Laughter

Section: 
Editorial

I believe adults should spend some time each week in the company of children.

 

Dana and I were in Walkerton Wednesday morning for grandson Nik’s kindergarten graduation. There had to be more than 40 children on stage and the proceedings started with a couple of songs before each student had his or her graduation photo taken while receiving a diploma from his or her teacher.

As the youngsters posed with their teachers, the grins went from ear to ear. Smiles are infectious and give you a good feeling.

 

At what age do the smiles and the laughter disappear?

 

How many adults walk around with infectious smiles? How many adults do you see laughing?

 

What the world needs is a lot more laughter and a lot less hate.

 

Maybe if adults spent a little more time with children, the world would be a better place.

 

Laughter … the most civilized music in the world.” – Peter Ustinov (1921-2004), British actor, director and writer

 

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This is the month for graduations; I believe the elementary school ones are being held this week.

 

I taught high school for four years and one of the graduation speeches I heard while teaching left a lasting impression.

 

That guest speaker told the students to use their education to make lots of money.

 

I was appalled. The speech was ahead of its time, mirroring the values of today’s consumer society; it didn’t represent the values of the 1960s.

 

Back then, the philosophy seemed to be that you should use your education to help build a better country and a better world.

 

And why not? Surely we should give young people something positive to aspire to. They need all the positives they can get in what has become a very cynical world.

 

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It’s unfortunate that children in this country are no longer taught the rules of grammar. I cringe when I listen to the radio, CBC and commercial, or read national newspapers and see basic grammar mistakes.

 

Although “irregardless” is not a word, you can hear radio and TV announcers and the people they interview use the word. At one time, you might have received a ruler across the fingers for such a mistake.

 

What they should be using is “regardless” which means: without regard or consideration for; despite what might happen; anyway, nevertheless.

 

Another common mistake is the misuse of “who” and “that”. You should say “people who…”, not “people that…”.

 

Then there’s “number” and “amount”. There are a “number of good grammar textbooks” is correct but people will continue to say “amount of good grammar textbooks.”

 

Another pet peeve is the misuse of “less” and “fewer”. You say, Fewer people than expected attended.” not “Less people than expected attended.”.

 

If rules are continually broken, you have a new norm when it comes to English.

 

I start the odd sentence with “And” and sometimes end a sentence with a preposition. Both those sins would have earned me a severe reprimand when I went to school.

 

But most rules are necessary if we want to continue to understand each other.

 

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Politicians don’t know when to leave well enough alone.

 

When former U.S. President George W. Bush had U.S. troops invade Saddam Hussein’s  Iraq, he had no idea (I hope) of the hate he would unleash.

 

As the result of that war and its aftermath, more than 300,000 have died in Iraq and it looks like there are going to be many more. Now Islamic militants are terrorizing Iraq, Syria and parts of Africa.

 

If Bush and his Vice President, Dick Cheney, weren’t Americans, they would likely be charged with war crimes.

 

Look at the world today, and it appears that diplomacy is a lost art.

 

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Politicians have likely always been held in low regard. A reader sent me a series of quotes and I’ll give you the two oldest.

 

“We hang petty thieves and appoint the bigger thieves to public office.” – Aesop, Greek slave and fable author.

 

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” – Plato, ancient Greek philosopher.