Prairie Post (East Edition)

We need to listen, not just hear

- By Ryan Dahlman Ryan Dahlman is the managing editor of the 40-Mile Commentato­r, Prairie Post West and Prairie Post East

We are fortunate to live in the country we do. Watching other countries suffer through war-torn strife, political assassinat­ions, deep religious war, poverty, hunger and severe droughts where nothing can or is able to ever grow, Canada isn't so bad.

Yes, (politely) the prime minister can (often) leave a lot to be desired, there's some ugly regional political frustratio­n and our economy is as such that our cost of living is high with soaring fuel and food prices and the lack overall of having some decent-paying jobs to the point where for some people being on unemployme­nt insurance is a better financial and life options, life seem to be spinning out of control as trying to decide whether power and electricit­y payments are more important than food, the kids are left alone again as parents work multiple jobs and vices such as the many -isms like alcohol, drugs, gambling, or infidelity can lead to emotional strife or violence. Maybe they have such debilitati­ng anxiety or depression it is difficult to hold down consistent employment. There's is homelessne­ss, need for food banks, family violence shelters.

For some people, life is difficult every single day.

For others, it's business as usual. Literally. What money problems? What time factor problems? There are those who have cabins, boats, recreation­al vehicles and motorhomes and life is good.

That is good and well done. Everyone is where they are for a reason, sometimes fair, sometimes not, but there for a reason.

That being said, it is difficult one way or the other to focus on anyone but themselves. Sometimes it's because of a greedy self-centrednes­s, sometimes its ignorance by just knowing or making a conscious decision of not wanting to know. It's easier to not want to understand culture which are not your own and make judgment and it it is decades, many generation­s which keep perpetuati­ng the problem. It needs to stop.

It does take some effort to understand people, but we all need to do a better job of understand­ing each other. Right now there are two areas where Canadians as a whole need to listen. It is not an "us" versus" them scenario. It should be we are all in this together, how can we make things right again.

With the National Day for Truth and Reconcilia­tion Sept. 30, those of Indigenous decent marked the day with solemn ceremonies, thoughts of reflection, healing and overcoming generation­al suffering because of those who were placed in the care of government run facilities. The suffering and damage done is obvious and the sorrow from all of those youngsters lost at the hands of the administra­tors, neglect of health or other reasons, cannot be denied.

So when the Indigenous community is trying to educate everyone about the torturous past, everyone should not just hear what they have to say, really listen. Listen and understand the culture, Listen and understand the history. Listen and try to figure out everything that non-indigenous people have learned about Canadian history and decide what is true, what is isn't and what parts were left out. Truth and reconcilia­tion indeed.

Trouble is, everyone has to buy in. This will take a while, this year the federal government hurriedly rushed a national day and caught many off guard. Those well intentione­d did their best but trying to do something with no planning with no scheduling for people to take the time to learn about our history should've been done better, but at least the intent was there. We have a long way to go before the trust, understand­ing and learning of nations and cultures is still too much of an ‘Us vs. Them' scenario. This will take effort and time.

Another area is mental health and mental illness. Mental health is what we do to sustain a good attitude and mindset and what helps in ensuring we are looking at the best at the world every day even when it is going wrong. Mental illness is when there are issues in the brain which make it difficult if not impossible a stable strong mindset and outlook. Due to chemical imbalances in the brain or other health conditions which make it impossible to control thoughts and behaviour.

Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health reminds everyone that Oct. 2-8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. MIAW “is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness.”

Sounds heavy doesn't it? I mean who wants to learn about that and get informed on what promotes good mental health and what if I or someone I love might have a mental illness?”

Laziness, a non-belief that there can be serious issues i.e. just someone having a bad day “or that just them being a (fill in the blank with something derogatory)“.

Ever watched someone get really get angry and think what a psycho, or people being really up one day and down the next and think they have multiple personalit­ies? These are generaliza­tions and falsehoods which are intergener­ational truths which we need to repair.

Learn about these issues, get different perspectiv­es, don't just go by what you learned when you were 10 years old by people who weren't necessaril­y informed.

In this day and age of mass media, there is no reason for many to not have access to social media. There are many libraries which are golden sources of informatio­n and have amazing people who will help you.

If we just listened and tried to understand…and I mean everybody… all cultures, all religions, all beliefs, all ways of life, the world would be a lot more peaceful and a lot more caring.

Hearing means there is noise. Listening is taking in and comprehend­ing the words and trying to understand. May take a little longer initially but in the long run it will pay off.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada