Regional Hopes

A Family Day Special: Let's take this opportunity to think about how we can expand our circle of family to think of Hamilton as a region, not a collection of separate, squabbling units.

By Mahesh P. Butani
Published February 15, 2010

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty will go down in history as the Ontarian who gave us a $25 billion deficit. The Next Generation will have plenty of time to figure how not to govern, as it waits for the trickle down effects of bailouts that promise a quick return to the way we were.

The man who also may give us Dalton Days has already given us our newest holiday, the Family day, sparing us some precious downtime in the otherwise harriedness of being Ontarians.

A free pass on a cold day in February to spend some quality time with our family; or to simply channel surf, read a book, slack up, reminisce about the good old days – or to start a bold new spring to-do list!

We could use this free pass to slide some new traditions in between our old ones – to expand our circle of family to improve our odds at economic success in the looming jobless recovery.

A Way Out of Gridlock

Everyone who has ever experienced being stuck in the gridlock on QEW knows that there are no solutions to this. There are only different ways of looking at it – if one wants to be really happy in life.

Another way of looking at our gridlocked life is not to add more lanes, but to reduce them by expanding our circle of family in our local area, our region. That means shrinking the lengths and widths of our roads to arrive more quickly to new local hubs within our region itself, for jobs and self employment; and to our revived district hub for those fancy nights and days out.

Something good needs to come of our amalgamation. After all, we are one big family now, after ten years of bickering!

What if some of our councillors finally overcome the narrower definition of a family? We do have some serious down time today – to influence and even rekindle our family relationships.

Thinking Like a Family

What if we were to actually begin to think like a big family today?

What if we are to start developing our rekindled regional family into many local hubs of self-employment and job factories – as visualized by the generation that is presently shadowed by the traditions of our old narrow definitions?

Maybe our cousins from Stoney Creek will only have to commute to Flamborough for employment, and our brothers from the lower city could find a job in our aunts new green businesses in Ancaster or Glanbrook.

Our uncle from Ancaster may even take a shine to the problems of his nieces and nephews in the lower city and come to their rescue by allowing the reduction of lanes, and slowing down their lives a tad bit for their aspirations to flower.

Who knows: after this family day, we may even begin to chip in for all our common expense equally – without asking for separate bills after diner; and we may even stop name-calling those who fail to yet understand the promise of having a single large family with one kitchen!

Much is possible in a large joint-family spread across our region.

Extended Family To-Do List

But first we need to develop a to-do list this Family day, a simple, home grown strategy on how we can all sit around the same dinner table for a sumptuous meal in the Metropolitan Region of Hamilton.

I discovered an old approach to Living a Happy Life on a random blog stumble on the eve of our Family day!

"Random acts of kindness... but wait - What will I get out of it?" This, is indeed Hot on a cold February day in Hamilton!

Yes, the Spectator is not always what we kick it around to be – it is indeed more. Thank you, Tom Hogue, for pushing things up a notch.

Now, if only the media would learn to wear its passions on its sleeves, instead of hiding it deep in the web. Maybe it could ignite a renaissance in our city!

What is life without a bit of new tradition? Let us upload some new to-do's today into our Family day. Tomorrow, we will still have all the time to disagree.

Mahesh P. Butani is a non-architect, and a developer by default. He is involved in re-developing properties in downtown Hamilton; and has an MA in Arts Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, NYC (1986), and bachelors in Architecture from Bombay, India (1982). Currently he is not an architect in Ontario on account of not having enough Canadian Experience; and does not qualify to teach as he carries too much baggage to fit into the Canadian education system. He refuses to be re-trained to fit in, on a matter of principle, and is a passionate disbeliever of icons and self-regulation of professions in Canada - but still maintains his belief in collective self-organizing behavior; and feels that the large swath of intellectual brownfields across Ontario are far more harmful to the economy than the brownfields left over from deindustrialization - and in response has set up a social network called Metropolitan Hamilton.


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By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 17:47:24

Today is Family Day, but let us not forget those workers who may not get paid for today, or even if they try to exercise their rights, it could take up two years to get justice and even that does not mean that they will get the monies owed to them, considering the fact the in the last five years 100,000,000 in wages have never been collected.

Mahesh, you make to much sense, no, I agree with your words, keep on writing.

Comment edited by grassroots are the way forward on 2010-02-15 16:48:07

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By schmadrian (registered) | Posted February 15, 2010 at 19:58:54

"What if it truly doesn't matter what you do but how you do whatever you do?

How would this change what you choose to do with your life? What if you could be more present and openhearted with each person you met if you were working as a cashier in a corner store, or as a parking lot attendant, than you could if you were doing a job you think is more important? How would this change how you want to spend your precious time on this earth? What if your contribution to the world and the fulfillment of your own happiness is not dependent upon discovering a better method of prayer or technique of meditation, not dependent upon reading the right book or attending the right seminar, but upon really seeing and deeply appreciating yourself and the world as they are right now? How would this affect your search for spiritual development? What if there is no need to change, no need to try to transform yourself into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving or wise? How would this affect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better? What if the task is simply to unfold, to become who you already are in your essential nature - gentle, compassionate, and capable of living fully and passionately present? How would this affect how you feel when you wake up in the morning? What if who you essentially are right now is all that you are ever going to be? How would this affect how you feel about your future? What if the essence of who you are and always have been is enough? How would this affect how you see and feel about your past? What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am? How would this change what you think you have to learn? What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying but by recognizing and receiving the people and places and practices that offer us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold? How would this shape the choices you make about how to spend today? What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait? How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance?"

Oriah Mountain Dreamer

(Hug your family. Often.)

Comment edited by schmadrian on 2010-02-15 18:59:24

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By MarkWhittle (registered) - website | Posted February 16, 2010 at 08:46:41

Area rating was the noose that hung this municipality right from the start. Since then, Hamilton proper has been in decline, unlike the other areas brought together by Amalgamation. Some Councillors have been in office for 20 years or more. The cure is at the ballot box this fall. It is our civic duty to vote, or suffer the consequences. Had enough yet? Me too.

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 22:36:00

The cure is at the ballot box this fall.

Yet I fear too many are still too blind to get rid of the deadwood that haunts our fine city.

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By MarkSpittle (anonymous) | Posted February 16, 2010 at 23:47:16

Here comes the broken record of commentators. Will you be running again? Hoping to break double-digits this time?

that's number of votes, not percent. let's keep things believable now.

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