

I am appalled to know that our Ontario government is considering dropping support for The Humanities programs offered in schools at all levels. What the hell are they thinking?  (click for more information)

At a time when we invite people from around the world to come and join us we are considering dropping ANY help and support that these new citizens will need in order to more clearly understand what we are all about. It is not just the customs and culture of the newcomers but ours as well that must be considered and adhered to. That door swings both ways. That is the issue that needs to be resolved. How do we both live in a world where there is so much diversity? That includes valuing women and the role they play in a free society.  It would help us as native born folks to understand more about those who are coming to stay with us. We could talk openly TO each other in classrooms all over the country and have real conversations about what we each need to see and hear from each other. Our children could go home and talk to their parents about what they learned about immigrants and refugees. Like it or not, believe it or not, children educate their parents more than it happens the other way around. It seems in many homes the only thing that some parents teach their kids is how to hate. Here is a chance-a real chance to stop that behavior from continuing and, in stead, we are thinking about dropping the subject matter. Wow–great thinking! This is not an issue where time will heal all wounds nor can we legislate morality or values. It is about an understanding reached.

The following is not mine but was sent to me. Please read it. Apparently, it is a true story and as such illustrates exactly what I had mentioned above. Neither party in the following conversation is wrong but rather they don’t understand where the other is coming from.

“One of my sons serves in the military, he is stationed in Ontario, Canada. He called me yesterday to let me know how warm and welcoming people were to him and his troops everywhere they go. Telling me how people shake their hands and thank them for being willing to serve and fight, not only for our own Freedoms but so that others may have them too.

Then he told me about an incident in the grocery store he stopped at yesterday, on his way home from the Base. He said that several people were in the line ahead of him, including a woman dressed in a Burkha.

He said when she got to the cashier, she made a loud remark about the Canadian Flag lapel pin the cashier wore on her smock. The cashier reached up and touched the pin and said, “Yes, I always wear it proudly, because I’m a Canadian.”

The woman in the burkha then asked the cashier when she was going to stop bombing her countrymen, explaining that she was Iraqi.

Then, a Gentleman standing behind my son stepped forward, putting his arm around my son’s shoulders and nodding towards my son, said in a calm and gentle voice to the Iraqi woman: “Lady, hundreds of thousands of men and women like this young man have fought and died so that YOU could stand here, in MY country and accuse a check-out cashier of bombing YOUR countrymen. It is my belief that had you been this outspoken in YOUR own country, we wouldn’t need to be there today. But, hey, if you have now learned how to speak out so loudly and clearly, I’ll gladly buy you a ticket and pay your way back to Iraq , so you can Straighten out the Mess in YOUR country, that you are Obviously here in MY country to avoid.”

Everyone within hearing distance cheered!

And so it goes . . .

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

Comments are welcomed. Please send them to jimcloughley.com  OR  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Please send this along to family and friends–with thanks.

Disclaimer: The photo resource used in this article is used for criticism, research or education. I derive no financial benefit fromthe use of this image provided by youtube.com

Surprise! A-I Is Not a Fact For The Future—It Is The Reality Of Now . . .

When did this happen? How could it have happened without Us Knowing? What happens Now?  These are some of the questions people are beginning to ask themselves and their neighbors. Good questions to be sure but what are the answers? Not many can say for sure.

How much do you know about A-I? How much do you want to know about A-I?

Computers are definitely getting smarter more quickly. That’s the first point. More industrialized nations are relying on robots to do the work that others (humans) either can’t do or won’t do. The use of robots is gaining momentum in the industrial world and not just in North America. Don’t look now but we are headed for a global economy and we are not very well prepared for it at least on this side of the pond.

We need to consider the impact that A-I is having on our standard of living-today. The decisions you make now will have a life-long impact not only on the quality of your lives but more importantly on the career choices that your children make in the next year. The jobs that are top notch no brainers will be gone by the time your kids get to what we currently know as university. In essence, you could be paying for an education that will not prepare your kids for the reality of a new dynamic workplace. That degree could easily be rendered useless.

Why robotics/why now?

  • robots work 24/7. There is no downtime and they don’t take vacations either so we are talking about providing continuous, consistent high-quality production with minimal overhead.
  • they don’t get a benefits package or pension plan.
  • they require very little supervision and allow the company using them to employ a minimum of staff
  • they do the dangerous work that often requires a specialized human workforce.
  • they can do the ‘heavy’ lifting and repetitive jobs all day long.
  • robots are able to work with near perfect accuracy thereby reducing damaged or flawed products.
  • Robots will do the tedious work that eventually burns other workers out, for instance, searching for specific data in documents.
  • Robotic office assistants are already answering phones and recording particular information like dates and appointments. They can be programmed to recognize specific people’s voices and respond to them.

But there are drawbacks as well and they are equally important to consider. Such as:

  • robots will only produce what they have been programmed to produce. As of yet they still haven’t developed a conscience or the ability to make independent decisions. That day is not far off but we are not there yet.
  • because of the large cost saving per unit produced and 24/7 production businesses make larger profits using fewer hours which translates into lost jobs as well as higher profits. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Social programs will be expected to make up the difference putting more strain on government agencies to provide services.
  • robots and robotic equipment are still very costly. Not all businesses will be able to afford to do business at the same level. This will put more stress on those businesses that will need to find other ways of competing. Unfortunately, there are few ways of cutting costs to that magnitude which means that there will be less competition and more monopolies. This will cause economic stratification–two or three levels of medical care for instance. How will the average family afford to educate their children?
  • the cost of maintaining robots is more than the actual cost of the robots. If a company isn’t financially strong enough to absorb or survive any downturn in the economy bankruptcies are bound to rise. Robots provide no guarantee that large sums of money will start rolling into the company account. Remember that this will become a global marketplace where competition will become that much more intense.
  • There will still be a need to educate and train a support staff of humans to deal with issues that do arise. Training a staff to work at this level is a very costly proposition.
  • As I mentioned above robots will only do what they have been programmed to do. Even if the action is dangerous or something goes wrong they will continue to do the work even though it may be destructive in some way because that is what they have been programmed to do. Human workers around them could be at risk. Robots cannot automatically override what has been programmed.
  • the one unknown by-product of having a predominantly mechanized staff is how it will affect the human staff creatively and emotionally. How will the accelerated development of technology affect the creativity and innovation of the trained staff? Will they be anxious to continue to develop new technology knowing that they may well ‘create’ themselves out of a job? Humans will not give up what they perceive to be a threat to their own security. How will this play out?

These are important questions that need to be discussed by unions, business leaders, workers, educational institutions, banks and other interested participants. These meetings need to begin happening right away. We cannot slow down tech development but we can plan for what we likely know is coming and make provisions for all those to be affected so that we can ALL survive.

Anyways, that’s how I see it.

Please forward this article to friends and family. Comments will find me at  jimcloughley.com   OR   jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

All the best, Jim

 

Disclaimer: this photo resource is used for research, education and/or criticism. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this photo. Photo by way of ndtv.com

 

Do Dads Matter? Darn Right We Do. Get Used To It . . .

Now that the ‘Mother’s Day’ celebration is gone for another year it didn’t take some folks long to get back to the topic of Do dads matter? I would like to say, emphatically, that yes, we certainly do. Why wouldn’t we matter? To me this is such a dumb question to put out there. Those who are saying ‘no’ need to get over themselves, drop the ‘sainthood’ role, and pull their heads out of wherever they have been for the past while. There also seems to be a great deal of assumption flying around that ‘dads’ are the bad guys–that we are the ones who shouldn’t be single parents looking after our kids without someone watching us to make sure we don’t mess up.

Before I continue I want to be clear. I don’t see all co-parents as horrible parents. There are many great parents who are doing a terrific job as responsible parents. There are many that aren’t doing such a good job. There are many great single parents-both male and female who are doing a great job of raising their kids with values, morals and helping to instill a great attitude about where they fit into the world. There are many who aren’t doing such a great job. This is for all of those parents who aren’t doing it as well as they could and there are, unfortunately, many who fit into this category.

Just to make the point that there seems to be a great deal of research available suggesting that Mom’s are just about as likely to abuse their kids as males are and in some cases (considering particular types of abuse) perhaps more so. I don’t place a great deal of stock in ‘research’ since good ‘researchers’ can make the numbers say just about anything they want them to say and they often don’t point out the variables that were considered or not considered when correlating the information. Sad to say, according to this ‘definitive information’ that we haven’t come as far in the struggle to find equality and common strengths among the sexes as we thought or hoped. The one finding that is clear and hasn’t changed much is that our children are much better off when they are involved in a family that has two parents contributing to the upbringing of their kids. Isn’t that the mark we should be striving for? How do we make that happen instead of doing all this ‘dumb ass’ ‘research about how worse off our children might be. Isn’t it enough to know that our kids don’t do as well in single-parented homes no matter who is the single parent. Might we be better off and might our kids  be better off as well if the prospective parents got a grip on themselves and actually thought through why they were getting married prior to ‘tying the knot’? How about asking “Is this partner that I have chosen really my best choice”? “Am I really ready to get married or am I looking to escape into another world that seems better than the one I am currently occupying”? “Is this partner really ready for family life or are we just hoping that when we mature or settle down some things will change and we’ll be great parents”?

Parents are the ones who need to shoulder the responsibility for how their kids turn out. Let’s stop blaming all the ‘nasty’ things that are going on in the world as being the culprits. Perhaps they are just really poor parents who really don’t care all that much. Perhaps they are so selfish that they can’t see what they are or are not doing to their kids. My advice to young parents today: grow a pair and perhaps for the first time, ever, place your kids ahead of yourselves and provide them with the leadership, awareness, the life lessons, and the love and care they deserve. I am not talking about buying their attention with ‘stuff’ but rather demonstrating, on a consistent basis, that they, the kids, are the most important thing in the lives of their parents each and every day.

Grandparents get asked to ‘watch’ the little ones. Nannies are hired, 10 year old brothers and sisters are asked to look after their younger brothers and sisters until one of the parents gets home from work. It is deplorable that a little kid gets to be responsible for the life and well being of another human being who is 3 or 4 years old. That 10 year old needs to be out playing sand lot baseball or riding his/her bike around the neighbourhood having FUN and not ‘babysitting’.

If you are parents and reading this rant, and it is my rant, and you can honestly say that you are among those I have described who are doing a great job as a parent–good for you. If you are not able to say with any degree of honesty that this is who you are-shame on you. Why have kids in the first place if you are not going to commit to making them the most important factor in your life-your #1 priority.

I’m done now.

Anyway, that’s how I see things.

All the best, and thanks for stopping by–Jim

Please pass this along to family and friends. If you have a comment to make send it to me at either jimcloughley.com   OR  jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

 

Disclaimer: photo resource used in this article used for education, research, or criticism purpose only. Photo credit to madamenoire.com. I derive no financial gain from the use of this photo.

Why We Do What We Do . . . How Do We Change That?

A while back I heard a celebrity of sorts promise the people of the United States that he, and only he, had the ability to get the country out of trouble and only he had the solutions to the problems. Anytime someone says that he/she has ALL the answers and that we should trust them–RUN.

Trumps’ attempt at stewardship has become an indefensible situation that jeopardizes, not only the stability of the present government in the US, but the resilience of global peace. What particular strengths does Trump possess that he calls on to help make his decisions? It can’t be knowledge and it can’t be intelligence and it can’t be because he has visionary skills. I will say, whether or not you agree with what decisions he has made to date, he has made them decisively. He believes that he is right and that’s that. What he does seem to understand is how to motivate a great number of people.

Donny is a great example of someone who knows how to fan the flames of hate, discontent and injustice by tearing the scabs off of old wounds that people continue to carry with them. These are folks who were moved by believing their best interests could be met and ‘fairness’ could be restored if Donny was in the cat bird seat. When you consider where the greatest source of his strength comes from it is not hard to see why he got elected–numerically at least. He appealed to the old political right.

In truth, people are more apt to manage their behaviour based on a particular belief system and belief systems are often ingrained from birth long before a person has developed morals, values, ethics or wisdom. Donny is able to recognize an opportunity to create a different belief system and with very little resistance. He knows what his audience wants to hear and tells them what they want to hear. He is like a chameleon who is able to assume which ever role a particular situation requires. He can be the tough guy or the compassionate one or the hard-nosed no nonsense guy who won’t take no for an answer. He can be a stand up guy. Most of his followers have been taught since childhood that they deserve better than what they have and now it’s their time to have it. Trump is the guy to get it for them. This is their new belief.

Shame, guilt and fear are the results of experience and so they have a bearing on future behaviour and responses to stress or adversity. Even so, they are still outcomes of previous situations or solutions but are not the genesis of the actual thinking processes. If we consider the messages that we receive as little people-perhaps as early as one or two years old we can see that thoughts and ideas that were demonstrated to us in some way laid the ground work for much of what we did from there on. For example. If we were told over and over again that people who looked different from us were dangerous and not to be trusted that is exactly what most of us would believe and therefore we would see ‘those’ people in a very different light. Besides, why would our Mom and Dad lie to us about something like that if it weren’t true? IF you were told that homeless people are really just too lazy to find jobs and don’t want to work we will always see them as folks who don’t care but just want an easy life on the backs of those who are willing to work hard for what they want.

The point to all of this is this: as teachers and parents, as care givers and educators we need to be particularly careful of the words and messages we are sending to our young folks. We need to be sure that we are not, with the best of intentions, unduly influencing are children’s belief systems–helping them to see things from our perspective because we know better. Where else will they learn these worldly lessons.

The message we need to be sending our children is that, MOST importantly, we are encouraging our children to become independent thinkers creating their own belief systems based on their own experiences and what they know to be true for them.

If you are struggling with some of your thoughts and actions involving everyday people and events begin to challenge your beliefs–those thoughts that seem ingrained-the ones that have been there forever. Ask: “where is the evidence that supports this idea you are struggling with. For instance: “Where is the proof? Where has it been written that folks who look different are not to be trusted.”

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

Send this article to friends and family if it can help someone. Thanks for stopping by.

Comments/contact can be made with me by connecting at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

This photo resource is used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I do not derive any financial benefit from the use of this resource.

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