Without loyalty to one’s own, criticism simply a destructive weapon

A casual scan of academic journals would make an alien reader think Canada is a country committed to genocide and soaked in patriarchal white supremacy

Without loyalty to one’s own, criticism simply a destructive weaponI consider cheering for humans a matter of loyalty. So much so that I’ll cheer even when I know our species is going to lose – which is what happened at the end of War for the Planet of the Apes, easily the summer’s most misanthropic movie. If it wasn’t for my loyalty to humanity,…

An open and shut case: how the backfire effect closes minds

When evidence contradicts our deeply-held beliefs, we tend not to change our viewpoint but to become more entrenched

An open and shut case: how the backfire effect closes mindsIt’s interesting how open minded people are to the opinions of others. News programs regularly present debates that end with people coming around to opposing perspectives or at least agreeing to respectfully disagree. Of course, I’m only kidding. In fact, we see conservative news programs where hosts shout down guests with opposing views. We see…

Bridging the gap that Trump has created

Let’s try to do what Trump doesn’t. Let’s open our hearts and minds and try to grow together

Anyone who reads social media threads, visits online news sites, or follows old media like TV and print news probably finds themselves in one of two camps: you either love Donald Trump or hate him. Comments on the sites of the media I follow (Washington Post, New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, the New…

Treating everyone the same is bad for learning

The solution is not to opt for the lowest common denominator but instead to expand the levels of genuine school choice for students and parents

Treating everyone the same is bad for learningThe best teachers, the best schools, and the best education systems have caught on to something that parents already know: treating everyone the same works against growth and development. A small grassroots coalition called One Public Education Now (OPEN) is calling for the elimination of the separate Catholic school system in Ontario, claiming that doing…

The problem with kindness – and its vast potential

Once we decide to be kind, we find ourselves experiencing belonging. This is what caregivers, paid or unpaid, can teach the rest of society

The problem with kindness – and its vast potentialIn 2004, the effects of our son’s disabilities spiralled into serious illness and constant pain. As a caregiver and mother, I was raw and vulnerable – it was the worst of times. I remember saying to doctors and family members, “I need you to be kind to me. I really need that.” The problem with kindness…

When in Rome … the value of gestures of respect

Not only does following St. Ambrose's advice eliminate cause for offence, it opens eyes to the diversity of belief and practice that informs the lives of others

When in Rome … the value of gestures of respectWhen in Rome, do as the Romans do. St. Ambrose, who was bishop of Milan in 387 AD, gets credit for the saying. He was responding to a question from St. Augustine. Augustine’s mother Monica, who had travelled from Rome, noticed that Christians in Milan didn’t fast on Saturday, as was the custom in Rome. She…

The beautiful, reaffirming cycle of kindness

Being kind to others doesn’t mean we agree with them. It means we’re confident in who we are and aren’t threatened. It means we understand the big picture

The beautiful, reaffirming cycle of kindnessThe ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Kindness is indeed a powerful force. Regardless of how talented we may be, kindness increases our value. Former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is bound for the Baseball Hall of Fame – for…

Civil law under attack from new and powerful enemy

The disproportionate impact of activists through social media could swamp legally-held rights and trample on centuries of legal history

Civil law under attack from new and powerful enemyOf all the great cultures of the world, the West stands out as the only major civilization that established a solid foundation of civil law. Other cultures had rules, of course. All societies establish social order based on codes of behaviour. But in other cultures, these codes were loose and subject to the whims of…

What’s the big deal about volunteer work?

Our society is filled with organizations that need volunteer help. And it is both fun and ennobling working for the common good

What’s the big deal about volunteer work?I keep hearing from older volunteers that it’s getting harder to find younger folks to volunteer for civil society board work. When I tell people I’m on five boards, I often get asked, “Why do you do it?” Even my almost-95-year-old mother asks, “Do they pay you for all the volunteering you do?” I have…

America’s entrenched social chasm: revisiting the King riots

We're doomed to repeat cycles of anger as long as we live side by side without ever having the first inkling of what life is like for others

America’s entrenched social chasm: revisiting the King riotsTwenty-five years ago, in the spring of 1992, I first experienced what has since been called “two Americas.” I was fresh out of the insulated world of university and living in Los Angeles. I didn’t know I was about to have a front-row seat to the social disconnect and divide that can exist between citizens sharing the…