Friday Two Cents: Youth Has No Age

You know that day once a year you get to sleep in late, eat cake and people cheer and say, “Happy Birthday!”  Well this year I don’t have that, well sort of.  You see my birthday comes once every four years.  I am a leap year baby. Mind you in my family we celebrate my birthday on another day, because the government changed my dates to make it easier.  Bureaucrats. So in reality I am as old as the students I work with.  Many of my colleagues would say that would explain a lot.  

Yet one thing many people kept asking me was how old am I really?  I would tell them my leap year age but everyone said, “No what is your real age?”  I found this very interesting.  You see growing up I never really cared about my age. Maybe its because in my family we don’t talk about how old you are, some European superstitions I think.  I found that the number never truly mattered but how old you feel.  In truth I feel younger than I am and to be honest I thing that many people use their age to hold themselves back from doing things.

However, I still have people insisting on asking me for a number, a label.  I refuse to be labeled.  From people looking at me as a “male” teacher working with students to moments when people say, “You’re an artist? But you play and love sports?”  How many of you have heard, “Oh act your age.”  What does that mean and why should I?  I have seen people who were in their 20s acting like they were seniors and seniors acting like they were in their 20s.  So who is right?  Is it perhaps our society’s obsession with “youth” that is at heart here? Or is it all a state of mind?

 Youth: definitions; (1) the period between childhood and adult age; (2) the state or quality of being young, especially as associated with vigour, freshness, or immaturity.

I like that, ‘the state or quality of being’.  It is so true.  I have read many papers about how powerful the mind is when it comes to our state of being. We can literally think ourselves sick or tired if we think or say that we are sick or tired.  Perhaps that is a big reason why I never say my age. When people ask I usually say, “I feel like I’m such and such”. I don’t want to limit myself to a number or a perception of what that age represents.  Pablo Picasso once said …

‘Youth has no age.’ Pablo Picasso

Wondrous Possibilites

Therefore, on February 28that 23:59:59, when it was about to turn into March 1stat 00:00:00, I took that moment to celebrate.  For in that moment, the world stood still and my thoughts explored the wondrous possibilities and endless joys, in that which I call; My Life.

Take your own moment, be amazed and keep this quote in the back of your mind …

‘Age does not matter, unless you are a bottle of wine’.  Paul Gauchi


Friday Two Cents: Playing Dodge Ball


‘Youth has no age.’ Pablo Picasso


This past week we had a rain day at the school. If you don’t remember those days, its raining so you stay inside and just chill for 15 minutes reading, playing cards, playing boards games like chess and other non physical games. Well this day was like many others and the students where the same. Restless. Even I have to admit I too was a bit restless.

Well I told my partner that because we are probably not going outside with the students in the afterschool, that it was best to let them have a very physical game in the gym, for about an hour. Many of the students enjoy one particular game that we haven’t played in about 4 months. It is called “War”. An all out, no holds barred game of dodge ball with no end in sight for about hour, if at all.

Dodge Ball

The game is played this way. You divide the students into two teams on either side of the gym. You pick two scouts (they wear red pinys) and you give them two folding mats that they setup on the their side as forts, and pylons to mark two jails on either side. The object of the game is to knock down the forts or get everyone out. We use foam balls so as to minimise the amount of injuries. Also the scouts are allowed to cross the centre line and enter the enemies’ territory and get people out or knock down the forts. If the ball hits you, you have to go to jail. However ever so often I call out jailbreak and everyone is free again. This way the game can go on for a very long time.

Watch out!!

We played this game and the students loved it. I also add music (from Star Wars) to help enhance the game experience. I too got into the game and threw the ball around and was having a lot of fun. Some parents and teachers commented that maybe I was having too much fun. I guess they where hinting that I should probably act my age. But then I remember hearing about how dodge ball can help us live longer. It has something to do with the quick reflexes required to play the game. Research shows that the more you work on increasing your reaction time you actually increase your likely hood of living longer. They say that there is a correlation between slow reflexes and dying sooner.
There you have it. I guess I’ll be living longer than other people because I am working on my reflexes with the students. I have always said it, that you are as old as you feel not your age. I guess that means I am allowed to continue playing with the students because I feel young at heart whenever I play with them.
Here’s to acting as young as I feel, because just like what Pablo Picasso said “Youth has no age.”

You’re as old as you feel.

Comic Strips: I’m Not Ready to Grow-up Yet

Being a kid is hard these days, but being an adolescent is becoming harder still.  This comic comes out of the difficultly that children have to face when they enter adolescence.  I don’t know about you but I remember it not being as hard as it is for the children today.  However let me clarify a couple of things about adolescence.

Everyone thinks that adolescence starts at 13 or 12 and goes to 19.  But today experts say that it starts in the second decade of life, from the ages of 10 to 20.  These young people are going through changes in their life, when a child starts to turn into an adult. A most confusing time for them and you cannot really blame them.

Imagine many of them are sent to a new school with new people (middle school), their friends are changing because of puberty, that’s if they even go to the new school with them.  Then finally their own desire to grow up and be adults, but at the same time an internal conflict to still have the safely of being a child. No wonder many have problems and don’t look back at their teenage years with fondness.

Well working with older children I see the beginnings of that struggle.  That is where the idea of the comic comes from.  Yet I like to put a funny spine on the issue.

When I posted the comic the children loved it and they got it right away.  The parents thought it was cute, but I know that many of them have that feeling that their little girl or boy is growing up.  Many of the parents talked too me about this subject and they are not looking forward to it.  They know that it is a natural progression, however I see in their eyes that they wish they could spare their children the heartache of what will come.

We adults have lived through those difficult adolescent years and unfortunately; we have to let our children suffer through it as well.  We survived the ordeal and I think many of us are pretty stable people.  I know it will hurt parents to see their children feel that pain but they need to and it will make them better people for it.  Just like their parents.


Friday Two Cents: Maybe being found guilty was the best thing for Mayor Rob Ford.


Well in Toronto, Canada, we have been inundated with the Mayor Rob Ford, being found guilty of a conflict of interest lawsuit that ordered him to step down as mayor.   This came about when the mayor participated in a vote, by the city council, to excuse him from paying back $3,150 he raised by using his office stationary.  Yes the money was for underprivileged youth to play football but the use of the stationary of the Mayor’s office was a stickler for some.

Yes, the rule of law has prevailed and a very bad man who raised funds for underprivileged youth was kicked out of office because of it.  Score one for the system and one for the opposition to Rob Ford’s administration.  But also score one, maybe two for Rob Ford as well.

What do you say, score one for the Mayor?  Yes.  The Mayor has been suffering with his popularity stalling. Now with the guilty verdict, what did the mayor do?  He sincerely apologized.  Not his usual defiant self but a humble response.  Maybe this slap in the face could be the catalyst to bring his popularity back up and silent his critics.

Every one in the city knows that the Left-side of the political spectrum have been gunning for him since he was elected.  Even this private citizen is from that camp as well.  With the judge ruling today that Rob Ford can run in a by-election, if there needs to be, the left will be targeted for starting all this mess.

You might be thinking this will never happen, but I remind you that in politics it is not about the message but how you deliver it.  If there has to be a by-election, the Ford campaign just has to deliver the message that the left are the real reason why we need a by-election in the first place. Spin is an art form and we have seen that his campaign is very good at it.  Maybe being found guilty was the best thing for Mayor Rob Ford.

Friday two cents: I say lets give the teachers a break!

For the past three months, one group or another has racked the schoolteachers in Ontario across the coals.  Government, parent groups, student groups, the media and anybody else who have a grievance against them have taken a shoot at the teachers.

Now a group of students are crying foul over posting inappropriate, some of them sexual in nature, comments about their teachers on twitter.  Nine students in Brampton have been suspended for posting malicious comments about their teachers.   Many students are defending the 9 saying that these comments were made after hours and not in class.  One of the suspended students even said that “she’s said worse online, including sexually explicit remarks about teachers that were meant to be jokes between friends”.  She thinks that the punishment of two days suspension is ridiculous (You can click on the links below for the whole story.)

I remember passing notes and talking to my friends about teachers I did not like but that was between friends in a conversation and not made public.  Well my dear students, when you post something about anybody else on twitter you are making it public and you must be held accountable for your own actions.

I say lets give the teachers a break!  I applaud the action by the school board in suspending these students.  They need to learn that what they say publicly has consequences.  After all this talk about bullying and cyber bullying, everyone must realize that bullying is not just student on student but there are incidents of student on teacher too.  When you belittle or intimidating someone, no matter who they are, you are bullying them.

Everyone thinks that being a teacher is an easy job.  Work from 8 am – 4 pm, stand in front of a group of children showing them how to add 2+2, two weeks off Christmas, a week off in March and two months off in the summer.  The real story is that teachers do a lot of the hard work on their own time and many truly care about their students.  Many of them are in the profession to really help and pass on their knowledge to next generation.

What is sad is the fact that many of these students do not see what they did was wrong. Maybe this shows that these bullying programs and awareness weeks are either, not working or just falling on deaf ears.

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