The power of asking a simple question

Some schools in Liberia are well supplied with materials because of the power of one Canadian student asking a simple question

The power of asking a simple questionTeacher and motivational speaker Jack Canfield tells us, “Take the risk to ask for whatever you need and want. If someone says no, you are no worse off than when you started. If someone says yes, you are a lot better off.” Following Canfield’s principle can benefit us and others. This lesson was taught to me by…

I stand with the Wet’suwet’en people

Divide-and-conquer tactics have been used by colonial powers for hundreds of years to get Indigenous groups to succumb to their wishes

I stand with the Wet’suwet’en peopleCanadians take pride in our identity as a peaceful nation that celebrates diversity. These are indeed wonderful ideals but to be authentic, they need to be lived. In 1990, a community in Quebec wanted to expand its golf course and claimed the right to traditional Indigenous lands. The Mohawk people blocked this process and when…

Why nice guys ultimately finish first, in business and life

Ethical companies understand the importance of a good public image, employee satisfaction and having repeat customers

Why nice guys ultimately finish first, in business and lifePhrases like, “It’s a dog eat dog world,” and “Nice guys finish last,” suggest it doesn’t pay to be kind or ethical. If you want to make it in this world, you apparently have to drive a hard bargain and look out for No. 1. Not true, say the statistics. According to the statistics, companies…

Keith Richards was wrong – the message does matter

There are many great teachers who instruct us on how to achieve true happiness and success. You're just not likely to find them in popular culture

Keith Richards was wrong – the message does matterI often reflect on where my beliefs come from. I can see they’ve changed significantly over time. As I’ve altered who I listen to, my thoughts and beliefs have changed, and I’ve changed for the better. In my teen years I was strongly influenced by popular culture. I loved the Who, the Rolling Stones, the…

Putting the Greta Effect to good use

The young Swedish climate activist has raised the public consciousness about our day-to-day energy consumption choices

Putting the Greta Effect to good useA new term has entered our language: the Greta Effect. This refers to the impact of Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish climate activist who was named the 2019 Person of the Year by Time magazine. Thunberg has made it clear that we’re in a climate crisis and the time to act to avert disaster is…

Learning how to be a good friend

Human relationships are complex. But there are some simple principles you can follow to build solid friendships

Learning how to be a good friendEverybody wants to have friends. Growing up, I often heard, “If you want to have friends, you have to be a friend.” To me, that statement always left more questions than answers. I was recently reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey with my students and I came upon the best…

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The wisdom of Star Wars

Trying implies eventually giving up but doing implies putting in the effort until the goal is achieved

“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” The wisdom of Star WarsStar Wars is one of the most successful movie franchises of all time. References to it are deeply embedded into our culture and the positive truths they bring to life can't be denied. This is most clearly expressed in the teachings of the Jedi, the mystical knights who bring peace and justice to the universe.…

Teach kindness and relationships will grow

Yes, it’s important to teach the core subjects. But the most important thing to teach is kindness

Teach kindness and relationships will growFeminist writer Emma Goldman said, “No one has yet realized the wealth of sympathy, the kindness and generosity hidden in the soul of a child. The effort of every true education should be to unlock that treasure.” No more challenging words have ever been written for educators. The relationships that educators have with students is…

Speak the truth and the truth shall set you free

Mental health professionals offer a public service to help us recognize the danger signs and risks of having a tyrant in office and how to disarm them

Speak the truth and the truth shall set you freeTyrannical leaders share certain qualities. In essence, they live under a tremendous fear of being overthrown. Through their actions, almost without exception, they inadvertently make this fear a reality. I know how fortunate I am to live in a free country. I will never forget my first experience of no longer having the freedom to…

Turning challenges into opportunities for success

But to successfully face those challenges, you need to know yourself and the opposition you face, and be prepared to grow and adapt

Turning challenges into opportunities for successIn the classic book The Art of War, Sun Tzu teaches about far more than war. He also teaches some of the key elements of a joyful and meaningful life. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the…

The art of setting goals for a new year

We’re successful when we’re working toward a goal, not only when the goal is achieved. The key is to write goals down and revisit them regularly

The art of setting goals for a new yearEarl Nightingale tells us that “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” This means we’re successful when we’re working toward a goal, not only when the goal is achieved. High school students normally have the goal of graduating. I love telling my students that by showing up each day and doing each assignment,…

How to make a New Year’s resolution that sticks

By turning resolutions into goals, writing those goals down, revisiting them daily and imagining yourself accomplishing them

How to make a New Year’s resolution that sticksBroadcaster and motivational expert Earl Nightingale tells us, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal.” Many of us come up with New Year’s resolutions every year. Unfortunately, we often end up frustrated and overly self-critical when things don't go as well as we hoped, and we don't reach our goals. How can we improve this…

We’re all equal but this doesn’t mean we’re all the same

May we always have the freedom to ask the difficult questions and the courage to seek the difficult answers

We’re all equal but this doesn’t mean we’re all the sameOver the years, I’ve found that being authentic is one of the most important qualities I need to display with my students. From time to time, this requires me to admit that I’m wrong. I once corrected a student who was putting on a stereotypical Indigenous accent. His reply was, “I’m part Indigenous, this is…

A life of honour, tradition and service to others

The story of Mary John is one of perseverance and resilience, and should serve as an example to all who read it

A life of honour, tradition and service to othersOne of the benefits of teaching is that I get to make the final choice with regard to the books we study in class. With a greater emphasis on Indigenous content in the new British Columbia curriculum, I was drawn to Stoney Creek Woman, the story of Mary John. The Stoney Creek Reserve, today called…

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for rousing us

Trump has inadvertently mobilized the American public and people around the world who believe in the rights of the common citizen

Thank you, Mr. Trump, for rousing usOur news feeds have been overwhelmed in recent weeks with the impeachment hearings of American President Donald Trump. Trump is charged with violating American laws, primarily the U.S. constitution. With regard to many of the accusations, Trump supporters point out that he’s not doing anything recent Democrat and Republican presidents haven’t also done. For the…
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