Sunday, May 23, 2010

Playoffs and Workshops

It is very difficult being a Leafs fan through the playoffs! You want a Canadian team in all the way, but you have cheered against them all year, every year! Well, sadly it looks as though there will be two American teams (loaded with Canadian players) in the Stanley Cup finals. At that point we Toronto fans can turn our attention again to the Canadian baseball team (loaded with American players!), the Blue Jays. I will try to make sense out of all that one day.

On another note, I just attended a great workshop in Ottawa. It was led by Vancouver psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld, of whom I have been aware for some time, and whose writings I have used in my own work with kids and families.

This workshop was on bullying, ‘their making and unmaking.’ I cannot do it justice here, but Dr. Neufeld used a couple of phrases that resonate with our natural parenting instincts, I think. He talked about the need to ‘soften their hearts,’ and this makes a whole lot of sense when you understand how the bullying impulse arises in the first place.

He also talked about the need to make contact with kids in a way that would facilitate the softening process (and act as a preventive measure for all kids). So when you are talking to your kids, ‘collect them with the eyes, first, then with a smile, then with a nod.’ Warm and affirming.

I would commend those two phrases to the mindset of every parent. ‘Collect them with the eyes’. Love it.

Dr. Neufeld’s career roughly parallels mine in time. He has been a researcher, clinician and writer for a long time, and he has put a lot of effort now into putting his accumulated learning and wisdom into books and DVDs. I am not his agent, but this is very good stuff. Parents, you can check it out at

His latest book is titled “Hold on to Your Kids’, and he will soon publish his book on bullying. The bullying lecture, though, is available on DVD.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Celebrating Catholic Youth Conference

In a world that has become increasingly cynical about pretty much everything, it is great to see our young folks step up to the plate and be counted. This past weekend I attended a wonderful, high energy youth conference that reminded me of World Youth Day 2002, in Toronto. People in the 14-20-ish age range have an energy that is infectious and uplifting. From the MC to the music group to the audience, these young adults are quite capable of showing the Church as it can be, and as they want it to be.

Not that they are alone, either. One individual who I would say is a contemporary of mine (ie, 'elder') told me he was having a great time soaking up this energy and enthusiasm. He was there to help out in a support role, but was finding that he was being more than repaid.

I had a role as a speaker in one of the workshop sessions, and I must say I am thankful. My role got me to the Conference, and I came away thrilled to have been there. My faith was given a shot in the arm, and more than anything I marveled that in an era in which young folks can be forgiven for being cynical about the Church, they showed that they are not cynical about Jesus.

One of the highlights was a skit called the 'Everything Skit.' You may have seen it, as there are several versions of it on You Tube. The one done for this Conference was as good as anything I have seen posted. I include the following link, however, as a particularly good example of the skit. It is very powerful. Notice the reaction of the audience even before the skit comes to a close.


Here is another link, to let you see some of the Conference pictures from the Archdiocesan website: