The message matters: we are what we watch and listen to

We focus too much on things that really don’t matter. Life is not all about domination, money and having a particular body type

The message matters: we are what we watch and listen toIt’s a challenging time to be a man or a boy. Looking at how we’re presented in the media, are we supposed to be superheroes with unbelievable biceps, gigolos or buffoons? Are we supposed to be sports superstars, rock stars or business moguls? It’s no easier to be a woman or a girl. Is today’s…

Paving the way with quiet dignity

Larry Doby was the second African American to play Major League Baseball. His road to greatness was no less difficult for being second

Paving the way with quiet dignityIt’s unfortunate that we often forget the people who come second. Jackie Robinson is rightly honoured as the first African American to play Major League Baseball. Today, all players wear number 42 on April 15, the day that Robinson broke the colour barrier in 1947. We often forget that Robinson, who played for the Brooklyn…

The importance of compliments

From kind, and specific praise to participation medals for children, some gestures really matter in forming positive lives

The importance of complimentsThe great American writer Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” No matter who we are and what level of success we’ve achieved, everyone appreciates a sincere compliment. It can brighten our day or even change the trajectory of our lives. Don Miguel Ruiz, in his classic book The…

The secret to a long and happy life

Broader and better social interactions are key, according to researchers. So reach out to others

The secret to a long and happy lifePsychologist Susan Pinker tells us that the key to living a long life may not be eating well and getting exercise. Her research, and that of Julianne Holt-Lunstad, demonstrates that an emphasis on close personal relationships and face-to-face interactions is actually the top predictor of longevity. In other words, if we have friends and family…

Companions for life: trust and integrity

While the dishonest may appear content, we don’t see the inner turmoil they suffer from knowing that they’ve done wrong

Companions for life: trust and integrity“I trust people until they demonstrate that they can’t be trusted.” These were the words that Ed Peklo, the dean of students at the small American college I attended, spoke at our orientation nearly 40 years ago. Beginning my post-secondary career in this way established a positive tone. I didn’t have to prove that I…

The pursuit of happiness: in each life, there should be meaning

The hardships and challenges we inevitably go through can be life’s greatest teachers

The pursuit of happiness: in each life, there should be meaningVisionary psychiatrist Viktor Frankl said, “There is nothing in the world … that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that there is meaning in one’s life.” Frankl came to this conclusion as he stared death in the face every day in Nazi concentration camps. Today, many of…

Public library is where democracy, learning and inspiration meet

A good public library provides an easy access point for any journey of discovery and a place to find directions when one feels lost

Public library is where democracy, learning and inspiration meetBritish writer Doris Lessing said, “A public library is the most democratic thing in the world. What can be found there has undone dictators and tyrants.” I have to admit I had forgotten what a wonderful and amazing place a public library is until I brought a group of students to my local library for…

Emerging from a world of suffering with hope

We can’t wallow in despair. We need to look at what we and others are doing right and emulate what works

Despite what we see in our daily newsfeeds, life on Earth is actually improving. On a global level, we see significant drops in child mortality and increases in life expectancy. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people have gained access to safer drinking water since 1990. We also see amazing innovations…

Listen to your anger and learn from it

There's a gap between the stimulus that causes anger and our response. We need to better assess the situation, then choose our response

Listen to your anger and learn from itEarly-20th century Australian nurse Elizabeth Kenny said, “He who angers you conquers you.” Anger is one of the most powerful human emotions and it has to be treated with tremendous care. It can be destructive but it can also help us to reach powerful insights. Though reasons for anger vary greatly from situation to situation…

Can B.C. climb back to the education mountaintop?

For almost 20 years, the government has been at war with the teaching profession. New contract talks can change that

Can B.C. climb back to the education mountaintop?British Columbia’s educational system is one of the best in the world, according to documents published by the Conference Board of Canada and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). A BBC article referred to Canada as “An Educational Superpower” and British Columbia even ranks ahead of all other Canadian provinces. Yet B.C. schools are…