Even if Justin Trudeau’s decision to grant independence to the Liberal senators is politically motivated, as Minister of Industry James Moore has suggested, it could be a positive step toward true Canadian democracy. Like many fellow citizens, I’m hoping his bold action will persuade, or even shame, Stephen Harper to also release Conservative senators from the confining shackles of the party apparatus. This would allow them to genuinely represent us, if they have the will to do so.
Certainly such a change would not remedy all shortcomings in our political system, but it would be a welcome beginning. At this time it is probably little more than wishful thinking, but if Mr Harper hears from enough voters, he might acquiesce.
Letter to the Editor
The boys basketball tournament at Robert Bateman Secondary demonstrated how skilled and competitive boys and coaches are at that level. With only one exception, I was impressed with the attitude of players and coaches. The one exception was a coach who, in the opinion of many spectators, appeared to be more intent on winning than on developing his players.
Early in the game his team was ahead by 6 points and he called a time out to scold them. Throughout the game he was loud and disrespectful in his instructions and comments to his team. Unfortunately, his thinking and attitude were reflected in rough play by the team.
I have long believed coaching young players in any sport is an opportunity to prepare them for adult life. They are developing attitudes and values they will rely on in adversity and also in success. Sports can teach discipline, commitment, respect for others, staying strong in times of disappointment, and much more.
I mentioned the negative approach of this coach to a longtime, highly successful coach of Abbotsford softball teams. He told me that at the beginning of each year he had a chat with the parents of his players. His primary message to them was “ don’t be critical when players make a mistake. They are young. Encourage them.” His teams won numerous medals. This coach wanted to help his players develop a sound foundation for all of life.
My grandson played in the basket ball tournament this weekend. I am pleased that his coach is an encourager. At his age, positive mentoring is more important than winning.
In mid-December, approximately a dozen highly committed members of the Hedley Senior Center worked feverishly to create a successful potluck experience for some 80 attendees. Very likely, similar events took place in other communities. And almost certainly, the number of guests far exceeded the number of those who organized the event and served. After the Hedley potluck, a member of the Senior Center said to me, “We’re getting old. We need younger bodies.”
Most small communities are kept alive by giving, participating citizens. For a community to be vibrant, it needs the ideas, energy, and skills of many people.
Having been active in volunteering roles most of my adult life, I know that when we give our time and talents to society, we will almost certainly derive unexpected benefits. We gain new skills and experiences. We meet other active people. My wife and I have gained close friends through volunteering. And the sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that comes from giving far exceeds any monetary value.
Community organizations can only survive and thrive if people participate. If everyone does something, no one needs to do it all. And by making a contribution now, we will pass on to our children a more interesting, compassionate and cohesive community.
A decision to volunteer would make a worthy New Years Resolution.