Helping to change the world


When I worked at YMCA Wanakita, we ran a program called Sunship Earth.  It is an environmental program for grade 6 students that focuses on their science curriculum, but does so outside – hands on.  One of the activities out in the woods revolves around the falling of the trees dead leaves in the fall.

Each autumn, maple leaves shine bright with their magnificent colours across this country before falling to the ground and dying.  But each passing season, it is these very leaves that float gently to the ground that turn into a rich soil, full of nutrients, and help the maple tree continue to grow for years to come.  Political views run deep in this country as they do throughout the world.  But Jack Layton was one of the few politicians that could be seen in a light outside of politics.  He was a regular fellow who could be seen biking the streets of Toronto or going for walks with his wife Olivia.  I don’t know the NDP’s platform inside out.  I don’t know every stance that Jack Layton had on every issue.  I don’t think many of us do, but that doesn’t matter.  The outpouring of love through emails and comments yesterday was an indication of a man who was genuine, honest and full of integrity.

His leaves shone bright over the last several months and have now fallen to the ground to lie still.  But his character, his honesty, and his integrity have added a rich soil to our country – a soil that will make this country even better than it already is.

Jack Layton’s closing words in his letter to Canadians have been pasted all over the internet, tv and newspapers over the last 24 hours.  And rightly so – they are inspiring and touching words.  But it is the man who lived these words, as best he could, day in and day out that make those words so powerful.  I’m not so sure the impact would be as great coming from other politicians.  It is a reminder, regardless of political views, to grab the torch that he has passed and “to be loving, hopeful and optimistic.”  In doing so, it might just be possible to “change the world.”

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