Do you remember where you were back in March? I can recall being at my fun, part-time job at an upscale boutique, and getting news that schools were closing and I had to close up shop and go home. It wasn’t long before people were hoarding toilet paper, arguing about wearing masks and personal rights,…
I have two children doing “distance learning” at home right now. My eldest daughter, 11, is relatively self-sufficient. She’s old enough to follow instructions, turn in her work online and email her teacher questions. She loves to learn and values the peace and quiet of her bedroom, so “homeschooling” has actually been pretty enjoyable for her.
“I like that we can play games, and the stories that the teachers read me, but I miss my teacher and my friends. Mom is a bad teacher. I would give her an F [laughing]. Mom is a good teacher!” – Levi, 5 “I like getting to spend lots of time with my parents! But I don’t like not seeing my friends, and I miss art class.” – Kira, 8
“[One of the] challenges has been deciphering the contrasting and sometimes competing messages we’re given from above,” says a high school English teacher. “The ministry will announce something, the board will interpret it, administrators will chime in, then the union will tell us something different, and we all shrug our shoulders and do our best to institute a messy, poorly streamlined set of directions.”
For me, Christmas will always mean baking. I grew up with a mom who made sure there were always homemade treats around, and Christmas meant triple the normal amount. I can recall so clearly my excitement when I saw Mom bring home the ingredients she’d be using over the next few weeks. One of my favourites was some sort of ball made with candied cherries, coconut and marshmallows. We also had mincemeat tarts, jam thumbprint cookies, pecan crescents, and (my dad and brother’s favourite) Scottish shortbread.
Did you know that loneliness is a bigger predictor of death than smoking cigarettes or inactivity? It’s also a huge risk factor for suicide – particularly among men.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among men, namely those ages 15-44, according to Statistics Canada; and in the U.S., white men over 65 die by suicide at three times the normal rate, and are eight times more likely to die by suicide than women in that age bracket. In the UK, 12 men die of suicide every day, and it’s the number one killer of men under 45.
A few weeks ago, I got a text from a close friend saying he was on the Burlington Skyway, the 40-metre-high bridge running between Burlington and Hamilton, Ont., and he was going to jump. It was 3:30 p.m. With two kids just home from school, I hesitated to call the police. But after this person didn’t return my texts or calls, I called 911. They dispatched cruisers to the area and started to search. After several hours of back and forth with the police, they let me know they eventually found him safe and sound. He had been bluffing. I was relieved, but angry.
“I think people are looking for a deeper experience of the Spirit moving,” said the Rev. Kristine O’Brien, from her office at Crieff Hills Retreat Centre. “They want to bear fruit, they want to connect. They’re seeking not just a cerebral faith, but an experiential faith.
The Toronto Children’s Ministry Conference was held at Wycliffe College, on the University of Toronto campus, Nov. 3. The event was packed to overflowing, with 369 people in attendance. I was there for the day, and while I can’t comment on every workshop (there were 28 to choose from!), the ones I did attend gave me lots to chew on as I think about the tweens I help lead on Sundays, and as I parent my own two daughters.
The facts are discouraging: one-third of all food produced in Canada is thrown out, every year, accounting for $31-billion worth of waste. This includes produce we bought at the grocery store and never used; food thrown out at restaurants; expired (but still good) produce, bread, etc., at grocery stores; and farmers who may destroy truckloads of fruits and veggies due to small blemishes or other imperfections.
Is there an agreed-upon idea of happiness? Can someone else’s idea of happiness work for you? Is it a never-ending endeavour? Can we ever be truly happy? How do we define happiness? How do we define meaningfulness?
In the midst of that storm, and while splashing and gasping in the depths, it was difficult to remember God at all.