Monday, November 17, 2008


I’d like to leave the Maryann post up forever, just because I want as many people as possible to recognize her. Recognize and acknowledge the ‘Maryanns’ in their lives, those individuals who are the first to raise their hands (and get them dirty), to wrap those around them in encouragement, to see the big picture and work tirelessly on the long and winding road that leads there. However, the nature of the blog demands some on-going train of thought and I have been moved by an article in the Toronto Star by Roy McMurtry (former chief justice of Ontario) and Alvin Curling (a former Liberal cabinet minister and speaker of the Ontario Legislature), entitled, ‘Roots of violence grow in toxic soil of social exclusion’.

It describes how the erosion of social and community networks are contributing factors to a sense of hopelessness among our youth that supports the proliferation of gangs, a desensitization to violence, increases in violence, mental health concerns, apathy and isolation. It is discouraging – to say the least. Although the article speaks specifically about incidents in Toronto, it is important that those of us who feel protected by the illusion of suburbia, and our commuter status, need to understand the viral nature of the problem. Distance from the ‘big city’ whether it be Toronto or any other urban center in North America, does not provide immunity. As the conclusion of the article suggests, the restoration of our communities depends on the quality of relationships we nurture – my wording, but the idea is similar.

I believe that the dakband project is part of the solution precisely because it helps to establish and re-establish relationships. The etymology (history) of the word kind(ness)dates back to the 12th century and means: to feel like you are related to each other, compassionate. It also comes from the Greek word, chrestotes which means to have a morally excellent character, to be good, gracious, gentle and kind. And we are told in the famous passage from 1 Corinthians, that love is two things: patient, and kind. We cannot minimize the importance of simple, yet conscious, deliberate acts of kindness to begin the restoration process, to cultivate relationships, to generate peace and ignite hope.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey... I just read your latest blog. You REALLY are amazing you know. Your vision is such an inspiration... we can the world, you and me and anyone else who wants to come to the party and we'll do it one act of kindness at a time.