Read my latest Sun Media column HERE.
If every school principal gave this speech at the beginning of the next school year, Canada would be a better place.
To the students and faculty of our high school:
I am your new principal, and honoured to be so. There is no greater calling than to teach young people.
I would like to apprise you of some important changes coming to our school. I am making these changes because I am convinced that most of the ideas that have dominated public education in Canada have worked against you, against your teachers and against our country.
First, this school will no longer honour race or ethnicity. I could not care less if your racial makeup is black, brown, red, yellow or white. I could not care less if your origins are African, Latin American, Asian or European, or when your ancestors arrived here or how they got her.
The only identity I care about, the only one this school will recognize, is your individual identity — your character, your scholarship, your humanity. And the only national identity this school will care about is Canadian. This is a Canadian public school, and Canadian public schools were created to make better Canadians.
If you wish to affirm an ethnic, racial or religious identity through school, you will have to go elsewhere. We will end all ethnicity-, race- and non-Canadian nationality-based celebrations. They undermine Canadian values.
This includes all after-school clubs. I will not authorize clubs that divide students based on any identities. This includes race, language, religion, sexual orientation or whatever else may become in vogue in a society divided by political correctness.
Your clubs will be based on interests and passions, not blood, ethnic, racial or other physically defined ties. Those clubs just cultivate narcissism — an unhealthy preoccupation with the self — while the purpose of education is to get you to think beyond yourself. So we will have clubs that transport you to the wonders and glories of art, music, astronomy, languages you do not already speak, carpentry and more. If the only extracurricular activities you can imagine being interesting in are those based on ethnic, racial or sexual identity, that means that little outside of yourself really interests you.
Second, because I regard learning as a sacred endeavor, everything in this school will reflect learning's elevated status. This means, among other things, that you and your teachers will dress accordingly. Many people in our society dress more formally for Hollywood events than for church or school. These people have their priorities backward. Therefore, there will be a formal dress code at this school.
Third, no obscene language will be tolerated anywhere on this school's property — whether in class, in the hallways or at athletic events. If you can't speak without using the f-word, you can't speak. By obscene language I mean the words banned by the CRTC, plus epithets such as the N-word that rhymes with trigger even when used by one black student to address another black, or the b-word that rhymes with witch even when addressed by a girl to a girlfriend. It is my intent that by the time you leave this school, you will be among the few your age to instinctively distinguish between the elevated and the degraded, the holy and the obscene.
Fourth, we will end all self-esteem programs. In this school, self-esteem will be attained in only one way — the way people attained it until decided otherwise a generation ago — by earning it. One immediate consequence is that there will be one valedictorian, not eight.
Fifth, and last, I am reorienting the school toward academics and away from politics and propaganda. No more time will devoted to scaring you about smoking and caffeine, or terrifying you about sexual harassment or global warming. No more semesters will be devoted to condom wearing and teaching you to regard sexual relations as only or primarily a health issue. There will be no more attempts to convince you that you are a victim because you are not white, or not male, or not heterosexual or not Christian. We will have failed if any one of you graduates this school and does not consider him or herself inordinately lucky — to be alive and to be a Canadian.
Now, please stand and join me in the singing of Oh Canada. As many of you do not know the words, your teachers will hand them out to you.
***This speech was adapted from a column written by US Talk show host Dennis Prager last year***
By CHARLES ADLER, QMI Agency
Last Updated: December 17, 2010 10:33am
Since this is our last visit in this space before 2011, I wanted to recognize the single most important event of 2010 that never got the headlines it so richly deserved.
Citizens of Adler Nation got to know it as the Firefighter Wilson story and, while it didn’t happen on Christmas Day, it has Christmas Miracle written all over it.
Sgt. Rob Cullen of York Regional Police was just answering the call of duty one day in a town about an hour’s drive north of Toronto. Something happened that day that moved him to write a different kind of police report, in an e-mail to our national radio show.
“Last night, while working in my usual role as a police platoon sergeant, we were called to a VSA — vital signs absent — in the basement apartment of a house just north of Keswick.
“The victim was 78. A retired firefighter. His small basement apartment was tidy. Upon the walls were tonnes of framed photos.
“He was very well read. History books lined his bookshelves. His specialty was the Avro Arrow.
“He was a huge supporter of our troops. An article from the Toronto Sun about the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion sat on his desk. Pictures of cops and firefighters were found here and there.
“But he had no next of kin. I had no one to visit, no one to see. I left the detectives and constable to await the coroner, and have the body removed to its final rest.
“As I walked down the driveway, the constable followed me and said: ‘Sarge, they’re gonna carry this guy out in a plastic bag. All the neighbours are watching. He was a firefighter for 30 years. He’s got no one … we can’t let him go like that.
“‘Can you find us a Canadian flag, so that when they take him out of the house, we can lay it on the gurney when they roll him to the hearse?’
“It was 7:30 on a Tuesday night. Where to find a flag? The Dollar Store. Sure enough, they had one. I bought the flag, and took it back to the scene.
“Firefighter Robert Wilson was brought up from his apartment. Before he left the door, the flag was draped across him, to honour the life of a man who was willing to give it at any time.
“The neighbours watched in silent respect. The people from the funeral home tucked the flag secure and removed it with him. I expect it will be buried with him, too.
“For a short time, he wasn’t alone. He was a firefighter, a hero. He was a Canadian. All it took was a flag to show it.
“Maybe it’s time we find our heroes before their only honour comes from a dollar store.”
Sgt. Cullen, our listeners and readers everywhere want to thank you and your crew for your service to York Region, and indeed to the country. And I’d like to think that somewhere up there Firefighter Wilson feels for the first time in a very long time, that he is not alone.
Merry Christmas to you Firefighter Wilson. A country thanks you, and walks with you. This is Canada and you’ll never walk alone.
Charles reads the story of White Roses, with some help from Mahalia Jackson singing Silent Night
LETTER FROM LISTENER:
I have a confession. I think I’m a snob. Or, at least I was a snob until last week.
I’ve lived my whole life in a big city in Eastern Canada. I’ve traveled a lot, but not within my own country. And, I will admit, I’ve lived a pretty self-absorbed, urban lifestyle. I thought I was open-minded, but I’ve totally been living my life believing these stupid stereotypes about Westerners and people from rural Canada.
I know this sounds horrible, but I used to think that city people were just smarter, faster and way cooler. People from the country were nice, but we had nothing in common. We didn’t like the same food, wear the same clothes or listen to the same music. So I just wrote them off, without even trying to get to know them. I’m ashamed of my attitude, but I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
I recently came back from a volunteer trip to South America. I was on a team of 35 Canadians – all of them from rural Ontario and British Columbia. I went into the trip thinking we wouldn’t have anything in common. Me being from a big city, them being from small towns. But after the first night, we didn’t care where we came from. We talked about our lives, our families, our jobs, our friends, our adventures, our health and our future. We weren’t different. We were the same. We all wanted to live long and happy lives. We all wanted to make a difference. We all wanted our families to know we were safe and sound. Some of us talked about our love lives. Some of us talked about our travels. Some of us talked about battling cancer.
And the one thing that really tied us together was the fact that we were all Canadians. And, it didn’t matter what part of Canada we were from. We were just happy to be together. And, we were proud of what we were doing.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about my latest adventure. I thought this trip was going to change my view of South America. I didn’t realize it was going to change my view of Canada.
So let’s stop this Us VS Them mentality. This West VS East rivalry. Rural VS Urban. Because when it comes down to it – we’re all the same. We're all Canadian.