Shut Up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Oh my.

I yelled ‘SHUT UP’ at the kids this morning.  I don’t normally.  It’s not something I like to do and it’s certainly not something I plan on doing often, but they were in an emotional, not to mention LOUD, gridlock over a situation that neither could let go of.  They bickered so angrily and loudly… it was going nowhere.  A1 was resolute that he was right and that only his logic made sense, while A2 was progressively getting more and more frustrated, his fists were poised to beat his older brother, his tears were spilling out of his eyes and he was shaking with anger.

It was not pretty.

It would not stop.

It was so incredibly loud.

I yelled “shut up!!!!!!!!!!” which did shut them up, but of course my children reminded me that my yelling shut up at them was sort of not the best way to handle things, which I acknowledged.  It took all my energy and headspace to have them agree to hug it out and declare a truce until they returned from school.

I did piece together the situation: A1 had asked A2 to go in with him on a game.  $20 each.  A2 said okay, but then over time realized that the game was attached to A1’s account so all the earned V bucks (I’m saying this, but I don’t really know what it means) goes to A1’s account.  A1 feels like this was the deal and the deal was that A2 would get to play whenever he wanted.  And that he would have never purchased the game all on his own.  But A2 felt like he paid half but wasn’t really getting half, so he wanted his $20 back.  They could not and would not see each other’s point of view and just kept going round and round in circles.

So let me ask you, my dear readers (all 2 of you), what would be a good resolution?


Coincidentally, another mother was describing almost the same morning with her two boys and she had to take away their screen time privileges.  I shared their story with them and hinted that I could potentially solve this problem…  neither of them liked the idea that I might be able to solve their fight with a very simple idea involving getting rid of what they were arguing over…

P. S. We finally did reach one, whew, but it was not easy. It involved a lot of ‘trying to understand the other person’s perspective’ type of side discussions… a lot of humour… some analogies (‘so, if you guys bought a condo building together, each paying $20 million, does that mean A2 doesn’t get the rental income from the tenants?’ ‘yeah, but I would give him the rental income until he gets his investment back’)… walking through and testing out their logic (‘so in real life if you make a deal and realize you don’t like it afterwards, you can just get out of the deal?’ ‘yeah, but this is not real life’).


After Paris

I had no words and could not write for a week.  But the words have finally found me and here they are:

The media coverage of the Paris attacks brought home to me how far these extremists will go. My amazing diverse, international FB friends helped expand my knowledge a bit more about what has been happening in other parts of the world. Sadly, I’m still dreadfully under-educated about this, but I am trying to grasp the complexity of it and endeavouring to develop an appropriate strategy to contribute meaningfully to the conversation and the war. Because, yes, this is war.

While I didn’t feel comfortable changing my FB cover photo to reflect Paris or the French flag precisely because I felt deeply that there were countless others to sympathize with, I also recognize why there was a more natural tendency for us to react so strongly to Paris’ attack.

Paris represents our own international, busy, tourist-filled, diverse, multi-cultural, safe-ish, happy, innocent metropolis… Our Toronto or London or New York or Hong Kong or Tokyo. It’s a romantic destination! So many of us have dreamed of visiting or have already made that once in a life time trip. We’ve grown up seeing its famous landmarks in our favourite movies. Who hasn’t seen an imagine of young lovers kissing with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop?

It’s no wonder that the unexpected violence there elicited such strong emotional outpouring of love and shock. It was designed to.

Please let’s not judge negatively everyone who have responded that way. It’s natural. And it’s not intended as disrespect to the events happening in ‘lessor known, less understood’ parts of the world. We are woefully more ignorant of what’s been happening than we should be. “We don’t know what we don’t know.” But hopefully we have become more aware now.

Let’s take the opportunity to educate ourselves and others about what is really happening. I need your help, my friends, to continue to share the perspectives, the stories, the photos, the analyses, the pain, the hopes, the heroism and the way forward.

Let us make no mistake, war was declared in a big way. Innocent bystanders have been thrown in the mix. All our ‘safe from a distance’ cities are vulnerable. Our planes, schools, churches, mosques, restaurants, malls and stadiums have been brought into the deadly war zone. Strict security measures, whether warranted or not, whether impactful or not, will be implemented, enforced and inflected on all of us. We will be asked to give up our freedoms and privacy to help “make it safer” for us all. 99.9999% of us will be subjected to useless token safety rules like taking off our shoes… Worse yet, it will become infinitely harder for those escaping from that insanity to find safety and hospitality here, where they are seeking refuge. Even worse, our very own neighbours and friends will be experiencing misplaced bigotry, targeted for having something in common with the ones whose goals are to divide us all.

It’s a first world problem that we only now have the slightest inkling of the challenges, fears, pain and understanding of our fellow human beings who live with extremists in their midst on a daily basis.

So what next? Conversation? Education? Debate? Understanding? Empathy? Love? No human left behind? No room for bullying?

What do we do on a daily basis to be on the right side of this insane War that none of us want?

Many of us have the luxury of being able to turn a blind eye to it all. Some of us need to carry on in our daily lives to stay sane. Quite a few have always been sharing with us the indignities happening around the world. Some will show us how we can help. A lot of us will be able to find the learning opportunities embedded in all the tragedies.

And… heroes will emerge who have been inspired to change the world. They know what needs to be done and they have no qualms about risking it all to do it.

Will you join me in enabling the heroes? We need them. We need you. We need us.