What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments but what is woven into the lives of others ~ Pericles

This past week my high school swim coach, Dave Pells, passed away. He is someone that I thought of often over the years. The things that I do and the person that I am today are shaped in part by the influence that he had on me. Aside from my parents he was the most influential adult throughout my teenage years. I am grateful to him for instilling in me – hard work, grit, respect and the desire to be successful.

None of the training was easy, he was demanding, he wasn’t interested in excuses and we worked HARD! When I look back now I have no idea how I did it for 5 years. The early mornings, the practices after school, the constant wet hair… it amazes me that he brought out this kind of dedication in me.

After the announcement of his passing in a high school FaceBook group I was amazed with the number of comments and memories from both fellow swimmers and his former students. He was tough as both a teacher and a coach but the stories of how he believed in people and helped people believe in themselves made me smile. I am proud that I had this man in my life. I am honoured that I got to learn from him and be part of his legacy.

My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children. As well, my gratitude for sharing him with us. His many hours a day with us, were hours away from them and that is appreciated.

Rest in Peace Coach

Dave Pells

You cannot do kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I haven’t written in a while but today, on the drive home from the grocery store and after witnessing a few incidents this week, I decided I needed to get the thoughts out of my head and write.

The past 15 months have been difficult. Each person is experiencing the pandemic differently, but I would suggest that each person is finding it difficult in some, or more likely, many ways. What I am finding very disheartening is the divide that has been created. It seems to have become the norm to shame others when their opinion is different than our own. Without taking into consideration their reasoning, it has become black and white – right and wrong. We have no idea what others are going through, what their past experiences are and why they are making the decisions that they are. 

I don’t understand why she is so excited about getting the vaccine when I know it’s a terrible idea

I don’t know why he won’t get the vaccine when everything I have read says you should do it

We are all in this mess because you won’t wear a mask (yelling with finger pointed)

They must not know there is a stay-at-home order in place (condescending voice)

And here’s the thing, we don’t need to know why people are making the decisions that they are, in fact, that is their business and not ours. Can we try to give people the benefit of the doubt that they are making the best decision for themselves, their life, their family?

Everyone reading this would tell you without hesitation that bullying is bad and needs to be stopped.  But guess what, that is exactly what’s happening right now, every day, by nice people. I honestly don’t believe that the bullying and shaming is intentional. I don’t think people know how much they are hurting others when they do it. When you tell people that they need to get the vaccine, or not get the vaccine, or they need to stay home or they need to wear a mask without knowing anything about the person’s reasoning, you are bullying them.  I know that there is so much uncertainty and fear right now and we have been through so much, but this does not give anyone permission to shame. 

I am not writing this to start a debate, quite the opposite, I am writing to see if we can all look at ourselves and see if we are capable of being a little kinder to one another. This is happening on both “sides”. What your opinion is does not matter. How you treat people does. If instead of judging, we can stop and think – I don’t know what they are going through and I can only assume that they are making the best decision for their life – we will make a difference. Mental health issues are skyrocketing. Being treated unkindly by others is adding to this significantly.