Tag Archives: #activism

What is your child learning in their Ottawa Catholic School?

“My teacher said the Catholic Church has changed its teaching about masturbation. They say it’s healthy now.”

A sweet high school girl said this to me after hearing a chastity talk at her school. She wasn’t trying to get a laugh from her classmates. She was genuinely confused.

My little sister came home from school one day with a similar story. Her religion teacher had told his class about the time he and his 3-year old daughter saw a same-sex couple at the mall and he took the opportunity to teach his daughter that same-sex unions are good.

The problem is not simply a few rogue teachers. Actually at this point, the “rogue” teachers are the ones who do present the truth.

I’ve personally talked with teachers who have been reprimanded for bringing students to the March for Life, for presenting authentic Church teaching about sexuality, and for even having too many Christian posters on the walls of their religion classrooms.

Why?

The school board is greatly influenced by parent feedback, and right now the loudest voices are the liberal ones.

When misguided parents complain about their kids being taken away to the March for Life, the school board concludes that everyone wants ‘Cafeteria Catholicism’. So they oppose faithful teachers and support the politically correct ones.

That is the situation we are facing. More specifically, that is the world your child is facing every day at school.

Here are 3 things you can do about this:

1. Give feedback to the teachers and to the school board: You can contact the school board from their religion department page .) Build a positive relationship with them by thanking them every time a Mass is celebrated at school, a canned food drive is organized, and definitely if your child is taken to the March for Life. They’ll be more willing to hear you out when they’re considering inviting a pro-choice guest speaker.

2. Suggest great resources for the classroom.

3. Become more influential by joining the school’s parent council, the School Board Parent Association, or by supporting PAFE.

 

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Submitted anonymously to Mama Activist by a fellow concerned mama.

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Okay, what? seriously…. what?

A few months after I had my baby, William, I decided to hit the mall for some new clothes/I was bored and what else is there to do except shop (or pop some tags as the kids are saying.. and by kids, I mean me.). I popped into one store and after picking out some clothes I headed to the change rooms. To my disappointment, there were no benches, chairs or anything in the change rooms. I approached the cashier and asked politely if there were any benches around so that I could put my baby down while I try on the clothes (W was only about 3 months old- no rolling or sudden movements..). Her response? “No, we don’t have benches.. but we have a stool.”

A stool? Seriously? I almost laughed at her right then and there. Instead, I politely said, “okay no that won’t work, he’s still little see?” while I pointed at the obviously tiny form snuggled in the carrier. And then I left.  I remember thinking to myself, “why do they make it so difficult?”

A little while later, I flew on my own from Calgary to Ottawa to visit family. Upon arriving at security with William in the carrier at 7 AM, the security guards asked me to take him out of the carrier, which basically meant taking the carrier off.  I also had to take off my shoes, and do the normal thing of pushing my bags through- all while holding my baby, my passport and boarding pass and unpacking a laptop. While everyone stood around and watched. William was naturally fussy from being woken up so I was bouncing him a bit trying to juggle everything. The oh-so-helpful-not-helpful-at-all security guard then said the following, “No no!! Don’t rock your baby!! You shouldn’t rock him, you’ll have to rock him forever, it’s not good for him! No no!!”. I was dumbfounded….seriously?!  Paralyzed with embarrassment and feeling unable to say anything, I nodded and managed a weak smile and continued trying to get my act together. Thankfully, the woman behind me was stronger and told him off for me. She also held W for me so I could get my stuff together. I was soo grateful, but still so embarassed! How did he get off thinking he could say those things?!

Around the same time, James and I went to Valoo Veelage (Okay, it’s Value Village- I was trying to be fancy). Upon entering the doors, we were faced with a conundrum: there were metal poles that were creating a barrier between us and the store, making it impossible for us to get our stroller through. We had actually take William out, take all our stuff out of the stroller, collapse it, and put everything back in order on the other side of the barrier. Any parent knows how frustrating this is when it takes you like half an hour to get out the door in the first place. All that I could think of at the time was, “what if I was a harried single mother coming here and now there is literally a barrier between me and getting what I need? It took me ages to get here in the first place, now I have to what? Put my child, who can’t sit up, on the floor so that I can collapse my stroller and get through the barriers? Forget it, this is way too hard. I can’t do this.”  Le sigh.

Lastly, during a Calgary winter, I attempted to take William down the street for an outing and nearly got hit by a car because there was snow piled up against each entrance and exist onto the sidewalks making it nearly impossible to smoothly get off the street when the lights changed. Upon calling the city to complain, they told me likely nothing would change. Upon telling other mom friends about this, I found out that this is a common problem across Canada- even to the point of mothers and babies actually getting hit as a result. SERIOUSLY?!

These are just four examples of experiences I have had as a new mum in our progressive 21st Century society. I know many mums who have had similar experiences, and who have had even worse comments made to them about the number of children they have,  how they look too young to be having children etc etc. In the opposite way, I received a surprising number of comments from strangers about William being in a baby carrier with me, or him as a newborn, or when I was heavily pregnant.

Bottom line, people’s surprise towards seeing babies and pregnant women tells me something: Seeing children and pregnant women is  becoming something of a rarity. And because it’s rare, individuals are no longer familiar with the proper behaviour that goes along with seeing stressed out mothers, with having mothers with strollers who need clean sidewalks, with having mothers who are just trying to make it through the day and don’t need parenting advice, or weight comments or comments about how you look dead tired.

It is as though our society is no longer use to having children as an essential part of our societal norms that negative comments are said, ignorant advice/suggestions are given, surprising remarks are uttered and store policies are made thoughtlessly. Children are becoming such a rarity in our culture that society is forgetting how to operate with them. Children are no longer seen as a vital, and essential part of our society. We make policies that do not reflect their existence or value.

Perhaps you are saying to yourself, “well these are unfair expectations”. Well, I’m n

ot so sure about that and this is why: Other societies do it better. Much, much, much better. Here is one example: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22751415

Finland policy makers say they do this to show that families matter to the state. That the state recognizes the value and importance of children in the culture, and that children are important.

By Canadian cities putting up physical barriers between couples and a store, being accomodate at the airport and generally thoughtless when it comes to parking (i can count the number of stores that have family parking), and family-friendly environments, they are communicates a message: Children are not that important to us. You

having a child, being pregnant, perhaps single and alone as well.. not important to us. Survive if you can with us, and if you can’t.. well that part we can help you with.

How? So far, I have seen far more thought put into the abortion debate than I have seen put into implementing family-friendly policies in this country. So far, I have seen that the Canadian government and Canadians fight harder to make abortions available, than they fight for families and children. So far, I have seen 100,000 children killed every year in this country and 100,000 women hurt by abortion. The reality is that Canada does not cherish it’s families, thats why there is no fight for them from the state. 

Mamas, do not accept the status quo! If you do not speak up and say, “ My Canada should treat me better” then who will?? No one. You can fight.

 Here is what I suggest you do:

– Write a short editorial to the newspaper relating your experience.  Sometimes public opinion is the only thing that helps things change.

– If you are treated negatively by a store clerk because you have a child, tell  them that their behaviour is not okay. If you don’t, maybe no one will..  maybe one person at time we can start to change things.

– Talk to your MP about advocating for family-friendly policies and what  that could look like. MPs fight for things they know their constituencies care  about.. so again, if you don’t show you care, then neither will they, then neither will the government and there you have it.

– Lead by example for your children and for other people. Be extra thoughtful, extra thankful, extra compassionate. This rubs off on people. Let’s make it so that it’s not a huge surprise for a mama every time someone is thoughtful to them!

It’s the age of saying of treat others as you would like to be treated. In short: YOU be the change!

help wanted sign

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Intentional Motherood: Don’t close your eyes

By Ruth (Lobo) Shaw

For the past eight years of my life, I was a nearly full-time prolife activist who did school on the side, planned her wedding in her spare time and thought of pretty much nothing else but pro-life strategy. I lived and breathed activism in every aspect of my life- would I do activism in a box? Would I do it with a fox? Would I do it here or there? Would I do it anywhere? I may do it in a tree!.. you see where this is going..

And then  BOOM I became pregnant with my first babe and things began to shift, and then BOOM again,  my life drastically changed as I lay on a hospital bed agonizingly and beautifully pushing a new human being from my body- William Eli Shaw. My son. My little charge. Suddenly, it became evident to me in a new way that yikes! My life was about to change. Not only did I feel responsible to help protect the babies who are being taken away to slaughter, I also had a little life in my hands who needed me. My convictions were the same, but how I was I going to live out both callings, both of which are extremely important?  And so, in choosing to be a stay-at-home mama who has the heart of an activist, I  began my journey of living Intentional Motherhood where I live out the calling in a new way.

You see, in some ways, being a full-time pro-life activist is easier than being in the world in terms of living a life of purpose, and trying to affect great change in the world.. There are daily reminders that abortion is abhorrent, you are surrounded by like-minded amazing people where mutual admiration exists, you have a strong community around you, you’re motivated because you see the evil daily, and your fellow soldiers are right there beside you- you live, breathe and think non-stop about how to save babies, and it’s amazing.

I have found it much harder to live out my pro-life mission now that I am a full-time Mama Activist at home.  There are many reasons for this (one of them being a lack of discipline, another being naps).. but the main reason is that there are zero reminders of the existence evil in our society unless you seek it out. I was not use to this- for my entire adult life, I had constant reminders in class, in the workplace, on the street. I chose to know, but was an easy choice.

Now, however,I could go an entire week and not once be reminded that abortions are happening.  This could be my life now that I’m at home with William:  I could go for coffee with a friend, go for a playdate, go on a date with husband (hint..hint..ahem..) , take William to the park, drink more coffee, take a nap, frolic in my backyard, read a Jane Austen novel, do laundry, more coffee, pick up toys, cook dinner, bedtime, the end. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

This is no comment, of course, on the merit of these individual activities as many of them are important and necessary for living a balanced life while having a family. But the point is that, if I decided I didn’t want to know about anything bad going on, I would not have to be bothered by anything ever again. I could delete people off Facebook who write controversial things, I could stop reading blogs that tell me what’s going on in the world.  Now that I am at home and the choice is before me even hourly, there are days where I find it extremely difficult to choose to know. To choose to grieve. To choose to be motivated to action on issues that sometimes, I wish I could literally close my eyes and block out so that I would not feel compelled to do something. Enter: Intentional Motherhood.

Why should I choose to know about these things in our world? I could easily leave the work to someone else in hopes that someone else will make the change, that someone else will help so that I don’t have to feel so responsible. Wouldn’t that be nice? Isn’t this how our world got so messed in the first place? Call what you like, I call it diffusion of responsibility where everyone can see the situation happening, and noone acts because everyone thinks someone else will. Because we didn’t feeeeeeel like it. Everyone has some role to play so let’s not be foolish by thinking that simply because we are not responsible to do everything, therefore, we aren’t responsible for anything. Yes, I am responsible to William. I am also responsible to change the world whenever and wherever I can. I can’t do everything I use to do, but that doesn’t mean I should do nothing. It’s simple: If you can do more, you should.

With grace that I know cannot be my own, I have to force myself to intentionally choose to know about the evils of our generation to the best of my ability. I intentionally find reminders so that I do not forget that I am called to do something to love and change this broken world.  And, I intentionally take breaks so that I don’t drive myself crazy by feeling like I am working hard to affect some kind of change to no avail. I intentionally spend time outside so that I am refreshed to put my hand to the plow and keep trudging along. I intentionally take William with me to activism opportunities because I intend to teach him (at the right time, in a way according to his age) that we need to stop evils in our society. I intend to teach him that we need to live a life of purpose in small ways, and big ways. I intend to teach him to live a purpose driven, intentional life so that he makes the most of his life and has the greatest impact possible on the culture. Though it’s probably obvious, my son is going to be totally bad ass (just kidding.. sort of 😉 )

I intentionally involve myself in pro-life activities because now: I have to seek them out, they are no longer handed to me. THAT is the key difference between living in the world, and living in a a bubble- the daily questions before those of us who choose to live in the world and seek the opportunities for change is this: Will I choose to live an intentional life? Will I seek out the opportunities in front of me to reach beyond what I know, beyond what is comfortable, beyond what is easy?

What each person is called to is between them and the Man, but there are some principles that we are all called to live out in some capacity: to love, to serve, to use our time intentionally, to sacrifice, to give of ourselves daily in some capacity or another. How are you called to live out these principles?

The call to motherhood is in and of itself a call to sacrifice and die to one’s selfish desires. I constantly have to choose differently from what I would like to do, and order myself to what I am NEEDED to do, both at home and in the world. The world needs you, did you know?

Synonyms for “intentional” is deliberate, planned, designed. Is your life, your time here, deliberate, planned and has purpose or design?

So, I have 3 final things to say, I promise:

1) I want to emphasize again that I am not suggesting that the work mamas do at home is by any means insignificant. It is often important, good and necessary. What I also want to emphasize, however, is the need for all of us to discern if we are using our time at home to the best of our ability and being intentional with the time we have ( I am quickly writing this in a half unpacked house while dirty dishes sit on the counter and toys are scattered on the floor.. these things are important and I will get to them. This is important too- we need to find the balance.)

2) How do we live out intentional motherhood? Maybe you have read everything I wrote and are left feeling frustrated thinking to yourself, “well thanks for the totally awesome thoughts, Ruth, but now what? I have no clue how I can intentionally remind myself that there are evils in the world that I am needed to fight against? Going to events is impossible with kids, so what are you suggesting I do?”

Fret no more, friend, here are some ideas:

– Put a poster/sticky note/plaque of some kind up on your wall wherever you spend alot of time that reminds you to use your time with purpose (yes, sometimes that will mean putting the computer away and doing the dishes. Sometimes that will mean letting the dishes wait while you answer a friend’s questions about abortion or gay marriage.)

– I keep an image of abortion next to my wallet by the front door so that as I am leaving the house, or tidying up, I am reminded that I can pray for these babies, the mamas, those doing full-time pro-life work and muse about what more I could be doing as I clean (being at home alone has given me time to be more thoughtful..hoooorah.)

– I have started going for a walk with William every day. He loves it, I love it and I drink less coffee when I do. So, why not drop some postcards in some mailboxes on your way? As I mentionned previously, there are few to zero reminders in our culture that abortions are happening daily at an immense rate. Part of our responsibility is to be a reminder to the culture, or to put the reminder out there. CCBR has some great ones here: http://www.unmaskingchoice.ca/endthekilling/postcards

– The next suggestion I am going to give has been a hard one for me. Sometimes, on Saturdays, I just want nothing more except to laze around in my Pjs, spend time with my men, nap and drink coffee.. sometimes we all need to do this, but I probably want this more than I should.  If I were to follow my own suggestions above, I need to put some thought into how we can spend our time better on Saturdays to allow for us to spend quality time together as a family, but also serve in some way. ( Seriously, Ruth, you can’t give a 2 hours on a Saturday afternoon to talk to some people downtown about abortion? To be very honest with myself, yes, I can, I just don’t want toooooooo. But alas, we can spend time as a family while serving. And, these babies have no family to love them at all.. surely I can sacrifice my family time to try to ensure that these babies have a life at all.. if I choose to, I could sacrifice a little.)

– Join Mama Activist on FB and message me to join Ottawa Against Abortion (a local grassroots activism group) to keep up with the activities that are being created in order for you to be able to do what you can, when you can. I am leading some pro-life activism downtown with my little family this  Saturday in Ottawa.. send me a message if you want to come!

– I have listed many more suggestions here: https://mamaactivist.wordpress.com/big-and-small-ways-to-give-of-yourself/

Also:  “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little” – Edmund Burke

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