The foster mother

The foster mother
(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française)

We are blessed by the mother who gave up the child. – Lucinda Williams.

As an adopted father, that lyric makes me cry every time. My last two trips to the United States were to Burlington, Vermont and New York City. Both times we saw Lucinda Williams in concert and on both occasions she opened her show with Blessed, the song from which that line is taken.

The trip to New York also gave me the chance to see the 9-11 memorial. It was among the most moving experiences of my life. To see the memorial and to hear that song lyric...

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Malala and the triumph of good over evil

Many people wonder if human beings are fundamentally good or evil.

Most of us will acknowledge that there is a bit of both in the world. I agree but the quantity of each is not fixed in stone. Good and bad actions are forces that influence our collective mindsets.

Malala Yousefzai was shot by the forces of evil. We are not always in control of events in our lives but we are in control of how we respond to them. It would have been easy to capitulate and shake her head at the injustice of such an act. Instead she stood defiant in the face of adversity and steadfastly continued to fight for...

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Not forgotten

 

Photo by René Lortie

 

I have nothing more to add but in case you missed what I wrote five years ago, here it is:(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française) 

Today is the 20th anniversary of Marc Lépine’s rampage. Yesterday, I was in my car and heard two riveting interviews on CBC’s As It Happens. The first was with Nathalie Provost, who was shot by Lepine. The other was with Monique Lépine, Marc’s mother. I thought it might be a good time to re-post a column I had written on the 16th anniversary of the event. 

I don’t get paid to write the column in Métro and often wonder why I...

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I miss my Rolodex

Chances are pretty good that if you are under thirty you’ve never even heard of a Rolodex. Of course if you’re over fifty…there is probably one on your desk. (SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française)

I think of Rolodexes and manual typewriters whenever I think of how much my world has changed since I was a kid. More importantly I think about them whenever we see people who are highly resistant to change.

The stress of new challenges
The reason change is scary is because of our basic stress response. This mechanism is designed to protect us from harm. By feeling stressed or anxious,...

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I have a weird feeling about this!

Premonitions
(Voir plus bas pour la version Française)

I have a confession to make. Before I get on an airplane I think about it crashing and I imagine my family at my funeral. When my kids are out late, I imagine a car crash and think of what I’d say in their eulogy. Occasionally I feel an odd pain somewhere in my body and imagine myself getting bad news from my doctor.

Is there something wrong with me? Perhaps. But I bet you get similar thoughts as well. In fact I’m sure most parents get at least a fleeting thought of losing a child on a daily basis. The same goes for health. Almost...

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5

Troubled loners

(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française)

Life can be filled with moments of pure joy at times – the birth of a child, the warmth of love, the goose bumps felt when listening to music that inspires you – but unfortunately tragedy and grief are also part of the human experience. We witnessed this recently with the death of two of our soldiers. Seeing pictures of grieving loved ones and imagining children growing up without a father wrenches the heart.

Inevitably we start to look at killers and what motivates them. We can blame radical Islam, we can blame political forces, we can say...

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7

Je suis hyper-concentré… hé, regarde ça!

Je me demande si les hommes de cavernes ont déjà eu à s’asseoir pour écouter des professeurs de cavernes. Si c’est le cas, j’imagine qu’un certain nombre d’entre eux auraient reçu un diagnostic de trouble du déficit de l’attention (TDA), ou l’équivalent pour l’époque!

Je suis pas mal certain que si vous lisiez la liste des symptômes du trouble du déficit de l’attention vous croiriez en être atteints. En fait, à part quelques phénomènes, nous devons tous affronter ce genre de situation, parce que notre monde a changé, mais pas notre biologie.

Manger ou être mangé
L’être humain a évolué dans...

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11

Luka Magnotta, Schizophrenia, and the public’s perception of violence

It appears that Luka Magnotta’s lawyer will be arguing that his client is not criminally responsible in the murder and dismemberment of Lin Jun because he is suffering from Schizophrenia. I will wait until the evidence gets out before commenting on the specific case but since next week is Mental Illness Awareness Week I thought it would be a good time to address the question of dangerosity and the public’s perception of mental illness.

Schizophrenia is a serious illness that affects a person’s thoughts, perceptions and emotions. As such, it can have nearly as many manifestations as there...

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Blade gunner

What makes a man sleep with a gun under his pillow?

…and what are the odds that a tragedy will happen as a result?

People who live in a high crime area might think about what they would do if an intruder came into the house. Would a gun be a good way to ensure safety? Many people would think yes…

…and many people would be kidding themselves.

The only time having a gun makes you safer is if everyone else around you also has one. Thankfully we don’t yet live in such a world.

The fact is…
…people occasionally get angry enough to lash out at someone.
…people sometimes get scared enough to...

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10

I’m super focused on…hey, look at that!

I wonder if cavemen ever had to sit and pay attention to cave-teachers. I suppose if they did, a number of them would be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, or whatever the cave equivalent of ADD was in those days.

If you read the criteria for attention deficit disorder I’m pretty sure you’d swear you had it. The fact is, except for the occasional freak, we all struggle with it. This is because our world has changed but our biology hasn’t.

Eat or be eaten
Human beings evolved in a world where survival meant having to find something to eat on a daily basis. Hunter-gatherers spent...

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