But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23)
Canadians are kind people!
I am from East Asia. Before I came to Toronto, my first residence was in Calgary for about three months. I was used to a subtropical island climate and when I came it was winter in Calgary. It was the winter that I learned that minus 40 degrees Celsius is the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Talk about a shock. The cold was unbelievable but even more unbelievable was that I saw a man wearing shorts. I thought, what tough people these Canadians must be!
I wanted to work and after searching work advertisements, I discovered that there was an opening in a school for children with disabilities. This interested me, so after an adventure wading in snow up to my waist I arrived at the school. (The woman at the subway stop said the school was just over the hill so instead of continuing around the hill on the subway, I got off and tried to walk over the hill on private land. After being chased by dogs and wondering if it was possible to drown in the snow, I arrived but I am sure I looked very sorry.)
The authorities of the school were very friendly and gave me a tour. However, when I asked about working, I was reminded how naïve I was. The vice-principal told me I was eligible to be a teacher at the school but only if I had an Alberta teaching license. Since I could not work at the school I decided to do volunteer work and my experience there revealed how kind Canadians are to children with disabilities.
Canadians are the kindest culture I have seen to children who have disabilities. True, it was only one school in one province and I only volunteered for a couple of months but it was such a kind atmosphere; kindness for the different levels of disabled children, kindness in giving them and their parents real respect (not pity) and in trying to give the children a chance to learn up to their potential, and the kindness shown in the quality of the facility and the investment that Canadians make in children who have limited chance to return interest on the investment. Though the characteristics of the students were different than in other schools, the staff, teachers, and administrators were just as serious and just as committed as schools for other children. Even their language was respectful. There was no use of terms like retarded or even crippling. It was a learning place where even the weakest were respected and loved and it was a place that beat with sounds of a kind Canadian heart.
I did not know it then but Canadian kindness to disabled children is only one of the ways that Canada is kind. I have later discovered their kindness toward the “exile,” their kindness toward other cultures, and even their kindness toward those who blame Canada for their own misery.
I will continue to talk about these kindnesses as well as other things that I see in Canada in my next articles.