Trump is a case study in bad leadership

Good leaders respect themselves and others, listen, celebrate differences of opinion and understand that winning means creating circumstances where everyone benefits

Trump is a case study in bad leadershipMany people have criticized Donald Trump’s actions in recent months, yet he still received more votes than any losing presidential candidate in American history. Many clearly think he’s a great leader. Perhaps Trump is the Vince Lombardi of presidents. The legendary football coach is known for having said, “Winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.”…

To protect democracy, we must protect local media

Our 21st-century reliance on tech giants to supply us with information has resulted in fake news, clickbait and polarized societies

To protect democracy, we must protect local mediaIt’s not news to say that our consumption of media has changed dramatically in the 21st century. Perhaps it’s time to take a step back and look objectively at the impact of these changes and begin thinking about how our media can be improved. For most of the 20th century, the media was controlled by…

The truth has a way of making you feel better

There’s a correlation between social activism and happiness. But which comes first?

The truth has a way of making you feel betterAmerican educator and philosopher Cornel West said, “If you are always trying to do something for a cause bigger than you – connected with serving others – then it’s hard to be guilty.” I can’t listen to West without feeling inspired and joyful, yet he’s not a man who compromises the truth when he speaks.…

A child’s bad behaviour is what they do, not who they are

As a teacher, I have never worked with a bad child but I have seen a fair amount of bad behaviour

A child’s bad behaviour is what they do, not who they areIn the early 20th century, Edward Flanagan, the founder of Boys Town said, “There are no bad boys. There is only bad environment, bad training, bad example, bad thinking.” Modern research is proving Flanagan correct. According to York University researcher Stuart Shanker, children often misbehave due to the stress that they feel. If we remove or…

The year the world finally said, ‘Enough is enough!’

It’s difficult to call colonization and the theories that perpetuate and justify it to this day anything but the sinful antithesis of love

The year the world finally said, ‘Enough is enough!’The year 2020 has been like none other. Not only has the world been impacted by a devastating global pandemic, we have finally begun to honestly reckon with the negative impact of colonialism. Boston College moral theology Prof. Mary Jo Iozzio recently stated, “The present state of dis-ease in the United States stems from centuries…

Why being wrong can be a good thing

Life is not about always being right, it's about being on good terms with others, and willing to listen and learn

Why being wrong can be a good thingOne of the great joys of being human is that we are always learning, but that often requires keeping an open mind. In fact, we often find that we're wrong – even if we don't like to be told we're wrong. This normally brings a defensive reaction from us and we become argumentative. However, if we want to…

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?

Corporations have created a structure that’s unsustainable on political, economic, environmental and even spiritual levels

What happens when capitalism lacks a soul?In recent decades across the globe, the super rich have been getting richer while the middle class shrinks. This is a danger not only to our economy but to democracy itself. Unfortunately, while millions of people have lost their livelihoods during the COVID-19 pandemic, the richest of the super rich have seen their assets balloon.…

How to raise a generation of moral, courageous rebels

Personality and upbringing play a significant role in developing moral character, but certain aspects can be taught

How to raise a generation of moral, courageous rebelsThe primary goal of teaching Social Studies in British Columbia is “to give students the knowledge, skills and competencies to be active, informed citizens who are able to think critically.” We want to produce students who can think for themselves and have the moral courage to advance our society in an ethical manner. Accomplishing this…

A guide to looking beyond the COVID-19 crisis

A guide to looking beyond the COVID-19 crisisThe world is going through difficult times. COVID-19 is not only testing us physically, it has created an economic crisis for many. And it’s taking a psychological toll on all of us. When facing challenging times, I’ve found that certain resources always provide hope and a way forward. Viktor Frankl wrote his classic Man’s Search …

Attacking activists doesn’t make them wrong

Life doesn't always go well for those who challenge the powerful

Attacking activists doesn’t make them wrongAmerican intellectual and longtime social activist Noam Chomsky has been described by a term that’s deeply offensive: a self-hating Jew. There’s nothing hateful about Chomsky. He’s a sojourner of truth and a voice of reason. In a recent interview, Chomsky talked about the roots of his activism. He was brought up in an educated Jewish…

Shaking off colonial shackles no easy task

Shaking off colonial shackles no easy taskWhen studying historical documents, it’s fascinating to observe that regardless of how a statement was received at the time it was delivered, messages of truth, integrity and greatness endure through the ages. My French class and I recently examined two speeches of note that were made on June 30, 1960, the day the Congo won…

Freedom and responsibility two sides of same coin

Freedom and responsibility two sides of same coinPsychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl made many trips to the United States. He appreciated the sense of freedom experienced by Americans, but added, “I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” Freedom and responsibility seem to mean different things to…

Lose sight of justice and society starves

Trump poured gasoline on the flames of misogyny and racism and put the lives of millions of people at risk

Lose sight of justice and society starvesAmer Zahr, a teacher of Islamic law, points out that while eating pork is forbidden, it’s allowed out of necessity in cases of extreme hunger. Zahr is also a Palestinian-American comedian, and in a recent monologue, he stated that in the 2020 presidential election he chose ham over starvation. He has a point. Much of…

The return of the Armenian Genocide must be stopped

Putting the health of the people in the South Caucasus at risk puts us all at risk. Diseases spread and mutate rapidly in refugee camps

The return of the Armenian Genocide must be stoppedWhen teaching history, it’s rare that an issue more than 100 years old becomes a current events lesson, but that’s what happened as I began teaching about the Armenian Genocide. The Ottoman Empire is responsible for the death of 1.5 million Armenians, primarily under the cover of the First World War. The empire collapsed after…

The beauty of secularism

The beauty of secularismIt’s disturbing to learn that someone in the same profession was murdered while walking home from work. Samuel Paty, who taught a curriculum similar to mine, was beheaded by an extremist outside of Paris on Oct. 16. Paty presented material in previous weeks as part of a study of freedom of speech that some found…

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomers

Someone said, ‘Greed is good’ and we repeated it. But the only thing that matters when you die is your legacy

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomersI have to apologize to the youth of the world for the state we find ourselves in. Yes, great things have happened in my lifetime. We watched the fall of the Berlin Wall and we have taken some steps in the progress of human rights. But the legacy of the baby boomer generation leaves little…

The people versus Donald Trump

When a leader suggests he will subvert the democratic process, voters have recourse. We’ve seen it in the Philippines and elsewhere

The people versus Donald TrumpAn apocryphal story circulated in the Philippines in the early 1980s of a dinner party conversation between President Ferdinand Marcos and Catholic Bishop Jaime Sin. Marcos reportedly said, “I really admire those Americans. They know the results of their presidential elections the day of the election.” In response, Sin reportedly said, “Well how about us…

It’s time we all stood up for Julian Assange

What message do we send dictators and the people who live under their tyranny if we don’t have the courage to live up to our own ideals?

It’s time we all stood up for Julian AssangeIt’s very rare to hear Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson and scholar Noam Chomsky agree on anything but a largely underreported topic brings both ends of the political spectrum together: the Julian Assange affair. In a recent interview, Carlson’s guest Glenn Greenwald pointed out that efforts to silence Assange go back to the administration of…

We are witnessing the demise of the American empire

We are witnessing the demise of the American empire“We are witnessing America as a failed social experiment,” Ivy League philosopher Cornel West has said. West is not alone in this assessment. Numerous scholars are expressing similar concerns, including University of British Columbia professor Wade Davis, who recently published The Unraveling of America in Rolling Stone magazine. Are we really seeing the end of…

Finding the truth when the media has an agenda

Finding the truth when the media has an agendaDeception and dishonesty aren’t new. When sending his disciples out into the world 2,000 years ago, Jesus gave the following advice: “I am sending you like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” People have always told lies to promote their agendas and to protect their economic interests.…

Diversity of ideas leads to better solutions

The great are those who strive valiantly, those who are willing to learn from their mistakes and try again

Diversity of ideas leads to better solutionsIt’s a myth to think we’re only successful if we achieve our goals. The key to happiness is not only to have goals that are significant to us, but to dare greatly to achieve them. Former American president Theodore Roosevelt said: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how…

Racism is arbitrary and pointless

We don’t have to look hard to realize many of our relatives have been victims of racism. If we live in comfort and freedom, it’s only because we’re lucky

Racism is arbitrary and pointlessI’m outraged as I write this. Yet another Black American, Jacob Blake, was shot in front of his children, in broad daylight and in cold blood by a white police officer. Miraculously, he survived, but it’s unlikely he will ever walk again. I’m also very inspired by the myriad of professional athletes refusing to play;…

Laughing in the face of despair and tragedy

Humour breaks down walls that divide us and builds empathy and understanding. It’s one of the most amazing, enriching aspects of being human

Laughing in the face of despair and tragedyHumourist Paul Lowney said, “Laughter has no foreign accent.” I recall listening to Polish friends banter in their own language. Although I didn’t understand what they were saying, I found myself smiling. When one of them asked why I was laughing and whether I understood what they were saying, I simply said, “No, but you laugh the…

The dangers of uncritical media consumption

Do we really believe that deception, dishonesty, manipulation and lack of accountability lead to peace, happiness and meaning in life?

The dangers of uncritical media consumptionIf we look honestly at the media that much of the world consumes, we shouldn’t be surprised that we’re living in a time of crisis. One of the goals of education is to develop the capacity for critical thinking in young people. This doesn’t mean we condemn anyone else, but it does mean we learn…

Celebrity status can be a catalyst for change

NBA and WNBA players show what happens when talented people from all over the world come together in an environment of mutual respect

Celebrity status can be a catalyst for changeIn times of crisis, true leaders step forward. While effective political leadership has largely been absent, professional athletes – primarily players in the National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association – have demonstrated that celebrity status, when embraced with a sense of responsibility, can be a catalyst for global change. The examples of selfless…

Looking on the bright side of self-improvement

Don't blame yourself for your problems, just recognize your giftedness and the responsibility that this entails

A song popularized by Monty Python tells us to “Always look on the bright side of life.” But is this always the best advice? A study published by the Association for Psychological Science says this strategy only helps bring happiness if we're dealing with a situation we have no control over. In situations we do…

The quest to find the essence of your being

There’s infinite potential in each person and we’re at our best when we’re learning from one another

The quest to find the essence of your beingAuthor and motivational speaker Simon Sinek tells us that as individuals, groups or corporations, it’s essential we start by understanding our why. This isn’t simply a question of why I go to work. It’s not a question of what I do. It’s a quest to find the essence of my being. I’ve always loved teaching…

Why does the culture of impunity persist?

When words that demean others are spoken with impunity, they lead to further infringements on our dignity and rights

Why does the culture of impunity persist?The greatest danger to our way of life is the culture of impunity we’ve created. It’s an assault on truth and human dignity. This became very clear in a discourse between two members of the American House of Representatives. Ted Yoho verbally accosted and demeaned Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for expressing her views on controversial issues and…

Stop jumping on the WE-bashing bandwagon

The charitable organization has done a great deal of good. And there are plenty of other issues that are far more problematic

Stop jumping on the WE-bashing bandwagonIt’s time to end the sensationalism about WE Charity. It’s true that the administration of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government showed a lack of judgment by handing the responsibility for a government-funded volunteer program to an organization that several members of the government and their families have been involved in. The federal Liberals have not…
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