Hope for or Hope to? What is the Difference

Hope is incredibly important to us for our wellbeing. Without hope, we are left with despair and with hope we are left with possibility and optimism.

Recently I listened to an interesting idea on two kinds of hope.

They are very different and affect us very differently.

There is ‘hope for something’ and there is ‘hope to something’.

Hope for is a passive kind of hope, a hope where we can sit on our couch and wish for something different. For example, we could hope for the end of Covid tomorrow or we could hope that our community becomes more caring in nature.

Although it is possible that these things could happen, the person hoping is helpless in the outcome and that in itself can bring on a kind of sadness. It is a recognition that the hope is placed in someone else who may or may not fulfill our hopes

Hope to is a more active kind of hope. … Read the rest

Max’s Story

Over the past few months, I have heard many stories of people living in apartments who do not know their neighbours and how sad and isolated that makes people feel.

Recently, Max shared his story with an interesting twist.

Max is an international expert in branding and works from his apartment in a suburb just north of London England. Max had learned about the Happy Community Project through word of mouth and our story resonated strongly with him. He has stepped forward and reached out to us to see if he can help us share our story to a broader audience.

As we were discussing the key elements of the Happy Community Project, something sparked in Max’s mind. We were talking about the importance of people proactively taking action that strengthens their community connectedness, belonging and caring for each other.

Here is Max’s story.

Max lives in a ten unit apartment building in a suburb of London. He lives alone … Read the rest

Social connecting and physical distancing

In these times of Covid, both physical distancing and social mixing are important. We need social interaction for our mental wellbeing. We need masks and physical distancing to prevent the spread of Covid and all its consequences.

So how do we do this? We follow the guidelines given by our public health officials. What they say is if we get closer than 6 feet with people who are not living in our house, wear a mask and wash your hands. Stay away from strangers as much as possible by limiting trips to stores except for essentials.

But they also say that we can gather in small social groups of 5 or 10 depending where you live without wearing masks so long as you keep 6 feet apart.

So have a potluck, or a social gathering and just space yourself out. Better yet, go for a walk in the park. While you are at it, think of including someone who may … Read the rest

Remembering Values

As we approach November 11, I have been reflecting on the meaning of this day. I am privileged to be able to call myself a veteran from the Canadian Navy. And what I learned from my time in the navy four decades ago was how important it is to stand up for values.

Without strong uncompromising values, we are soon lost.

“We hang on to our values, even if they seem at times tarnished and worn; even if, as a nation and in our own lives, we have betrayed them more often that we care to remember. What else is there to guide us? Those values are our inheritance, what makes us who we are as a people.” ― Barack Obama, 

We are very privileged here in Canada where people across our long history have stood up with their lives to protect our values for the decency of  human condition, protection of democracy and our right to live in communities … Read the rest

Why Is the Happy Community Project a Success?

We are in an era where hope can be hard to find. Yet hope is essential to our sense of well-being and if we look carefully, we can find it all around us. We can see it every day in the kindness that strangers offer to each other. We can see it when people with strongly different viewpoints can come together and smile for each other in spite of their differences.

At the Happy Community Project, we have a Big Dream.  It offers hope for everyone who wants acceptance, belonging, and caring as part of their daily experience. Our Big Dream has the ambition for the well-being and happiness for all communities where we live. The Happy Community Project Big Dream offers more than hope; it provides the realization that hope can turn into reality.

OUR BIG DREAM:      

We envision a future where communities provide a safe and supportive place for people and their children to know others’ care. They Read the rest

Thanks Giving Thoughts

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada, a day for reflection and a day for celebration for all the gifts we have received.

In today’s times of worry, fear and in some places – anger, it is good for the soul to take a moment and look at the other side of the coin.

Personally, I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to make a difference in our world through the Happy Community Project. At last count, we have been able to affect the lives of 30,000 people and probably more for there is always a multiplier effect. I am grateful for the hundreds of individuals who have stepped forward and contributed to the wellbeing and resiliency of their communities. I am grateful for the dozens of peoples who have provided the background support that has made this possible. And I am grateful for the people who are stepping forward today to help us get even better at making … Read the rest

Covid, Community and Education

Covid has disrupted most things in our lives including how we look at education. Most people will agree that an important part of education is sharing the personal relationships with peers, no matter what level of education we are experiencing. This is true from day care through public school to university and into adult education. We learn as much or more from our peers as we do from the instructor at the front, and in the process, develop strong supportive personal bonds with peers.

This of course has been disrupted as we struggle to find the balance between physical distancing and social interaction.

Perhaps this provides us with the opportunity to find new ways of thinking about education. There is an old saying that it takes a community to raise a child. In modern times, we have mostly forgotten about this as we have delegated so many responsibilities to government and private organizations and we have isolated ourselves from the … Read the rest

A Tale of Two Communities

Once upon a time there were two communities; Happyville and Sadville.  The two towns were exactly alike except for one big difference. They both had the same number of people, the same kinds of houses  and were next to each other on the same road. They both had mayors that were genuinely concerned for the welfare of their communities. But for some reason Happyville seemed to be a dynamic and thriving place to live while Sadville, well it was sad.

In Happyville, the parks and playgrounds were always busy while in Sadville, people seemed to stay in their homes. Although they both had parks beautiful flowers and playgrounds, in Sadville the parks felt dreary. The good folks of Sadville looked at Happyville just down the road with envy where it seemed like there were always new businesses opening up. They just couldn’t understand why they seemed to be so lucky over in Happyville.

The good folks of Sadville  talked about … Read the rest

Skin in the Game

I have been reading the book Skin in the Game written by Nassim Taleb, the author of the Black Swan. This researcher and thought leader talks about how systems blow up and self destruct when the systems are managed by people with no skin in the game. A recent example is the 2008 collapse of the banking system which was only salvaged by us tax payers while the managers made and retained huge profits. We paid the consequences while those managers with no skin in the game reaped the benefits.

This idea of ‘skin in the game’ got me thinking. When it comes to the wellbeing of our communities and our earth, we all have skin in the game. If our earth is unable to sustain us, the consequences to each of us are tremendous. Similarly, if our communities lose their capacity for their basic purpose of providing social connections, belonging and mutual support, we all loose – … Read the rest

The Wisdom of my Granddaughter

My Granddaughter, Abby, is visiting from Toronto. After spending 2 weeks in quarantine, we went out for an icecream.

Here is what she told me.

While in quarantine, neighbours would stop and talk to her from the sidewalk while she stayed on the front porch. While we were out for ice cream, we sat down at a picnic table where a big burly man was having his lunch. He picked up a conversation starting off with the weather and moving into the Covid crisis in the USA.

Afterwards Abby shared these thoughts. “Do strangers always talk with each other here, it rarely happens in Toronto.” I asked her whether she thought this was good and she replied “I like it that people talk with me – it feels good.”

There is lots of speculation as to how the world will be when we come out of Covid 19 Pandemic. No one really knows how it will be, but the general … Read the rest