25 May 2011

Elizabeth Smart Interview

I am sure all of us are familiar with the story of Elizabeth Smart, if not go see the movie.

I just think she is a remarkable woman, who is an exemplar of overcoming and moving on after a tragic life experience.

In a world that makes it so easy to play the role of victim, and maintain that role, she is truly making, or has made the shift from victim to survivor.  If anyone in this world has a reason to "play" the victim card, she does.  But she doesn't, and it is just inspiring.

This is an interview done by the Salt Lake Tribune.  I admit, I have seen better recorded interviews at a high-school level. However, it is great to just hear her speak about her experience in France, her past, and what she is looking forward to.

24 May 2011

Are You A Puppet?

A former popular pop singer in Finland, Jonna Pirinen, challenging the music industry, pretty much saying that the industry controls the performers life.  How about we include the listener as well.  Is the listener a puppet?

Are you a puppet?

23 May 2011

Lindsey Stirling: Spontaneous Me Music Video

Of course I have to show off Lindsey Stirling's latest music video.  Especially since I love the principle of being spontaneous, or at least going with the flow, or as Sam Gladding calls it: Happenstance. Enjoy!

22 May 2011

Announcement: No Transition to Fatherhood Course This Year

After a great time and a lot of ground breaking last year in running my transition to fatherhood course.  I am, unfortunately, not offering the course this summer.

Just a couple reasons why:

  • This year I am playing a bigger role in a Winnipeg Harvest food drive.
  • I am taking a lead role in the changes occurring to Emmie Oddie's HomeFamily.net
I do plan on running this course in the near future.

I would like to thank CHEF for contributing to the course last year, and my mentor Debora for encouraging me to do it.

21 May 2011

Meet the MAHE President

It has become apparent to me that I must do a plug for the Manitoba Association of Home Economists President, Getty Stewart.

I've had the privilege in working beside her on the Public Relations committee for MAHE.

She has been a key motivator behind programs like Fruit Share and Farm 2 School.  She most recently took part in a Flash Mob at East Kildonan Mall.

Her hard work was recognized as she received the Healthy Living Award from the Reh-Fit Centre.  You can read her reaction to receiving her award here on her blog.

As a result she is featured on the cover of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authorities magazine, WAVE.  Flip to page 20-21 for more.

Great job Getty!!

You can follow Getty on Twitter @GetGetty, or check out her blog on gardening or recipes, or her and her husbands motivational speaking website.

20 May 2011

The Importance of Relationships to our Children

I was recently exposed to Gordon Neufeld, PhD, a developmental psychologist from the University of British Columbia.  I was watching his Relationships Matter DVD with a colleague.  I am just going to touch on one of the many points Neufeld touched on.

Neufeld brought up a study where kids, who were sitting on their moms lap, had “hot spots” in their brain while learning math.  However, when these kids were learning math and sitting a lab assistants lap, there were no “hot spots”.  It was determined that these kids developed their “hot spots”, a spike in the spot of the brain showing an interest in the subject of math, because they were sitting with their mom, someone they trusted.  Someone they had a relationship with.  The conclusion was made that kids learn better when they are learning from someone they trust.


Read the rest of the post on Notes on Parenting.

18 May 2011

What is "The Great Canadian Life"?

On my taxi ride home from the airport, I engaged the driver in conversation.  Probably something they are not used to.

A good portion of taxi drivers are immigrants, and I like to talk cricket with them, because there is no one around for me to talk cricket with at home.  Also, I think it is a surprise for them to see someone so white, and so Canadian talk about cricket.

However, this time around I thought I would ask what his hours were like.  He responded with Sunday through Thursday 4pm to 1am and Friday & Saturday 4pm to 4am.  Thats about 70 hours of work a week.  He mentioned to me how in India he had time to be with family and to play, whereas here it was work, work, work.

This had me thinking, what is this Canadian dream life?  To me, working is important, but my time with my family is far more valuable.  So why would I immigrate to a country to loose that time.  Plus, for immigrants, a lot of their secondary education is not recognized in Canada, nor do they have a chance to upgrade it. That taxi driver could have had a Master's degree for all I know.  So why make that move?

It has been something that has been on my mind.  It is a huge sacrifice to loose family time, the financial costs of moving to far, the implications of immigration, and the increased hours of work.  There is obviously a hidden bit of reasoning for the sacrifice.  Something that I don't understand about his country of origin and his reason for being here.  Is it the free health care?  Is it certain freedoms?  Is it for the sake of his children to have a better future?

Nonetheless, engage, if possible, your taxi driver in conversation, you never know what you may learn, or what may intrigue your brain.

05 May 2011

How to curb the downward trend in our children’s academics

A National study was released in Canada about 15 year-olds and their academic achievement.  It used results from the national tests in math, reading, and science.  The results of 2009 were paired up against results from the previous national test in that subject.  The finding is that on a national average, and in each province, there was a decrease in the average scores in math, science, and reading.  With the biggest struggles coming in math and reading, and a little in science.

What was interesting, was looking a school preparedness, children seemed adequately prepared for grade-school in the early years, but left lacking as they got older.  So here are a few recommendations to keep your kids up to pace with receiving good grades at school, and fair better in math, reading, and science.


Read the rest on Notes on Parenting.

04 May 2011

Student Achievement Among Canadian 15 Year Olds

Statistics Canada recently released an Education Indicators study.  I found a particular grouping of tables interesting.  Under their Student Achievement grouping of tables, was the estimated averages of 15 year old students in the Programme for International Student Assessment.  They looked at the categories of reading, science and math and compared 2009 results to previous years scores in each category.

If you look at the numbers, provided below, it is interesting to see what the numbers are saying.  Canada, on average nationwide, has gone by 5 points in Science and Math, and 10 points in Reading.  Every single province has declined in every single subject, except Quebec in Math, and Nova Scotia in Science.

03 May 2011

Teaching Financial Literacy in Secondary Schools

The following is a press release written by Laura Featherstone, PHEc, for OHEA and OFSLC.

Is it too easy for secondary and post secondary students to acquire debt? The concern is that it is difficult to pay off debt in a reasonable time, with minimal penalty.

In 2011, the Vanier Institute of the Family reported that ‘average Canadian family debt has now hit $100,000. Not only that, the debt-to-income ratio, which measures household debt against income, stands at a record 150%, meaning that for every thousand dollars in after-tax income, Canadian families owe one thousand five hundred dollars.’ In 2010, more Canadian families fell behind on mortgage payments, while credit card delinquency and bankruptcy rates rose. In April 2011, a Stats Canada survey showed that almost one-third of retired Canadians are in debt.

01 May 2011

Consumer Protection Enhanced By New Regulations For Mortgage Brokers

Manitobans who choose to use a mortgage broker will now have access to more information as the province enhances consumer protection for homebuyers through new regulations for mortgage brokers, Finance Minister Rosann Wowchuk announced today.

"Unlike other mortgage industry professionals, mortgage brokers were not subject to regulation.  Homebuyers trust mortgage brokers to give them sound and objective advice on what mortgage best suits their financial situation.  These rules strengthen accountability," said Wowchuk.