A Canadian Tradition

For his first Christmas I bought my grandson some Mini -sticks.

He was too young for miniature hockey sticks of course, but I was looking to the future. And it isn’t as if his parents could buy them in Africa.

For his second Christmas I bought him another stick, figuring he needed one to go with the skater and goalie sticks he already has. With three sticks he could have some of his little friends over and he could teach them hockey.

He can stand and walk now – and he loves playing with the mini-sticks. Just like his father did at that age.

It felt so strange, in a good way, to be down on my knees playing mini-sticks with someone not yet two years old. It brought back lots of good memories. Mind you, my knees didn’t feel like this 30 years ago.

I realized that my son is now about the same age I was when I introduced him to mini-sticks. That feels weird. I don’t feel old enough to have a child that age. I don’t feel old enough to have a grandchild  (Mind you, I do have days when I feel ancient. Age is indeed just a number, but in some days it is bigger than others.)

The passage of time is something we are all aware of, and that we all the to ignore as much as possible.  Some days I feel like I am 16 again – until I get up from my chair and feel my creaky knees. I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up. Perhaps that is because I don’t want to grow up.

There was a word that I heard for the first time a few years ago that I detested on first hearing it. Adulting.

I think it bothered me because it was frequently used as part of the sentence “adulting is hard” by young adults who were dealing with leaving behind their teen years and finding responsibilities outside their parents’ orbit. Social media posts delighted in actually paying bills on time or cleaning the apartment. It was as if it was all a game. That you could pretend aging wasn’t happening.

The key word is responsibility. Too many people, for whatever reason, want to avoid it as long as possible. Preferably forever. That really isn’t healthy.

Sometimes though you need to step up, to take responsibility, to be an adult. That is especially important for those who aspire to leadership in our society. If the adults aren’t running things, then we are doomed. Maybe we are doomed anyway, but I prefer to be optimistic. And, I would argue, being an adult really isn’t harder than being a child, it is just different.

Which may be why I am so disheartened by elected leaders these days. There are very few willing to take responsibility for their actions. It’s always someone else’s fault.

Whether it is cabinet ministers caught in ethics scandals who are sorry, not for their actions but that they got caught, or business leaders caught price-fixing, the mantra is the same. There seems to be no repentance. And they’ll do it again as soon as our backs are turned.

Everything is subservient to the polling numbers. Doing the right thing, making the hard choices, takes second place to public opinion – which isn’t always right. Getting elected is the easy part. Governing requires adulthood.

Why all this is going through my head as I swat at a tennis ball with a mini-stick, I don’t know. I do know we all need time for recreation. We all need to hit that ball once in a while and leave aside the cares of the day.

But we can’t spend all our time playing mini-sticks. That may be appealing when you are two. Adults need to tend to adult responsibilities. Which can be just as fun, I’d you bring the right attitude to whatever the task is at hand.


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