Get outside, now!

Not “my” tree, but an awesome one nonetheless! Photo by Mike Prince.

When I was little, I was outside as much as humanly possible in the spring, summer and fall. Though it might not always have been my idea (I recall my slightly exasperated mother commanding my hyperactive brother and me to “take it outside” on a frequent basis), I’m so grateful for the experience.

A tree on Railway Ave. in Smithers, BC was my first introduction to the extreme joy of playing outdoors. Close investigation revealed it was a series of trunks that grew up close together in a tight circle. A barely discernable gap let me slip into the cozy, hollowed out centre.

From inside my tree, I could see everything going on around me, and no one knew I was even there! A perfect climbing tree with nicely spaced, sturdy branches, it was playhouse, fort, jail, ranch, and office.

On office days, I climbed to a special spot where I had fashioned loose wire loops around a branch. I could work for hours, sitting on the lower “bench” branch and sliding the loops back and forth on the “typewriter” branch. The wire made a great sound too, kind of jingly and clackety all at once. It broke my heart (no, seriously) when we moved to Vancouver and deserted my tree.

But there were consolations. Taxi summer, for example. One year my dad towed the chassis of some old car into our backyard. The fact that it had no body was irrelevant. It had a steering column and steering wheel—the critical parts! I conjured images of a bright yellow taxi for my friends and siblings, and we took turns being the taxi driver stopping for a customer.

We all enjoyed being the cabbie (screeching around corners, slamming on brakes, honking)—but we adored making up people who were waiting for the taxi. Pregnant woman (played most hilariously by my brother). Snobby person. Dangerous criminal. Mean teacher. Person who thinks he’s really a dog. You name it. We were imaginative.

I also visited my grandparents’ massive farm in Hazelton often. If there was anyone who enjoyed playing outside as much as I did, it was my aunt/best friend.

She and I would filch paper lunch bags from the pantry and fill one with smoked Oolichans (Mmmm, so smoky and salty and chewy!), and one with crunchy pink and yellow crab apples.

Barefooted, we’d disappear for hours. Life was complex as Elven princesses. There were ongoing epic battles to be fought, evil rulers to flee, magic to be mastered. My little leather pouch of elf stones proved helpful, and we carried jackknives, of course, for when we needed to make spears or arrows or walking sticks.

When our stomachs sounded a dinner alarm, we headed for the castle or tavern to feast with assorted trolls and miscreants—then moved out again as soon as we could.

When the sky turned purple (and in the North, that’s delightfully late!), we knew it was time to retreat to the inn, filthy-footed and exhausted.

To this day, I don’t know if there’s anything better than having your bedtime snack when you can hardly keep your eyes open, then crawling into bed smelling like tree sap and fresh air and dirt, your limbs so tired they almost ache—and the soft, all is right in the world feeling of clean sheets and blankets wrapping you in a sleepy cloud. . . .

A lot of people hit adulthood and yard time suddenly becomes chore time. As I explained to one of my young nieces, however, though it’s kind of weird, some stuff you call work as a kid becomes fun, almost like playing, once you’re an adult (except for dishes. Dishes are always horrible).

So yes, you’ll find me weeding and watering. But you’ll also find me meandering about, staring into the sky daydreaming, and playing in the lake. My feet still need to be scrubbed before bed in the summer.

I hope you have your own fond memories of playing outside—and that you keep making them. Let me send you off with words from my mother that I could never hear enough: “Get outside and play. Now!”

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This column originally appeared as my April 2012 column, but since some things never change—like my love of playing hooky outdoors and my immense delight and relief when spring finally arrives after a long winter—I wanted to share it again. I hope you’re yelling, hear, hear!

Muddling Through

“Fork tree sky” by David DeHetre

Whew, this March was a hard month. It did indeed come in like a lion; I am still waiting for it to go out like a lamb. As I write, I’m sitting on my couch, notebook in hand, coffee at my side—and the view from every window is the same: dark heavy branches weighed down with snow.

 

In town, spring seems possible, maybe even imminent. At my house, everything is a grim, ugly muddy-gray white. It could easily still be January.

 

I know in a couple weeks, the sun will have touched even my ends-of-the-earth yard enough to reveal sodden yellow ground, but it can’t happen soon enough. I have to-do lists and lots of plans that I carefully and enthusiastically made in January—yet no energy to carry them out. I wake up tired, creep through my day feeling wiped out, and fall into bed exhausted.
 
I also know I’m not the only northerner who struggles with blues and/or low energy this time of year. The fact doesn’t make it any easier, however. What does? Well, thankfully a few things . . .
 
1) Spending time with my kids and little grandson. No matter how blah I’m feeling, seeing them (and him) makes me smile and energizes me almost immediately.
 
2) Spending time with friends, at my house, up town, at their houses . . .
 
(Yes, there is a theme here: getting out to see people, even when I don’t feel like it initially, or maybe especially if I don’t feel like it, is helpful and good.)
 
3) Forcing myself to go outside. Apparently even dull overcast days provide enough UV rays to elevate one’s mood. (I’m taking the experts’ word on this—and feeling a bit snarky and skeptical about it, I must confess.)
 
4) Doing things I find fun (sadly, there’s still an element of having to force myself—but once I do I don’t regret it)—and there’s an extra boost if those “fun” things are active. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the days I went bowling or played darts with my family, tramped around the snowy beaches and trails at Lakelse Lake, or climbed down the rocks to watch the birds feasting on oolichans towards Prince Rupert were higher energy, “better mood” days for me.
 
5) Not berating myself for being “lazy.” I can be really hard on myself (like most of us, I suspect), but battering myself with mean self-talk doesn’t help me or “shake me out of it.” It just makes me feel worse. Instead, I’ve sort of come to embrace my inner sloth and try to find humor in it. For example, the season some people call winter, I’ve relabeled Netflix—and I don’t apologize for reveling in TV for a couple months a year. I won’t watch very much in the spring and summer. Unless I do. So there.
 
I’ve found it helpful to try to treat myself the way I would treat a friend (so supportive, kind and encouraging, not belittling).
 
6) Journaling. I’ve talked about the benefits of this before. Sometimes it’s nice to figure out what’s going on in your head—or, on days when that seems like an awful idea, I don’t even bother to attempt it. Instead, I record the day’s events, make up a story, or jot down random thoughts. 
 
(If journaling sounds good to you, but you don’t know where to start, search “Journaling prompts” online. You’ll find a wealth of good sites. Print a list of prompts, cut them into separate ideas, and put them in a jar. Then once a week, every couple of days, or even, if you’re a super keener, daily, pick out a prompt and write. I find setting a time or page limit helpful; I resist the process less if I know when it will be over, hahahaahahahahaha.)
 
7) Reminding myself that this too shall pass. I’ve survived other long, bleak Netflixes before. Spring always comes eventually. In fact, I suspect by the time my next column rolls around, you and I will have forgotten we were ever feeling muddled by March—or let’s live in that hope anyway!
 
p.s. I’ve been sort of jokey about my S.A.D. tendencies, but “blues” are the furthest thing from funny when they hit hard. If life keeps seeming darker even when the days are naturally brighter and/or you can’t “force” yourself to do the things I’ve suggested above, please reach out to your doctor or someone else you trust.
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“Muddling Through” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, March 29, 2016 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” 

New Year’s Thoughts

"Coffee Break" by Berit Watkin

“Coffee Break” by Berit Watkin

Wow, February 6th already. Where does time go? I hope you’ll accept my (belated!) well wishes for 2017, pour a coffee, and take a minute to enjoy my thoughts on the new year, which were originally published in the Terrace Standard, January 25, 2017 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” Thanks for reading!

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Hello and happy new year! It is mind blowing to me that it’s 2017 already—that, in fact, we’re already through the first month. Mind blowing. 
 
On the 16th of January, someone close to me shared that it was Blue Monday. The term was unfamiliar to me at first. Apparently it’s a name given to a day in January (often, but not always, the third Monday of the month) that’s widely considered the most depressing day of the year because of a combination of “weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.” (Thanks, Wikopedia. What would I do without you?)
 
But Blahuary isn’t getting me down this year. A sunny holiday to look forward to helped very much (and made me feel spoiled!), but an even bigger boost (reminder) came from an unexpected place—a back issue (May/Jun/Jul 2016, to be exact) of my favorite magazine, Where Women Create.   
 
In her wonderful editorial column, From My Kitchen Table, Editor-in-Chief Jo Packham reflects on the passage of time, contemplates her life, and describes herself thus:
 
“I am 65 this year, and I am having an identity crisis—please do not try to talk me out of it or off the ledge that I seem to be looking over. It is my reality and I am not the only one facing it, who has faced it, or will someday face it. Being 65 is humbling, terrifying, something worth celebrating, nostalgic, lonely . . . a list of adjectives that goes on ad infinitum. But think about it: you can use those same adjectives regardless of what age you turn this year.”
 
Those adjectives really do apply to every age, and although I’m twenty years younger than Jo, the whole article resonated with me deeply. Her insight and descriptions of the ages and stages of life—“mid-20s, 30-somethings, 40-and-counting, 50-and-wishing, 60-and-panicked, 70-and-reflective, 80-and-byond”—struck me as so . . . accurate.
 
What I took with me from the read (now these are my thoughts, not hers exactly) is that we are all dying. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.
 
And conversely:
 
We are all living. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.
 
(See what I did there? No matter what our perspective on mortality is, how far it seems or close it looms, we should be living fully now.)
 
To heck with “blue” Monday. Each day is new. Each day. We will all (I’m so sorry to say) go through bitterly hard times, but hopefully we’ll find the strength to persevere when perseverance is needed and the bravery to start anew when quitting or ending something is needed or inevitable.
 
We will have regrets, even in the future, regardless of how much we decide here and now to live without them. The trick is to not let them hold us back or keep us down. Make amends and apologize when needed (and it will be needed), but remember: Each day is new. We are dying. We are alive!
 
I wish you so much joy and energy this year—and fun, too. May you embrace life at whatever stage you find yourself and regardless of our ages, may it be true for all us: the best years are still to come.
 
Find activities that bring you pleasure or contentment and do them. Cherish the people you love and who bring you happiness and spend your time with them.
 
Warmest regards always,
Ev

Thanks. No, seriously. Thank you. 

Photo by Kitsilano Neighbourhood House

Photo by Kitsilano Neighbourhood House

My parents used to encourage me to say thank you. A lot. When I was given a gift or present, after someone helped me in a store or checkout line (regardless of whether the “help” was particularly helpful or cheerful), in the classroom to my teachers, and when someone did anything for me, cooked dinner, helped with my chores, etc. Sometimes the results of this enforced gratitude were more robotic than sincere—but nonetheless, being polite, saying thank you, became a habit.


And my parents often took their say-thank-you lecture one step further. “It’s not enough to just say thank you,” they’d insist. “You have to feel thankful.” It sort of annoyed me. How the heck could I feel something I was being forced to say? But as my childhood and teen years progressed, I started to realize that speaking the words did focus me on what I was truly receiving and make me feel genuinely appreciative.

It wasn’t until I was an adult, however, that I learned of the notion of thankfulness or gratitude being a practice. Merriam Webster dictionary defines practice simply: “to do something again and again in order to become better at it: to do (something) regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life.”

Thinking of thankfulness as a practice made absolute sense to me. I absolutelywas more grateful when I took time to voice my appreciation to people or in prayer. And the more I acknowledged the beauty in the world and the abundance of ways I was helped and provided for, the better I got at seeing even more things to be thankful for.

I’m still growing my practice of thankfulness, of course (I suspect we never fully arrive!), and I’ve noticed other benefits of gratitude. Being thankful, and forcing myself to note and articulate things I’m grateful for, goes a long way to banish feelings of entitlement and self-pity. It’s easy to see all the things we perceive we lack, but when we flip our thinking and intentionally list the things we have and that people give us, materially or spiritually or whatever, it becomes almost impossible to not have a change in attitude. Being grateful doesn’t automatically remove hard times or change sad or terrible experiences, but it does help you cope because you see the good and the positive that coexists with the difficult. The Yang in the Yin, if you will.

So in that vein, here are just some of the things I’m incredibly grateful for: family, friends, food, health, home, books, nature. . . .

My list may seem obvious, perhaps—but sometimes it’s those “obvious” things that we forget to think on particularly and to say thank you for specifically. They can be the easiest to take for granted, and I don’t want to take anything for granted.

I regularly challenge myself to make lists of things I’m grateful for. The contents always change. Sometimes I make large sweeping generalities, like I did above. Other times I focus on the tiny details that sometimes get overlooked, so not family as a whole, but each individual person, then the unique particulars of their personalities that I so appreciate. Not nature as a massive entity, but the way frost forms crystal designs on golden leaves early the fall. Not food in one big gulp—but the first sip of coffee, perfectly creamed, when it hits your waiting tongue.

So I learned my parents were right, and I’m thankful for it. Saying thank you is important, but feeling thankful is even more so. May you always have eyes to see the good around you, and the willingness to do so, no matter how difficult it sometimes seems. And have fun! Taking the time to notice, really notice, all the things you have to appreciate is a joy-creating exercise.

p.s. To all my American friends, happy Thanksgiving in two days (and every day, of course)!
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“Thanks. No, seriously. Thank you,” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, October 2016 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” It’s part of a theme I’m exploring this year–“Things I want my children (and future grandchildren) to know.” Any you’ve missed can be found here: 

1) What do you know? (Jan. 2016)

2) Kindness Matters (Feb. 2016)

3) Beauty in the details (Mar. 2016)

4) Seasons Change (Apr. 2016)

5) Every Day Is Mother’s Day (May 2016)

6) Have Heroes (June 2016)

7) Love Can Last (August 2016)

Babies of Mine

ev-and-hugh-july-2016Shortly after my daughter was born, I came across Chris De Burgh’s song, “For Rosanna”—or maybe I heard it years earlier, but it didn’t resonate with me until I had my own child. He totally nails it, I thought (weepily, I admit). My life is completely and forever changed, to the point that I have difficulty articulating the words for what the change even is, but he has done it for me. I promptly changed his “Rosanna” to my daughter’s name, and it became my favourite lullaby.
 
 
 
When I had my son, again the song fit so well, it was as if it had been written for him. I changed a few words when I sang, and it became his song too.
 
“This is for—, sweet [child] of mine, A song for the baby who changed my life, I’ll never forget when I saw you first, I thought that my heart would burst, With the love that I have,” sings De Burgh in the opening verse.
 
He goes on to describe watching his child sleep and expresses that he can’t believe everything he feels—and, especially, the great love that he has. Still later, he sings that as he watches her grow from “baby to child,” he shares her sense of wonder.  
 
Most poignant to me, however, was his reflection on the things his child would experience when she was older—and how deeply he wanted her to know that he would always be there for her and that she was so loved.
 
It’s a song that still has the power to make me cry because I identify so much with all its love, hope, joy, yearning, pride and awe—and tiniest hints of trepidation and worry. And it gained new meaning and refreshed poignancy recently because I became a grandma this summer!
 
My husband and I were thrilled upon hearing we were going to be grandparents, and as the nine months progressed and the big birth day grew closer and closer, our excitement grew bigger and bigger, just as quickly as our daughter’s stomach. I knew, of course, we would love little him or her. And I knew we’d be surprised by how special it was. I was even aware that we probably wouldn’t have words to fully express our joy that well.
 
But even knowing that, I was not prepared for the crazy flood of . . . you name it.
 
I think most people understand that becoming a parent is a life-changing, forever-defining (and redefining) thing. I had no idea that in so many ways so is becoming a grandparent.
 
When my daughter called me for the first time after having her little son I’d already known he was born and that everything had gone well, but somehow hearing her voice undid me. When I got off the phone, I cried and cried. I can’t really name what the emotion behind my tears was. Definitely not sadness. Something the opposite of sorrow. Joy, yes. Relief, yes. Maybe though, to say awe or a sense of surreality would be the most accurate. My first baby had a baby.
 
And then I met Sweetest Guy and . . . I was just not prepared.
 
My husband, when pressed by my daughter, described his feelings for his grandson as being like all the love he has for her (our daughter), plus this all-encompassing new love that is just for our grandson. Was that hard to follow? Exactly. Some feelings, no matter how we struggle to describe them, will always defy our abilities to explain.
 
And every time I hold my little grandson, I feel . . . awe. I see something of my beloved daughter and a lot of my much-loved son-in-law in his little features and expressions, yet at not-quite three months old, he is already uniquely himself and is even beginning to have his own sense of humor. (He finds his grandma and his giraffe hilarious, just so you know.) There is something amazing about looking into the face of someone who carries your genes and your child’s genes, who is, as De Burgh says, blood of your blood.
 
Spending time with Sweetest Guy also triggers memories of little moments with my own kids that I thought I’d forgotten, which is very special. I could literally just hold him and watch him and enjoy him for hours and hours and hours. (Don’t worry. My daughter is very assertive. She doesn’t let me drive her too crazy.)
 
And maybe, just maybe, there’s the tiniest tinge of something bitter-sweet as every aspect of loving him reminds me of how much I delighted in being a young mom with young kids—and reinforces the sometimes-fought-against truth that my season for that is over.  But the dominant feeling is an overwhelming, deep joy and gratitude. It’s a new season.
 
The chorus to Chris De Burgh’s beautiful love song says, in part, “Oh how my heart it is shining, oh how my heart it is shining through—with the love that I have.” And maybe now, as when my own children were small, that is as close as I can get to explaining how I feel. My heart is shiny. There is a new person in our world and I—honour, responsibility, great fun and huge love that is—am his grandma.
 

 

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“Babies of Mine” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard in September 2016 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”

Love Can Last

Photo by Yvonne Letourneau Rego

Photo by Yvonne Letourneau Rego

Originally I was going to title this “Love Can Die.” I was going to write about all the ways we destroy our romantic relationships, family bonds, and friendships through neglect, selfishness, and/or the insidious notion that the grass is greener elsewhere. I was going to talk about how, despite the fact that we have more tools, more opportunities for relationship help than ever before, we also have less resiliency, less perseverance, less hope—and we’re more fickle and more jaded—than ever before.

 
But that last word—jaded—stopped me. My brain filled with forty-plus years of memories and facts I’ve been blessed with: a marriage that just hit its twenty-five year mark (Crazy, right?), adult children who love me and seem to enjoy spending time with me, true, faithful friends . . . and I realized, no, in our day and age we are all inundated—by life experience, the media, and so many songs, stories and articles—with the knowledge that love can die, that the sincerest of promises get broken, that even the very best of intentions can fail.
 
So maybe what we need to know, to remember, to cling to in our slightly disillusioned era is that love can last. If it’s broken, it can often be fixed. If it’s weak and failing, it can often be healed. If it’s lost, it can often be found.  
 
It’s intimidating to talk about how to maintain or build love over the long haul because I’m fully aware that at least some of it comes down to luck. So please, don’t take this as advice, but as encouragement—a note about things that took me a long time to learn (and that I’m still figuring out how to practice more consistently) that have brought me a lot of joy, peace and love in my relationships with family, friends, and my husband. 
 
Don’t look for—or expect perfection—in anyone, not your spouse, not your kids, not your parents, not your friends. Not yourself.
 
Manage expectations. No one person can fulfill all your needs. Don’t hold it against someone if they can’t talk about all the things you need to talk about or don’t share your passion for XYZ. Get yourself a tribe—and allow and encourage the people in your life to build other friendships too.
 
Understand that people are the way they are for a reason—and it’s most likely not to hurt you or piss you off. It’s easy to hold things against someone, to see all their negative qualities, and the ways they possibly injured you. The remedy to bitterness is to recognize that we all have struggles. Looking at my own failings always makes me less critical of others.
 
Focus on positive qualities and quirks, not perceived flaws.   
 
Watch out for the demons of regret, unfulfilled dreams, self-loathing or unresolved issues from your past that might sneak in and tempt you to put your shit on someone else.
 
Be gentle and kind. Admit, and apologize, when you screw up, are grouchy, are hurtful (and try to do better!), and pray like crazy they extend you a lot of grace. Extend a lot of grace yourself.
 
Say what you need (people aren’t mind readers!), and insist on decent treatment and respect. We all have our lines in the sand—and they’ll be different for each individual. What I find hurtful, someone else might find totally okay, but be honest and vocal or you’ll harbor resentment—a relationship killer.
 
Be loyal. Don’t backstab or trash talk people you care about.
 
Give people room to grow and change. Don’t expect them to be mini yous. Having differences isn’t threatening; it’s what makes you interesting.
 
Have fun! Seriously, people underestimate the value of doing things just because they’re fun. Good times can make up for a lot of rough ones.
 
Love can last. Healthy relationships can endure. It, and they, may take a lot of work, at times—and you may have to confront things in yourself that you really don’t like, put in strenuous effort to better yourself, or ask—and work for—forgiveness, or, even more difficult, offer forgiveness, but nothing is more worth the effort. And thankfully, it doesn’t always feel like work!
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“Love Can Last” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, August 2016 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” It’s part of a theme I’m exploring this year–“Things I want my children (and future grandchildren) to know.” Any you’ve missed can be found here: 

1) What do you know? (Jan. 2016)

2) Kindness Matters (Feb. 2016)

3) Beauty in the details (Mar. 2016)

4) Seasons Change (Apr. 2016)

5) Every Day Is Mother’s Day (May 2016)

6) Have Heroes (June 2016)

Have Heroes

Have HeroesWhen I was very young, my brother and I used to clamor for our dad to take us to this long grassy strip beside the railway tracks in Smithers so “we” could run. What we actually wanted was for him to run, while we chased after him. We were awed by his speed and would exhaust ourselves trying and trying and trying to keep up. We thought he was literally the fastest man on earth, and told him so. He would laugh and laugh . . . and then, sort of embarrassed like, add, “I’m really, really not—and please don’t tell anybody that I am.”

His disclaimer only made us all the more convinced that he was the fastest, that he was just being modest or kind of like Clark Kent, trying to keep his super powers under wraps. And he was our hero in other, bigger, ways too.

This hero worship and pure rose-colored love applied to my mom as well. In addition to being the best cook in the known universe, she could sew anything, patch up the most gruesome injuries without a blink, and fix any toy. Plus, she was a math and science genius!

As I got older my dad’s super hero qualities—and those of my mother’s—diminished. (In fact, for a good chunk of time, they completely lost all ability to do anything remotely right or to know anything. After a few years, miraculously, they got at least some of their admirable qualities, skills and know-how back. Phew.)

But it didn’t matter that I no longer blindly worshipped them, that I realized they didn’t actually have invisible wings or magic capes, that they were, in fact, the same as me, just people trying to muddy through life the best they could. The lesson—that you can and should have people you admire, that you look to as examples of how to live and be—was set.

While I don’t think we should idolize anyone to the point that if they fall off their pedestal it completely shatters our vision of ourselves, our hope for our lives, or our world view, I do believe, regardless of our age, it’s nice—and incredibly beneficial—to have heroes.

Identifying people who are doing what we want to do, living how we desire to live, or who embody morals, character, and personality traits that we would like to have, then watching them and practicing their methods and approaches, is a great way to learn how to maneuver life yourself. Sometimes, or regarding some specific things, those people might be family members, but other times, we may need to focus beyond our immediate roots.

Over the years, I’ve looked to a myriad of people for guidance, affirmation and inspiration—as a mother, a homemaker, a writer, in my career, but also just as a traveller on the road of life. It can be a treacherous, terrifying road with bad slippery spots and tough terrain at times. Looking for clues on how to manage and thrive from those with more experience just makes good sense.

We should all seek heroes—unique to our personal bents and aspirations, hopes and dreams. And we should never worry about whether anyone else is similarly inspired by our notion of what makes someone “heroic.” It’s a uniquely personal thing. And should our heroes need to change their outfit, fly with another cape or be supplanted or joined by someone else because we’ve grown all we can under their influence—well, we should feel no guilt in looking to someone new. Heroes understand.

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“Have Heroes” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, June 2016 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” It’s part of a theme I’m exploring this year–“Things I want my children (and future grandchildren) to know.” Any you’ve missed can be found here: 

1) What do you know? (Jan. 2016)
2) Kindness Matters (Feb. 2016)
3) Beauty in the details (Mar. 2016)
4) Seasons Change (Apr. 2016)
5) Every Day Is Mother’s Day (May 2016)