Happy Birthday, Canada - it's okay to be imperfect if you keep trying

Today is July 1 - Canada Day, and because Canada 150 is a big deal, it's been greeted with big protests. Everywhere on social media, protestors are disrupting the celebration because Canada has not always been good to them or for them.

I get it. You're mad. Somebody screwed up and you want us to fix it (even though exactly how to do that is up for some debate). You're angry because you're stuck and you don't see a way to make it better. You're angry because you're black, you're indigenous, you're left wing, you're right wing, or you've been left out in the rain or out of the speech (sorry, Alberta).

Here are some house rules you might consider based on something called the six step reframe in NLP:

1) it's better when you can generate lots of new ideas - innovation takes cooperation and respect
2) the best ideas come from our best selves - the ones Canadians try to remember in celebrating a national birthday (ideals like diversity, tolerance, ecology, compassion and aspiring to something better).
3) a failure to get consensus is overcome by generating new ideas and building consensus, not by knocking each other out of the arena.

I am really proud of being a Canadian, and I am really angry when people attack me for things I had no say in and for which they have no remedy. I am really angry when people suggest that my nation doesn't deserve to exist or that my children do not deserve to have a place here because of something that happened hundreds of years before they were born. So I get it. You angry, disposessed people want me to feel the way you feel everyday.

Now what?

For me, now self-management. This isn't how I choose to experience this day or this life, and it's not how the thinkers I trust believe that people make good choices. So peace. Even celebration in the place of anger and frustration. Not because other people deserve it, and not because it makes them comfortable. Because it works.

And because I want to live in a world where imperfect people still deserve a day to celebrate their best selves. I want to live in a world where tolerance and compassion and collaboration are ideals worth trying, even when we screw it up and have to try again.

Canada, you're nowhere near to perfect. Diversity is challenging and so is trying to do the right thing. People have been hurt and will be hurt and we, collectively, won't help - we probably won't even be able to decide what might help. 

And yet - I live in Toronto and I work with people from all parts of the globe and we share hopes and stories and it's pretty wonderful.

So, happy birthday, Canada. Celebrate today. And get back to work tomorrow.


Anonymous said…
Joyeux anniversaire Canada!! Celebrer!!!!!!!
Anonymous said…
Joyeux Anniversaire Canada! Celebrer!!!

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