One’s Example is the Message

Monday we voted in a federal election in Canada.

The ads for the various parties reminded me of the playground antics at school. Most of the parties were busy extolling their opponents’ deficiencies at the expense of standing strong outlining their party strengths, vision, and values. When it happens at school, we call it bullying. When it happens in Canada during elections, we call it campaigning. We teach our children to lead with belief in themselves, and that a child’s super strength is their commitment to self-confidence and integrity. We also teach by standing strong in defense of themselves, and not descending to the same tactics as the aggressor, they will overcome the bully and in the end win the battle. Sadly, that is not how it often plays out in the school yard.

The one thing that has happened in this election campaign period is that the small-fry started to notice some of the political parties were attacking other parties and then started quoting some of the attack slogans. If there was any benefit to such antics, it was that it, in general, it did raise awareness of the elections race, among a much younger audience than has ever been aware of elections in the past. As evidenced by my daily scramble to answer election-based questions from my children, including the kindergarten duo. Now when I ask why one child did not help another child clean his room or complete a chore, thanks to the Progressive Conservatives campaigning, I am told that the child in question is “just not ready!” (The reality is I may not be ready to deal with the kid!)

While I may not necessarily support the party that won in this election, one thing is clear, the winning party did not partake in the attack advertising that other parties used. I believe this had a profound effect on the voting here as Canadians are tired of the bullying tactics so commonly tolerated in political campaigning.

A message I tell my children Just not ready text framealmost every day is to look past what others are doing and resist the urge to respond in like kind, step up and be more. Do not respond to attacks with counter-attacks. I am often told by my children (the older ones), that no, being the “nice guy” is a weak position and does nothing to stop bullying and bad behavior.

Well, today I have news for them. Not responding in like kind to attack campaigning did net a landslide win across this nation for the one party who refrained from those tactics. This same party, in the previous election, was unable to hold enough seats to form the official opposition, making this win all the more incredible. Clearly the “how” of what you do is as important, if not more important, than the “what” you do.

My two youngest boys play hockey (after all we are Canadian) on a house league team. I am still relatively new to hockey (in the last couple of years) as three older boys (all 18 years or older) have never once played ice hockey. While attending a meeting for the hockey team to discuss administration and fundraising, a tried, and true method was highly recommended, the hallowed bottle-drive. The fundraising game where you use your vehicle to follow a team of little hockey players (suited up in their team’s official garb), through one neighborhood after the next. All in hot pursuit of collecting the “empties” (empty beer, wine, and other alcoholic drink bottles) to take back to the store and cash in the bottle deposit amount to the credit of their team. This traditional form of hockey fundraising is almost as old (and as treasured) as the sport itself.

That was until one mom in the group stated that she did not approve of a bottle drive, given the ages of the team members (11-13 years). This lady stated that if we wanted to set a good example for our children about responsibility with regards to alcohol, the team should not be in receipt of funds resulting from alcohol indulgence. Even more importantly, we should not expose our pre-teen kids to how much alcohol people (often folks the kids know) do drink behind closed doors.

beer bottles Jca1 plus

As the kids are the ones hauling the evidence to the vehicle and processing these numbers as “normal.”  This angle I had never given ANY thought to before now. At first I thought, yep, always one freak in the crowd and then I started to think about it. This lady is right. Children learn from example and actions more than any words. If my kid is picking up an average of 20 -50 beer bottles from most of their neighbors, how does a soon to be teenager understand the limits or respect one should have for alcohol consumption? Thankfully, our team chose another fundraiser this year.

But it made me think. Is what I am teaching my children coming from what I am saying or is more being taught to them by how I am living me life day-to-day? I know the answer lies in not only what I do, but how I do it.

The people of Canada have said it is time for a change that is for sure. Perhaps it is also time, to teach our kids that the attack slogans in this campaign backfired, and a party rose to the top of the polls by not stooping to bully tactics and by “being more.” I guess they were more “ready” to “be more” than anyone imagined.

In the meantime, if I am missing, I will be deep in my walk-in closet, under all the piles of laundry, slowly sipping my Bailey-infused coffee. Savouring each swallow with the full acknowledgment that I will be walking, under cover of night, while my charges are asleep, to return my empty bottle to the store.

The Garden Goat

baileys bottle Jca2



New Year 2013 …

…the Best Year Ever!

Everyone around the world seems to be making a New Year’s resolution list.

Find and use a magic wand

I would love to. Then I realized that what I wanted to have as resolutions involved resolutions I wanted to see the natives I preside over adopt. That list might look like this (not necessarily in this order):

  • Read more
  • Eat less junk (and NOT in the living room)
  • Listen to parents the FIRST time
  • Locate and USE a laundry basket for dirty laundry (especially socks)
  • Use respectful language (at least when in the earshot of the rest of us)
  • Watch TV only as a last resort (NO it is NOT as essential as breathing)
  • Make a mess of something….clean it up.
  • Spend more time in physical pursuits (even if only housework)
  • And for some that are of age…get a job!

Then after indulging myself in the notion that any of the inmates here might adopt any of these suggestions I come back to reality with a thud. Nah…it likely won’t happen. A few of the kids may make a few resolutions with the result that a few things may temporarily change for the better the week after New Years (or not)…and then forget it for the rest of the year.

The Garden Goat looking forward to the Best Year ever 2013!

Living with the gang I do here are some resolutions I SHOULD make:

  • Drink alcohol more often
  • Get sound proof headphones or turn the music up louder when the natives are squabbling
  • Better understanding that prescription medication is underrated and copious amounts should be further investigated (immediately)
  • Get better at appearing to be napping when my name is being hollered
  • Don’t be too quick to get out of bed…some days would be better if they just did not happen
  • When overwhelmed declare “Bedtime” even if the afternoon school bus has yet to arrive home
  • Work on perfecting “distracted” to better facilitate desired state of “denial”
  • Find and  then use a magic wand (or find a way to  let the kids think I have one that works)

This would be a great list if only I could remember what I was to be doing moment to moment. The only thing I really remember is the washing machine and when it is time to change over the load. I totally forget the rest as life races past in a blur. I kid you not…so far this week I have boiled 3 pots completely dry attempting to boil water for tea. I got distracted…somehow. I think the solution may be to switch to coffee and add Baileys!

In all seriousness I guess the only thing I can do is to change me.

So I BELIEVE that 2013 is going to be my best year ever.

Believe 2013

Everything will work out. I will work on me to live my best life ever. With that I hope to again see special friends I care about, get into better shape …oh and hopefully make a million dollars (for real). I need to try to drink less diet coke (did I write that? I think I meant put MORE rum in it) probably eat more chocolate (yes…go BACK to the gym and face the TREADMILL [link takes you to previous post on that]) drink more (yes I know what you are thinking but NO) water.  I will find the time to pray and read more. Another year yawns ahead of this goat and her journey over life’s mountains and molehills in 2013.

I hope all of you have a wonderful New Years and that 2013 is a memorable year for you and your family packed with an abundance of blessings.

The Garden Goat looking forward to the Best Year ever 2013!

Happy New Year 2013 from the Garden Goat