Despite having been born in Edmonton, I’ve spent the majority of my life in rural Alberta. We moved to the farm when I was in grade three. After high school graduation I did what every other farm kid does; I got the hell out and headed for the bright lights. I went to college. After working for a few years in the city, the local farm boy I married heard the call of the land and we moved to the village of Andrew. Farming part-time and commuting to a drafting job in Edmonton became Roy’s life. Eventually we moved and began farming full-time.
Like all of us, I am a product of the stew called nature and nurture, time and place, and the depth (or shallowness) of my gene pool. I’m a product of the parenting I received and the overall abundance (or lack) of our circumstances. I am a product of all the efforts (planned or accidental) that I attempted in order to improve said environment, genes, circumstances, et cetera.
The 1972 poem Children Learn What They Live by Dorothy Law Nolte explains the obvious: children learn and absorb what they are exposed to. She outlines both the negative and positive outcomes. Will our kids turn out critical or compassionate? Apprehensive or confident? Envious or loving?
So, as parents, most of us set out to use all the tools at our disposal to mold and shape the children we’re raising. we’re determined to pour as much good stuff into their little brains as we can, or die trying. That teaching doesn’t end when they leave home either.
I remember saying to my kids, “Do such and such because it’ll be another notch on your resume. It will give you the edge over another applicant. It’ll give you a new skill set. It’ll make you a better person. It’ll teach you a life lesson.” Whether it was qualifying as a junior member of the volunteer fire department or planting seedlings at a tree nursery. Whether it was playing piano or volunteering in church. I urged them to set a goal because the main benefit of that exercise is, as Jim Rohn used to say, “what it makes of you to accomplish it.”
This whole piece describes my mindset, life philosophy, prejudice, you name it. That’s the thinking through which I filter all I hear and see. Is it right? Is it shared? It is the same as yours?
So, as others and I contemplate the new reality in Alberta politics, I am gob smacked to hear that our thirty-two year old MLA-elect (who lives in Edmonton) doesn’t have a driver’s license. Or even a learner’s permit. IF this is true, it will be a minimum of three years (most of her term) before she is a fully licensed driver in Alberta. In a rural riding that covers parts of four counties, cover hundreds of square miles, and has zero transit options. The rest of the story says her husband will quit his job so he can drive her to her constituency duties. Enough said, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites..