The Week That Was . . .

The above is a pic of a ‘biker’ bar in Florida. Could this be what is in store for some of us who still like to ride?

Commentary:

My weeks usually contain new news and I try to find something for us all to think about–something, that if discussed, might generate some passion in some of us and spur us on to do something out of our ordinary to plant some seeds of change. This week was different.

This week I was reminded time and again about why we seem to be angry with everything and toward everyone. Many don’t take the time to be polite or nice to each other. Others just don’t care any more. That was the opinion of two seniors I overheard talking today about how they each feel that people have come to ‘not care’ much any more about being friendly and polite and caring. They went on to say that even the kids were more rude more often than not. That would not have happened in their day and so on . . .

So their conversation got me to thinking. Of course there is no truth to the statement that ‘everyone’ seems to be this way but it does have a ring of truth to it when looking at why this group dislikes that group and those people have no right to feel that way because . . .

We can’t deny that we are generally more complacent, reluctant, even hopeless, aggravated, edgy and less tolerant as a community of humans than we have been in quite awhile. Considering what I heard, saw and watched this week I might agree with much of what was said. For instance:

–The federal government today announced that 98% of the refugees that we accepted into Canada recently have been placed in permanent housing. Interesting that it only took a few months and yet some of our own citizens who are in need of ┬ásocial housing have been on wait lists for years–Hmmm?

–The justice system is not about dispensing justice any more but rather seem more concerned about public optics and how a particular decision would affect the stability of a particular area of a town or city. When does the penalty for a life taken either purposefully or accidentally depend on who was killed and do the circumstances create this conclusion or that conclusion. I don’t think it should matter whether the victim or the perpetrator is black, white, green, brown, red or anything else. If a person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt then there needs to be one set of rules that are referred to.

If the majority of criminals are white, black, brown or pink so be it. Perhaps one group seems to be more punished than another simply because the majority of crimes are perpetrated by one particular group more than another. Justice should not be influenced by race, colour, orientation, social standing or local/recent events in a town or community.

–Mike Duffy, obviously a white guy, just got away with crimes that any ‘ordinary’ citizen would have been jailed for in a heart beat. He got away with it because of who he was and that he was, supposedly, in poor health. So what! Pamela Wallin got away with cheating the taxpayers and demonstrating gross negligence of public trust. She skipped because of who she was and because she bought her way out of the crime. She offered to pay back the money AFTER she was caught. She was guilty and didn’t spend a day in jail.

–Police officers, who have been caught on tape, are getting away with beating a person who has been subdued and poses zero threat to anyone. When they get away with that behaviour why would anyone trust in the legal system? Assault is assault whether the perpetrator is a police officer or a criminal. At that point they are both the same and should be treated the same way.

There are many more examples of justice not being the focal point in our judicial system. As long as optics take top billing people will never be comfortable, hopeful or feel safe walking the streets they work so hard to pay for. Perhaps these two seniors have a good point.

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

Any thoughts–let me know: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com

Pass this along to family and friends if you think it has merit.

Video Of The Week:

Apparently a call went out for 200 folks to gather at Massey Hall to be involved in an tribute to Prince and 2000 showed up instead. They had never sung together as a group before and this is the beautiful result of that effort–enjoy.

Parenting Tip:

Much has been written about raising fatherless sons and most of the articles have been about the negative side of fatherlessness. There are the powerful statistics that show how disturbing fatherlessness can be to a young man. My suggestions to a mom who is facing this monumental task is this:

Be honest with your son. Tell him that he is loved and cherished but that you can’t completely understand how he must feel not having a father or a strong role model to listen to and to learn from. Help him understand that there will be times when things will get crazy because he might not or will not understand what is going on with him or that he may feel lost and without direction as a man in the world. As his mom you will do your best to help him through his tough times.

This is the tougher part–that you as his mom will encourage him find a strong male role model who can help fill that void. That you, as his mom will not be angry or upset if he decides to confide some of his ‘stuff’ in a male role model outside the boundaries of their relationship. In other words give him permission to find his strength as a young man in other places.

All the best, Jim

I Know You’d Want One But Should You Get One?

Dog
(Photographer Unknown To Me)

“I believe in second chances. I’m not sure everyone deserves one”

Therein lies the dilemma. I want to believe that everyone should have a second chance to do the right thing or to change an action or an event that happened as the result of a regrettable impulsive decision. But then how do second chances get meted out? Who decides who gets that chance and who doesn’t? Based on what? Does it matter the severity of the event? Are there degrees to consider? I’m a black and white thinker most of the time. I’m not saying that is a good thing or not but that’s who I am. I agree that it is not always the best way to be nor is it always the most fair way to be but it is how I see the world I live in. I try to be as fair and as unbiased as I can be but that isn’t always possible or enough.

How do you do things when it comes to second chances? What criteria do you use? What standards do you employ? Would you want to be treated as you treat others-by the same measures?

Here are a few scenarios to consider and I would appreciate hearing your thoughts and comments about what you would do-second chance or not: (Remember this is about giving someone another chance to right a wrong. It is not about what is fair according to your idea of right or wrong)

1. John Doe murders someone in a rage because the victim was thought to have sexually assaulted his child. He says he’s really sorry for what he has done and should have let the law do it’s duty but the anger and outrage took him over and he lost it. He asked for a dramatically reduced sentence with the promise of never doing that again. He didn’t have a record of violent behaviour. He had no legal involvement at all. John Doe was a model citizen. (It later turned out that the person who died didn’t do what he was accused of doing but that was not known at the time.) Does he deserve another chance to live his life with some purpose? Wouldn’t most respond as he did because it involved his child?

2.You hear of someone who beats his/her partner because they got drunk and angry about something they did and as a result of the beating inflicted serious head injuries and permanent damage. The person who did the beating pledges to get help with the drinking problem and given another chance will dedicate his/her life to helping others who have similar problems. His/Her point was no one knows a drunk like another drunk and he/she could help others. He/she was impaired and not responsible-right?

3. A man is caught breaking into your home in the middle of the night. You later find out that the burglar was an unemployed man who had just been cut off his benefits and had a young family to support with no means to do so. However, he didn’t get to take anything and was very remorseful and stated that he would never do that again. Does the court punish him or should the court let him off with a warning and community service?

4. How about the politician who gets caught using his/her power and position to, fraudulently, access public funds for personal gain. He’d been a faithful and dedicated public servant for a lengthy time and had a spotless record of public service. He was not only apologetic for his actions but wanted to run again and promised to donate half his salary to a local charity. His riding could really benefit from his experience and the charity could help more people in need.

5. What about the smoker who has to have a lung replaced because it is cancerous and life threatening. He had learned about the dangers of smoking from his doctor and knew it in plenty of time to avoid the eventual need for a transplant. He vowed to cut down his smoking but would not commit to quitting altogether. Does he get the operation?

6. How about the father who walked away from his family for a variety of reasons but was seen as someone who was a ‘dead beat’ dad. He was not able to pay what the court suggested he had to pay for support and therefore was banned from seeing his son until he made restitution. He found that the grass wasn’t greener and wanted to come back and try to rebuild his damaged relationship with his child but was forbidden to do so by the other parent. Should he have the right to be involved again? Hey he left once–he’ll probably run again when he gets the chance. He made his choice that’s it.

These are but a few of the scenarios that we are faced with most days as a community. They are often managed with inconsistency which creates an on-going under the surface resentment and anger among citizens. Anger and resentments mostly come from a feeling or a sense of injustice so perhaps when our systems find a way to be more consistent and fair we will experience less stress and violence in our everyday living.

So what is fair? Who gets to enjoy a second chance at turning their life around? Based on what? A big part of me wants to revert to that black and white thinking and say sorry for what is going on for you but the law is the law and there are no second chances. Would these folks have felt the same had they not been caught or otherwise held accountable for their actions–likely not. If there is no consequence for our actions then what do we learn? SHould another chance be tied to the amount of money one has?

This would be a great exercise to do with your children so that fairness and consistency could be highlighted. A great ‘teachable’ moment. Would you treat your kids the same way as you would treat the strangers outlined in the scenarios or would they ‘deserve’ different treatment. What makes it right for yours but not right for others?

Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

Please send along your thoughts and comments on what you would do–would you grant second chances or not and why?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

It’s Not Much Fun Being Us . . .

Sitting On The Edge Of The World

“The world has become a very lonely place for many men these days”–(photographer unknown to me)

When I first saw this photo I instantly identified with how difficult it is to find our place in the world. On the surface of it it looks rather tranquil and peaceful but it could easily be lonely and empty.

Having said that the one thing that I believe we, as men, need to do is stop listening to everybody who has an idea of what and who we should be. The changing world has become a place that is increasingly more difficult to understand for men these days and the speed or the rate of change is very difficult to cope with. A man’s world, for many, is a place where there is confusion, frustration, fear, judgement, emptiness, loneliness and anger. We have gone from a place of being dominant and dominating to a place where we are basically a shadow of who we used to be and, for many, ineffectual in terms of providing true leadership. I’d be among the first to agree that we needed to back off the dominating place we had assumed and also among the first to agree that we have become mere shells of who we were. Instead of being leaders and decision makers and strong family oriented people we have become disconnected, displaced and found guilty of what I’m not sure by those who have no idea what it means to be male and won’t be happy until men are subjugated. How sad. How sad that we cannot find a middle ground that promotes and encourages women to strive for the success they deserve and, at the same time, allow men to be men-to be who they really are in the world. I, for one, am tired of the whining and the threatening and the posturing and the manipulating on both sides of this struggle. There can be no clear winner. If there were a winner that would mean that someone would be a loser. The only thing that might happen then is a change in social structure but not disposition.

We are supposed to be adults, whatever that means, so how do we navigate these treacherous waters and have both men and women feel as though they each won the day. Men need to allow women the freedom and the support and the respect they deserve so that they can pursue their dreams just like men want to pursue their dreams and feel that their gifts are appreciated and recognized. Some might say that it is all about feeding the ego and frankly I don’t care what it’s called. We are destroying ourselves, as a society, and we don’t seem to recognize it or care. The folks on either end of the spectrum in this fight are so stubborn that they would rather go down in flames than to wave the flag and negotiate a meaningful peace that suits and serves us all. It’s doable but only if both sides want it and are willing to work for it. That means give and take on BOTH sides.

I can only speak to the men’s side of things but we, men, need to wake up and accept that this is a new world and it will not go back to the ways and days of old. Good. But this new world must see us and accept as viable, important, meaningful, creative, intelligent, an equal partner. We are natural hunters, warriors, care takers, protectors and the one who takes the bullet for the village and for the family. Those who try to mess with this set up will be confronted with anger, resentment and aggression if need be. We are not much different now than we were hundreds perhaps thousands of years ago. Men will only hear this message from other MEN. Why is this so hard to grasp? Men need to be sure that they have the backing and the acceptance of other men before they will begin to feel OK about being seen as other than who they think/feel they are. We ask: Is concession the same as weakness? Is granting women an equal part of respect and acceptance the same as caving in and giving up? Why is it so difficult for women to accept that men are who they are? STOP trying to change us into something we are not and won’t be. This doesn’t mean that we can’t coexist and be accepting partners in the world. Besides respect, opportunity and freedom what is it women want? Why is it so difficult for men to drop their opposition to changing some of the ‘rules’ and recognize that there are many women out there who are intelligent, very capable, creative, driven and just want what other human beings want. That is a chance to demonstrate they have a rightful place in society and that they can be and are, rightfully so, key players in how the world spins.

If we don’t come to some actual agreements as to how we will choose to live our lives for the betterment of ALL, the big losers, of course, will be our children. They are the next generation of soldiers in this unnecessary struggle for?????

My hope is that we teach our children about human rights and leave the gender issue out of the conversation. No one gender is more deserving than the other. I believe that many more people would get on board if the changes were about treating each other with the same degree of respect and dignity. We all need to be provided with every opportunity to succeed as human beings.

That’s how I see it anyways–Jim

As always your respectful comments and thoughts are welcome. You can connect with me at: jim.lifechoice@gmail.com OR
jamescloughley.com

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