Preparing For Change
1. C-change means century-change; once in a hundred years change. Like a hundred-year flood. It’s almost Valentine’s Day and some might say that the shift of our social lives onto the web – and our love lives too – is a C-change. The Journal of Psychological Science in the Public Interest says 40 million Americans visit online dating sites like Plenty of Fish, eHarmony, or Lavalife each month. These websites are like a big shopping mall and it’s hard to find one person you like. People can tell almost instantly when they meet if there’s an attraction. So even in this age of digital love, nothing beats a short, in-person meeting.
2. Newspapers compare our recession to the Great Depression of 1930 and say the North American economy is going through a C-change. The number of poor Americans in 2010 was the largest in the 52 years that the US Census has been publishing poverty estimates, according to Reuters. The average income for North Americans has dropped 10% in the last four years, and to deal with this problem the Family Maintenance Enforcement Agencies in Canada, and US States that do not have equal parenting laws, have responded by throwing divorced fathers in debtors prisoner for failure to maintain original child support amounts.
The law in all these jurisdiction requires that judges assess a father’s ability to pay before tossing these “throw-away dads” in jail. Judges claim that since fathers are guilty until they prove themselves innocent they do not need to assess a father’s ability to pay. As is so often repeated, these debtor’s prisons serve no coherent public policy – they do not help children. The US States that do have equal parenting laws believe that the best child support is parenting time with dad.
3. I would say Canadian law is going through a C-change. In 1982, Mr. Trudeau re-patriated our constitution and since then we have been trying to apply it to Canadian law. The Americans have a 200-year headstart on sorting through constitutional law. In today’s example, a mentally disabled woman has earned the right to testify in court, even though she was not very clear about truth, lies, or promises. In it’s landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada said the following:
“Sexual abuse is an evil. Too frequently, its victims are the vulnerable in our society — children and the mentally handicapped. Yet rules of evidence and criminal procedure, based on the norm of the average witness, may make it difficult for these victims to testify in courts of law.” – Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.
Children won this same right to testify without proving competence in 2005. Most Canadians seem comfortable with these new laws. In divorce court, we see as many as 80 percent of parents, whom one might assume represent the average witness, also have inadequate concepts of truth, lies, and promises.
4. One could say Canadian politics is going through a C-change. Prime Minister Harper is coming home tomorrow from his multi-billion dollar Chinese trade mission. Yesterday, he played ping pong in his suit and visited a school south of Bejing. That school uses an Ontario school curriculum, and the PM chatted about Post Secondary education issues. The United States will probably continue to be our major trading partner, at least for another generation. Canada is a democracy and China is a one-party dictatorship, so we will have ongoing discussions about fundamental principles and values, like freedom of speech. Vancouver is a major destination for Chinese immigrants, and our evolving relationship with our Pacific partners may eventually lead to a Free Trade Deal between Canada and China.
5. Some have compared our technological changes to the those of the 1800’s. In the words of Nobel Prize winner Robert E. Lucas, Jr., “For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth … Nothing remotely like this economic behavior has happened before”. The CBC Radio show, ReCivilization, claims it examines the biggest challenges facing our world, and charts a path to the future enabled by the revolutions underway in communications, innovation, and learning, in this new post-industrial, digital age. Teachers seem to wonder what will happen to our Science, Technology, English, and Mathematics (STEM) focus. People are also talking about the need to learn how to learn. The 4Moms~1Dream and this teacher’s website each wrote about this concept. And the BC Education Plan is trying to map out these potential changes to education.
Change is scary, but also exciting. We need to prepare and support our children through these coming changes.