Tag Archives: relationships

Who Am I? Depends on Who You Are. And Chemistry

By Jason Menard,

In today’s social-media dominated world, the opportunity to share ourselves is ever present. But volume of sharing does not necessarily equal substance.

For example, I’ve had a lot of changes over the past couple of years. Some of you may know about them; others don’t. You see, I write a lot, but I don’t share a lot.

The trivial, the odd, the fun? Sure. No problem. But the personal? The stuff below the surface? I don’t like opening myself up like that and it’s rare that I do. I used to use the excuse that I figured people wouldn’t care, but that’s only part of the truth.

The truth is is that it’s not you. It’s just me. Continue reading

Following Our Children’s Lead

By Jason Menard

It’s about time. Now it’s about time for the rest of society to follow the lead of our children.

The Thames Valley District School Board did the right thing last night, expanding its safe-school policy to include same-sex relationships. However, unless some parents follow the school board’s lead, it won’t mean a wet slap for our society as a whole.

There are parents and groups out there that believe this amendment will lead to schools promoting the gay lifestyle. Like homosexuality is an intellectual virus that once learned will lead to a Queer Eye for the Straight Kid makeover, causing mass Pride parades down the halls of our city’s elementary schools, and a run on Cher memorabilia for the under-12 set!

I’m sorry, but being gay doesn’t work that way. You either you are or you aren’t. I’ve been around homosexuals the better (and I mean that in every sense of the word) part of my life, and yet I remain staunchly heterosexual. You would think that this powerful homo-hypnosis people seem to fear would have, at some point, affected me, but it hasn’t.

Including the understanding of gay lifestyles in our young children’s lives can only broaden and enrich their lives. In the same way that children were once – and at times are still – ostracized due to their ethnic background or religious beliefs, an attitude of intolerance and fear exists in our schools that make it difficult for homosexual children to feel comfortable with themselves.

I thank my parents for raising me in an extremely tolerant household. They taught me to respect and appreciate people for who they are – not who they’re with or what they look like. But as soon as I stepped out of the door, I entered a world where such compassion for others – at least as it relates to homosexuals – rarely existed.

Whether it was in the locker room with my hockey team or on the playground with other school kids the words ‘fag’ and ‘homo’ were tossed around as common insults. Up through high school, people that would never consider using a racial epithet tossed around insults based on sexual orientation without a second thought.

And then we wonder why it’s so hard for gay kids to come out? As a youth, I considered myself tolerant and understanding, but to a homosexual kid did my words – in this case – speak louder than my actions?

I went to a high school with roughly 900 other kids – and none was openly gay. While I may not believe that one in 10 people are gay, I find it hard to believe that all 900 of us were straight. Our culture was just not one where coming out was a welcome option. And I know we weren’t the only school like that.

I had hoped things had changed, but earlier this year, my son – who’s been exposed to gay friends and family all his life – came home and told me that some of his schoolmates were making fun of gay people and saying that they’re bad. The culture of intolerance still exists.

We, as a society, need to view sexuality in the same light as we do race. The only intolerance should be an intolerance of discrimination. We live in a secular society, so religious beliefs should hold no sway over our societal responsibilities. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies to all people, straight or gay.

And this decision isn’t about undermining parental rights. I’ve got two kids and they didn’t come with instructions for me to instill intolerance and hate. My parental obligations include preaching love, understanding, and acceptance of our differences.

Hopefully, considering the world we live in now, the Thames Valley District School Board’s decision will help make my obligations a little easier. But that can only happen if we all support its ideals. Kids truly do learn the most from their parents and if we preach intolerance, what do you think are kids are going to believe?

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved

Be Mine, But For One Day Only?

By Jason Menard

So legend has it that Valentine, the patron saint of love, was put to death following an imprisonment – seems like the appropriate holiday for us married types, right? Rimshot! I’ll be here all week, please tip your server on the way out.

But, in all seriousness, what does this holiday really mean? What brought this to the fore was a conversation I had with my wife a couple of weeks ago. When I asked her if she had anything in particular she wanted to do to celebrate, she replied, ‘Whatever, I don’t really care. It’s just a fake holiday perpetuated by Hallmark to make money.’

Obviously I was taken aback! Was this not the echoing of similar sentiments that I’ve been expressing for years? Hearing it come back to me in this way, though, gave me pause to wonder if I’ve had the whole thing wrong all this time and I haven’t been focussing on the right thing.

First off, I don’t want you to think I’m a horrible husband because of my issues with Valentine’s Day. I have always taken my wife out on Valentine’s Day and we’ve had many wonderful times together. But I, like many of you out there reading this, have railed endlessly against the crass commercialization of Valentine’s Day.

What bothers me is that Valentine’s Day too often is looked at as a panacea to absolve us of our romantic sins! We’re bombarded with this message: Show her that you love her (on this day!) by buying her flowers, jewellery, candy… It’s too much pressure for just one day. The underlying message is that you’ve been a selfish boor all year, make up for now with a gift! So think about that guys, what does that say about you if you don’t do something special for Valentine’s Day? The pressure!

My issue with this thought – and why I’ve looked at Valentine’s Day with a mix of dread and contempt – is that I don’t believe that there’s only one day that I should make my wife feel special – every day should be like that! Now, I’m not the model husband by any stretch of the imagination, but I try to do my best – the whole year! My efforts have been met with varying degrees of success, but I honestly believe I’m doing my best to show my wife how much I truly care for her. But still, I know the overwhelming guilt I would feel if I didn’t do anything on Valentine’s Day – and that’s not right.

And now we’re starting even younger. The pressure to conform and perform is starting in our elementary schools – albeit only with the best intentions in mind. Although we all know about where the path of good intentions leads.

In my son’s fourth-grade class they’ve been told to either bring enough Valentine’s for everyone or bring none at all. Talk about preparing them for disappointment down the road.

When I was younger it was almost a survival of the fittest. You chose to whom you gave Valentine’s and they actually meant something. Some years you got more, some years you got less, but at least they were genuine. The idea now is that everyone feels included, but what it actually does is give false hope to a number of kids.

Valentine’s cards were a microcosm of society as a whole. In fact, they were a great training ground to help deal with the harsh realities of life. The fact is that the majority of people in the world don’t care about you and some outright dislike you. But if you’re lucky enough to find someone who truly cares about you and wants to be your Valentine, then you’ve received the greatest gift of all. That’s a Valentine to cherish every day of your life – not just on February 14 th.

Like many things in life, my thoughts on Valentine’s Day are not so black and white any more – they’re more a shade of grey (or red as the case may be). It’s not the day itself that I have an issue with – it’s how we focus on this day, and this day alone, to show how much we care. So while I’ll go along with the crowd on Saturday night, I’ll know in my heart that this is just one day of many in the years to come where I should show my wife how special she is to me!

Valentine’s Day should be no more special than any other day. But instead of devaluing the meaning of February 14 th, we should be raising the bar on every other day of the year. I know it’s the least I can do for my one true Valentine.

2005 © Menard Communications – Jason Menard All Rights Reserved