Minister of Education Is Doing The Right Thing For All The Wrong Reasons . . .

For those parents who have not been paying attention or don’t have any school age children this likely wont mean much to you. My hope is that you will read it anyway because ALL of us need to be concerned by these types of decisions. We are ALL affected by school closings since they affect the overall health of our communities.

The provincial government says they have put a halt to school closures–until they can come up with a ‘better’ plan and process for closing schools in the future. This sounds more to me like an election decision than one born from common sense and reason. Research and studies will suggest that it can be just as costly closing schools as it can be to refurbish them.There are more than a few questions that could be directed to Ms. Hunter regarding the decision making process she alluded to in a recent article announcing the government decision to halt school closures –for now. But above all we need to feel as though our elected officials can be trusted to safe guard our health care system, which includes the mental health system, and our system for educating our children. To quote Charles DeGaulle: “politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.” Unfortunately, this government and many before it have proven this sentiment to be true.

There are programs and places where some cuts can be made but health care and education should not be on that chopping block. A cut made somewhere always creates a deficit somewhere else. Usually to the detriment of the taxpayer. If money is a determining factor perhaps our politicians would like to give back 20% of their yearly salaries to start that cost cutting process as a showing of good will. Like that is going to happen. They throw us a bone or two every once in a while but often that bone is not near enough to justify the reduction of funding resulting in cut backs in services. Health care and education should never be sacrificed for a balanced budget. We should never grant permission to the ‘bean counters’ to make decisions as vital and important as any that would affect these two vulnerable systems.

Other provinces are becoming much more progressive and realistic concerning philosophical changes to how education is presented to the new learners of the 21st century. British Columbia is light years ahead of us and Alberta is showing signs of undergoing large changes in curriculum. So called experts have stated that we should not toy with the system because it has historically returned quality marks in international testing. There is no question that we are very good at how we are teaching the present curriculum. The problem is that the present curriculum is NOT RELEVANT any longer. Our system is still focused on providing a knowledge based system when the world does not require knowledge it requires imagination, innovation and creativity. These are the skills that will open the doors to prosperity and opportunity for our next generation of learners. Einstein once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” 

Points to ponder:

  1. I can understand that the public is concerned about any new approaches to educating our children but other countries have been doing what we are talking about for years now and have managed to become the top 5 growing economies in the world. They know something we don’t and have not been shy taking a chance to thrive. Mistakes are what we learn by. But a mistake here can be one that keeps us ‘safe’ and finding ourselves left behind in the global marketplace.
  2. Let’s work to put kids back into school instead of accepting decreasing enrolments. At the very least perhaps working harder to find out why kids are dropping out of school instead of learning and enjoying their educational experiences would be prudent. Dropping out could be related to the fact that kids find the current curriculum boring, uninteresting and not relevant. Might it also be that learners and parents are finally figuring out that secondary and post secondary education is expensive and does not adequately prepare learners for the demands of future global economies. No one really has a clue about what those demands will look like because of the dramatic growth of technology but we do know that they will be much different from what grads are presenting with today.
  3. If we could find a way to lower the drop out rate across Canada by 1% point we would save billions of dollars per year in costs to fund the demands of social services, police services, court services and medical and health services. In fact we may be called upon to provide more schools.
  4. Can we not be more creative around the use of empty school space in rural communities. Things like sharing space with medical clinics, senior programs, treatment programs, social programs, community centres for kids and daycare spaces could be options as well as renting empty space to small retail stores.
  5. If the trend continues private schools will continue to see increased enrolments in their programs. This despite the fact that parents still have to pay public school taxes regardless. That tells me that there is some concern on behalf of parents that the present system is not delivering what it advertises.

It’s time that parents and care givers began asking their trustees and representatives on school boards the important questions and do not leave until you get a straight answer. Pay attention folks-your child’s education and indeed their very futures depend on how diligent we are right now.

Anyway, that’s how I see it.

All the best, Jim

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Disclaimer: Photo by The photo is used for education, research or criticism purposes only. I derive no financial benefit from using this image.

A Week In The Life . . .


I mean no disrespect toward teachers with this commentary. On the contrary, I have the utmost respect for teachers. I just feel as though they are not granted the freedom they require to do the job they thought they were signing on to do. I sincerely hope that that changes and soon.

I have noticed more articles and research findings around these days. Magazines are finding this ‘new topic’ about education quite interesting. The need to re-think how we provide it has only been discussed since 1962 but hey who is keeping track? The powers that be are finding out that there is a dropout problem and it is not always about delinquent kids. There are people out there who are making a ton of money ‘educating our kids’ and they are fighting like crazy to keep their hand in. No names will be forthcoming right now if ever. Ask them and they will tell you that this ‘hype’ is just a passing thing and that education has been as it is for 100 years or better and it has worked just fine ’till now. Sadly that is not quite the case. Corporations and Businesses have been telling anyone who will listen that they are not getting the type of students with the requisite skills needed to be productive and relevant in today’s economic reality. That’s a part of the educational problem.They are not learning what they need to in a way that they need to in order to be competitive with other global students. Apparently, they are sorely lacking when it comes to soft skills such as decision making, communication skills, leadership skills, problem-solving skills and be self-motivated.

So what has to change? Well just about everything about how we do ‘education’ has to change. Many are still trying to save’ the old way. Many say that we just need to ‘tweak it’ a bit. Others say that we need to update the curriculums to reflect the new economies. Those folks are getting warmer I guess but still not even close to what needs to happen.

In a nutshell–we have to develop a new paradigm meaning we need to look at ‘how’ we go about providing an education for our kids. Next, comes the ‘what’ they need to be learning that will make a real difference in their ability to compete for good jobs. But the topic that many who work in the field already don’t want to talk about is the fight to hold on to the ‘top down’ system that many want to keep. IT DOESN”T WORK ANYMORE–Hello. Parents need to become aware of what that means. They need to take a real interest in what is happening in their neighborhood schools and stop trusting the trustees and the boards to tell them what will happen next. The people doing the talking right now are the learners-the kids-the students. Remember them? They are the ones who should have the most to say about the system they learn in and how they learn because it is their lives that hang in the balance. It is their life choices now that will forge their career choices a few years from now. The philosophy and approach need to be fresh and new.

There are questions that need to be discussed and answers that need to be provided. What we don’t need is another study done where nothing will happen or change and the findings will get buried yet again. We have been doing that since Hall-Dennis put out their outstanding work in the 60’s which got dumped quickly without much of a hearing. What a shame because what they suggested all those years ago is what is beginning to be talked about now.

I’ll be writing a great deal more about this in the weeks to come. Stay tuned if you are interested to see how we can all be important pieces to this puzzle as we should and need to be. If we are not ready to play an active role then shame on us. It’s only our kids future that we are playing with here.

Truth Talkin’ Thursday:

Jane and I started an interesting conversation on the subject of how many people give up much too quickly when having to accept a new way of living our lives, or a new crisis of some kind that could interfere with our ‘life plans’. My point was that instead of ‘capitulating’-giving in we need to learn how to adapt to our new circumstances so that we can still have most of what we set out to have or enjoy. So we discuss some simple ways of doing that. It’s like any other skill–it takes imagination and practice.

Interested in knowing more go to U-Tube and type in Truth Talkin’ Thursday and Episode #36  Enjoy

The 80’s–Great Music:

I have been focusing on great Canadian musicians–there really are many and when you look at Alanis Morrisette, The Guess Who, Gordon Lightfoot, Celine Dion, Blue Rodeo and the list continues, we are talking about some folks who were innovators as well as huge box office entertainers. They certainly rival or match up favorably with their US counterparts.  But one that got lost in the shuffle somewhat was Alfie Zappacosta. For my dough he has one of the best voices to come out of that era-bar none.

Judge for yourself.     


Thanks for stopping by, all the best, Jim


Comments will find me at   OR

Poster/photo by William G. Spidy. This photo is being used for education, research or criticism purposes. I derive no financial benefit from the use of this photo.

The 2 Absolutes Necessary To Be The Best Parent You Can be . . .

What is it that our kids need from us the most? What is the prime factor in any parent-child connection? What paves the way for learning? I used to think that it was respect, patience, knowledge understanding, and your time. I have written in this space about those things and I still believe in their importance. But I have come to understand that these are building blocks for a much more important and complex reality. Parents need to be consistent when providing these , that is true, but they are not primary in and of themselves. They need to be present as component parts but they combine to create one reality. As the title suggests I believe there are only two things that parents need to be aware of if they are striving to be the absolute best parents they can be.

The first one is creating the best relationship they can between themselves and their children. This is first and foremost.  As many of us know this is not as easy to do as it sounds because so many things can get in the way. For instance our own past history and the relationships we had with our own parents. This can be especially problematic if the parent(s) still haven’t worked through their issues before having kids of their own. That ends up like building a house on a sand foundation. Perhaps we were forced to adhere to messages that were not appropriate or healthy. We may have been encouraged or taught how to hate someone for their differences. Our belief systems are easily manipulated when we are young because we desperately want to believe that our parents would never hurt us or lie to us or tell us stuff that isn’t true-would they? Then there are our experiences at the hands of others. That could involve abuse of some kind or what we were told over and over again by people we didn’t know or who didn’t like us. We can make our kids our best friends or worse we can become their best friends. The difference?? Best friends rely on each other for support. We listen to them and they listen to us and then we problem solve together. Our kids should never be asked to solve their parents’ problems. It is not healthy to ask for or expect our kids to provide our emotional support. Friends comfort each other-that’s why their friends. Parents are not supposed to be comforted by their children and supported through a traumatic time. Our kids are not equipped for that and boundaries can become a serious issue. That’s why we have to pay absolute attention to our kids every day and not just check in with them when they are hurting or in trouble of some kind.

They need to know from us, on a daily basis, that they are loved, valued, taken seriously when they are serious, and that we will listen to them without judgement or criticism. Ask them about their day-how did it go?-what did you learn that you didn’t know before? Show that you are interested in their lives and that you care. We need to encourage them and teach them how to think for themselves. Now this is not new news but the point is we cannot teach our children anything of value without them knowing in their hearts that they are in and are a part of a strong relationship with us. It does not matter the lessons we have to teach them or the importance of them sharing our experiences. It does not matter what we feel, as parents, or what we need to show them or demonstrate to them about life itself. As parents we need to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and what it can provide our children.

The primary desired outcome is that there is a genuine trust  that has been established and as long as that trust lasts your kids will want to learn all you have to teach them. They will watch you and learn about healthy relationships. They will learn about how to manage emotions and how to accept success. According to Parent Magazine children who are involved with healthy co-parented families are more likely to experience less mental health issues, less involvement with legal systems, have better and more healthy relationship with partners, and do better in affairs. Whether a parent physically lives at home or not that parent still needs to be involved in their children’s lives. He /she can still make a difference. It’s being involved and showing that you care that is most important.

The point here is that parents need to work much harder at establishing a healthy relationship with their kids first and worry about ‘life’s lessons after that’. It doesn’t work well if you are trying to do it the other way around. Parents need to LIVE the lessons they want their kids to learn. They believe what they see so if there is No trust there will be No learning.

Anyways, that’s how I see it.

All the best, Jim and thanks for stopping by.

Please sent this along to friends and family-with thanks.

Disclaimer: I have used this resource for education, criticism and research purposes. Thanks to I derive no monetary benefit from the use of this photo.

What’s Been Goin’ On . . .

Photo by–This photo resource is used for education, research or criticism purposes only.


For the longest time most members of the other gender have made their thoughts known quite clearly that men are not good at multi-tasking. Of course I disagree with that statement. On the contrary men can be good at it when we put our minds to it. However, we don’t much see the need to multi task to the extent that our counter parts do. Are women good at multi tasking? I really don’t know. If you ask most females they will undoubtedly say they ALL are. I could agree that SOME are but only at certain things.

Look at the picture above and then ask the question again: ” Can men multi task and do it well?–YES! We can. Truth be known we often choose not to because we don’t understand the need to. We also understand that it really is not ‘good’ for people to continuously take on more than one job at a time.

Men are more likely to  take on a job–one job at a time thank you–see that job through to it’s end–step back and survey the finished product–correct any small imperfections and then move on to the next job or challenge. It is more satisfying for us this way. Most of the time we know that it is done as well as it could be given all the possibilities. We also know that the human mind, this includes the lassies as well, can only process one thought at a time. To try to do otherwise can promote stress and panic attacks. Why would anyone knowingly do this to themselves? This is not true, of course, for the autonomic responses such as breathing, blinking and heart beats. We don’t have to think about doing these.

Multitasking simply is not something that we see as beneficial so why do it?–All the best, Jim

Comments are welcome–  OR

Please pass this long to family and friends–with thanks.

Truth Talkin’ Thursday:

Jane and I are back in the saddle this week discussing the value or downside of making New Years Eve resolutions. If you have any thoughts about them we’d love to hear them. To hear more about how we see things go to my web page at and click on the tab marked: Truth Talkin’ Thursday. The latest episode will pop up for ya.

Forward Thinking Program:

After taking some time off to re-energize I’m back to the work of creating and producing a new comprehensive educational model that will truly and totally revolutionize how we educate our children and how this approach will enable them to, not only compete successfully but to be leaders in the new global economies that will soon mark our way of life. We, as parents and guardians of the next generation of learners, must do all we can to prepare our children so they can utilize the best opportunities for success. More to come regarding this exciting news and what you can do to become more involved in the process.

Video For The Week:

This clip might pick up the old heart rate a bit. When Tom C was king–Enjoy

What Is The Hidden Danger Our Children Face? . . . And We Can Fix it.

Attention: Please be advised that any reference or use of video is solely for educational purposes and is not meant to assume ownership of the material. 

If you are a grandparent, a co-parents or a single parent this article will be of extreme importance for you. Please don’t pass it over. Those children around you who you love and care for will be eternally grateful to you for your time spent.

The following is an article describing the importance of how we will choose to educate our children. It will explain a little bit about how the goals for educating our children have changed and that’s a GOOD thing. Did someone forget to forward the memo to the rest of us? Be assured. The changes of which I speak will come upon us more quickly as technology continues to challenge the boundaries of our imaginations.  As caregivers and mentors we need to keep up with the changes if we are going to support, encourage and provide our children with an opportunity to self-actualize.

As the research continues it will prove more definitively how the system has changed and what we need to do to encourage our children to keep pace with the changes. If we do this right they will lead us we won’t have to lead them. We owe them the opportunity determine for themselves what kind of education they will receive. We need to listen to them as they tell us what is important to them.

Based on the following information we will see just how we need to change our beliefs and our focus, where we need to change, what we need to change and how to begin that process. There are still those today who believe that the primary way to learn is through reading. There are many of us that understand that statement is not completely accurate. As we can see by the pyramid above there is a demonstrated difference and greater benefit to the learner by engaging the learner in a collaborative learning experience. Kids today want to have a say in the design of their learning experience and they want to be involved in deciding their learning objectives. Learners today also make a strong case for doing away with standardized testing as do a great number of social researchers. Homework will soon be a thing of the past as it will be done in class with the learning to be done in discussion with other class members.

The traditional learning methods including lectures with a talking head at the front of the class, selected reading from textbooks, demonstrations and particular types of audio visual presentations are much less effective then group or class discussions, hands-on exercises (tactile) and practice. Helping and teaching others understand or use the material has a very positive outcome when considering effective ways of learning. These are the ways of the future. Compiling this data and research was done by National Training Laboratories, Bethel, Maine.

Each and everyone of us who is responsible for or to a child to support them and encourage them in their educational pursuits needs to learn as much as they can about the educational system in their community and how to strive to make it better.

I have included a link to Sir Ken Robinson that would be very helpful to all of us in understanding more about the need to move ahead of the century old system that is still in play.

The video is about 10 minutes long. I know-it’s a bit longer than most but it is really well worth it IF you are interested about knowing what is “the learning crisis” that we are living with and what we can do to begin to resolve the problem. This is one of those things where WE can actually do something-right now-to begin the process of change and do a great service to our children and grandchildren.

Anyways, that’s how I see things.

Please pass this along to others-friends and family-especially those who have school age kids or will have very soon.

Send me your comments at:  OR

Thanks for stopping by, Jim

The Week That Is Or Was . . .

This picture reminds me of how grateful I need to be when crap is falling all around me. There is amazing  beauty and wonder that surrounds me all the time if I just work a little harder at times to see it.


Every once in a while I find myself involved in a passionate discussion about religion and about the presence of God in our lives and how ‘his’ presence is suspect because no one has ever actually seen him. Fair enough I suppose. Then the conversation goes to the inevitable with me saying or asking three questions:

1. If you don’t believe there is a God then why do you spend so much time trying to prove he doesn’t exist?

2. Have you ever been involved in a near death experience where you actually thought you were going to die or that someone very close to you was in jeopardy-a child perhaps? What was one of the first things that came out of your mouth? Most people I have asked said that they prayed, begged or bargained by asking ‘God’ to help them out some how and in return they would do anything asked of them.

3. The obvious next question then is: “If you don’t believe that there is a God then who are you talking too?”

I’m not proselytizing here but rather posing questions that many are either afraid to ask or are shy to ask. Also, I attended two funerals within the last last week and I guess I’m reminded of my own mortality. I think I can say with some certainty that I am less afraid but more saddened by it all than I was at the start of the week. That’s why pictures, like the one I borrowed from an unknown photographer, seem to hold much more importance for me today. It’s the Peace that it suggests and the comfort in the simple things that life has to offer.

We don’t have to spend a great deal or go looking for some special place to enjoy what is abundant right in front of us.

Truth Talkin’ Thursdays:

Well Jane and I are encouraged by the T.T.T. experiment into blog radio. Although we still haven’t figured out the ‘how to’ part of involving third parties into our conversations we have dedicated ourselves to cutting the length of the interviews we do with each other down to 10 minutes max. We have gone from 19 to 15 to 14 minutes in the last three weeks and will continue to encapsulate more effectively in the next couple of weeks. It is difficult because the time goes so quickly and the topics are fun to talk about. We are basically uncensored so we can discuss anything we want without worrying about political correctness or feminism or masculinism. The only rule that we have is that the conversations be respectful and relevant. I have begun to archive past interviews between Jane and I on my web site: under the banner of ‘Truth Talkin’ Thursdays’. They can be found on u-tube as well under the same banner or you could go to Janes web page at:

Here is the u-tube link for this week:


A Forward Thinking Program:

As a parent have you ever wondered about what your kids are being taught at school? Have you ever wondered why they aren’t doing better or why their ‘marks’ are not very good? Have you ever wondered why they have to be bussed to school and it takes an hour for them to get there? Have you ever wondered why, when you go to the parent/teacher interview why you don’t come away from them with more enthusiasm or excitement about what is going on and why what you see and hear and what you hear from your kids are two different accounts of the same events. Do you ever wonder why homework is still assigned and why exams are so traumatizing for some kids? These and so many other questions need to be asked by parents and answered by the school board that has been granted the responsibility to provide those answers and to provide the best education possible so that our children can be prepared to compete for high value jobs and meaningful career choices.

Sorry to report that this isn’t what is happening and is certainly not what you are paying for. For more information stop by this site and I will try to clarify what has to happen and why it needs to happen soon. The answers AND the solutions are what we are working on as we speak–it will happen and with your help it will happen sooner.

Music Video Of The Week:

The voice may be all but gone but the icon and legend of Bob Dylan lives on. We are privileged to witness him still and for those of us who remember Bob from the 60’s he is as important as ever. Congratualtions to Bob Dylan for being chosen as the Nobel Award Winner for Literature. I hope you enjoy both of these tunes: (Damn but the 60’s were sooooo good)

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

Please pass this on to family and friends. To comment please get me at   OR (web page)

Thanks for stopping by–Jim



Why Do We Pay Taxes? . . .Thoughts About Fixing The Code

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”–Winston Churchill

Government bodies now truly believe that they are our employers and not our employees. They can sanction us for breaking laws that we seldom have input in creating and they can send us off to war any time they think it is appropriate to do so.

The Point: I was astounded to learn that most ‘average Canadians’ pay more for taxes than we spend on food, shelter and clothing combined. Incredible but not surprising. It seems the more someone makes the less that person pays in taxes. Fifty-three per cent of us are supporting forty-six percent of those who don’t pay any taxes.

A Most Critical Time:

If I were to ask you to identify the most important issue facing us today what would you say? I would say the absolute need to, not just overhaul but create a whole new educational system to grant our children the best opportunity to be successful in the reminder of this decade and beyond. The current system is not cutting it according to many national and international business leaders.

 “America’s high schools are obsolete. Even when working exactly as designed they cannot teach our kids what they need to know in today’s world.” Bill Gates, May 2005

The point is we are spending multi millions of dollars every year to teach our children little of what they will need to know in order for the majority to compete for good paying 21st century jobs. There is a definite correlation between those who have a good relevant education and increased global and domestic peace, better heath, more prosperity and fewer mental health problems. If those who choose not to pay taxes were to pay their fair share there would be more than enough funds available to re-think and create  a new system that, in the end, would favour the non-payers five fold. Quite an investment.

Back to taxes-how many of our tax dollars go to education and in essence are being wasted? Schools are closing because there isn’t enough money or political will to revamp the system. School officials blame it on falling enrolments. More the truth: students are bored, disinterested and don’t see any financial benefit being generated using the current curriculum so they are dropping out of school. If more folks were to pay their fair share of taxes we would be more likely to spend what is needed to help us compete as a more educated work force. Production would go up revenues go up there is less of a drain on social service resources.

The Canadian system is as guilty as any at protecting the rich. The more they make the less they pay. That is not only wrong but also foolish so here is what I suggest–and I admit this is a simplistic view of the problem. I also believe that is workable and more equitable.

1. The government should stay out of owning/running a business of any kind–multi national corporations to chip wagons and ice cream trucks. They just don’t do business well.

2. We need to install a flat tax of 10-12% (10% provincially) for those making over 30K/year and a business flat tax of 15%. Everyone who can pay does pay. I understand the arguments for and against but Alberta used to have a 10% flat tax and until the government got involved and went looking for more revenue from tax payers, it seemed to work pretty well.

3. The federal/provincial governments need to stop spending money like it was theirs and they need to stop giving it away to those who will NEVER pay it back to us such as foreign countries.  Ottawa spent $6 billion in foreign aid last year – a pretty big piece of change. That’s just slightly more than the feds spend on departments of health, the environment and the Canada Food Inspection Agency combined. What we give away also costs more than the cumulative budgets of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Canada Border Services Agency.

4. The feds need to be responsible for the following: a) a national transportation system; b) a national health care system-anyone remember universal health care?; c) a security force to defend our sovereignty but not outfitted to wage war on other countries in foreign lands except for our contribution to NATO; d) food inspection; e) environmental control; f) prime monitor of the banking system; g) a national justice standard for the country as a whole and international trade agreements (in consultation with the provinces).

5. The feds also need to make it illegal to store/move/ship or transport money to other banking countries for the purpose of side stepping paying the tax man in Canada. This isn’t smart it is immoral. Just ask any homeless person or a Veteran or a Native Canadian what they are thinking about it when they are continually told that perhaps THEIR needs will be addressed next year because there is no money for them this year.

6. Just think of ALL the trees that would be saved by doing away with a 3206 page Canadian Income Tax code and a US code that has over 72,000 pages in it.

We need to use our unpaid tax dollars to create and implement a new educational system for the next generation of learners. The return on that investment would be enormous.

Want change?? Don’t vote for anyone who does not want to simplify the Canadian Tax Code so that it doesn’t favour just the well off.

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

Please send this along to family and friends and thanks for dropping by.

To comment or reach me please connect with me at: or check out my web site at:

The Week That Was . . .

Father & Son  My HeroParents and gun

We need a great deal more of this  and a great deal less of that-what is he thinking?

Which World Do You Prefer: This is what the 2nd Amendment will do for Americans.

Take a good look at these two pictures and then ask yourself-which world do you prefer? Is this how you want life to go for our children. I recognize the need for law and order but aren’t we smarter than this? It’s like slipping back to the 1870’s where the ‘Colt’ ruled. In DJT’s world what you see is where we are going. BUT–it seems that the good ship Trump is taking on water. Now I’m not a big fan of either one of these two candidates-I’m thinking that the best candidate was left standing by the side of the road with his shirt hanging out.  I guess we can only hope that the ship sinks without any casualties. HRC is no shining star either. She’s just had more practice as being deceptive and really has no more credibility than he does–she’s just better at telling you what you want to hear. Many believe that big money owns her now as it always has.

Let The Show Begin:

I’m very excited to announce that a colleague of mine, for whom I have great respect, and I have decided that we would like to put together a blog radio show with our own channel set up and offer a talk show/phone in type deal, likely a half hour in length, that would embrace an open forum for folks to talk about anything that comes to mind as long as it is appropriate. There would be some weeks that Jane and I would offer a give and take conversation on a pre-selected topic of our choosing just because we can. We only promise that it will be interesting. There are some logistical items to sort out yet like ‘The name of the show” and “what time of the day will it happen” but not to worry that info will be coming shortly.  Stay tuned.

Parenting Tip:

Most families are getting ready for the start of a new school year. Similarly many kids are getting ready to say they aren’t going back to school. Let the games begin then. As a parent how do you handle this?

In my view, as parents, it is important for us to be clear to our children that we are responsible for establishing a safe, secure family living environment. That means we have to decide the boundaries for family life, what does appropriate behaviour look like so that all the people living in the home feel safe and connected and heard. There really isn’t a great deal of latitude here.  However, there will be times when decisions need to be made that concern individual needs as well and they,sometimes, fall outside the expectations of family life.  One of these decisions will concern juniors’ desire to continue his education–or not.

As a parent you need to help him/her understand that there is a legal requirement that society demands of adults concerning their offspring and that is not up for negotiation. Parents can be and sometimes are jailed for not sending their kids to school. After the magic age of 16 is reached the choice then becomes a family one. A clear statement regarding expectations needs to be made not as a threat, threats will get you nowhere, but rather as a statement about how everyone benefits from having a nice safe warm home to live in therefore everyone is expected to contribute their fair share to the maintenance and upkeep of that family home. Room and board now become a requirement since junior wont be attending school any longer.

What’s next. One of those things is to negotiate-to discuss options with your child. What is doable for the family. Lay out the position of what the family can do in terms of money that is available for a private school, if home schooling is an option or not, are there any other options to consider? Include your child in the discussion of other possibilities instead of insisting that he/she WILL do as they are told. If your child feels as though he/she has a say in what happens to them next they may be more likely to be open to some other ideas. Ask him/her what they see as an option-what are they willing to do to continue their education. Would they consider attending another public school? This option is important if they are being harassed or bullied where they are currently and feel they can’t talk about that. There is the option of doing school on line but this requires an agreement that states there are particular standards that need to be observed. In other words you can’t sit at home all day playing on the computer while your progress on line is slipping into mediocrity. Are there other community options to consider? Perhaps joining in a community group study program. There are mentorship type programs in many cities now as well. Investigate some of the options with your child. Physically go to where these options exist. Engage in fact finding missions together. Then outline 4 or 5 options together and allow your child to choose the one that meets his/her needs. They can also choose a couple of courses that interest them specifically although not they may not be directly connected to a program dealing with a particular school requirement. Offer to help pay for those courses as long as they, your kids, are willing to pitch to help out as well.

This approach may not always win out but it is surely better to start with this process than to fight and scream knowing that approach is going nowhere. The important point here is: deal with the child’s decision and seek to join in the solution rather than  punish the child for the choice they have made. One is solution finding and a good life lesson to problem solving and the other is simply amplifying the idea that might is right.    

Video Of The Week:  This is a great message for all to hear–kids especially

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

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4 Game Changers We Need To Pay Attention To . . .

A tornado eating a rainbow’–Photographer Unknown to me.

Most would likely agree that the picture above is mesmerising and that it will not be seen very often. Some become awestruck-almost paralysed by the sight of it. It is in that paralysis that all the damage to the rainbow is done, however, and before we know it the rainbow is gone. The tornado, then, moves on like it wasn’t even there.

I find the picture is symbolic of some of the things going on around us right now. Before we know it our lives will have changed and we won’t know how or when that happened. It reminds me of taxes and tolls, rules and regulations. Like them or not they become part of what ‘is’. Such is my concern about the following 4 examples of ‘our tornado eating our rainbow’. In no particular order of importance:

1. Education. So much research has been done to examine the positive connection between a civilized society, lower rates of violence, personal stability, equality, freedom and more stable and sustainable democracies and a strong, well defined, relevant and informed educational system. Unfortunately, for the last 50 years at least and the last 10 years for certain, we have been moving to the edge of becoming less relevant in the economic world and less likely to be held up as a shining example of democracy and prosperity. Our children are dangerously close to being unprepared to compete for world class employment opportunities because our educational system has not kept up to date on what is needed to compete with regards to skill development. (Much more on this to come in future articles). We, and parents in particular, need to insert ourselves into the process of developing new curricula and re-defining learning environments that are much more relevant and appropriate for our children so they will, at least, be better prepared to compete on the global stage.

2. Freedom of the press. I am NOT suggesting curtailing the function of the press. Freedom of the press is a must if any nation/society wishes to protect and enhance their freedom to speak and decide. But what I see happening is the press is now in a place where it must compete for readership–for their ‘piece of the pie’ and they are losing that struggle. The Internet and social media have all but stabbed the free press directly in the heart and it is bleeding to death. Readership is way down. The printed media is almost extinct certainly when we compare it to where it was just 10-15 years ago. So now the press has taken to sensationalism and printing more innuendo than facts. I have always maintained that the press needs to report the news and not attempt to create the news. Consider this example.

If this story is true than we need to ask ‘what is the Toronto Star’ doing printing a story like this WITHOUT FIRST CHECKING THE FACTS? Not sure I want this media outlet reporting my news. Freedom of the press must be absolute and that means diligent as well as honest and truthful.

3. Freedom to speak your mind:  I want to be perfectly clear here. I am not nor would I ever  consider following Donald Trump anywhere for anything. BUT. I do respect his right to be an idiot and to try to convince people to vote for him. As much as he deserves to be removed from the race to be president he also has a right to approach that goal however he may within the laws of the land.

When I look deeper into the possible up-side of his candidacy I’m thinking that we-and I say Canadians, Americans and all lovers of freedom and democracy for that matter, need to pay attention to what is happening. DT represents all that is awful in someone and for him to run for president and actually stand a chance to be elected speaks volumes about what is wrong with the current system. That aside I support his right to be absurd. In this case the American people will make that distinction, hopefully, in November. It’s not the Trumps of this world that frighten me but rather those behind the scenes-the power brokers-that 1% that we hear about who control an enormous amount of the wealth. Those are the ones we need to watch. We need to be sure that they never have enough control and power in the system to hurt us more than they have. We need to stay vigilant and we need to be much smarter in the voting booth regarding who we entrust to do our bidding. We still have the power of the ballot box to do our speaking but for how long?

4. Political Correctness: My favourite pin cushion. This is a movement that has fought great fights and is responsible for so much good in the world. The principles and the dedication shown by the believers/activists has brought light to otherwise dark, dangerous and ruthless places. BUT. It is time for PC to go away now. People–good people need to be able to voice their opinions without fear of being centered out or identified as racists or antagonists just because we might disagree with what someone else says or believes. We cannot survive if the adage “if you are not part of the solution then you must be part of the problem” is in play.  Isn’t this the very same principle that PC fought on in the first place. Hmmm. Confusing. Let’s not allow PC to determine all of our human rights and the outcomes of all of our disagreements.

Anyways, that’s how I see it. All the best and thanks for dropping by, Jim.

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Our Kids Will Feel It The Most . . . Unfortunately

Sunset and Birds

Is That A New Vision On Its Way? (Photographer Unknown To Me)

It has been stated many times that the definition of insanity is making the same decisions over and over and expecting a different result each time.
Unfortunately the ‘insanity’ continues.

I realize how easy it is to stand on the sidelines and be critical and mocking. I am trying not to be either. What I am, however, is very concerned and nervous that the regular folks ‘out there’ will believe the manure that is being passed off as common sense and progress. The ‘ole’ election time bundle of empty promises and double talk that often baffles the best of thinkers has been dusted off and will be paraded in front of the public at regular intervals for the next few months. Quite similar to brain washing actually. For example: The so called 1.4 billion dollar ‘surplus’ is money pulled out of the ‘incidental crisis pool’ that the feds had socked away just to purchase votes by giving us what is/was ours in the first place. All this after telling us that they have no money for CPP and seniors needs. Thanks guys. And the insanity continues. It will be our children who will begin to pay the price for it.

Although it was a close race I think the ‘Darwin Award’, awarded to the most insane act/behaviour, needs to go to the Supreme Court of Canada. It’s really hard to top what these people have done in the recent past. Let’s start with banning prayers to start public meetings and gatherings. My hope is that people will see for themselves how idiotic this really is. Won’t the ‘rights’ of that one person have stripped away the ‘rights’ of thousands? Do I-we-not have a constitutional right to practice a religion of our choice? The rights of the one DO NOT eliminate or out weigh the rights of the many. The bone headed decisions that are being made lately are serious dents in our armour of freedom and self determination. The latter, for the most part, is disappearing at an alarming rate and few deterrents seem to be in place in order to counter such ‘give aways’. Our children will pay dearly for this because the slippery slope has now been established.

But the two that still grab me the most are those that the provincial Liberals put together. Selling off our assets to private concerns is one and the ever present concerns about the ‘new’ school curriculum is the other. To comment on the first: the Liberals have traded the future for the present. They have mishandled most everything they put their hands to and now will rob Peter to pay Paul. They have squandered money at a rate that is basically unprecedented and now hope to dangle public transit in the face of those who are about to feel the pinch. Many economists would say that you don’t sell off your assets because they only pay off once.

The second move that also garnered a strong consideration for a ‘Darwin’ is the misguided and ill thought out ‘new’ school curriculum.

The school thing may be best illustrated by this story: “THE ANIMAL SCHOOL FABLE”

The Administration of the School Curriculum with References to Individual Differences:

Once upon a time, the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world.” So they organized a school.

They adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all of the subjects. The duck was excellent in swimming–in fact better than his instructor–but he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his web feet were badly worn and he was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in this school, so nobody worried about that except the duck.

The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much make-up work in swimming.

The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of from the tree top down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from over-exertion and then got a ‘C’ in climbing and a ‘D’ in running.

The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class he beat all the others to the top of the tree, but insisted on using his own way to get there.

At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceedingly well, and also run, climb and fly a little, had the highest average and was valedictorian.
The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the ground hogs and gophers to start a successful private school.

Dr. George H. Reavis, Assistant Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools, 1939-1948

Does this fable have a moral? Yes it does and it is this: Let’s encourage adults and children alike to become who and what they want to be. Let’s start to celebrate our differences. Let’s remind those who come seeking a better life to stop complaining about the very freedoms that attracted them in the first place. Respect us and we will respect you in return. Let’s keep the government out of it-they only screw it up to begin with. Let’s understand that everyone is good at something and no one, Boards of Education in particular, should have the right to try to make someone into something they are not or have no desire to be. This is true for adults-this is true for our children. School needs to be a place for experience and investigation for all not just for the ‘gifted’. (See Premier Wynnes’ great vision for more).

Our children will suffer the most because of the mess we will leave them unless we stop making the same flagrant mistakes over and over expecting a different outcome each time.

Anyways, that’s how I see it, James

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Author Jim Cloughley's 
Brand New Blueprint For Learning