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:

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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 2014

This is the 8th annual post for this time of year, and the most direct.

To begin, I am incredibly thankful for a wonderful summer. It was filled with a momentous birthday, an engagement, nuptials, new babies, and plenty of adventure. There is a great deal of caring in our world and I was fortunate to be connected to a lot of it this summer.

The Tuesday after Labour Day is often a time of new beginnings, and fresh starts. This will not be the case for many people in British Columbia tomorrow. There are important issues being discussed, debated, and questioned with regards to the education system in our province. Thus, my message in this year’s annual post is simple, and direct: ask questions, and critique responses.

Please ask those in power to detail their vision of public education. Ask them to also explain their intentions and decisions. Do not accept responses that are lacking in meaning and substance.

Please ask yourself what type of education system is important for an inspiring, responsible, respectful and caring community. Share your thoughts with others, and let’s find our common ground to move forward, together. Let this be our new beginning.

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

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

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.

Eve of Tuesday 2011 (Transitions)

This post is now firmly an annual affair. However, the writing this year has been more challenging as there are a number of posts I have started in the past three weeks, but none have made it to completion. Thus, this post, somewhat unsuccessfully, bears the weight of those, while trying to stay true to the Labour Day theme established in previous years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010). The result is the following.

The Tuesday is nearly upon us and transition is in our thoughts and actions. Each Eve of Tuesday post in years past has made some reference to transition (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010), but this year the concept seems to be a particular focus. As you approach tomorrow’s renewal you likely have some thoughts and feelings of transition as well. The academic year, and sport seasons that so many of us follow, reach a point of change on this date or in the approaching weeks. As usual, it is important to take stock of where we have been. I know that so many of you have been on adventures again this summer. Some have left for new homes. Some welcomed new family members. Some went abroad. Some of you volunteered. Some of you set goals around health and fitness. Some of you spent quality time with family and loved ones. Some of you went into the outdoors. Many of us took risks, and experienced new adventures. Congratulations! I am so fortunate to know so many extraordinary people who strike out and engage in adventures and renewal! We shall carry our summer with us into the coming transitions. This includes carrying its victories, defeats, experiences of growth, celebrations, and trials. New jobs, new challenges, new schools, new teams, new relationships, fresh starts – all of these we will face with greater courage because of our summer, the past twelve months, and all the preceding years that have brought us to this point. We face times of transition not with mysterious strength, or merely depending on luck to steer us through unchartered experiences. Instead, we enter with the strength we have built through our past experiences, relationships, and previous transitions.

Perhaps one of the important factors of transition we are getting at here is growth. It is a topic that has been on my mind quite a lot lately. I was fortunate to go on an adventure this summer that allowed me to experience a completely new type of interconnected growth. In working with teaching colleagues from Canada and Kenya to further professional development, I experienced personal, social, emotional and professional growth. At the same time I witnessed, and was a part of other people’s growth in all of these areas, as well as the growth of community. However, I believe the effectiveness of this growth would not be fully realized if I was not able to capitalize on some transition time between that adventure, and beginning a new adventure tomorrow. The reflections, conversations, recuperation, and questions of that transition time have allowed the growth to fully set in. Now, as I transition into tackling the challenges and adventures of the next few weeks and coming year I know that I will call upon the new resources that this growth has provided. (The complete analysis of how growth and transition are interconnected is best left to another time otherwise this Labour Day post would turn into chapters).

For now, let us look towards tomorrow, the coming weeks, the twelve months ahead, and the excitement, nervousness and challenges that we are all no doubt faced with on some level. As usual, the foremost reminder is to be willing to turn to those around you for help. Times of transition are better managed with support. Further than this though, is recognizing what type of support you can give yourself. A few minutes ago I read an email from a travel mate – one who was an integral aspect of some much needed transition time I spent in London a couple of weeks ago. With the Tuesday and all the busy times of the autumn looming, a line in his email clearly reminded me to ask myself “What do I need?” It’s a question we should all be asking ourselves when we face transition, adventure, and challenges. It is not selfish to make sure we take care of ourselves. Often we remind each other “take care of yourself” “watch out for yourself”, but often we do not heed our very own advice – as more than one of you have reminded me recently. Transitions can be a costly event, but if we do not pay the price in taking care of ourselves during the time of transition – emotionally, physically, socially and mentally – then we will pay the price later in exhaustion, stress, or disorganization. The result will be an inability to be at our best, either for ourselves, or those we care about. In other words, at the time of transition, at the time of change, is when one should take the most care to ensure optimal health, and optimal growth.

Have a wonderful Tuesday. Take care of yourself and each other. I look forward to hearing about your coming adventures and experiences – please keep me up to date. I am excited about this year. While it may be sounding cliché, the words are true: we will accomplish a lot this year, together.

As has become the custom, some music will conclude our Labour Day post. Two songs this year. The first, a classic, speaks of courage, as that’s what we need sometimes to take care of ourselves. (The video also, begrudgingly subtly recognizes the Cup champs). Then, even with the holiday ending for many that read here, the second song reminds us to have fun!! (Come’on youz gotz to smile at playing with baby animals, regardless of the safety factor). After all that blah blah blah above, it’s a good take home message for tomorrow and beyond: have fun!

The Tragically Hip and Wezzer take us out then…

Peace and love – a bientôt,
IR 🙂

Eve of Tuesday 2009


Sneaking Home

Originally uploaded by irober.

We’ve been favoured with seven days of September prior to Labour Day this year, yet here it is once again: The Eve of Tuesday. For many of us we sit at the cusp of beginnings, changes, and adventures at this time of year. As a result, and as I’ve mentioned before (and before), it seems a natural, and pertinent, time for a little reflection. Maybe not too much mind you, but just a little. We’ve pulled off a lot these past twelve months, and it’s interesting to think that many of the adventures of the preceding 52 weeks were set in motion, at least in some small way, during the days following Labour Day. Travel, relationships, sports, employment, school, and other adventures were all set-in motion a year ago. If you think back, can you recall any that made your past year special, challenging, or meaningful?

This type of post has become a bit of a repetitive annual affair, but some things deserve emphasis, especially as many of us have faced recent adventures and challenges. As the summer closes out, we look back upon the season that is often filled with play, travel, and other adventures. Others look back on goals completed, or milestones reached in the past season, and the past year. The start of September, the change of the season, allows us to realize just how much we have accomplished recently – most of it with each other. It’s also exciting to think that in the next few days and weeks the seeds will likely be planted for the adventures to come, or the near future will provide the setting, people, or tools to allow recently started adventures to come to fruition. As I sneak back into town, on the brink of The Tuesday, I find this long weekend has served as a reminder that it is our relationships that will be our most powerful ally – even if some are our greatest challenges – in the year to come after Labour Day.

As I sit and see today’s sun fade across the water and into the west, I smile when I think of what we will accomplish in these days after Labour Day – the new adventures to come, and so many of them still unknown. I am fortunate and thankful to have amazing friends that will be there in the adventures and challenges. Thus, the usual call goes out at this time of year. Be ready to help those who are lost in their challenges of the next 12 months. Yet, also be ready to turn to friends when you are lost or challenged – it will come, and not always in the form expected. However, that’s exciting, and if we didn’t open the door to the excitement of success and setbacks, then joy wouldn’t be able to come in. Be ready, be open, be friendly, and be a friend to your friends.

I might not be around these interweb parts so much this coming season, so two things. (1) Go to a Terry Fox run on Sunday. (2) I’ll wish you all the best now, and suggest that I might return with more regularity at some point. I’ll never be too far though, and for those of you who know where to reach me, please never hesitate to drop a line or give a ring. We’ll see you soon no doubt.

I’ll let the White Stripes take us into this next yearly cycle. A song filled with hope, smiles, friendship and a bit of the unknown – key characteristics for a successful run at the adventures that are ahead for us this time of year.

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