Remembering Jack Layton


This past week we lost a great Canadian.  No matter what your political stripes you no doubt mourned the passing of Jack Layton, NDP Leader.  Jack wrote a final letter to all Canadians.  Many now refer to this as his “manifesto”.  Much of it is political in nature, however, in his final words to all Canadians, he wrote:

“My friends, love is better than anger.  Hope is better than fear.  Optimism is better than despair.  So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic.  And we’ll change the world.”

These are words that we can all live by.  Jack may have been speaking of how we can all make a better Canada but we can first look at how we can make it better in our own small world.  If we can all do that than Canada as a whole will become a better place.  How might you apply these words to your situation?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Love your family – be there for them.  Family should be your priority.  Work should be secondary.  Learn to hold your tongue rather than say things you may regret.
  • If it is a 2 year old giving you a hard time don’t strike out in anger words can hurt just as much as physical action.  Remember to give yourself a time out during nap time.  The chores will still be there later but you will be better able to handle yourself and the 2 year old if you have taken time to relax whether by watching a favourite TV show, reading a book or napping yourself.
  • Next time that teenager has driven you to the point of despair remember to take that breath.  Tell them you will be back to talk to them when you are both calmer.  Actually set a time to do so.  This will give both of you time to think about things.  Give them a hug.  Teenagers need hugs but often suggest that they do not.  Remember words said in anger are harder to take back. 
  • Define what you are afraid of and seek help.  There are organizations to help you if you are in an abusive situation or if you are suffering from mental difficulties such as depression.  You do not have to fight the battle alone.  Speak to your friends and family and find the resources to assist you.  Be hopeful.  Something better is just around the corner.
  • Don’t think about the grey skies in your life.  Find the silver lining.  Surround yourself with others who have the same attitude.  Smile even when you don’t feel like it.  Your smile will bring others to you.  Negative Nellie’s tend to stand alone. If this is you, then seek counseling to help you deal with your issues and learn to be a happier, more optimistic person.
  • To the larger goal of a better Canada, participate in your community.  Volunteer at local organizations that need your help.  Getting outside of your box will help you realize just how small your problems may be in relation to others or how you can provide help to others.  People helping people is what it is all about.

We will forever remember Jack’s optimism; his incredible feat during the last election campaign while suffering from cancer; and his attitude of “can do” instead of “why me” when faced with yet another fight with cancer.

Live by his words.  Live by his actions – every day to the fullest with love, optimism and hope.