Like many families over the last couple of years we have had to change our normal routines, and this spring, I for one am very happy to be able to return to some semblance of normal. The trend lines are all heading the right way, and the last push to remove the remaining restrictions will be right around the corner. I am truly looking forward to taking a long Easter break, having family over for Easter dinner for the first time in 2 years, and an “Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt” with the kids and their cousins. I am sure that the Easter Bunny will have his hands full leaving treats in the most odd and unusual places for all the little ones out there, as he has for so many years.
We will be making the Ukrainian Easter eggs this weekend, they too have become a family tradition over the years. My wife’s cousin is an absolute artist when it comes to the traditional eggs and inspired the kids to do the same at home. It’s a toss up between my wife and eldest daughter having ability for fine detail and motor control of who produces the best traditional eggs.
This year I think the theme may take on a more serious tone however as we think about what is happening in Ukraine with the Russian invasion. One of my wife’s cousins is sponsoring a family member and her daughter to come live with them in Calgary, as she and her daughter find a safe place to be while the conflict runs it’s course, her husband stayed behind to fight. I have heard that many more families in our area, and across the province are doing the same for their friends and family from Ukraine.
Easter of course is more than the meals, the friends, family, the eggs. In the Christian faith, if not the most significant, a tie as to the most important miracle that took place involving Jesus Christ. Regardless of your beliefs the values of the Easter story resonate with all people, of holding true to your beliefs, your morals and principals, even in the face of persecution, having close friends turn on you, public shaming, and even death itself. The resolve that it took, to not take the easy way out or give in, and to stay the course for all the right reasons for others, how does that not tug at the soul.
I know that for far too many there are challenges, and that the days have seemed mighty dark indeed, some losing themselves, or just giving in to the pressures. In my position as an MLA, not only I hear these stories but so do my staff. We do what we can to help where we can, and when we can make a difference in someone’s life to help them through a rough patch it is extremely rewarding and helps us remember why we are here. The negative things that come our way can take a toll, or when we are unable to help, it can be devastating, so we do all we can every time.
I would hope that over the next few months that we take the time to look out for one another as we come out of this dark period in our history, that we find ourselves and each other again, we reconnect, making the time to help each other. We may not agree on everything, on how we obtain our goals, or what the highest priority items are at any given time, but achieving the common goal, for the common good, is what we can agree on. When good people fail to act, that is only when the bad guys win. When we are divided, that is when we are at the ultimate risk of falling, and there have been way too many things out there to divide us over the last few years. Perhaps Easter is the right time to reflect on that, to heal, and work together for the common good again.
I will be working on putting together a youth panel from the ages of 16 to 20 and will include some “Old People” as well so that we can get into the root of some serious challenges that our youth and young adults are facing as we come out of the last of the “Pandemic Phase” regarding covid. I’ve heard from a number of people concerns over mental health, substance abuse issues, suicide attempts, and giving up on school. Frankly a number of our youth are losing hope for a bright future. There are a ton of good things that are just up ahead, we have some rough road ahead to be sure, but when we pull together, we can mitigate bouncing off into the ditch. As the MLA I’ve had the chance to chair a task force specifically for the development of Economic Corridors, that will act as a catalyst for the next fifty years of growth in the province, and I’m very much wanting to share that with our youth!
I’m looking for youth leaders (4-H, Sports, Youth Groups, Student Councils, etc.) who can help provide insight of what they and their peers are experiencing as challenges, and what they see as opportunities. I am also looking for “Old People” business leaders, community leaders, and of course our seniors who can listen, and to help provide insight into making the necessary changes needed so that we can get the message of hope back to our younger generations. We have some great success stories out there, with more on the horizon. I believe that there isn’t a single success story that didn’t have a failure first, or when they did make it, that they didn’t succeed in vacuum devoid of inspiration, or mentoring.
From the bottom of my heart, wishing those that celebrate, a very Happy Easter, and for everyone else, all my best wishes for you to believe in something bigger, that there is hope out there despite all the setbacks, and that a miracle is just around the corner for you. You are not alone, and that who you are and what you do does matter. Your actions make an impact on more people that you will ever know, and they will need you for years to come.