Eve of Tuesday 2016

This is the 10th annual Labour Day post.

At this time of year I typically think about, and write about the year that lies ahead. This Labour Day I find myself looking back more. The past twelve months have been the most amazing of my life. There was a great deal of travel, to see family, friends, and new places. I had the opportunity to take on a new role professionally and grow like never before. Last month I married my best friend, teammate, and partner. In the spring we welcomed a child.

As a part of this reflection, I find that I am calmer on this Eve of Tuesday than I can ever remember being. I am still incredibly excited for the year ahead. There will be many new people to meet and work with. There are a number of sport and health goals I want to pursue. There remains 99% of fatherhood for me to figure out. I am anticipating that there will be challenges and setbacks, along with positive surprises and successes. My imagination is running wild with all the possibilities ahead. Yet, I am serene.

I attribute this year’s perspective to a few things. Firstly, the new role of parenthood – as was foretold by everyone – changes one’s outlook. Secondly, the challenges of the previous year have allowed me to take new confidence in vulnerability and risk taking. Finally and most importantly, my heart is full. This is thanks to family, friends, my daughter and my wife. Throughout the entire year I never felt alone. The most outstanding support crew has steadied me. There are no small parts from each friend and family member. It is truly the collective, the community and the partnership that have allowed me to rest easier this evening.

This feeling of calm in the face of new adventures, and new possibilities is what I hope to be able to give back. As a colleague, as a teacher, as a learner, as a friend, as a partner, as a father, it is my hope to help others have full hearts through the challenges and joys ahead. Often this is found through simple, yet deliberate gestures, words, and deeds – acting with intent. On the eve of a fresh year I encourage us all to reflect on what makes our hearts full, and then go out to help others feel the same.

Thank you – merci.
Take care,
À bientôt,
IR

Previous Labour Day Posts: (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)

ps – as a bonus and tribute to other events of the past year, here’s a return to a former tradition of the Labour Day post, and a song to send us out on:

Eve of Tuesday 2015

This is the 9th annual Labour Day post.

New seasons are upon us on this Eve of Tuesday. Fall in the North, spring in the South, are almost here, and a new season of school starts up in many places around the world. More locally, hockey season cannot be far from many people’s minds – getting on the ice more is in my list of resolutions. Also forefront in the consciousness of Canada is election season.

While the other seasons turn with more regularity, the opportunity to influence the direction of our nation comes around more slowly. No matter how frustrated we may be with our own democracy’s level of efficiency and priorities at times, or how removed we may feel from the actual decision making processes – the importance of participating as an informed voter cannot be overstated. I am hoping particular election season allows me to continue building on three areas that I’ve been working on within myself lately, as an informed citizen, and a reflective professional: breadth of perspective, questioning, and Reconciliation.

Often we fill our social media feeds, our news feeds, and our daily conversations with writers, speakers, videos, friends, and colleagues that share similar perspectives to the ones we already hold. Seeking out opinions and information that one does not agree with can be challenging. Yet, attempting to understand other perspectives and the role they have in our communities and country is important to our future. This season I’ll continue trying to broaden the media, opinions, and beliefs I encounter.

Linked with breadth of perspective is the importance of asking questions. While it may be easier to direct difficult questions to people one disagrees with, it is just as important to make challenging inquiries of those that are like-minded. In turn, this can broaden perspectives, strengthen ideas, and help make communities stronger. Growth cannot occur without difficult questions.

Finally, as a new school year starts, and with an election only weeks away, Reconciliation is also at the front of my mind. While it does not appear as often as the economy, jobs, or foreign affairs in election coverage, I feel Reconciliation is a crucial topic, and have been trying to be more aware of it in my professional work. Hopefully I can continue to build on this in the months to come. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission held its closing events in Ottawa this year, May 31-June 3. Many years of hearings and testimony around Canada’s residential school system resulted in 94 recommendations. For more information on the Commission’s work you may want to visit the TRC website, or read, listen and watch media reports on the Closing Event (I recommend this one, both article and sound files, from As It Happens).

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is almost upon us, but October 19 will be forty days away – plenty of time to broaden perspectives, ask questions, and consider Reconciliation. Wherever you find yourself on Tuesday, or in the weeks and months ahead I hope you are able to try new things, and build on areas you also feel are important. All the best in the seasons ahead – be sure to vote!

Thank you – merci.
Take care,
À bientôt,
IR

Previous Labour Day Posts: (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Eve of Tuesday 2013

This is the 7th annual post for this time of year.

Admittedly, this space has been rather reticent in the past year. While there has not been much new writing there has been plenty of life going on, and plenty of stories being lived out, and shared. I have had many ideas for posts, and a few were even started in the past 12 months, but it seemed as if the next challenge, adventure, or a different potential post kept creeping up to prevent any writing from actually getting completed. I have not felt any discontent, as I continue to feel this space has a worthwhile existence. Thus, writing here has only taken a brief hiatus, and with the start of a new year – the day after Labour Day – I have hopes that the break is ending.

Those familiar with previous Labour Day posts (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012) know that tomorrow typically marks the beginning of a new cycle in my life, as it does in many of yours. In reflecting on this past year, it seemed that story telling played a prominent role. This realization reminded me of Thomas King’s words: “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are”.

When I first read his phrase some years ago it struck a chord that continues to resonate to this day, and since that time I feel as though how I interpret, take in, share, and participate in stories has been evolving with much deeper meaning. Stories are multi-sided. Stories have conflict. Stories have hope. Stories have tragedy. Stories have redemption. Stories have love. We live stories. We are stories.

I am appreciative of the amazing storytellers I have in my family and as friends They are continually contributing to, and improving on, how I tell stories, and how I help others share, interpret and take-in stories. This is of no small importance, as stories fuel our inspirations, teach us lessons, build a sense of connection and belonging, and at the same time provide opportunities for creativity and individually. I am excited about how my growth with regards to stories will continue in the year to come.

As is typical, I will take this Labour Day post to encourage you to look around at those in your life, and be ready to offer them support as we take on new challenges, or expand on old ones in the year ahead. In other words, consider what type of character you will play in the stories being lived out right now. Even periphery characters can offer positive values, and support to a story. What type of character will you be in the stories being lived alongside and among your own personal story?

This year we will have the Counting Crows take us in to the Tuesday. In just over a week it will be the 20th anniversary of the stand-out album that featured this memorable song. The storytelling aspect of the tune was also mentioned in a previous post, I Was Down at the New Amsterdam.

Take care,
Peace and love – à bientôt,
IR 🙂

Eve of Tuesday 2012

This is the 6th annual post for this time of year. Previous entries may provide some background understanding and more complete explanation of some points mentioned below. They can be found here: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011.

This Labour Day weekend has been filled with family, friends, traditions and celebrations. All of these are connected closely with a common theme of previous Eve of Tuesday posts: support.

In addition to support, those closest to us also offer perspective. Sometimes the perspective can be agreement and affirmation. Other times, those who care about us can offer differing perspectives. An obvious example is the differing perspectives on this time of year. It has been suggested here multiple times that the Tuesday after Labour Day marks the beginning of a “new year”. There can be many other perspectives on when the “new year” occurs most naturally. Learning and growth can happen through changing one’s perspective. This does not mean that decisions, values, attitudes and practices need to change when entertaining every different viewpoint. Often, prior knowledge and beliefs can be strengthened by coming to understand different views.

As Labour Day drifts away, and we begin a time of year that is filled with new beginnings for so many of us, it may be time to reflect upon the importance of perspectives – those that are common to our own, and those that are different.

At this point, I am afraid I will repeat much of the same expressions that have been written in Labour Day posts of the past. However, it seems that these sentiments only get stronger each year, so please forgive the reinforcement. It has been an amazing year, filled with adventures for all of us. The past year has finished with a summer that was busy, and full of stories from friends that still beg to be told.

As usual, it is a time of year where there are thoughts of appreciation. I am extremely grateful to those I shared adventures with during the past year, and those who supported me. I am all too fortunate to have many people in my life who broaden my perspective and make me a better person. In turn, the summer has finished with reconnecting and celebrating. Thanks to J, D & family for continuing with a long standing fun tradition. Thanks to L, R & their family for continually being so welcoming. Thanks to E & T for continuing with a new tradition.  Congratulations to A & T, and a special thanks to them for hosting a wonderful evening filled with caring people!

Finally, as this season of renewal gets underway I wish us all the best. As always, there are new challenges, adventures, and perspectives that await. A particular note and word of encouragement go to Kenyan colleagues who are presently amidst a challenge.

The years are passing a little quicker now – I’m sure of it. No matter what the challenge or adventure ahead, let’s face each of them with youthful energy, and caring support of others. In so doing, let us hope and expect caring support in return…. and as the autumn advances, take the time for some smiles, and maybe a little dancing.

Below, Death Cab for Cutie take us out this year. Have a great Tuesday – no matter what your perspective!

Take care,
Peace and love – à bientôt,
IR 🙂

ps – thanks to R. for the edits.

145 for Canada

A couple of years ago I wrote about Canada working towards something. A great deal has happened in our country, and in our world since then. There have been questions, and debates about the future direction of our country. Nevertheless, I do not believe we are on the wrong path. We may not always make the perfect choices, and sometimes we may stumble backwards, but generally we are moving in the right direction. We are moving towards equality, towards responsibility, towards respect. There is still much to be done in all these aspects, but I remain so very grateful, and feel so very fortunate to call this country home.

In March I had the pleasure of attending a wedding outside of Montreal. In attendance were people representing all regions of our vast nation: Pacific, West, Central, East, Atlantic, and North. There were so many differences, but it was all so very Canadian, very together. As I prepare to spend time away from Canada I start to notice those things that I will proudly reference as I travel. In many cases, it is our people, and our potential that I will reference the most. While there is still much work to be done on this project we call Canada, there is a lot of hope we will get there.

Enjoy your holiday! Celebrate that which makes us different, celebrate that which can bring us together, and let’s work on our potential!

Peace Tower
Dominion of Canada

Surprise Post

A surprise post arrived yesterday. (Post being a piece of mail in this case, and not a piece of interweb writing). I opened it up to discover two things. First was a copy of Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin’s Three Cups of Tea. Second was a card addressed to me that contained some very specific instructions. I grinned wholeheartedly, and felt great inside. It was not the contents of the post that gave me such a positive feeling, rather it was the intent, action, and caring nature behind it all.

Specifically, my good friend, C, wrote me a very nice card to express that we had not spoken in a while, yet she truly valued our friendship. In order to spur some future communication she suggested an experience that we could share, even though we may not meet up again for a while. She had purchased two copies of the aforementioned book, sent me one and kept the other. Her instructions were for us both to read the book by July 2012, and then meet to discuss. It is certainly my hope that we will finish and meet up before that, but it’s nice to have a generous time-line along with a specific deadline.

I also value my friendship with C and I am completely taken with this surprise concept. I love getting post, I am a big fan of sending cards, and I definitely need to read more. Combine these all with the fact it came from someone so caring and positive and I could not help but feel so incredibly fortunate. Her unexpected act of caring made my day! It made me smile. It made me pick up the phone to call her, and then to call some other old friends I had not spoken with in a while. It also appears as though it got me writing here again.

I look forward to the book, as it is something I have only heard a little bit about, and the topic – building schools through foreign aid – is one I have heard various sentiments on. More importantly I look forward to sharing an experience with someone so intentional and caring.

Perhaps you have done something similar, or would like to try an experience like this? I encourage you to give it a go. I know I will be – don’t forget to check your post box!

January 15, 2012

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” – Martin Luther King Jr.

The question which was asked some while ago has gone without written response for quite a time. This does not mean it has not been on my mind, and it may well be on yours also. It just has not been written on since 2010. In truth, there has been a serious lack of writing on any and all topics on this blog of late. Perhaps that is a sign. Of what exactly I am not sure. Perhaps I have been off engaged in more pressing and meaningful tasks. There have been many topics that I have wanted to write on, a few even got started, but nothing substantial has been posted in months. Yet, the question still rings, many questions still ring. If there is one thing that has become more apparent in the past year, is that we are not really in search of the right answers, we are in search of the right questions. Thus, there are no doubt many more questions to be asked.

This date in history usually gets me pondering and reading, and I came across one of my favourite quotes, which also contains a question. Thus, King’s question goes above. It is an open ended question – much better than one requiring a yes or no response. I do not doubt we would find ourselves to be good people, and good enough more often, if we asked ourselves this question more often.

King would have been 83 today.