Many children today woke up this morning anticipating the arrival of the Easter Bunny. Some may be skeptical of the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman, Jack Frost, the Man on the Moon, and Santa. Some may wonder why do we perpetuate the belief in such characters. The movie. the Guardians, help the adult me understand their importance for the child in me. The book series by William Joyce explain how they came to be and how the work they do gets done. We can question the purpose and the need for their existence or we can simply accept that at times believing in the unexplainable is just what the soul needs. Children’s imagination is precious and can also be their happy place to bring them hope when what they live doesn’t make sense or simply adds to the joy they are experiencing at the moment. Yes, I can still remember the eager anticipation of the arrival of Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy. The actual emotion associated has dulled over the years and gratefully; I can now witness that emotion through Leila’s eyes. My heart then experiences child joy all over again.
Watching the movie and reading the books helped me to realize the Guardians of the children go beyond the caring adults in their lives. As much as we love the children in our lives, life can sometimes interrupt their childlike view of the world. As much as we want to make everything all better or perfect to keep their innocence, life happens and confusion may interfere their sense of what a perfect world looks like. So I am pleased for the help from the Guardians. And maybe their presence is just as much for me as it is for Leila.
Thankfully through my work at Greater Sudbury Police Service I am still blessed with working with young people in a sense guardians for children and youth in our city. They keep me on my toes, remind me of the brilliance of young minds, and assure me this generation is already demonstrating citizenship, care of others, and the importance of voice is the Chief’s Youth Advisory Council, affectionately known as CYAC.
April 17, 2014 CYAC held the 4th Courage to Stand event at the Caruso Club. Approximately 145 people attended including students representing 15 Greater Sudbury secondary schools. The theme for this year was “Everyone has a Story”. The two keynote speakers, Denise Fraser and Vincent Bolt live courageous lives. They are living examples of how facing challenges can turn you into an ally, an advocate, an educator for others who may be overwhelmed by the not so good things that happen. They are the living examples that the light at the end of the tunnel is real. As well as being the example of what is possible they are the face of reality. Working hard to tackle the hiccups in life, learning from them, prepares for the next blip. The blips keep coming, what changes is the impact on the psyche. Once you overcome one battle the next is not so insurmountable. The level of resiliency grows, the sense of optimism remains present, and hope stays strong.
Choose one person in your life who has demonstrated growth, overcame a hardship, and continues to move forward towards a dream – applaud them. Let the person know you recognize the work done and you are there to continue as an ally, an advocate.
The cybercrime unit from GSPS shared the implications of social media if used incorrectly and how to use media well. Sometimes people make decisions based on misinformation or emotional upheaval and the implications of such decisions escape the decision maker. Because of social media the decision to push send or post or…. allow others to be privy to the choice. Social media can also be the way to send strong healthy messages, celebrate accomplishments. What do you choose?
In a sidebar conversation with 2 members of CYAC a couple of months back I mentioned I was disappointed because we couldn’t find the first Courage To Stand theme song written by a previous CYAC member, when Samantha said, “I could write you a song, let me see what I can do.” Well she shortly sent me the words and my heart sang with tears flowing. Thank you Samantha. Christy, a student from Notre Dame, performed the song April 17th and another CYAC member, Manon, accompanied her. What other talents do we have to mine from our young people? How can we get them to share them beyond chance meetings and comments? What other gifts are unknown within the precious people in our lives?
The program ended with a play written and performed from a Sudbury Secondary drama class. The word is simple – WOW!! The message was as real as it can get from the perspective of young person’s perspective. We need to listen and listen well. We need to accept that what they need to hear is we love you, we care, and we are here.