• meaning of life,  politics,  the ethical life

    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 page is a very small quick thing people can do…

  • books,  communication,  meaning of life,  money,  politics,  the ethical life

    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, and all I could think of watching it is, why…

  • communication,  meaning of life,  Occupy,  the ethical life

    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 doing it maybe I could help smuggle Jewish families out…

  • books,  history,  politics,  the ethical life

    Tales From a Child of the Enemy

    With Remembrance Day (and Veteran’s Day) coming up tomorrow, I find myself drawn back to a book I picked up a couple of years ago. It is a book of poetry called Tales from a Child of the Enemyby Ursula Duba. Ursula Duba was born in Germany at the outbreak of World War II and the first few poems describe her childhood in the war. She writes of wondering where the carpets were in a carpet bombing, and about dreaming of travelling to a continent with no war. She writes about the emotions and anger that her father would have been feeling, as a man unable to adequately feed his family in…

  • bullying,  meaning of life,  the ethical life

    Your Opinion of Me Is None of My Business. Except when it is.

    I remember as a teenager reading the line “your opinion of me is none of my business” and really liking it. Naturally I’ve never lived up to it. I’ve always cared what others think about me, but at least it is something to strive towards. I like that line partly because it doesn’t demand that the other person’s opinion be good. It doesn’t say “don’t judge me.” The other person is free to judge, but that judgement is their business and not mine. I was at The Feminist Breeder’s facebook page a few days ago. I shouldn’t go there. She was posting about how sick she and her daughter are, and…

  • money,  Occupy,  politics,  the ethical life

    A Handful of Ways to Reduce Poverty

    As I was becoming involved with my local Coalition Against Poverty, I found myself surfing the webpages of other poverty reduction groups. The Peterborough Poverty Network has a wonderful poster listing 101 Ways to Reduce Poverty. Many of their suggestions are local to Peterborough, but some of them are relevant anywhere. Some of them are not so much reducing poverty as helping to reduce the effects of poverty. I want to share a few of their suggestions, and a few of my own: A couple of their suggestions: Lobby your sports teams, clubs, etc to provide a few free memberships each year. Carpool. Exchange babysitting with other families. Contribute to charities in place of…

  • culture,  God,  homeschooling,  religion,  the ethical life

    the biggest problem in homeschooling circles

    The biggest hesitation I had in writing yesterday’s post was a line near the bottom of the post, the one mentioning that the organization Kids Need To Read offers a special package of LGTB friendly books. I hesitated mentioning that because I know people would view that in different ways. Some people would think it is a good selling point while others would be turned off by it. I’m not sure which way my audience here leans so why bother mentioning it? Why not just ignore that detail about the organization and focus on the less controversial aspect of sharing simple picture books with kids? I left the line in.…

  • books,  politics,  the ethical life

    Complexities of Affirmative Action

    When I first heard about the court case in the USA Supreme Court of a Texan who claims that she was denied access to the further education of choice because less qualified minority students were accepted on the basis of race, my first instinct was to think poorly of the girl and to wonder who put her up to it. The university she was applying for already has a program that allows the top 10% of students automatic acceptance, but she didn’t qualify for that. Supposedly that category of students makes up over 70% of the new admission to the university and the university gets to decide “holistically” who should…

  • books,  the ethical life

    Before the Lion Became King by Osei-Agyemang and Aesop’s fable of the Lion king.

    I am thinking today about two stories. One is an Aesop fable about the lion king passing a law that all the animals will live in harmony together and a hare says  “oh how I have longed to see this day where the weak can take their place by the strong with impunity.” Then the hare takes off running, presumably because he doesn’t really believe the animals can change but perhaps because he cannot change his own fearful nature. The second story is called Before the Lion Became King. It is written by Andrew Nana Osei-Agyemang, a Ghanaian author and published through Dorrance Publishing (self or subsidy publishing company). I received a free…

  • food,  seasons,  the ethical life

    Reflections on Thanksgiving

    It is Thanksgiving here in Canada, and I’m not entirely sure what to think. As a child in school the emphasis was on pilgrims and settlers and natives and pumpkins and turkeys. Now of course I know that the stories about the first European settlers aren’t exactly as simple and straightforward as they make it sounds to eight year olds and I’m not sure that time of history is something I want to celebrate. Should we celebrate the contact between the “old world” and the “new” when it resulted in such a loss of population for those of the new? Thanksgiving as a celebration of the harvest does make sense to…