Be brave enough to fulfil your potential

If we have an awareness of our inherent greatness, we really don’t mind looking foolish. From there, all it takes is time and hard work

Be brave enough to fulfil your potentialThis phrase has become popular in the last several months: “Be brave enough to be bad at something new.” As a teacher, it would be easy for me to impose this philosophy on my students. We’re always telling our young people to try new things, be it a sport, school subject or art form. By…

Labels just hurtful in search for Middle East peace

Trudeau insinuated that if you support the rights of Palestinians, you must be anti-Semitic

Labels just hurtful in search for Middle East peaceI like to think I’m not easily offended, but a recent speech by Justin Trudeau at the Yom Hashoah Virtual Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemoration pierced my spirit. In this ceremony, Holocaust survivors and their descendants not only remembered the crimes committed against the Jewish people, they celebrated who they are and the beautiful traditions that…

Don’t sacrifice truth for illusion of security

Very few people have ever had the freedoms Canadians enjoy today. May we always be mindful of this

Don’t sacrifice truth for illusion of securityLike many of my generation of German descent, I’ve had to grapple with an uncomfortable family history. Though I know he came to regret his decision, my grandfather was a member of the Nazi Party and was part of the populist movement that brought them to power. I could make excuses for his decision and…

Hang on to your compassionate ideals

Doing good is not only vital to humanity and to the planet, it’s one of the key ingredients to living a happy and fulfilling life

Hang on to your compassionate idealsBecause there are no sports on television right now, my favourite movie, Field of Dreams, has been getting a lot of airtime. Near the end of the film, the main character meets his father as a young man and comments on his appearance, saying, “My God, I only saw him years later when he was…

Staying connected and building spirit in isolation

We’re living proof that people are naturally active and creative, when given the time. COVID-19 has given many of us that time

Staying connected and building spirit in isolationThe COVID-19 crisis has been a challenge for many of us. We’re used to interacting freely and going where we want to go. Now many of us are forced to work from home and others are not able to work at all. Our movement is limited, we have to practise social distancing and we’re constantly…

Three generations of courage and commitment

When you search the name Henry Morgenthau, you find remarkable legacies left by three men of one extraordinary family

Three generations of courage and commitmentAs I examined the history of human rights in America, one name kept coming up: Henry Morgenthau. It turns out I was actually learning about three men: Henry Morgenthau Sr., Henry Morgenthau Jr. and Henry Morgenthau III, father, son and grandson. All of them spoke with courage and together advanced the cause of human rights…

Through crisis we can find a common humanity

After things settle and we look back on COVID-19, we need to recognize the lesson it taught us about looking after one another

Through crisis we can find a common humanityI always believe that life has something to teach us. We just need to listen. Experts in many fields have been warning about a global pandemic for years. Prof. Frank Chalk, the director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, for example, has pointed out that when we help the most vulnerable…

Making sense of the world and ourselves in challenging times

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a book for these troubled times. It’s as beautiful as it is insightful

Making sense of the world and ourselves in challenging timesIt’s always good to rediscover an excellent book, especially in these times. I recently borrowed The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz from my local library to have an audio book to listen to when going for walks with my dog. What a treasure! Ruiz draws from his Indigenous heritage, teaching the ancient wisdom of…

Just do the right thing – no matter what

You may never know the outcome of your actions. But you can know with certainty the results of doing nothing

Just do the right thing – no matter whatIn studying the history of social change, I’m moved by the number of great people who died never knowing the full extent of their contribution to a better world. Three examples from the 20th century are Raphael Lemkin, Peter Bryce and Viola Desmond. Lemkin was a brilliant lawyer and professor. He was also a Polish…

We must face up to Canada’s dark past

Telling our Indigenous people to ‘get over it’ comes dangerously close to outright genocide denial

We must face up to Canada’s dark pastAs tensions have mounted in Canada in recent months over land claims and Indigenous rights, I’ve heard and read many variations of the phrase, “The Indigenous just need to get over it.” I wonder if the people who embrace this view really know what they’re saying. It reflects complete ignorance of the history of Canada…

The rise of Bernie Sanders’ ideas in the U.S. was inevitable

Corporate Democrats don’t seem to realize they’ve lost the trust of American people disillusioned by the lack of progress

The rise of Bernie Sanders’ ideas in the U.S. was inevitablePierre Trudeau once said to an American audience, “Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant … one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” The United States has built one of the most powerful empires the world has ever known. The founders created an ingenious system to allow for…

Trust the Wet’suwet’en to make the best possible decision

I have no right to tell my neighbours what to do with a natural gas pipeline. We should leave it in their hands

Trust the Wet’suwet’en to make the best possible decisionSwiss physician and author Paul Tournier said, “The worst thing is not being wrong, but being sure one is not wrong.” I wrote a column several weeks ago stating that I support the Wet’suwet’en in their opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline being built through their territory. What I have come to realize is that…

When we understand ourselves, great things are possible

Sometimes technology allows us deal with our challenges and sometimes we need to ask for help from our neighbour

When we understand ourselves, great things are possibleI often tell my students that there are more ways to be smart than how we’ve traditionally measured intelligence in the classroom. If you’re good at reading, writing and mathematics, you generally have little difficulty effectively navigating our education system. The problem is that many of us struggle in these areas. But that doesn’t mean…

Making a commitment to common humanity

We may have different opinions, alliances, ideals, languages, skin colours, gender preferences. These are simply characteristics that add variety to life

Making a commitment to common humanityGroundbreaking American anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In many ways, this is a call to action for all of us, regardless of our political or economic perspectives. We have the power to change the…

The power of asking a simple question

Some schools in Liberia are well supplied with materials because of the power of one Canadian student asking a simple question

The power of asking a simple questionTeacher and motivational speaker Jack Canfield tells us, “Take the risk to ask for whatever you need and want. If someone says no, you are no worse off than when you started. If someone says yes, you are a lot better off.” Following Canfield’s principle can benefit us and others. This lesson was taught to me by…
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