Christmas Plans

Across North America, there is holiday planning happening. The pandemic has changed planning, but most people are still doing their best to eke out some pleasure from a period that is often considered one of the most joyous of the year. I hope everyone reading this is planning a happy holiday, but my heart will…

Children, Youth, and Poverty

Children around the world are growing up in poverty and this has only gotten worse during the pandemic. We sentimentalize childhood, but practically speaking, we do not provide children with the tangible support they need. A study completed in September 2020 by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) showed that there has been a…

Christmas People

My sister was a “Christmas person”. She was born on November 18 and her Christmas tree went up that day. She took it down, with many regrets, on January 18, her husband’s birthday. “It’s not as long as you’d think”, she’d say. This year, in the midst of the pandemic, Christmas will be special, and…

Thinking of the United States

I have resisted thinking about United States politics during the past three months, keeping in mind that we have our own political problems in Canada. But today is the day Americans have their election and I have many American friends, including friends who are doctors, and they are worried. Every one of my American friends…

Peony People

The pandemic has shown many of us that we can be homebodies. It has shown us that, when our homes are nourishing, welcoming places, we can thrive. When I think of people living well at home, I think of peonies. Peonies are a perennial plant that live happily in one spot for decades, even a…

Lonely Struggle

Think about these qualities a person can have: Personal resilience Self-reliance Rugged individualism These three character traits are often cited in North American colonial culture as the pinnacle of human performance. Using the same paradigm, a person with these qualities can face and conquer any struggle in life. This being the case, anyone who values…

Is it Necessary?

Away from the hospital’s stark pandemic décor, away from the school’s minimalist remnants of collegiate life, there is a tranquility that is unaffected by contagion. Squirrels are the busy ones here bustling cheerily through the gold of a Canadian autumn and the dark, dark green of the many evergreens that are the stalwarts of a…

Gambling

It’s so unsettled now.COVID-19 cases are increasing and experts and politicians are sending signals that are meant to deter us:“The second wave is here!”“The number of cases is the highest since May.”“There are outbreaks again in Long Term Care.”Political leaders are holding briefings of the kind we saw in March when fear was at its…

Women and Children First

A survey released last week is a reminder of how little women’s lives have changed. The Prosperity Project, in partnership with Pollara Strategic Insights, surveyed parents working outside the home in Canada and found that one third of women were contemplating leaving their jobs to attend to “home responsibilities” during the pandemic. Apart from being…

Masks

It is a lovely feeling to walk into a building that has been empty for months but is beginning to be repopulated for its usual function. In my case, this is a school, since I am now working in a school program housed within a local high school. As I walk through the hall to…