The timing of the hockey and teacher strikes couldn’t be better. I argue that they are causing a re-examination of what is important. And hopefully parents will conclude that their families are a priority.
This fall has been eventful. First we entered September with the hockey strike. Fans were outraged. How dare these rich people take away the national pasttime and obsession. Disgruntled fans protest the petty arguments that the players and League have over mere millions of dollars. Hockey fans shout their disgust at how these rich people are dismissing them.
This is a supply and demand game, my dear hockey fans. You patronize the players and owners with your money. They get rich because you are supplying the demand to see the games. You pay hundreds of dollars for tickets and spend screen time to watch the games. In so doing, hockey is your escape from daily reality. It numbs your brain. To paraphrase an old saying; hockey is the opiate of the Canadian masses.
The second event this fall was the Ontario teachers work action. They decided to withdraw from extracurricular activity including teams, clubs, meet the teacher nights. In a way, I support them. Extra curricular activities are not part of their negotiated contract. It is a creeping commitment for teachers to participate in these activities.
The whole educational system is from a bygone era. The summer holiday structure was for a time when kids were needed on the farm. In Northern aboriginal communities, school closes during goose hunting season. Canada is now mostly urban and the way education is handled needs revision. This would mean an evaluation of what we really expect from teachers as an educational deliverable.
For now, we’ve shoehorned teachers into being a babysitting service for kids. The rolling out of Junior Kindergarten was really a ploy for a provincial daycare program using an existing infrastructure. Extra curricular activities are tax paid after-school programs.
The hockey strike and the teachers work actions are having an interesting effect. Left with no hockey, people have more time and money. Their minds are not all taken up with whose in what standings or getting to the next game. They are at home. The ceasing of the teacher babysitting service has the kids at home as well.
Does this mean there may be more family time – more time to involve yourself with your kids growth? Will this time together cause a reflection of what is important? We are seeing signs that a re-examination is at hand. School boards are slowing allowing parent volunteers to lead extra curricular activities!
My three kids love the performing arts. We raised them by getting involved in community musical theatre productions. I want to underline that these musicals were produced by community volunteers. Our family of three kids, my Sweetheart and I would be on stage as actors and work back-stage on sets, costumes and whatever else needed to be done.
We all went to rehearsal together. We spent a lot of time as a family being part of a greater community producing something wonderful – a musical. We talked, danced, sang and bonded. Today, we are proud of what our adult kids are becoming and I think they don’t mind if we’re around.
I lived the value of spending intense family time being and playing together. In our fast pace world, we may have lost a sense of experiencing life with our kids – all too busy playing dad-taxi dropping them off at activities and then secluding yourself watching a hockey game. The hockey and teacher strikes may help parents discover their kids more fully – strengthening the family.