Sunday, June 29, 2014

Being a “Yes” man...

Anyone who’s in the public eye knows the probability of being misjudged for a simple slip of the tongue or expressing an unpopular opinion. Having strength of character and being ethical are essentials when we throw our hat into the political arena or volunteer to serve the public.

In small towns especially, newcomers learn a hard lesson if they innocently comment about Mr. or Mrs. Anyone to a colleague or attendee at a public function. Familial relationships are complicated and close; gossip spreads like wildfire, so zipped lips will keep you out of hot water. At the boardroom table, where confidentiality is presumed, don’t count on it. There may be someone who wants to make themselves feel important – so inevitably a juicy fact or private detail is leaked.

At this particular time of year, the Classifieds section of local newspapers are peppered with calls for volunteers to join the Board of Directors for various groups who require governance as part of their Charter mandate. Stepping forward is not a trivial decision—there are legalities and liabilities to be clearly understood.

Being “sworn in” as a Director is not trivial. The work at hand will require commitment, homework is required to establish a clear understanding of the issues on the table at the meeting, and the courage to make your voice heard when the naiveté of others clouds clear thinking. At risk of appearing contrary either in discussion or when a vote is called by a show of hands, stand tall and take pride in not being a “yes” man.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Same time next year….

Last Sunday I was reading both in the newspaper and online, the gushes of remembrance about Father’s Day. Pictures were viewed and faded memories renewed, a time of fond reminiscences for many.

It’s been said that a woman should wisely observe how their lover’s father treats his wife – supposedly an insight into probability of their own experience ahead.
Sometimes a long-suffering wife tries hard to keep the atmosphere at home smoothed over and on an even keel. Little girls, since grown up, should ideally be able to recall happy times when daddy dandled her on his knee or ruffled her curls.

My own father clearly loved his three children. We each had different relationships of course and are lucky to have wryly amusing thoughts and reminders of him in our adult lives. I have to think hard about the number of years since my father died; it feels distant. Some days I miss being able to bounce around an idea or ask for his opinion—he was always both decisive and direct in his reply.

Our Dads are the hero figure we all want to look up to and revere. When little boys grow to manhood and often fatherhood, they strive for greatness too. Acknowledgement is intrinsic, affection and respect are reciprocal, and acceptance should be heartfelt, not perfunctory. Rifts and estrangements are numerous; if your Dad is alive and you know how to contact him, it’s not too late. Reach out and let him know, with kindness, that you thought of him on Father’s Day. Patching up relationships is a hard decision, but you’ll be happy with yourself if you at least take that first step. Next year you too may only have a memory.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Marking an "X"...

The hoopla and exhortations of provincial election candidates and their platforms will draw to a close on June 14th. There is no cause celebre that catches our eye though—too many people don’t think it’s worthwhile to cast their ballot.

Recognize the possibility that your vote can be a deciding factor! If the results in your polls demand a recount it could be just one or two ballots that effect a game changing result.

Young women whose name is on the Voter’s List for the first time may not realize how essential it is to make your opinion count. A century has not passed since women in Canada were given the right to vote – now it’s both a right and a privilege. Don’t scoff it off or swagger that the results don’t affect you – fulfill your responsibility as an adult and be proud of it.

Advance polling stations are closed at this time – and the polling clerks have seen a good turnout. Men and women who’ve already seen it all still make it a priority to respond. I watched yesterday as an elderly and frail man inched up the stairs and was carefully escorted to present his Notice and show identification. He then was accompanied by his wife to assist in marking his choice, eyesight obviously not quite adequate and his hand a bit unsteady.

Take time from your busy schedule to make your vote count by marking your X.