Contrasting Times

As I usually do, I have a history book beside my bed for late night reading. The current one is called The Overlanders. It’s about a group of Canadians who gathered in 1862 at Red River (Winnipeg) and struck out for the Caribou in what is British Columbia today. They were looking to strike it rich in the gold fields. The group included around 150 men, one woman and her three small children. Oh yes, the woman was also several months pregnant.
They travelled by ox cart, on foot, by horse, by log rafts, by canoe, in beef hide boats. They experienced one stretch of 11 days straight of rain.  A few died, mostly by drowning. Oh yes, they had to stop for the baby to be born. 
In what would become Manitoba, the trail was well worn and with even a mediocre guide, they could make their way across. In what would become Saskatchewan, the trail was sketchy. In the future Alberta, it got even rougher. To get into what is now BC, they needed a new guide, one who knew the way. From Tete Jaune, (Yellowhead), they needed another guide as individual guides only knew parts of the trip.
The point is that they went across a wilderness with no government assistance whatsoever. They took, what we would today call, horrendous risks for a reward they could only dream about. It was really a very foolish trip but they struck out across a wilderness in search of a dream, a chance to improve their lot in life.
Contrast that today with the student protesters. Dressed in pretty good clothes, and some students adorned with very expensive tattoos on their arms and who knows where else, taking days and days away from classes or work to protest in Quebec, where it’s reported that the tuition fees are the lowest in North America. The sense of entitlement is atrocious. There is only one place to put the blame. It’s on the parents. Take a glimpse into an elementary school class room. In come the little ones, back packs on their back or dragging in the dirt (whatever) and then look closer. In some cases, mom follows into the classroom to unpack the backpack. We can be pretty sure it was mom who packed it as well.
Contrasting the Overlanders with a few people of today, we can see what’s wrong with our world. Students investing hundreds of dollars in tattoos and designer clothes and losing out on weeks of work or classes, all the while protesting an increase in too low tuition fees, seems like a very foolish move. They obviously don’t have to work so is mommy still packing and unpacking their backpack?
In one scene in the Overlanders’ saga, the group has to portage (carry) their goods and herd the cattle and horses through nine miles of rugged country to bypass a particularly bad set of river rapids. They had to cut trail through the bush for themselves and the herd of cattle and horses to pass through.
It took days to go nine miles.
In contrast today, a student protester only has to roll off the (his mother’s) couch and hit the streets to show how badly treated he is at university.
We can be very thankful that most students today don’t buy into the entitlement and protest movement. There are times for protest but it’s called the ballot box, the political committee room, the campaign team. And how smart are these protesters anyway? They haven’t figured out that if you throw a rock at a cop, you might get retaliation. 
I think we want our next generation leaders to come from the group that went to class, took a summer job, took an extra course in the summer. Universities and university professors are far from perfect but it sure beats the stupidity and destruction of student protests gone astray.
I was at university in the original protest days, the 60s. The protests, the demonstrations, the violence of the 60s accomplished nothing. The whiners of the 60s passed on some of their genetics to today’s protesters, two generations later. 
It boils down to getting off your backside and finding something to do. Hopefully it’s something you like to do but at least do something that will advance your goals. Maybe that’s the problem, the protesters don’t really know what they want but they will fight to the death to get it.
Contrast that again with the Neepawa Area Collegiate H.O.P.E group raising money for a water well in Kenya and for local projects here at home. Every high school in the country is reaching out to their community and the world in some charitable way. It’s the same old story, most people get it. We have to work to make a difference in our lives, in our communities, in the lives of others. Working and protesting all take effort. Most of our students have decided which effort is more productive.

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kwaddell@kenwaddell.ca This is a Sunrize Group internet solution (204)226-2247