Saturday, December 17, 2011


Two people sent emails early on Wednesday morning with stories to bolster my hope. I hadn’t asked either of them for that. Nevertheless, they had chosen the best possible day.
There are days when I really need somebody to tweak my hope. Wednesday was one of those. I was giving two hope presentations, one at the George Spady Centre, the other to the ATA Guidance Council. I was planning to say that you have to pay attention to hope, to notice it in amongst everything else. And there, offered on a silver platter, were two things I could notice—two things that gave me hope.
Jim had sent an article from the Globe and Mail. Secret Santas paying off strangers’ layaway accounts
Generosity, according to the story, had started with one person and gone viral, the way the urge to burn police cars tends to go viral in a riot. It happened in a store in Michigan, where an anonymous shopper paid off some debts for others. Publication of the story set off a trend of copycat behaviour in other stores, stores in other states. The very idea that generosity could be contagious was highly hope-enhancing, given all the Black Friday, threaten-and-crush news we’d been hearing, given the expectation that Black Friday behaviour will soon be present not only in the U.S., but also here in Canada. That alone would have been enough to put me in the mood for a presentation. But there was more.
David sent me a letter to the editor that appeared in The Edmonton Journal. Raise would close salary gap
Accompanying the letter was a note that said: “You could have written this.”
What he meant, but had not said, goes something like this. “Wendy, here is a completely straight-up no-nonsense letter saying something you’ve been harping about since the early 1970’s—that we can reduce the wage gap any time we choose to do so by giving equal dollar raises instead of percentage raises.”
It was affirming to know that one person has been listening to me. It felt good to see it written so plainly. It sounded good to hear somebody else say it. It gave me hope that we might actually begin to do something about the wage gap—some day. All this hand wringing about how we need to reduce the wage gap, need to reduce the need for food banks--gets a little tiring.
I do hope I will soon begin speaking out about one possible solution—to somebody other than David.

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