Do As I Say, Not As I Do

It seems to be a right of passage – to bemoan the future of society when one looks at the generation that follows.

Kids these days. No respect for authority. No standards, and on and on.

But I found it rather ironic that based on the behavior of adults lately, how can hold child to a higher standard?

For starters, teachers in Ontario are protesting Bill 115. It is a detailed Bill handed down from the Provincial Government. One of the points of this Bill is that it suspends the Right to Strike, something that has been exercised thoroughly in the past. The Province has stepped over regional school boards and handed down a contract that, amongst other things, freezes teachers wages and reduces the number of sick days they are entitled to. A number of other Public Sector employees have been put the same position, not to mention the Separate School Board Teachers, who signed their agreements, in spite of not being pleased with the situation they were in.

However, the public school teachers’ union decided to protest the legislation, and starting in November (prior to the government handing down the Bill), started one day walk-outs in protest. Parents were given two days notice to find alternate childcare as schools were closed. Just about every school district had participated in rotating strikes. Once the Bill was passed before the end of the year, one day rotating strikes would be in contravention of the Bill. Both elementary and secondary school teachers planned another day each, of walk outs.

Now, the position the union is taking is that their members cannot in good conscience teach children about democracy when their own Rights are being stomped upon.


How about a child’s Right to an Education?

How about not using children as hostages?

How about not punishing parents for something they have no direct control over?

Now, I’m not a fan of government legislating away Rights. But you know what I’m LESS of a fan of?? Teachers, who are in positions of authority and already complaining about lack of respect and support from students and parents, talking about taking action which was deemed ILLEGAL by the government. The Premier was elected by the people of Ontario, therefore, he acts on behalf of the taxpayers. If you don’t agree with the government, you get to vote them out at the next election.

In the meantime, you have children seeing teachers talking about breaking the law. Yup. Like it doesn’t apply to them. Fortunately, the government stood behind their legislation and indicated that any walk out would be deemed illegal (uh….YA?!?) and the Union backed down.

This week, teachers took the streets in front of their local MPPs’ offices, as well as Queens’ Park to protest Bill 115. Hmmm, taking your message directly to the politicians you are trying to communicate with. What an educated concept! You enact the democratic process as you exercise your Right to peaceful protest, while NOT breaking the law, and maintain your standing with parents and students (not alienate them). BRILLIANT!

Then there is the shining example that is Lance Armstrong.

From the first time that our sons told their first fib, we have been very clear on our position; no matter what it is that you have done, it will be twice as bad if you lie about it.

Didn’t complete a project? Bad.

Didn’t complete a project and then lie to Mom and Dad about it? BAD BAD.

We watched the build up to the Oprah Winfrey interview (first portion to air tonight) and viewed a montage of Armstrong denying, denying, denying, denying, denying that he took performance enhancing drugs. Not him. No way. NEVER! Now that he has lost his corporate sponsorship, endorsements, titles and respect, he has decided to fess up. Oprah has been guarded enough to say that he does not confess in the way that she expected, so I’m going to go out on a limb and speculate that he will say that the entire sport is doping, so therefore it is an even field.

If we all cheat, does anyone do anything wrong?

I looked at my sons and said, “Do you see? Even adults have a hard time with this concept of why it’s bad to lie; and it’s made it worse for him, like it’s worse for you.”

While a small fortune has been raised in his name for research, the base of his foundation is built on a lie. Cancer survivor turn seven-time Tour de France champion turn celebrity. Dare I say, hero?

No. Liar.

How can we have a higher expectation of children, when society presents such questionable role models?

Parenting just got harder.



2 thoughts on “Do As I Say, Not As I Do

  1. Ouch, Sarah, as a parent of two kids who teach, rather than send this on to them I’ll take this opportunity to jump in and gently (I hope) to tell you how I interpret this situation.   First, the teachers DID agree to a wage freeze. Second, when the COURTS (not the government) decided just before 4 am last Friday that the proposed walkouts of last Friday were illegal, the teachers’union called their walkout off.  The COURT’s decision was honoured and no illegal action was taken.   The difficulty, as I see it, is that Bill115 is a contract which is being imposed on the teachers with no opportunity for negotiations and gives the government the right to subsequently impose any and all contracts with teachers in the future, with no room for discussion and negotiations with the teachers..  Besides a complete abrogation of democracy, this has huge implications on all public sector employees and possibly workers in the private sector.   It is possible that Bill 115 was hastily introduced to win last fall’s by-election in the Waterloo region, and may now be recognized by the government as a mistake .  Especially as they did not win the byelection.   Teachers do not like taking stands like this.  Beth is finding it particularily difficult not being allowed into her classroom (work to rule stuff) until 10 minutes before the first class starts.  As she is still nursing her babies and teaches in Brampton, a good 30 minutes at least from her home, she must scoot home ASAP when the last class has ended.  Despite being deprived of time to organize her classes, Beth (and Matthew as well) fully support their union in this unfair piece of legislation.   I agree with you that the action of teachers unfortunately impacts students and their parents but to suggest voting a government out just ain’t that easy. Look at the wretched mayor Toronto is suffering under and yet there still are people who unthinkingly would vote him back in.  And I won’t even mention S. Harper.   I have written to the non-existent premier and also to my MPP who happens to be the Minister of Education, of my support for the teachers.  I will also send a copy of your remarks and my response to Beth and Matthew so that they can share their perspective on this tragic situation, if they have the time.   On a happier note, Beth and her family moved into their new house last Saturday and are overjoyed at all the space they now have.  House has a lot of work yet to go but they are in and are very grateful.   Hope all is well. Hugs, Judy  

  2. Thank you so much for your thoughts on this Judy – naturally as a mother, you want to see your children viewed a fair light.

    My views are based on being the student on the short end of two teacher strikes (secondary and college). I witnessed friends have to drop out of college and lose tuition money, never to return to complete their post secondary education as a result. This too, was unfair. I was never compensated for the time I was out of class due to the strike, and was unable to get work during the “down time” as we were in a constant stated of “they are negotiating to return on Monday” only to have that date not arrive for eight weeks. In both strikes, students were told the teachers did not want to walk out. In both strikes teachers were using their classrooms as platforms for their unions.

    As far as the details of the Bill – the image being put forth locally is that most teachers (again) did not want to take action; that the Union was forcing them to do so. Perhaps its time to review the purpose and role of the Union if a supposed majority of its membership doesn’t want to take the action being proposed? This cannot be any better for teachers than the heavy-handed legislation. Bullying is bullying.

    I am in another one of the public sectors you referred to, and when contracts were brought fourth two years ago, they were agreed to, in the vein of “fiscal responsibility” and due to the fact that so many people (specifically in the manufacturing industry) were losing their jobs – one is grateful to have a job today.

    In fairness, in this day and age, I can appreciate the demands on our teachers. There is a reason why I did not choose it for a profession. I have the utmost respect for the two or three teachers we have been able to work with who are dedicated and passionate about their work. However, as in all professions, there are a number who are not as stellar, and that is unfortunate. The amount of labor issues relating to teaching in the past few years draws many negative reactions, due to the frequency alone.

    My intention here, was to illustrate that Union talk in the classroom (when children are quote the Union message, it isn’t right) is not the way to handle a labor dispute, but dealing directly with the source (government) is.

    You will see that there is no direct attack on a specific individual, and I KNOW that Beth and Matthew are most definitely the dedicated teachers we appreciate in this household. It is simply a most unfortunate situation that seems to continually be handled poorly.

    Don’t get me going on Rob Ford – I’m sure I’d run out of characters in this blog!!!! lol

    Thanks again!


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