Tag Archives: learning

Jack Layton – Helped us ‘Get it’

I joined the NDP party last Spring. Partially for the policy (I am a little to the left when it comes to politics) and partially for the leader – Jack Layton. Jack Layton passed away one week ago today. His impact to Canadian politics was honest, true and rooted in common values around equality. Listening to Jack was like being in college again. He helped me to remember the idealism of my college years. Whether Jack or his party could have led the country successfully is not a concern of mine. What I did care about was the passion, honesty and integrity he brought to the job. How can you fail with those three awesome qualities?

I was in Denver for a business trip last week. When I left in the morning the taxi wound its way through the side streets of the city. I travelled through a part of the city less known to tourists. I saw crowds gathering at food banks and drop in shelters. I saw their tired faces and large back packs that they carried with their entire life’s possessions. I saw the comradery that they all shared with each other as they lived each other’s reality. I sat there in the car and wondered what would it take for society to ‘get it’? I think Jack was on to something and I hope others saw it as I did. Thanks Jack for helping me to ‘get it’.

Here is an article that sums up Jack’s impact in his last letter to Canadians.

He couldn’t have said it better…..

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” – Jack Layton

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Life lessons in Music?

I get inspired from music.  I also believe I was largely taught many life lessons by music.  I remember when I got my first radio / cassette player.  I couldn’t have been any older than 6 or 7.  It was a silver, narrow upright model.  I can’t remember the brand name but I am pretty sure it was a no name model.  I tried to Google an image for a late 1970’s AM/FM cassette player but nothing familiar turned up (you get the idea I am sure).  

As a child, I listened to music incessantly; I remember Casey Kasem’s American top 40, local radio rock stations in Montreal and of course CBC (the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – public radio).  Many songs of course had themes of love lost, hard times, and others of personal triumphs.  I learned the words to many of those songs not knowing the meaning behind them.  As I got older, the words to some of those songs stuck with me and the meanings of them slowly revealed themselves as I matured and could relate to them. 

I made many road trips with my parents growing up.  Their car had an 8-track player.  It had a mixture of music ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to ABBA and was heavy on the country music side.  I remember singing along in the car to many country songs.


My son (age 5) now has his own MP3 player and he too listens to music a lot!  His night time routine is to play his music before he goes to bed.  I often hear it still playing long after he has fallen asleep.  I managed to find a picture of his player. 

 I find it remarkable how quickly kids pick up the words to song.  My son is in a French emersion school and many of his lessons are learning through music.  He learned the days of the week, his letters and numbers in French by singing them.  I can’t believe I remember this – but here is a an old clip from the TV show “Happy Days” that shows how some people learn better with music (10 minutes):

 I need to put more thought into his music list.  His playlist currently has a mixture of children’s song in English and French as well as a couple of Celtic and top 40 tunes.  I will post an update shortly with a list of his music – I also welcome any suggestions! 🙂

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