It doesn’t happen often – as a matter of fact, it might be the first time – but this was too good not to share with you, faithful readers. The story surrounding Don Cherry has monopolized much of our time and conversations since his outing about poppies, but it’s been surrounded by so much negative energy. Those who know me well will tell you that I’m a positive person, for the most part, and when I read this, it really struck a nerve (in a good way). And I’m hoping that it has the same effect on you who reads this. It is a must read whether you feel the firing of Don Cherry isn’t fair, was warranted or if it leaves you indifferent.
The following was written by a lady by the name of Sophia Jackson. As you will see, it’s well worth sharing.
Dear Canadian friends,
About the Don Cherry online ranting party our nation is having. We’re at the start of the long winter and it feels like our country is going to bed angry at itself. This makes me upset. So I’m wading into the conversation in a well-meaning Canadian fashion. Perhaps my ideas are naive. It’s not my intention to offend anyone. My only wish is to redirect anger towards the positive, to hopefully help people make better use of their frustration. Depending on your stance, below are three calls to action:
1. If you want to show Don your support for his Remembrance Day comments about wearing the poppy, instead of signing an online petition, do this:
Join or support your local Royal Canadian Legion. There are 1,400 branches across the country. Their memberships are ageing and some are struggling to stay viable. They just had their single biggest fundraiser of the year. Instead of letting them wait for another whole year to feel the love, keep the momentum going. Forgo some Christmas presents and instead, from now until the end of the year, cash mob your local Legion. You don’t have to be a member – anyone is welcome. Going out for dinner? Go to the Legion. Meeting a friend for a beer? Go to the Legion. Enter the meat draw. Hit the pancake breakfast or Friday night bingo. Talk to a veteran who’s sitting alone. Listen to their stories. Subtly ask if they’re ready for winter – what supports do they have in place? For many of these proud elderly people, Remembrance Day is the one day of the year they feel “seen.” Get some friends together and help this be your local Legion’s best Christmas ever, so much that they can report record support and make the newspaper. I think Don would give it a thumbs up.
If there’s no Legion near where you live, this challenge applies to any local veteran’s association or senior’s home. Just get out there and celebrate your freedom-giving elders.
2. If you feel Don’s comments were offensive to new Canadians, here is your challenge:
Befriend a new immigrant. Some are from hot countries and they’re heading into their first Canadian winter. If you grew up here, you know how unforgiving our winters can be. Explain to them that while February looks short on the calendar, it will feel unbearably long. Give candles and lanterns and good socks. Cozy things to provide comfort.
More than things, give time. Being an immigrant is hard. In the beginning, homesickness is like a pain that can’t be soothed. Some new immigrants are here alone, without any family. They miss the music, the food, the laughter of those they love and who love them. Social isolation does not create happy Canadians. So host a potluck for a new neighbour. Ask to swap cooking or language lessons. Trade Spotify playlists. Even small gestures can make a person feel they aren’t alone and that someone cares.
3. If you’re somewhere in the middle between these two ideas, or believe both options are equally valid and beneficial activities, do both.
Spend an hour having coffee with a veteran, then another hour going for a walk with a newcomer to Canada. Do this often enough and you will become a very wise human.
And if you’re sitting there making up excuses why you can’t do any of it – I’m afraid I’m going to have to call you on your bullshit. If we want things to change, we need to act on our convictions. No matter what side of the argument you’re on, don’t just be angry on social media or rage internally. Let your actions be your message. Let’s be the best Canadians we can be and really giv’er!
I love you, eh?