Giving time

I’ve had some experience both being a recepient of others assistance and of helping others. I’ve also participated in group actions either for causes or for individuals, and I’ve helped to organize events. All of this has given me an appreciation of the gift of time. I don’t mean having lots of time oneself, but being willing to just give time to someone or something else, no strings attached. I think of one incident. A group of us where there to help someone. Things were dull and at some point someone whispered “why did I bother coming?” The comment bit into Continue reading

thoughts about thoughts

I just started reading the book The Curious Feminist by Cynthia Enloe and the first page includes this gem: I have come to think that the capacity to be surprised – and to admit it – is an undervalued feminist attribute. To be surprised is to have one’s current explanatory notions, and thus one’s predictive assumptions, thrown into confusion. In both academic life and activist public life in most cultures, one is socialized to deny surprise. It is as if admitting surprise jeopardized one’s hard-earned credibility. And credibility, something necessarily bestowed by others, is the bedrock of status. … Better to assume the “Oh, Continue reading

writing letters to politicians

My days seem a strange mix of tobogganing with the kids, cooking, reading to them, helping them with schoolwork and trying every day to understand the world around me and how I can be an influence in it. I feel very muddled. I haven’t been reading any books the past week or so really, just trying to catch up on the news and understand a bit about the new players in the Ontario Provincial Parliament. I am ever so slightly hopeful that Kathleen Wynne will at least try to live up to what she said she’d like to be: the social Continue reading

Book Review: Adventures of Charlie Bubbles

I can’t help seeing The Adventures of Charlie Bubbles as a sort of “Wizard of Oz for four year olds” story. Scared of an oncoming bee, baby Charlie blows a bubble and floats away in it. Lost in a strange location he befriends a cowardly squirrel and a useless old teddy bear. Through their adventures together the squirrel gains courage, the teddy bear a purpose and Charlie learns that the way home is easier than he thought. My children asked me to read the story repeatedly, so it gets a good review from them, and I liked it as well. Continue reading

my thoughts on Paved With Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism

I’m getting ready to return the book Paved With Good Intentions: Canada’s development NGOs from idealism to imperialism by Kikolas Barry-Shaw and Dru Oja Jay back to the friend who lent it to me, but I want to make a few notes about ideas I found interesting. I know a different friend who blogged about the same book, so I want to include a link to his blog here too, though I’ve been careful not to read his assessment of the book till I finished writing mine. The book outlines several ways in which development NGOs actually assist imperialistic motives. It talks about Continue reading

Relational bullying, aggression and being nice

Before I wrote the post on bullying (almost a month ago) I had borrowed from the library two books about bullying, but then because life got busy, I didn’t start reading them until a few days ago. Now I’m partly through both books. One makes me feel very uncomfortable, and one inspired. The book that makes me feel uncomfortable is called Little girls can be mean : four steps to bully-proof girls in the early grades by Michelle Anthony and Reyna Lindert. Directed at parents and teachers the book outlines how to observe a situation, connect with the child, guide a child Continue reading

responsibility, the ability to accept criticism and pit bulls.

I’ve written about some of the questions around bullying, and whether individuals need to grow thicker skins or be treated gentler, and about boundaries and people’s different abilities to accept criticism. In all of these there are questions of what is normal acceptable behavior, what to do when different people’s behaviors cross those lines (is someone being firm or being a bully), and how people deal with criticism (are others being too judgemental or is the person being oversensitive). Now similar questions come to my attention in an article about pit bulls: “Pit bull owners live in a dream palace, where all dogs are good, Continue reading

Day to day life and looking at the larger issues too

This weekend I took one son to beaver camp. Then later at home we set up our Christmas tree and sang Christmas carols. This morning the boys did some schoolwork and then played lego. My daughter took an early nap. Then with all the children occupied, I turn my attention to other things. One of the environmental organizations I really like is asking people to help advertise their facebook page. The organization, Citizen’s Climate Lobby Canada, focuses on creating the political will that allows politicians to enact the policies we need, such as a carbon fee and dividend. Clicking “like” on their facebook Continue reading

safety, efficiency, cost of human lives and work

My children watched part of Back to the Future III a few days ago and afterwards expressed surprise at the amount of walking on train tracks that happens in the show. “Isn’t that dangerous?” they asked and I fumbled to explain how the absolute risk wasn’t that high but that it was still a completely unnecessary risk, and thus why we don’t do it. Then I was watching an episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9 and noting the scenes where the two kids, Jake and Nog, are always sitting on the balcony above the promenade, dangling their legs down, Continue reading

trying to understand yesterday

Even in my sleep I over analyze things. The other night I dreamed that I was a government bureaucrat for the Nazis. In my dream I knew I had a choice between getting myself thrown into a prison camp right away for standing up for what I knew was right, or I could try to survive in the job and use my position to help others. In my dream I didn’t feel fear for myself, just a question of what would be best for others. After all, I thought, the job would be done by someone and if I was Continue reading