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Sometimes life breaks your heart

Toronto Star, JOE FIORITO, December 3, 2004

And then one of the neighbours reaches for a knife and there is sudden terror and there is dark red madness. I don't pretend to understand, but this must be part of what it means to be human. We are weak, we are frail, and some of us snap like twigs.

I was coming home on the subway late the other night. I was immersed in a book, and got off at the wrong stop by mistake. I stepped onto the platform and saw two paramedics tending an old man who had collapsed. The paramedics were bandaging the man's fingertips. I have no idea what sort of accident would hurt just the tips of a man's fingers.

The old man seemed incapable of sitting up straight. Every time he rolled over, the paramedics propped him up again. And then the old man said, or slurred, that he'd had a seizure. The only thing he'd seized was a nearby bottle of mouthwash. The paramedics took him to the hospital. This, too, is what it means to be human. We are weak and we are frail and some of us fall like leaves.

Brian Langer, described as a man of intense integrity who spoke glowingly of his wife and children, kisses daughter Zoe in this photo taken on Mother's Day, 2003.

The houses along Concord Ave. are old and solid, for the most part, though some of them could use a little work; the bricks, the eaves, the windows, the porches. There is a stuffed moose head mounted by the front door of one of the houses a block away, Christmas lights strung along the antlers.

Make of that what you will.

There were a couple of cop cars pulled up in front of 516 Concord yesterday afternoon; news trucks parked nearby; flowers and stuffed animals laid out along the fence.

And there was a moving van; 516 is a semi, and there was a boy from Quebec moving in next door. "I just want peace," he said. He was moving a table. That's all any of us wants. We just want peace. We don't always find it.

A friend phoned the other morning. I was home and she was on her cell. She'd just passed a man sitting under a tarpaulin at the corner of Elm and University. He was sitting on a grate. The rain was pouring down. The man was naked under the tarp.

My friend said she'd alerted the concierge of a nearby office building but the concierge didn't seem to care. She'd gone to the nearest police station, but they didn't seem to care, either. She called me.

I called a friend who drives a rescue van.

The friend who drives the van said he'd swing by and have a look. He called me back later to say the man seemed in pretty good shape for a guy on a grate under a tarp in the pouring rain. He said the man wasn't wearing a shirt because there was plenty of heat coming up from the grate. That, too, is what it means to be human. We are naked underneath it all. We try to stay warm and dry.

Sometimes it's not enough.

Back on Concord Ave., one of the neighbours from across the street came out in the cold and watched the police do their work. She shook her head and said, "For me, they were nice persons, the two of them walking together, beautiful persons for sure." But then something went horribly wrong.

I asked the woman if she'd put any of the flowers along the fence. She gave me a quick hard look, as if I'd insulted her. "Did you bring flowers? Where are your flowers?" I should have kept my mouth shut.

What does it mean?

I have no idea.

I know of a man who died in his apartment late last spring. He came here on his own from India; my age, but with no family and no friends here. And then one day the man had a heart attack and he died alone, and he was not discovered until someone unlocked his door during a routine building inspection six months later. Six months; make of that what you will. I don't know anything any more. We are surrounded, and we are alone.

I was walking along Danforth Ave. one afternoon earlier in the week. I stopped in a bookstore and bought a novel to read on the subway going home; the novel that would later cause me to get off at the wrong stop. The sticker price on the book was $21.95. The man said, "Give me $11." I did a double-take. "Has anarchy broken out at last? Has the system finally collapsed?" Yes, I speak like that on occasion.

The man in the bookstore said, "It is a sale, all books half price. You didn't see the sign?" I hadn't seen it. I gave him $15 and I told him to keep the change. He protested. I told him I was an anarchist. He laughed.

I don't know what it means.

As I was walking away from Concord Ave. last night, I bumped into the woman who hadn't put any flowers along the fence. She had been to the corner store. She had a bouquet in her hand.

"These are my flowers," she told me.

"I'm going to put them." On her face, such a sad smile. I guess this is what it means.

Some of life breaks all our hearts.

And some of us put flowers.

Don't Spank

Canadian Paediatric Society - Spanking

Don't Spank - Canadian Paediatric Society

Effective discipline for children

Reaffirmed: February 1, 2014

Principal author(s)

P Nieman, S Shea; Canadian Paediatric Society, Community Paediatrics Committee

Paediatric Child Health 2004;9(1):37-41

The word discipline means to impart knowledge and skill - to teach. However, it is often equated with punishment and control. There is a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to discipline children, and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instill self-control in their child.

In medical and secular literature, there is great diversity of opinion about the short-term and long-term effects of various disciplinary methods, especially the use of disciplinary spanking. This statement reviews the issues concerning childhood discipline and offers practical guidelines for physicians to use in counselling parents about effective discipline.

The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that physicians take an anticipatory approach to discipline, including asking questions about techniques used in the home. Physicians should actively counsel parents about discipline and should strongly discourage the use of spanking. Read More ..

Corporal Punishment Damaging to Children

ABC News USA - Spanking children Leads to aggression

Spanking May Lead to Aggression Later in Life

07 February, 2012

Physical punishment of children, such as spanking, is increasingly linked with long-term adverse consequences, researchers wrote.

An analysis of research conducted since the 1990 adoption of the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child suggests that no studies have found positive consequences of physical punishment, according to Joan Durrant of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, and Ron Ensom of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

While some studies have found little effect either way, most research has uncovered a range of negative outcomes, including increased aggression and later delinquency, Durrant and Ensom wrote online in CMAJ.

The clinical implication, they suggested, is that doctors who are familiar with the research can help parents find more constructive ways of providing discipline.

"In doing so, physicians strengthen child well-being and parent-child relationships at the population level," they wrote.

They noted that as recently as 1992, physical punishment of children was widely accepted, thought of as distinct from abuse, and considered "appropriate" as a way of eliciting desired behavior.

But research under way at that time was beginning to draw links between physical punishment and aggression in childhood, later delinquency, and spousal assault.   Read More ..

Picture Supreme Court of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada -
Cour suprême du Canada

Corporal Punishment of Children Decision

Read More ..

Alyson Schafer - parent educator - corporal punishment of children and discipline

Alyson Schafer on Spanking and Corporal Punishment of Children

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada's leading parenting experts. She's the author of the best-selling "Breaking the Good Mom Myth" (Wiley, 2006) and host of TV's The Parenting Show a live call-in show in Toronto, Ontario.

The media relies on Alyson's comments and opinions. you can find her interviewed and quoted extensively in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Readers' Digest, Canadian Living, Today's Parents, and Canadian Families.

You can read Alyson's thoughts.

Laws on Corporal Punishment of Children from around the World

CTV - Parent education - Parenting style can change child behaviour

Parenting style can change child behaviour News Staff, February 21, 2005

Parents who are punitive tend to have aggressive children. But a new survey suggests that when parenting practices change, a child's behaviour also changes.

The results of the National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth (NLSCY) suggests children show higher levels of aggression, are more anxious and less altruistic when parents have a more punitive parenting style.

Health Canada

What's Wrong with Spanking

PDF Click here

Laws on Corporal Punishment of Children from around the World

Other countries don't allow assaults on children

Like Britain, countries such as Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Austria had a defence to assaults on children similar to our s. 43. These defences were removed between 1957 and 1977. The criminal law of these countries therefore gives children the same protection from assault as it gives adults. Beginning with Sweden in 1979, these countries also amended their civil child welfare laws to expressly prohibit corporal punishment so that the public fully understood it was illegal.

Resource on Effective Disciplining of children

City of Toronto

Public Health
October-December 2006

Spanking: It hurts more than you think

Spanking hurts more than you think is an early child development public education campaign that includes TV ads to remind parents that spanking is hitting and never a positive way to discipline your child.

Parenting is very rewarding, but nobody ever said it was easy. There are ups and downs, and both you and your child will make mistakes along the way. That's okay. You're not alone.

One of the major challenges you might face is discipline. When your child's behaviour pushes you to the edge, how do you handle it? Do you see spanking as a solution?

View the TV ads

Read about: The problem with spanking

Reasons not to spank

Why discipline works. Use discipline to encourage good behaviour

Use discipline when your child misbehaves


Making it work Brochure, Posters "Take 1" Information Sheet Media Links for more parenting information

website link click here

Repeal 43 logo

Committee to Repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada Which Allows Hitting Children to "Correct" Them

The Repeal 43 Committee is a national, voluntary committee of lawyers, paediatricians, social workers and educators formed in 1994 to advocate repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

It is an offence under our Criminal Code to use force against anyone without their consent. This right to personal security is the most fundamental of all human rights. It is a protection against assault that all adults take for granted.

Children do not have the full benefit of this protection because section 43 of the Criminal Code justifies hitting children for disciplinary or "correction" reasons. This violates a child's right to the equal protection and benefit of the law guaranteed by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It violates a child's dignity and shows a lack of respect. It can lead to serious physical and emotional harm.

Over 400 organizations from across Canada that deal with children are against corporal punishment