Tuesday, December 19, 2017

I'm Uncle, it's my Job

I gave heck to my niece a while ago. It could have been considered getting shit or it could bee seen as giving worldly advice. In any case as an Uncle it's my job to speak with her. I told her its my job as your Uncle to give you heck. She said yes.

Growing up in the 1960's as a kid in the Reserve it was not unusual to get heck from adults. If you did something wrong it was their job to correct your behaviour. It might even be a kick in the arse, depending on what you did wrong.

Smoking as a child, was not accepted by adults. We hid our smoking from the adults. Heaven help us if we were caught busting the outdoor rink lights. Once (I don't know what I was thinking) in the summer I was busting the lights at the rink. An older cousin caught me. He caught a number of us. First thing was we were going to run but knew to stop and wait for our punishment. He spoke to all of us and informed us that he would be telling our parents. He took me aside and said I won't tell your Dad as I know what will happen to you. I think we were about ten at the time. I never forgot the act of kindness by him (not that my Dad was a monster or anything) but the belt was spared that day.

The community was a community and it was the job of the Uncle to look after the whole community. That concept has changed in the community and perhaps in society all together. We drive by and even look away if we see something. The Child walking all alone, a woman being harassed on the street.

Yesterday I was listening to a woman speak about the crisis of abuse faced by women in our Indigenous community. She asked why are the men not standing up? Why are they not talking to the abusers? Why do they stay silent? Where are the Uncles? Women, Aunties are standing up and speaking up but not the men.

We may not like it when someone confronts us about our behaviour or if they try and correct our children's behaviour or actions. Still what message are we giving if we  allow the poor actions of others to go unchecked?

Should I hold my tongue when speaking to my niece and her drug use or the manner which she treats her mom or dad?  Should I not tell a nephew that hitting his girlfriend is wrong? Or should we leave it the women to be the only ones not afraid to speak out to this young man. Or should we continue to protect the hitting of women by  men?  My daughter had a very abusive boyfriend. She charged him after a violent attack. She was afraid to go to court but I went with her. The boyfriend had his dad and his uncles there to support him.  The thought was that my daughter would be too afraid to show up. So when he saw her there, his lawyer made a plea deal. But that's the thing isn't it as Uncles we are more willing to protect and even promote the ugliness towards women. As men we may give superficial mentions about the plights of Women. Yet it is not reflected in the actions of us Uncles.

We need Uncle's to stand up and to do their job.
Uncle Bob Uncle Herman-2  We listen to our Uncles. 
We need to act like the Uncles who watched over the whole community, the wellness of the whole community.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Looking Into My Brain

You're sitting in your car in traffic and you look left at the person in the next car; you start to wonder what is she thinking, where is she going,wonder what her life is like, job, kids and siblings? We wonder about life outside or our heads. We can't really imagine what is the heads of others and what their life is really like. I mean look at someone like Bjork. Who is she? Wonder what she thinks about in her life? But then who really cares?

My wife and I always say "we are so different from each other".  She will say " she never thinks that" when I tell her something I am thinking. I guess it is normal for everyone to be like that.

I will give a little glimpse in my head.

About 30 years ago my wife Suz went to buy a dog, a miniature Schnauzer. Went into the house and the people had the beautiful puppies in a large cardboard box. So they said want to see the parents? We did and they brought in the parent dogs. The woman took on dog and put it on the kitchen table for us to look at her. This was weird. Who puts a dog on the kitchen table? For us that is not a thing to do. The big thing do is to put a shoe on the table. You know like when you come home with your new shoes in the box and you put the box on the table. You are asking to go hungry with things like that. I remember saying this to a friend, who happens to be a Medicine man-Elder. He laughed at me.

The other day my Wife and I were in Safeway at the checkout line. Down at my feet was a folded up twenty dollar bill I said hey to my wife and picked it up. I paid for our items with the twenty dollars feeling all lucky. After we started driving the weight of the twenty dollar bill started to weigh heavy on my mind. What is going to happen? Sure enough couple of days later my Wife and my daughter were at the Bay store trying on coats. My daughter had left her wallet with the coats. When they came home my daughter told me about it and said it was my fault. I shouldn't have kept that twenty dollar bill. I should have passed it on. That's what goes on in my head.

Last night, after two days had passed I phoned the lost and found of the Bay. I was thinking and I told the Bay employee about the wallet and I said maybe some kind soul was thinking its close to Christmas and decided to turn in the wallet. Sure enough someone did. Awesome.

You see during the day a friend phoned me and we talked. His granddaughter was killed in a car accident last year and it is crippling to him. We shared about how when we get happy that we get scared. We get guilty for feeling happy. Fearful that if we get too happy something bad will happen again the spite us or make sure we don't forget to be sad and mindful. My son died of suicide 12 years ago and I live in fear of another tragic incident. I felt good after talking with him and glad that he was able to confide and share his feelings with me about his girl. So I felt good that I had listened to him in earnest. Maybe something good would happen to me for being empathetic. And the wallet thing for my daughter was that good thing.

My wife and I are committed to the Give Away. For a variety of reasons. First we like to make me people happy. The other thing is that its an act of kindness and we are kind generous folk. We always try to be generous. The other thing is that in order to get good things in our lives we should be willing to give good things in return. We have given many many gifts to people. In return we have gotten many blessings. Our grandchildren come to mind. And we want to make sure they are safe, happy and looked after. The more love and good feelings we get from people, all the better for our family. Of course I am like anyone and get upset when I feel or see that people don't seem to appreciate our gestures of kindness or generosity. But I remember the gift is not for them to return if they don't want to. It's for the blessings, the gifts we may receive in other ways; like maybe a friendly wave or smile from the stranger in the next car, or the person holding open the door from my wife or the kind smile to a grandchild.

In  my mind I am not isolated. Even though I am a home body and rarely go visiting friends and family I am not in the world alone. My actions have rewards and consequences. So I have to act accordingly.

I fear of being too happy or else I be  showed what saddens really is.

Cherokee Fiddle, cause Good Whiskey Never Let Him Lose His Place

 Urban Cowboy is a 1980 movie with a soundtrack steeped in western songs that had great Redneck lines like, "single bars and good time ...