Saturday, November 22, 2008

Kids today.....

.... was the topic that came up yesterday when I was having lunch with my three favourite guys, my friends and colleagues Peter, Michael and Giuseppe. I'm not sure how we got there, other than the fact that we were outnumbered in Gino's Panini by a large number of 'tweens from a local school.

What we noticed is that kids today conduct themselves in an entirely different manner than we did at their age. Now, in our little lunch group our ages ranged from late twenties to late forties, and yet all of our experiences were the same, growing up. Of course, even the good little Sunday School kids got in trouble... when no one was looking. But the common thread was that we four all learned about respect in meaningful ways, some of which involved a swat on the backside. Some of us faced other very real punishments - it is amazing how much one ponders life when confined to a bedroom for any waking hours that were not spent at school for one week.

This is not meant to turn into a debate about corporal punishment, but rather an examination of what has changed in society? As a kid growing up in Mississauga, I would not have dreamed of failing to hold a door for an adult, give up my seat on a bus to an elderly person; my brothers would never wear their baseball hats in a restaurant, or while sitting down to a family meal at home for that matter. When our parents introduced us to an adult friend, we stood, extended a hand and said, 'nice to meet you, sir', and then asked permission to be excused from the room.

Really though, can we who are parents really roll our eyes and say with a sigh, "kids today...."?

One thing for certain is that our kids are definitely more worldly wise than I remember being. I see 12 year old girls in the mall, dressed like little pop stars with more glitter makeup and less clothing. Did their parents see them leave the house like this? I distinctly remember 12. I Was riding my skateboard and marvelling at the fact that I was faster than most of the boys on my street. I was playing softball and going swimming, and tobogganing at that awesome hill at Brookmede Public School.

Perhaps it was because I was not bombarded with the same images as kids today. Yet, do we really want our kids to be ignorant about the world around them?

Its a bit of a conundrum for me.

Another parent told me recently that my kids are the most polite and respectful children she's ever met. Should I be puffed up with pride, or should I be sad that their good behaviour is not the norm any more?

If I start t go on about the evils of: the Internet, overwhelming media noise 24/7, kids in front of video games and computers instead of outside playing, two parents at work for 12 hours a day... I'll risk sounding like a TV evangelist. But what's the answer?

I think that any of us who have kids today have to look no further than ourselves the next time we roll our eyes and say "kids today" when we see a table full of baseball clad kids eating lunch and carrying on like its frat night.

Then I turn on the news and watch how our elected representatives conduct themselves... well that's a whole different post, isn't it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Prime Minister Mom

Oh daugher is becoming a little me. Tonight she watched me responding to a post by one of my newer Liberal friends Dr. Sean Godfrey, and she wanted to know why I am not running for the leadership of the Liberal Party. Laughing, I explained to her that there were a number of reasons why that just wasn't possible, and she looked up at me with those quasi-innocent blue eyes and said "well, I kind of like Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff but I think you are nicer than they are, and we all know you could take on that loser Stephen Harper any day of the week".

My goodness, I had no idea that my highly partisan rantings, albeit not necessarily the most sophisticated in the political universe, were rubbing off on my kids. But apparently I demonstrate reactions of pure vitriol every time the current PM appears on my TV screen.

So, while I was writing this I paused and asked Lauren "Why do you dislike Stephen Harper so much?" Perhaps, and much to my delight, she actually pays attention to the news herself because her answer does not reflect anything I've ever said directly to her. Lauren's response was "I can't stand Stephen Harper because he spends 20 million dollars on businesses and he only cares about rich people. He doesn't care about the environment and he doesn't even believe in global warming and because of him the planet will be in danger and it will suck for my kids." Not bad for a 12 year old.

For now, while my opinion actually means something to my kids, they're all Liberal (with the possible exception of the middle guy, who keeps tossing around the Rhinos or the Marijuan party to just to try and get me riled up). I wonder how I'll feel when they get older, become educated, and form their own researched and thought out political beliefs? I should ask my dad - he's the father of a Liberal, a Green and a Conservative (who used to be an anarchist just for the heck of it and to tick Dad off).

Monday, October 13, 2008


I wondered about some of the names of the streets in our town. Some were obvious with only a passing knowledge of our Town's history: MAGANI Avenue for a former Mayor.
I've been of the misconception for some time that one does't have to be dead to be worthy of such an honour (Hudson, Roughley are the ones which immediately come to mind- which upon review I was proven wrong). I decided to embark on a personaly history lesson vis a vis the two volume offering of the BWG Historcal Society entitled Governor Simcoe Slept Here. I've yet to read it cover to cover, but browsing through its pages I've discovered some interesting history:

Thomas Alexander NELSON (1861-1898), proprietor of the Nelson Foundry in Bond Head.

Soldiers who bravely gave their lives in WW1 and WW2:

Henry AISHFORD; Matthew ARCHER; Charles TURNER; Bert and William WOOD; W.L. MELBOURNE

Frank KILKENNY, member of the School board in 1923.

The AVERILL family (Adam born 1858); Benjamin 1860-1920)

The BANNERMAN family, dating back to the late 1700's, early 1800's.

The CHURCH family, dating back to 1875

William Henry DAY (1871-1938), Teacher/Professor.

The DISETTE family one of the first settlers in the Village of Bradford.

The EVANS family, dating back to the 1700's

Eli and Elizabeth GARDNER settled in West Gwillimbury in the early 1900's.

The HUDSON family: George (1870-1928) had a farm on the 13th Line of West Gwillimbury)
There are many more.
All of this gets me thinking about my previous post about being an 'outsider'. Funny enough, the person who made that comment doesn't appear anywhere in the history books of BWG, which to me is infinitely amusing. More importantly, the town is moving forward and growing. People are moving here from Toronto. People are coming here from other countries. I think it is important to embrace change while at the same time respecting our rich history.
History is not stagnant. It continues with the passage of time. I hope I will make a meaningful contribution to the History of BWG.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Confessions of an "Outsider"

Its funny - when I first moved to Bradford I wondered "what the heck have we done?". Back in 1992 they really did roll up the pavement at 6pm every day. (I had been an accidental visitor in 1989 when I was travelling in a van load of fellow employees of Canada Law Book to a golf tournament in Innisfil. We stopped at the VI on the way back and I stood at the 'four corners' convinced that I had been transported into a movie about the ugliest hick town on the planet.)

You know, I think there's merit in the saying 'you only get out of something what you put into it'. I became more and more involved in the community. Eventually, I began a career in Real Estate and decided from day one that giving back to the community would be one of my top priorities.
Since we have 3 children, it made sense to financially sponsor their sports teams. What a better way to 'give back' than to help provide activities to keep our kids positively engaged and off the streets.
Bradford had truly become 'home' for me and my family. Imagine my surprise when, in walking my talk, I decided to have some printing done locally for advertising materials and had the most bizarre exchange. Upon informing the proprietor (ho has apparently lived in this town since The Bradford Times was delivered by roman paperboys on chariots) that even though the prices were slightly higher than I could procure elsewhere I felt it was important to support local businessess. Imagine my disbelief at the response: "What a refreshing attitude from an ousider". WOW I had no idea that 12 years of being involved in a community still classified one as an outsider.
Being confident about my role in our thriving community, I just let it go. I have great respect for the families who have helped to grow and shape Bradford into what it has become today, and I know that the combination of history and experience, along with fresh ideas and forward vision will help our Town become a better place for all.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Dedicated to Matthew I need something else to fill up my time. I guess I'll keep this up in my 'spare time' when I'm not busy being a wife, mother, real estate goddess, political animal, magazine editor/wannabe writer.

But I was reading through my brother Matthew Walker's blog I was inspired.

Now, Matthew's blog seems pretty sophisticated, well though out and all that. Fortunately I do not aspire to be anything like him... LOL

I think I'll just randomly rant and see where it takes me.