There comes a time in your life when you realise what’s important in life and what’s not. If only we learned to listen to our elders instead of making fun of them, or seeing them as “have been”, perhaps we would learn that sooner. You see, when we reach our teens, we start thinking that we know it all. Parents don’t know shit. Teachers don’t have a clue. Police are power freaks. Only our opinion matters and only we are right. And with social media, we aren’t afraid of telling everyone and anyone who will listen. There was a time when you got some sense knocked into you but now, if a parent looks at their child the wrong way, he/she will be reported to authorities and be judged by everyone.
Even by saying what I just said, there will be people who will jump to conclusions and talk about children abuse. The truth is that there’s a huge area between lack of discipline and abuse… but for some odd reason, this society seems to think that it’s one or another. In a society rewarding kids with participation trophies, holding kindergarten graduations, trying not to hurt children’s’ feelings, and by lowering the high school passing grades to 40% and refusing to fail students no matter how bad they are, we created monsters.
I’m sorry but I have to disagree with people who are totally against spanking. My parents spanked my behind and I know many who have suffered the same consequences. I didn’t hate them. I didn’t have trust issues with them because of it. I didn’t fear them. But I sure respected them and I learned to respect authority. I learned what my boundaries were and knew what would happen if I closed them. I wasn’t abused, I was disciplined. Some children can learn without a good smack but force is to admit that for many others, it simply doesn’t work and they need this fear of getting disciplined by more than no video games, no TV or just time-outs. It’s a reality.
Through discipline, I have learned to acknowledge my parents on their birthday, on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, at Christmas. I remember when, with my cousins, we broke barn windows at my grandparents’ farm. They called the police on us and we learned to respect the law and those who ensure that they are followed. We learned to be accountable for our words and actions.
A society in a world of trouble
There was a time when you were taught history and after learning about something bad that happened, we thrived to ensure not to repeat the same mistakes. Adolf Hitler wasn’t revered and the swastika was taboo, not a flag some extremist North Americans placed on their homes. Slavery was wrong and, thankfully, got out of our day to day life. We didn’t need to put down statues to do so, we knew what was right or wrong. We didn’t need to be told that eating Tide Pods was dangerous. We didn’t feel the need to lick public toilet seats as a trend to test pandemics. Common sense was just more common.
Kids grew up watching Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam having guns. We grew up watching Wile E. Coyote have his ACME artifacts blow in his face, fall off cliffs in his relentless chase for the Roadrunner. Yet, we didn’t become criminals. We didn’t have to be told not to put our finger at the end of a rifle like Bugs Bunny did. Nope, we knew what would happen if we tried.
We learned in school that when referring to both men and women, you used the male pronoun and no one batted an eye. We knew it meant both genders. So we knew that “thy sons command” meant both men and women and it wasn’t sexist, therefore we didn’t feel the need to change our National Anthem.
Back then, we understood that you couldn’t know everything about everything. You knew that your mechanics knew more about cars than you. You knew that the doctors and scientists were not idiots. We knew that policing and firefighting were tough jobs and that they did things for a reason, so we weren’t judging every single action they took. We knew that if you put yourself in harms way, you risked getting hurt. We knew that if police asked you to move, you had to move or there could be consequences and we weren’t ones to pretend to know what should and should not be done. Pretentious and daring citizens were few and far between, criminals for the most part.
Aunt Jemima wasn’t black or white, she was a respected lady whose name was attached to a fine syrup. So was the gentleman on Quaker oats. We never affiliated them with racism. ‘Baby it’s cold outside‘ was a great Christmas song which had nothing to do with date rape drugs. The Edmonton Eskimos, the Washington Redskins, the Chicago Blackhawks, those were CFL, NFL and NHL sports teams. Never did we think less of aboriginal people for that. The Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum were country artists, not racist singers nor did listening to them was promoting racism or anything negative… unless you hated country music. This over-sensitivity and the changes resulting because of them have created a new qualifier for this group of people: The Snowflakes. And that’s creating even more division amongst us.
At times, people take it so far that they go overboard with their public display. For example, the reason for protesting is to raise awareness to a cause, not to be confrontational and disobeying law enforcement. So when being asked by police to move during a protest, we knew that there was a reason for it so you just moved. No pepper spray, tear gas or force was necessary. A deeper example of people’s lack of rationalism is the timing of the recent rallies for Black Lives Matter… Yes, it is a very much worthy cause. But we are in a pandemic, a deadly pandemic with no vaccine, no cure. We are told not to gather in large groups yet we pick this time to do it all over North America, all over the world. And we have the results that we’re seeing in the United States, with COVID-19 spreading faster than ever in that country.
Change of focus
There are things that are worth fighting for. But it shouldn’t come at the expenses of changing history. It should be part of history, learning from mistakes of the past by not repeating them. Black lives do matter. But let’s not get offended when we say that all lives matter, as it includes black lives. I was accused of being racist because I wasn’t a big fan of P.K. Subban and I was thrilled that he was traded for my favourite NHL player, Shea Weber, who happens to be white. See how quickly people judge, even without knowing their interlocutor? Those same people claimed that the reason why I wasn’t a Subban fan was because I was racist and that, even if I wrote several articles on this very blog about the reasons why.
“Open-minded people don’t care to be right, they care to understand. There’s never a right or wrong answer. Everything is about understanding.”
People see a video of police abusing someone, beating them up. They start petitions to get them fired, they don’t want them to have their pension, they want them jailed. Oh in some cases, they are right, like in the case of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin who was responsible for the death of George Floyd. But how many since have posted videos of abuse, or have claimed police abuse since then, without showing context, making judgements by from a short piece of video? Most of them actually. Remember the claims from Chief Allan Adam, his face scared, saying that the Alberta RCMP abused him? Everyone was on the RCMP’s case, accusing them of all sorts of things until… they released the dash cam video.
So folks, stop. Just STOP. Stop reading more into events than what there is to read. Stop judging without knowing both sides of the story. Stop feeding into the media’s’ need for sensationalism. Stop yourself from flying off the handle everytime something happens in the world. Stop to think of the impact of your words, of your actions. Stop and think before you talk or write. Stop and ask yourself if you are fully educated on the topic or have all of the information before judging someone. Stop trying to change history, but instead, learn from it. Use the bad that happened (or is still happening) in the world and do YOUR share to make it better. But how do you do that? By leading by example. Learn the difference between opinions and facts and don’t mistake your opinion with facts. Remember that a discussion is not a monologue, that in a discussion, there’s give and take, room for flexibility.
“You send out an energetic field that affects the world around you, with that heart energy, you have the power to change your world.”
Change how you speak and act towards everyone no matter their race or religion. Change how you treat others when you don’t get what you want. Change your attitude, going from having to win an argument, to the much more constructive goal of finding common grounds to reaching an agreement, finding common grounds. Change how you behave online towards those who dare disagreeing with you. Change your mindset to allow for more flexibility, an open mind. Change the confrontational attitude to respect of others and their opinion. Change that frown and turn it into a smile. You control all of that.
If we all do our share in our day to day life to be the best people that we can, the world will be a better place and there is no better way to change what’s wrong, than by being role models to our family, our children, teaching them how to act, who they should thrive to be. Imagine if we spent as much time and effort in improving ourselves as we do judging and trying to change others… Work on yourself, not on everyone else. Others will follow. THAT you can change.