The Mindful Merchant

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Respect July 7, 2010

Filed under: children,education,family,hate,parenting,racisim,respect,special events — MindfulMerchant @ 11:40 pm

 

This year was a challenging year for our kids at school. More independence, less coddling by teachers, homework and school yard dynamics. Oy!  Some of it we anticipated as part of attending a full day in the primary grades. There were issues with inclusion, speaking up,  hurt feelings and even and a bullying incidence. (which has resolved – fingers crossed)

 

Some of it, my husband and I were unprepared for.  Like the time our youngest had her pals over for a play date. Sitting around the kitchen table having a snack they sang a new rhyme they learned at recess. It was a derogatory song making fun of a specific ethnic group. Whoa! I cut them off mid song and we talked about the words and their meaning. They were unaware that the rhyme was so awful and felt badly afterward.

 

One of the biggest shocks my husband and I were not prepared for were questions about unfamiliar words they heard in the playground. “What does “gay” mean, Mommy?”  – “What does “retarded” mean?” Seriously?! Grade 1 and 2 children are running around calling one another these unacceptable words?   Yes.  Unfortunately, some adults are still use them too. 

 

Perhaps people are unaware that the words are full of hate and hurt.  Many of us grew up hearing the terms and think nothing of using them.  Recently, I asked someone not to use the word “retarded” with me and they argued there was nothing wrong with it – because it was a ‘legitimate clinical word’ and they didn’t say it in a mean way. Ooooh, that was an interesting conversation… 

 

One of the blogs I follow is Dave Hinsburger’s blog – Rolling Around in My Head. He has worked for over 30 years in the field of disability, is an author and travels the world as a lecturer. His writing makes me think and reflect, sometimes cry, and delivers a powerful message.   

 

Dave recently wrote about marching in the Toronto Gay Pride Parade with his organization Vita Community Living Services. He wrote, “We had determined we wouldn’t just ‘be’ in the parade, we wanted to ‘work’ the parade. As the parade is, in part, a celebration of diversity”. He had cards printed and with the help of co-workers and other groups marching that day, handed them out to the crowds. I thought they were so powerful I asked Dave if I could share them…he said yes.

 

 

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After the parade and the crowds dispersed, Dave noticed coming back up Yonge Street no cards were thrown on the ground. An encouraging sign!  I hope Dave’s cards will inspire sharing this message with family, friends and community.   At the very least,  invite discussion, which is always the beginning of change.

 

 

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Hockey, A Dog & A Complex June 30, 2010

Filed under: family,special events,stupidity,writers block — MindfulMerchant @ 5:18 pm

 

It took almost two years of debate, planning, pleading, flow charts and a few tears to wear my husband down. He was the last member of our democratic household to vote YES – a dog could join our family. Alice the cat had already cast her vote by responding with two blinks. F.Y.I. for those unfamiliar with cat speak, two slow blinks in a row means “yes” or on very rare occasion “little Jimmy fell down the well”.

June_2010_015 My husband agreed with the following conditions (1) It had to be a male dog since he is already outnumbered 4-1 and (2) He has to pick the name. For those that do not know our family or my husband, this meant only one thing. The dog was destined to have a hockey name.  Poor thing.

This sparked discussion arguments about names while we searched for the right dog for our family. Just to give you insight into my life, here were the top three names back in January:   Lucic ,  Chico Resch ,  Gordie.   Unfortunately, in this house hockey fans outnumber me 3-1.  Poor me.

Our girls suggested the name “Sidney Crosby” after one of their favourite players. Hubby shot that down citing many reasons. Then Olympic fever took hold of our house. For a family that rarely watches television, we had it on day and night. Caught up with patriotism and competitive spirit my husband once again caved and said he would consider #87 IF Canada’s men won the gold medal in hockey.

I suspect most of you know how that turned out. 7 minutes and 40 seconds into overtime…Crosby shoots…he scores…GOOOOOLD! I am not even a hockey fan and I admit that that was a spectacular moment in Canadian sport. We jumped around the family room high fiving and hugging our Olympic party friends. My husband put up his hands to quiet the room. Channelling the spirit of Charlton Heston he loudly announced, “We shall name him Crosby!” More whoops and cheers. Therefore, it was.

P1018102 In early May we welcomed little Crosby into our home. He is a sweet, gentle, puffy ball of fur with a big personality. We all love him…even Alice. Yesterday on my way home from a walk with The Cros, a man stopped me. He looked to be in his seventies, had a cane and a friendly smile. “Excuse me young lady – ” I stopped to chat somewhat pleased…Crosby attracts a lot of attention when we are out with his cuteness.  “Are you walking a pet skunk?” he asked me. Certain I heard him incorrectly I responded with “Pardon me?” “Did you know you cannot keep a skunk as a pet in Ottawa?” the man informed me. Horrified, I looked down at Crosby. He was busy sniffing a tree and luckily did not hear the man’s insulting words. “He’s not a skunk…he’s a dog…a PUPPY!” I explained. “Oh, really?” the man looked doubtful. I was flabbergasted. I scooped the dog up and whispered as we walked away “Don’t you listen to him…you’re so handsome!”  Poor Crosby.

I take away three things from that experience. First, it is important to have eye tests done on a regular basis. Second, there is a possibility our dog might not be the bestest looking dog in the whole world. Nah!  Third, I might look like the kind of woman that would own a pet skunk and walk it on a leash. (yikes)

Anyway, Crosby and I hurried home. I also felt the need to have a shower and give Crosby a good bath. What a strange day that was…

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Remembrance Day November 9, 2009

Filed under: holidays,special events — MindfulMerchant @ 6:34 pm
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My children’s school celebrates Remembrance Day with a thoughtful ceremony. They listen to a Mom or Dad currently serving our country speak about their experiences, and sing songs of hope and peace. Every year they play a moving video before the two minutes of silence. I had never seen Terry Kelly – A Pittance of Time until I attended a school ceremony. Perhaps you have viewed it too…if not I include it because it is so powerful.

 

Geography, politics, religion, and language sometimes make it hard for Canadians to identify with one another. We are united in one way – through our freedom and rights. I owe my life, the way I live it, and the privileges that come with being Canadian to all the Veterans who paid for this freedom with their lives. It is our duty as Canadians to remember our fallen Heroes, their counterparts we call Peacekeepers and their families. Once a year, two minutes of silence is not enough to honour these brave men and women.  Please click  Veterans Affairs Canada to find an event or ceremony in your community.  We cannot forget their sacrifices or their achievements.

 

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