Putting the world into perspective

As Canadians, we always feel like the neighbor of a rich, powerful, and somewhat crazy nation (the United States). And, although I say this somewhat tongue in cheek – I also feel their is some truth in that. On teacher conferences in the U.S. I have met some of the brightest, most engaged, and inspiring teachers I have ever met. Still, as a Canadian inundated with media from our southern partner, we cannot avoid the influence of their culture as it meshes with ours. This weekend, a terrible tragedy occurred in the United States with a horrible school shooting. As a teacher, I first heard about this during the second period last Friday when a student who had been reading breaking news online came up and told me. As more of the details came out, I asked the student not to tell me any more, as the details themselves were so horrific that it made concentration on my day difficult. As I said later in a tweet on my personal twitter “Thoughts so awful I can’t think them, and words so angry I can’t say them – wishing for peace in the US” and it made me reflect on the differences between the Canadians and the U.S. Like many Canadians, events like this bring up conversation like “I am glad we are not like them!” and we seem to revel in the differences between “us and them”. However, the intensity of this tragedy makes us reflect on similarities as well. I would like to share two videos to illustrate this. The first is a monologue from American news broadcaster Tom Brokaw during the Vancouver Olympics:

The second video I wish to share is a way to reflect on all of our roles in the larger world perspective  As I prepare to teach my Peace and Conflict course next semester and put my social studies teacher “hat” back on, this perspective is moving to the forefront of my mind. And, as I reflect on the profession of teaching, being a father, and the terrible loss our american brothers and sisters have suffered the past weekend it make me feel both small and part of a larger world:



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