By Craig Funston
Last week we parked briefly on “Memory Lane.” Today we’re going to get moving, as we take in the sights (and sites) of a Canada I remember, stopping here or there for a brief discussion. There are too many places to visit, you might say. We’ll try to make three stops along the way.
I don’t expect you to remember what I remember, including the motivation for this particular column: My wife and I were blessed with yet another beautiful grandchild, Kieran Donovan Piper (Mosher) by name. It is bittersweet indeed: Sweet, for the joy that new life brings, and a healthy baby after two miscarriages; yet bitter, for the concern I have for his future in Canada.
It won’t be the same one I grew up in.
You may or may not agree with me, and, ironically, that’s okay…especially in the Canada I remember. Today? We have been poisoned with so much political correctness that we’re afraid to opine on anything anymore.
We can no longer stimulate minds or change hearts, because we might step on toes. To be sure, we need to be mindful of other people’s opinions: perhaps restrained, just not shackled.
Let’s start with education. The Canada I remember had a better grasp on education back in my day. I think there is a sincere yet misguided notion that, because we have more toys and tools, we’re better off today. I can’t buy that notion.
I would like to ask anyone in academia or business the following questions about the students we are producing: Can they think critically? Do they have a good work ethic? Can they take facts, interpret them accurately, then draw conclusions? Just exactly what is our educational system producing?
Where do I start? The textbooks back then weren’t so revisionist or relativistic, so wussy or wishy-washy. They dealt with facts, not feelings. Basic math, grammar, and history, were dealt with as concrete concepts.
The type of student back then (again, exceptions notwithstanding) was more focused. I speak as a student, an educator, and a parent. I still maintain that one of the greatest curses to modern education (for starters) is any electronic gadgets that kids use today. Kids may not be dumber, but they sure seem shallower and lazier, less responsible and less motivated.
Said gadgets have dumbed a lot of us down, disallowing any true student to investigate, analyze, and discover the joy of academic accomplishments.
Part of my personal educational vision is to get the basics well established, then steer the students into careers and trades for which they have a bent. This would include appropriate seat work, as well as work experience. If so, this would be a huge step towards balanced education.
And as I have said before, there are many exceptional teachers today, no question—and the same goes for some great students.
The Canada I remember was healthier. Today we are sicker, slower, and stouter. Back then, we washed our hands, but only when necessary; there was no obsessive-compulsive edict like there is today. Playing and eating back then were less complicated, less sanitized—and we lived to write about it.
We didn’t get vaccinated because we didn’t need to be vaccinated, just like we don’t today. There were safety measures then, just not as excessive and intrusive as today.
In the main, we were careful and care-free.
Back then, junk food was a rare treat; today it has become a staple in our diet–and we are suffering for it. There are different health crises today–with obesity being one of them, which contributes to a myriad of medical issues.
Some precautions are necessary, especially in the area of food purchasing, preparing, and processing. It just calls for a balanced, pro-active response today of both preventative medicine and healthy diets.
The Canada I remember believed in and supported families. Even the word “family” has been re-defined or even rejected. I am “old school”—for a lot of historical, social, moral, economical, and biblical reasons—and the Canada I remember functioned better when the traditional family itself was allowed to function better.
Home is the place where manners should be taught, obedience should be learned, character should be developed, and love should be felt. If the family unit is undermined, there is serious fallout for the future of the culture (I know, I know, you’ve heard all this before).
I have likely missed some differences that you had on your list; I know my list is endless, but my space isn’t. Lots of ranting today, and I don’t want to sound so negative. Next week we’ll move on to what’s great about the Canada I love.