Articles – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 12 Jul 2018 22:33:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Just as I am http://www.ngtimes.ca/just-as-i-am/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/just-as-i-am/#respond Wed, 11 Jul 2018 18:46:22 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=13621 There seems to be a misconception about being a Christian. People seem to think that Christians are either especially “spiritual” people, or else they’re holier-than-thou idiots who blindly believe some unintelligent fairy tales about God, etc. There are other attitudes that are somewhere between those two opinions, but the general belief is that Christians are […]

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There seems to be a misconception about being a Christian. People seem to think that Christians are either especially “spiritual” people, or else they’re holier-than-thou idiots who blindly believe some unintelligent fairy tales about God, etc. There are other attitudes that are somewhere between those two opinions, but the general belief is that Christians are guilty of turning off their brains and “going on faith”. But the faith involved in being a Christian is not blind, not mindless, not willing to accept whatever one is told.

Jesus said that the greatest command of all involves loving the Lord your God with all your mind. That means thinking through things, examining, asking questions and not being satisfied with ignorance. It also means coming to know who you are in relation to God, and that is far from being a cosy and comfortable process. Christians are not, in that sense, holier than thou. They are people who know that they have been given a gift: forgiveness, love, salvation, that they do not deserve and have not earned.

Their only claim to any of this, is that Jesus died and rose for their sake, individually and personally. They have come to the Lord, not because they have any right to do so, but because he called them to come and made it possible by his death on their behalf. It really is amazing grace, as John Newton put it.

Perhaps in this age when so many Christians sing choruses, instead of solid and meaty hymns, we are missing out on the truth of this. So, let me invite you to read something that puts the entire gospel into a song of joy. Charlotte Elliott wrote it in 1835 to express her certainty about her position before God. It was not dependant on her feelings, her worthiness, or her activities. It was all because of Jesus, and her only claim to be confident in her salvation was because Jesus had assured her and called her, and given her his righteousness and salvation.

Every Christian can say or sing these words “filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy”, as Peter put it. If these seem foreign to you, think about what they are saying and realise that “The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” [Acts 2.39]

Faith is not blind: it is simply trusting Jesus that what he says is true, what he did, he did for you, personally. Every time I start to feel like the undeserving moron I know I can be in my deepest self, I think of these words, and remember that God loves me as I am, knowing exactly who and what I am. He is not asking us to change and better people before we can be acceptable to him, because he knows we can never be that good. But if we have the humility to agree with his verdict on us, then we know that we stand by grace alone.

Too good to be true? I must say, for myself, that after forty-three years as a Christian, it is more true now than ever before. Just as it was the day I first trusted him, so it is today:

“Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come! I come!
Just as I am, and waiting not to rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, though tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt;
Fightings within, and fears without, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind;
Yes, all I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, Thou wilt receive, wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Just as I am, Thy love unknown has broken every barrier down;
Now, to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”

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Space oddity http://www.ngtimes.ca/space-oddity/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/space-oddity/#respond Thu, 05 Jul 2018 18:20:24 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=13477 Dublin, in fact all of Ireland, is suffering from the second heatwave in a month. So, as I strolled happily down the street one day during the week, I thought the heat was causing me to have visions and mirages. There, on a poster ad on a bus shelter, was a photograph of Canadian astronaut, […]

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Dublin, in fact all of Ireland, is suffering from the second heatwave in a month. So, as I strolled happily down the street one day during the week, I thought the heat was causing me to have visions and mirages. There, on a poster ad on a bus shelter, was a photograph of Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield in his full space suit garb. Nothing terribly unusual there, perhaps, but the words on the poster read: “Tá Gaeilge Agam”, which, translated, means: “ I speak Irish”.

That got me confused. Was some company misusing the Canadian’s image to advertise their goods illegally? Why would he be appearing on Dublin bus advertising claiming to speak the Irish language? Honestly, the things you see on Dublin streets!

In fact, the advertisement was part of a new campaign to encourage people to use whatever level of Irish they had, as the Irish language has been in decline for some time.

Canadians will remember the wonderful broadcasts Chris had made from space during his time on the International Space Station in 2013, culminating in his singing David Bowie’s song, “Space Oddity” to a worldwide audience.

Earlier in his sojourn, he had also posted photographs of various cities around the world, taken at night from the Space Station. Among these was a picture of Dublin, to which he added the tweet: “Tá Éire fiorálainn! Land of green hills and dark beer. With capital Dublin glowing in the Irish night”.

This got people asking: where did he learn the Irish phrases? There was so much positive response from Irish supporters that he tweeted: “Wow, I can feel the warmth of the Irish all the way up here – go raibh maith agaibh! I’ll do my best to photo more cities as clouds clear.” It was, as they say, the start of a beautiful friendship. Chris later explained the Irish language connection: “I’ve always had an interest in Ireland and Irish culture; hence my tweet As Gaeilge from space. My daughter Kristin studied for her PhD at Trinity College and my niece Kelly is currently studying at the UL medical school so I have something of a love affair with this place”.

Soon after returning from his time on the International Space Station, Chris visited his family in Ireland and was warmly received wherever he went. So much so, in fact, that he was named as an ambassador for Irish tourism in 2014, and has since made a number of promotional videos, called An Astronaut’s Guide To The Island Of Ireland.

Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Leo Varadkar, pointed out that the Canadian was especially qualified to promote the country: “Chris Hadfield is one of the few people on earth who has seen Ireland from space, and on the ground. ” So, the “Tá Gaeilge Agam” poster was not a case of fraudulent advertising, nor was it a mirage in the heat of a Dublin street.

Commander Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut, Irish tourism ambassador, and international singing sensation, does really speak the Irish language to some extent. What a very strange connection between the two nations.

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Indigenous History Month: The Indian Act http://www.ngtimes.ca/indigenous-history-month-the-indian-act/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/indigenous-history-month-the-indian-act/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 18:45:24 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=13247 Hanging over every indigenous individual and community in Canada is the unavoidable shadow of the federal Indian Act, a piece of legislation that was introduced in 1876 and has been amended, augmented and altered many times in the decades since. Although its effects on native life have been almost universally negative, it is often pointed […]

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Hanging over every indigenous individual and community in Canada is the unavoidable shadow of the federal Indian Act, a piece of legislation that was introduced in 1876 and has been amended, augmented and altered many times in the decades since. Although its effects on native life have been almost universally negative, it is often pointed out by critics that most indigenous people and the various groups that represent them, are opposed to abolishing the Act, proving, they say, that it is not nearly as oppressive as has been claimed. This view point is based on a misreading of the history that lies behind this legal cage that has been built around one sector of Canada’s population. The irony is that the Indian Act, and its pre-Confederation predecessors, was originally designed to protect First Nations from the baleful influence of settlers in the nineteenth century.

In 1830, the British Imperial Government introduced what they called the “Civilisation Policy”, a plan by which Indians in Canada could be integrated into the wider society, leaving behind their traditional ways and lifestyles. The idea was to establish settlements, in which the aboriginal people could learn to live in houses, educate their children, and become farmers. The European belief was that only cultivating the land could make a people “civilised”, and traditional nomadic lifestyles were, therefore, “uncivilised”, savage.

Reserves were land that had been “reserved” from treaties, remaining the possession of the bands and on which they could gradually transition into civilised Canadians. The problem was that unscrupulous whites were using alcohol and cash to trespass on Indian lands and were having a very unfortunate impact on native communities. To protect the indigenous settlements, Indian lands were declared Crown lands in an 1839 Act, bringing them under the protection of the Government. Residents of Reserves were denied the right to sell or lease their lands without government approval, which developed into a process whereby they lost all control over land use entirely.

In the same way, the Government took over control of all finances and revenues on reserve lands, leading to the situation where bands could no longer decide their own financial destinies. Every purchase of supplies, every new school, house, or piece of farm equipment had to be approved by the Crown, which came to mean the local Indian Agent. His individual personality, or attitude to indigenous people, determined the economic life of the community.

The Indian Act of 1876, and subsequent amendments to it, also laid down who was, and who was not, an Indian, as defined by law. This was originally designed to prevent non-natives from marrying into a band and alienating property, or gaining access to funds. What it led to was complete control by the Crown over decisions as to who had “status” under the Act, and who didn’t. To this day, the Indian Department decides whether the children of a “mixed” marriage will be allowed status or not. The bureaucrats decide whether your children can claim your heritage and history.

Traditional cultural expressions, such as dances, ceremonies, or even gift-giving, were outlawed under various Indian Acts in a deliberate and clearly stated campaign to destroy traditional indigenous social order. As early as 1858, a government Commission declared that: “Another point of vital importance to be kept steadily in view, is the gradual destruction of the tribal organization”.

Over the years, the Indian Act, instead of protecting indigenous culture, became a prison in which indigenous people were to be assimilated into Canadian society. By force. The horrible irony is that the generations of Indian Act legislation has made these communities dependant on government support, having destroyed traditional lifestyles and legally prevented communities from potential economic development opportunities. It is the dreadful fruit of the old Civilisation Policy of the early Nineteenth Century that every attempt to avoid making indigenous people dependent on government only created more dependency.

It is certainly not that indigenous people love the Indian Act: but they cannot afford to have it simply abolished until an alternative system is put in place. Otherwise, they are left in possession of economically useless land, upon which they were settled long ago and on which they have been largely confined ever since. The choice is to stay there, or move to urban areas and leave behind their culture, their legal status, and, often, their identity. What is needed is a gradual change, a new way of thinking and governing that allows people to protect and preserve their identities on their own terms, and at their own expense.

Dependence is not their desire, but neither is abandonment by those who placed them in such a dependant position. Indigenous people do not need anyone to “civilise” them. On February 14, 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a statement in the House of Commons outlining a policy initiative by his government on the “Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights”. In it, the Prime Minister commented that it was unacceptable for indigenous people to be living in overcrowded houses, and of the need for First Nations to be allowed manage their own affairs. “We need to get to a place where Indigenous peoples in Canada are in control of their own destiny, making their own decisions about their future,” he said.

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Treaties or evictions http://www.ngtimes.ca/treaties-or-evictions/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/treaties-or-evictions/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 18:53:17 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=13140 When the French Empire was ejected from North America by the British variety, the indigenous people of what became Canada faced a brand new adversary. The French had always seen their foothold in North America as a source of raw materials and wealth, not as a place to settle new communities. The British saw it […]

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When the French Empire was ejected from North America by the British variety, the indigenous people of what became Canada faced a brand new adversary. The French had always seen their foothold in North America as a source of raw materials and wealth, not as a place to settle new communities. The British saw it as a colony, a place to “develop”. Europeans had developed a policy, an attitude to other races they came across, which stated that only those who cleared and farmed land were deserving of it. Those who lived by hunting, fishing, and trapping were called “savages”, and were considered “uncivilised”. The lands they roamed and used in their traditional ways were referred to as “waste lands”, because they were not cultivated, civilised.

So, the British considered the Indian allies and enemies, “uncivilised”, but were still dependant on them for military aid in countering American expansionism. But, once the Americans and British had reached an acceptable working relationship, the future of the indigenous people was radically altered. When the British first took over the old French territory, they drew a line just west of the Ottawa River, a boundary beyond which Europeans were not allowed to settle, own land, or operate. North Grenville was on the other side of that line, in what was called “Indian Territory”.

But once the British were invited into that land by the Mississauga, who opened their territory to political refugees from the new United States, their future was sealed. Britain took over what is now Ontario, with some exceptions, between 1784 and 1867. Most of the so-called “treaties” they negotiated with the inhabitants weren’t even written down. Others simply agreed that the indigenous people ceded land to the government in order to open it for settlement, but promised that traditional land use and lifestyles would be respected. As soon as settlers were actually granted land, the fences went up, the traditional hunting, trapping and fishing lands were closed to the aboriginal people, and all the promises contained in the treaties were forgotten.

In most cases, those who signed the “treaties” got nothing in return for their land. After 1850, with the Robinson Treaties, each individual Indian was entitled to $3 per year in return for allowing Europeans to come and live among them. The annual payment was later raised to $4 and remains that to this day. For $4 a year, people gave up all the oil, trees, gold, copper, fish, minerals and land north of Lakes Huron and Superior, while losing all access to these same assets.

Indians were not allowed to establish commercial fisheries, timber operations, mining, or any other economic development opportunities on the lands they once roamed freely. They wanted to start such enterprises, but were not allowed. As soon as they signed the “treaty”, which many of them believed promised a partnership with the government in exploiting resources and deciding land use, they were told that they now came under British and Canadian laws, and had to obey them.

These laws reached their lowest level of abuse in the Indian Act of 1876, a law that has been maintained and amended ever since. Much has been made of the idea that indigenous people don’t pay taxes, get free education, and other “perks”. This is highly inaccurate, and does not reflect the historical realities which governed the daily lives of generations of indigenous people. Adult men and women who had to ask permission to leave the small reserves on which they had been isolated, denied under law the freedom to hold traditional ceremonies and dances which expressed their identity. Imagine if a foreign power came into Canada and forbade any celebration of Canada Day, hockey, speaking English or French, denied the right to vote to all Canadians, and then forced them to live on lands incapable of supporting a decent quality of life. That is the history of Canada’s indigenous peoples: the Apartheid system that almost resulted in the extinction of aboriginal people in Canada.

We have much more to learn.

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What is Mental Toughness http://www.ngtimes.ca/what-is-mental-toughness/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/what-is-mental-toughness/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 18:24:17 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=13085 by Daren Givoque, CDFA and Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, RYT When going through a divorce you’ll have to make a lot of important decisions that will shape your new life. This can be extremely difficult when you’re dealing with all those negative emotions. Your inner dialogue may be contributing to your distress as it […]

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by Daren Givoque, CDFA and Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, RYT

When going through a divorce you’ll have to make a lot of important decisions that will shape your new life. This can be extremely difficult when you’re dealing with all those negative emotions. Your inner dialogue may be contributing to your distress as it overwhelms you with thoughts of failure and self-doubt.

Mental toughness: Mental toughness, or resilience, is the capacity of an individual to deal effectively with stressors, pressures and challenges, while performing to the best of their ability. Dr. Jack Singer, a world-renowned speaker, author and trainer, has helped many successful business people and superstar athletes develop mental toughness. Kristen Neff is a self-compassion researcher who’s identified this quality as the key to resilience. Here are some tips from their work that you can use to help yourself when times are tough:

Recognize negative trigger thoughts. When you start feeling bad, take a breath. Take a moment to pay attention to your thoughts. If you notice negative ones, say to yourself: “Oh! I’m having negative thoughts.”

Disempower the thoughts by acknowledging them. Once you’ve recognized the trigger thoughts, take another breath. You can say to yourself: “These thoughts are hard to hear. This is a tough moment.” Remember you’re not alone. Take another breath and say to yourself: “It’s normal to feel this way. Many people have these kinds of thoughts and feelings.”

Take a deep centering breath (or two). Breathe in through the nose for a count of four, hold it for four, and out through your mouth for a count of seven.

These four steps may be enough to help you re-focus on the task at hand. If you want to build your resilience even more, you can add these next four steps:

Your performance statement. Everyone should have a statement focused on what would consistently give them maximum success. “I can keep a clear head and make the best decisions possible for me and my children” is an example of an effective performance statement for someone going through divorce or separation. Whatever statement you choose, repeat it to yourself a few times. Repetition develops new habits. If you keep repeating a positive statement it will have a positive effective over time.

Your personal highlight reel. Think of the greatest success you have ever had and play it like a video in your mind. This can be anything from winning a math competition when you were in elementary school to booking a high-profile client. Anything that made you feel proud and successful. Replay your reel by taking a moment — and a breath or two — to evoke your sense of that successful moment.

Your identity statement. Think of a strength you need to have to be the best you can be. What objectives do you want to accomplish? Something like “I am a strong, confident human being who has the ability to persevere in any situation” is a good example of a general identity statement. Make it your own. It will be the most powerful when it is specific to you and your situation. Take a final deep, centering breath. This is the anchor to the entire process, solidifying all the other steps and allowing you to stay centred and focused.

You can teach yourself to be resilient. Neuroplasticity teaches us that minds are very malleable. Repetition is what develops new habits, and new ways of thinking, so we encourage you to use this process often.

Life is full of challenges and difficult situations, divorce and separation being one of them. Being aware of your negative thinking and addressing it will make you resilient so you can move forward in a positive way. Resilience ensures you can make important decisions from a grounded place and give you peace of mind from the knowledge that you’re moving forward in the best way possible.

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Ignorance is not bliss http://www.ngtimes.ca/ignorance-is-not-bliss/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/ignorance-is-not-bliss/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 18:17:41 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12998 June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, and there are people who will immediately see that and frown. There are so many negative attitudes to the issue of the native people, not least a belief that “those Indians” get so much for nothing, when we “regular” people have to pay for it through our […]

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June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada, and there are people who will immediately see that and frown. There are so many negative attitudes to the issue of the native people, not least a belief that “those Indians” get so much for nothing, when we “regular” people have to pay for it through our taxes.

These ideas are based almost entirely on ignorance, hearsay, and a lack of awareness of the truth concerning indigenous history. Canada has a reputation around the world as a caring and compassionate society, but the story of the First Nations of Canada is a black mark against us, and a shameful story that continues to this day.

I have always believed that bigotry and racism can be countered by knowledge, and there is a woeful lack of knowledge among Canadians concerning the history of the relations between indigenous communities and the “settler” society in this country. The exposure of the Residential Schools scandal has raised awareness for many, but the story is deeper and older than that.

Imagine a situation where the Government of Canada passed an act governing Jews, Muslims, Germans, Italians, or any other ethnic group. It would be seen, and rightly, as an unacceptably racist piece of legislation, especially if it denied those groups the right to vote, own property, confined them to certain restricted parcels of land, made them ask permission before they could leave their property, and refused to consult them on changes to that legislation.

This is the history of the Indian Act in Canada, legislation first passed in 1876, and still on the Statute Book, that contained all of those provisions, at one time or another.
The land we live on in Eastern Ontario was recognised by the British Crown in 1763 as Indian Territory, where no European was allowed to settle or even buy land. When the Loyalists arrived as penniless refugees after the American Revolution, it was the indigenous people, the Mississauga, who invited them to live in this area. They did not expect that this would mean they themselves would have to leave. No good deed goes unpunished, they say.

The many treaties, so-called, that resulted in traditional territories being taken for white settlement were, in almost every case, unfair, imposed on the original inhabitants, or contained promises and provisions that were unfulfilled.

In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples provided some shocking statistics about the status of indigenous people in Canada:

Aboriginal people endure ill health, run-down and overcrowded housing, polluted water, inadequate schools, poverty and family breakdown at rates found more often in developing countries than in Canada. These conditions are inherently unjust. They also imperil the future of Aboriginal communities and nations.

Regarding housing, the Report is scathing:
“Houses occupied by Aboriginal people are twice as likely to be in need of major repairs as those of other Canadians. On reserves, 13,400 homes need such repairs, and 6,000 need outright replacement. Aboriginal homes are generally smaller than those of other Canadians, but more people live in them. Aboriginal homes are 90 times more likely than those of other Canadians to be without piped water. On reserves, more than 10,000 homes have no indoor plumbing. About one reserve community in four has a substandard water or sewage system.

In the North, solid waste dumps and untreated sewage are contaminating earth, land, fish and animals.”

How would you like you and your family to live under those conditions? This is not a state indigenous people have chosen for themselves, no matter what some might claim. This month, the Times will publish some articles on the story behind this state of affairs, and try to shed some light on the history of indigenous people in an effort to give some context and understanding of this dreadful situation.

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Developing mental toughness during divorce http://www.ngtimes.ca/developing-mental-toughness-during-divorce/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/developing-mental-toughness-during-divorce/#respond Wed, 06 Jun 2018 18:09:06 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12996 by Daren Givoque, CDFA and Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, RYT We all have a dialogue that plays in our head. During stressful times this dialogue can either get in the way or help you cope. The problem for most of us is that our inner voice can be highly critical. And this can be […]

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by Daren Givoque, CDFA and Shulamit Ber Levtov, MA, RSW, RYT

We all have a dialogue that plays in our head. During stressful times this dialogue can either get in the way or help you cope. The problem for most of us is that our inner voice can be highly critical. And this can be exacerbated when you’re going through a particularly emotional situation. A divorce can trigger a whole gamut of emotions: Grief, shame, sadness, regret and fear are all common when dealing with a marital breakdown. More positive emotions like relief may also be a part of your experience. No emotion is off the table.

When going through a divorce you’ll have to make a lot of important decisions that will shape your new life. This can be extremely difficult when you’re dealing with all those negative emotions. Your inner dialogue may be contributing to your distress as it overwhelms you with thoughts of failure and self-doubt. It’s important to realize that you’re not alone in this experience and there is something you can do about it.

You’re not alone: Everyone deals with anxiety and self-doubt. Even top athletes (who have won world championships and Olympic medals) talk about the little voice inside their head that undermines them as they train, saying: “you’ll never make this” or “there’s no way I’m as good as everyone thinks I am.” This is why many top athletes work with sports performance psychologists.

They’re just thoughts: The most important thing to remember is that these are just thoughts. To help distance yourself from them, you can try using the phrase: “a part of me thinks.” Try saying to yourself: “a part of me thinks I will never make it through this.” Notice how different this is to saying: “I’ll never make it through this.” The reality is you’re able to handle it. You can make good decisions and you don’t have to let your fear and anxiety drive your decisions.

It comes down to your thinking style: What can you do about these thoughts and fears? A lot of it comes down to your thinking style. Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Optimists are people who look at the glass as half full, while pessimists argue it’s half empty. An optimistic thinking style will make you more resilient.

When dealing with a situation like divorce or separation, the pessimist will think of it as an example of weakness and something they’ll never be able to move on from. They’ll make sweeping judgements about who they are as a person because of it. As you can imagine, this painful way of thinking piles distress on top of what’s already a stressful situation. It keeps you stuck in a negative loop that can be difficult to escape.

An optimist might look at the situation, acknowledge the mistake and learn from it. They see it as temporary and know that it doesn’t define them as a person. Being an optimistic thinker allows you to stay out of the downward spiral of self-loathing and doubt and move on in a positive and constructive way.

It’s not Pollyanna: It’s important to distinguish optimistic thinking patterns from being a Pollyanna who says the situation is all rainbows and butterflies when clearly it’s not. Optimistic thinking is a mindset that you are capable of when you understand that in the end it will be okay.

You may be thinking that being optimistic means that, after a divorce, you’ll ride off into the sunset without a care it the world. Easy right? Nope. The fact is even the most optimistic people are pessimistic thinkers sometimes and it takes work to keep those negative thoughts at bay.

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Benefits of raising your kids bilingual http://www.ngtimes.ca/benefits-of-raising-your-kids-bilingual/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/benefits-of-raising-your-kids-bilingual/#respond Sat, 26 May 2018 23:19:20 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12792 (NC) As parents, we want to offer our kids every advantage for a happy, healthy and successful life. Many think this means ensuring our children do well in math and science and doing better in school overall. But did you know that learning a second language like English or French also offers many unique rewards? […]

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(NC) As parents, we want to offer our kids every advantage for a happy, healthy and successful life. Many think this means ensuring our children do well in math and science and doing better in school overall. But did you know that learning a second language like English or French also offers many unique rewards? Here are some reasons to raise your kids bilingual. A better, bigger brain. Research shows learning a second language actually changes the size and structure of our brains. Speaking two or more languages is like mental exercise that trains the brain, leading to improved attention, memory skills, problem-solving abilities and multi-tasking. Greater empathy. Bilingual people also have better social skills, allowing them to be more empathetic towards others and read them better. Experts think this is because bilingual people are better able to block out their feelings and ideas, allowing them to focus on those of others more easily and accurately. Protection against illness. Your kids will have plenty of reasons to thank you for encouraging them to be bilingual when they get older. Studies show that being bilingual can delay the onset of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, for an average of five years. Bilingualism can also protect against brain injury — bilingual stroke survivors are twice more likely to experience cognitive recovery than monolingual people. Practical benefits. Learning two languages when started early follows your kids in every sphere of their lives. Whether it’s getting a good job, travelling to exciting destinations, experiencing more connections to different cultures and people, or contributing to diverse communities, a second language offers enrichment for a lifetime. Since English and French are Canada’s official languages, why not start with those? And because our official  languages belong to everyone, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages is holding public consultations and invites you to share your ideas online at officiallanguages.gc.ca.

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Living through dementia – Too late is not soon enough! http://www.ngtimes.ca/living-through-dementia-too-late-is-not-soon-enough/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/living-through-dementia-too-late-is-not-soon-enough/#respond Wed, 16 May 2018 18:39:38 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12600 by Sean McFadden – Alzheimer Society Lanark Leeds-Grenville Now, before we get into discussing the value of an early diagnosis, let me be very clear that reaching out to get a diagnosis at any time is a valuable experience and one that needs to happen. As you will quickly see however, an early diagnosis has […]

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by Sean McFadden –
Alzheimer Society Lanark Leeds-Grenville

Now, before we get into discussing the value of an early diagnosis, let me be very clear that reaching out to get a diagnosis at any time is a valuable experience and one that needs to happen. As you will quickly see however, an early diagnosis has benefits that are closely linked to quality of life that may be missed out on later.

Why would I or my loved one need to get a diagnosis? We’re just getting older! All of this is just normal right? Perhaps, but let’s be aware of the fact that dementia is not a normal part of aging. So what are examples of normal forgetfulness? Recognizing people and places, even if you cannot recall their names. Not remembering the day and time on that holiday. Forgetting details of a recent experience, but not the experience itself. Forgetting items, but will often remember later (why did I go to the basement?).

These, my friends, we all do; but you may feel there is more going on, and the question arises: “Should I get my memory evaluated?” as posed by Jeffrey Burns, M.D., director of the University of Kansas Heartland Institute Alzheimer’s and Memory Program. He points out this question is asked because people have noticed memory problems, and are struggling to sort out whether theses lapses are an inevitable part of normal aging, versus the start of something more ominous, such as Alzheimer’s disease. If your answer to the question of ‘should I get my memory evaluated’ is yes, then let’s talk about what you’re looking for that is considered warning signs for dementia, there are ten of them.

Problems with abstract thinking (e.g. not understanding numbers); misplacing things (e.g. putting things in strange places); changes in mood and behavior (e.g. exhibiting mood swings); changes in personality (e.g. behaving out of character); loss of initiative (e.g. losing interest in friends and favourite activities); memory loss affecting day-to-day function (e.g. retaining new info); difficulty performing familiar tasks (e.g. how to do something); problems with language (e.g. can’t find the right word); disorientation of time and place (e.g. getting lost in a familiar place); poor judgment (e.g. wearing light clothing on a cold day).

Now that we know what we need to look for, please note that as many as 50% of Canadians with dementia are not diagnosed early enough, losing precious time. So you are not alone in this, the main barriers to seeking help are fear and stigma. 60% of Canadians say it would be harder to disclose if they, or someone close to them, had Alzheimer’s disease, compared to other diseases because of the social stigma. It’s not hard to understand why most people are not running to their doctors seeking a diagnosis. To help break down the stigma and fear barriers, consider this research study by Gregory Jicha, MD, PhD, a professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, called the Silver Lining Questionnaire. This questionnaire measures the extent to which people believe their illness had a positive benefit in areas such as: personal relationships, appreciation for life, influence on others, inner strength and life philosophy. Dr. Jicha states, “The overall assumption is that this diagnosis would have a uniformly negative impact on a patient’s outlook on life, but we were surprised to find that almost half of respondents reported positive scores.”

Forty-eight men and women with early dementia or mild cognitive impairment were asked a series of questions about their quality of life and personal outlook post-diagnosis. Responses were positive in areas such as appreciation and acceptance of life, and less concern about failure; self-reflection, tolerance of others, and courage to face problems in life; and strengthened relationships and new opportunities to meet people. “The common stereotype for this type of diagnosis is depression, denial, and despair,” Dr. Jicha said. “However, this study – while small – suggests that positive changes in attitude are as common as negative ones.”

To add to these responses gathered with the questionnaire here are some additional benefits of getting that early diagnosis. It allows you to take advantage of resources. You can focus on what’s important and use medications effectively. It provides support for families and allows for an accurate diagnosis. It advances research.

Allows you to be actively involved in your health care and personal decisions for the future

Please note that these early diagnosis benefits can enable a person living with dementia to stay independent longer, a goal all of us strive for.

Now perhaps you have made the decision to seek out a diagnosis or maybe not, but we have one final reason to get answers. The symptoms you’re seeing could be reversible! Yes that is correct, something could be done or at the least minimize the symptoms seen. There are symptoms from other conditions similar to symptoms of dementia such as depression, thyroid or heart disease, or infections, drug interactions or alcohol abuse (Delirium). Finding out the cause of the symptoms can help you understand the source of the symptoms, and get the proper care, treatment and support needed. Always remember the earlier a treatment can be given, the better the result.

So, friends, we have discussed a lot of different angles concerning getting that early diagnosis. People diagnosed with dementia, their friends, families and the health-care providers who support them, all recognize that early access to support and information is critical when living with the challenges that dementia brings. We have seen the positive results here at the Alzheimer Society Lanark Leeds Grenville. We can help you understand the early benefits to be had and help you seek them out. Please give us a call or drop in. Enjoy the benefits of saying “I’ll be early! I won’t be late!”

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Thanking Mom http://www.ngtimes.ca/thanking-mom/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/thanking-mom/#respond Wed, 09 May 2018 18:55:17 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=12404 It’s that time of year again, when the pressure is on to think of a special gift for Mom on her day. North Grenville is teeming with great shops with special gifts just for Mom. From baked goods, to flowers, restaurants and gift stores. But there is also that simple “thank you”. Something that has […]

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It’s that time of year again, when the pressure is on to think of a special gift for Mom on her day. North Grenville is teeming with great shops with special gifts just for Mom. From baked goods, to flowers, restaurants and gift stores.

But there is also that simple “thank you”. Something that has given me pause, to think about thanking my own Mom. A sincere thanks. My Mom raised six of us on her own. She worked full days, getting on a bus for an hour’s ride into Ottawa and then the same on her way home. She would leave us in the care of our grandmother, who had already raised seven of her own children. My grandmother ruled with the strap. At the time, I resented both her and my mother. But the strap was common in my youth. Everyone had them, including the teachers.

It is only now, in my sixties, that I can fully appreciate both of them. They did what they could, and with the means they had. My Mom did what she had to do to keep us all together as a family. My grandmother did what she had to do, in her late sixties, having to raise yet another brood of kids, all the while having a farm to maintain. I look back now, and think of them as two very strong women. Something I had never realised before. And I have to thank both of them for the strength they instilled in me.

In my mother’s later life, after retiring, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Towards the end of her life, she was like a child and it was our turn to care for her. By the time I finally realised what my Mom had done for me, it was too late to thank her. And I am sorry for missing that opportunity. I know she is now looking down at me from heaven and smiling.

So thank you, Mom, for giving me everything you did, for your struggles to keep us together as a family, and for providing me with five wonderful siblings. What a gift she gave me.

So while you are out there trying to find that special gift for your Mom, Grandmother, mentor, etc… don’t forget that simple thank you, the sincere one, from the heart.
Thanks Mom.

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