Don’t let go…



Recently it has become increasingly difficult to hold onto what I believe in and dream of for public education.* Some days it feels possibility died or is very close to death.  Bright clear dreams, plans and ideas have become clouded and distorted to the point of unrecognizable. You may also have felt this way and had dark days such as these. Over time, my mental arms have grown weary from grasping tightly to what I hold dear. Over time, wisps of doubt have stealthily crept in. Why bother to hold onto something that seems invisible to many? Why protectively carry ideals that at times feel valueless? The uncertainty and deep despair of this thought has hurt my heart, mind and inner core.

It feels as I have been worn down and tapped out…it would be so much easier to just…let go…

To let the dreams and ideals I began teaching with drop, would be so freeing.  After all, back then I was naive to the ways of the world. I wouldn’t have to care anymore. Done. Out. Cut and dry. Just a job.

But…every time I get within a hair of letting it all go…I just can’t. For the past several months this contemplation has both haunted and trapped me.  It would seem that until I resolved this decision, I couldn’t move in any concrete direction, I was at a standstill. This grey no man’s land coloured a part of my life usually bright and full of joy. I was paralyzed by the possibility: will THIS be the time I give in and give up? Will this be the TIME I disengage completely, stop feeling and caring?

Mistakenly I thought it would be easy. Easy to let go. I even thought I wanted to. I don’t want to get all moral and heavy-handed with it either, this struggle comes from my deepest beliefs about what I hold as precious, true and right. But when it came right down to it, I just couldn’t do it.


So take these tenuous threads with which we collectively sew humanity and never doubt your connection to this purpose for one breath, one heartbeat. And if you were as I, holding your breath and holding your beliefs tenderly as a dying lover, I offer this…

Do not doubt yourself and your ideals in these dark moments. Look forward to the light of what is possible. Be sure of what you know as good and true. Imagine your big impossible dreams boldly and loudly.

Hold on. Hold on to what you know to be true and right.

Hold on dear friends, hold on.


* this post is in reference to the challenges of job action in British Columbia over the last several months.


Practice dreaming.

Sal and Car
Sal and Car: Back lane dreamers.

When we were growing up there was an empty lot across the street from our Montreal neighborhood lane. We neighborhood kids reveled in the open space glory. Then the lot was sold and a proposal for a condo development followed. We could not imagine our lives without it; the lot was our tree fort headquarters, our bike course and our baseball field. We quickly rallied and decided we would raise money and buy the lot! The Kool-Aid stand became a regular fixture on the corner along with the “how much for chores” chorus; we had a plan, we had a dream!

This particular dream never came to fruition, but our dreams, they kept on coming.

In Grade 1, 2 and 3 Sally (pictured above) and I made every cake, cupcake, and dessert concoction we could in our Easy Bake oven (won in a contest, another dream). We mixed, decorated, and baked nonstop. We would become world-renowned bakers, open a small bakery, while solving mysteries on the side.

In Grade 5 we were going to make a ‘scary movie’, we spent weeks in Sally’s basement, spooky-a-fying it, building props and writing scripts. It did not matter one iota that we did not even own a camera, we had a dream, get out-of-the-way!

Sally and I grew up. We both continued dreaming.

Sally’s dreams took her west and on to becoming the chef she had dreamed of back in Grade 3.

I had dreams of going to India to work with Mother Theresa, after high school I saved money and got myself to Calcutta, India. My dreams then brought me west, to mountains and out of the city.


Last week someone (very nicely) joked about my sometimes ‘crazy’ dreams and in that moment I realized that it really doesn’t matter to me if all my dreams come true. For me, that is not the point of dreaming. Dreams are not fixed end points to be reached in a military march; they are aspirations, inspirations, and affirmations about the depths and heights of all that is possible and impossible about being alive.

Dreaming, like many aspects of being human, takes practice.

Practice to figure out that some dreams are too big, some not worth the trade-off, and some unrealistic.
Some will consume you, some belong to someone else, and some are just too small. And some…are just dreams, perfect and unattainable. We practice hockey, timetables and reading aloud, but where and when do we practice dreaming? Do we enable our children’s dreams or are we dream disablers?
Do we dream aloud and loudly, modelling for students that as adults we continue to dream or do we wear our broken dreams as warning?

Do we look into the whites of our children’s eyes and the depths of their souls and say with conviction…in here we dream, it’s safe, let’s go!


Sally, who taught me to dream bravely, fiercely and unencumbered, ended her life last summer. I continue to dream of her and for her.

Though nothing, will keep us together
We could steal time, just for one day
We can be heroes, for ever and ever
What d’you say?


Super heroes. Note the de rigueur ‘towel capes’.