Right in the Centre - Foundational truths


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

I am  glad to see that the world is catching up with where my family has been at for decades. I hear a lot about equality and inclusion and a bunch of other 21st century buzzwords. Just about every new verbal invention that comes up has some resonance with family values that have been part of our existence for generations.

In the 1950s, where my earliest childhood memories were formed, in my home community, it was considered OK by some to dislike the Catholics. Not in our house. They were our friends, our neighbours and in some cases our customers. Back in those days, travel by our family, and many others, was limited so crossing paths with First Nations people was rare. The nearest First Nation was several miles away and in a direction we didn’t often travel. When we did cross paths, my father taught me to be respectful and to engage in conversation. Seeing as I was pretty shy (hard to believe, I know) the conversations were limited, but there was never exclusion.

By the time I was 16, I think I saw an African-American once, and from a distance at a ball tournament, when a travelling tournament team from the United States played in a town several miles away.

Today, a lot of hyper ventilated talk about inclusion is highly sexualized. Sad it happens that way. Sexual activity and the attention it gets is highly over rated. I have my opinion, and others are of course entitled to theirs. In my world, sexual activity means an intimate and long term relationship between a man and a woman. Obviously, a lot of people won’t agree but, as I said above, people are entitled to their opinions. Following closely behind any discussion on sex comes the gender definition. I believe there are two genders, male and female. Some hold a different view. On a personal basis, gender or how many definitions there are don’t matter to me as I wasn’t planning to have a sexual relationship with anyone except my wife anyway.

Nothing raises peoples’ hackles as much as a discussion about sexual activities. That came to the forefront last week in Brandon as a group of people want some books taken out of the school curriculum. I haven’t read the books in question but from what I have seen described, I sympathize with the concerns. There has long been an argument about sex-ed books and about certain books that are taught in English classes. The problem with banning books is where do you start and where do you end? There’s a lot of material that is considered bad by some and not by others. Bibles are almost gone from public schools when they used to be a mainstay. If people insist on banning books, they can almost be certain, the list will be a long one.

Banning books won’t likely end well, but that said, I know personally of two people who were emotionally badly side-tracked. One was by a book in the 1960s and one by a movie in the 1980s. The point is that while we are influenced by movies, TV and books, it’s important to make sure we are well grounded. While many people would argue the point, that grounding comes from God and it is to God we must turn. That has to be our priority. It’s the foundational message of AA, of service clubs and most churches, mosques, synagogues and temples. I guess all those groups could be wrong but I somehow doubt it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.