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Be The Best.

Nomenclature Culture

If you’ve read a blog post or two of mine you might pick up that I like words. I like word play and also the history of words. Scrabble was a family favourite and my Mom (Chris’ Grandma) loved to play although she was ‘creative’ with some words she would put down on the board. ‘I’m sure this is a word’, she would say with a devious twinkle in her eye. In the days before Google, that was an easier path! We had many laughs about those games and Chris, Max and other grandkids were learning all the while.

Nomenclature is a body of names in a particular field and really a systematic approach for definition and creation of terms. The fields of medicine and geography are some leading examples. In essence it allows a broad group of people to speak the same language even if they don’t speak the same language. This kind of systematic coding allows for quicker digestion and understanding which builds on communication.

I believe there is a lot of cross over from scientific thinking like this into the business/management world as well as personal and family development. For example, if an airline starts to refer to ‘passengers’ as ‘customers’, this can evoke an entirely different view of who and what that entity is. You can see in this simple example it FORCES the viewpoint of humanity into what previous nomenclature would have categorized as a more functional asset without evoking the same emotion.

The nomenclature of a family or business is the approach to the creation and use of language that builds culture over time.

Words have never been more powerful. Why? Words force you to associate meaning with that word and from that meaning comes emotion and from that emotion comes action. In these times of worldwide stress we may feel less than able to invoke change. That’s not true. With every ‘thank you’, quick reach out or touch base with a friend, support to a community group or other form of specifically chosen word and deed we are imposing a more positive nomenclature into the fabric of our network. That in turn creates a ripple effect.

I’ve been both on the receiving and giving end and it is powerful. When Chris passed there was an avalanche of support (words and actions) for our family. Words are powerful. The use of a specific body of words that are positive and thankful and sincere in intent, ignites understanding, emotion and action – and is the true power of communication – regardless of language.

Ok – way too deep. Probably too much coffee on a rainy Sunday morning. I’m going back to watching some NHL playoff hockey in August where key nomenclature includes PIM, Penalty Box (Sin Bin) and GAA. Have a great week.

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Be The Best.

Biking Birmingham (video)

A day does not go by without thinking of Chris that is for sure. Over ten years later – that does not change. For anyone going through loss – yes it stays with you but YES you can be happy again too. It is one of many paradoxes that are very real.

One thing you learn early on is that you gotta get up, make coffee and get rolling…some days more literally than others.

Birmingham, Michigan is a beautiful mini city and we took advantage today of the amazing weather. Hope you are enjoying your summer too – and for those in the Southern Hemisphere – your Winter days!

Of course Ingrid, always thinking, took some water in her Be The Best water bottle. If you want one of your own, you can choose from a variety of colours/colors with all proceeds going towards Chris’ fund. We have a bunch of stuff there paid for by the family so you can enjoy, remember Chris and have the money go directly to Chris’ fund with tremendous help and support of the crew at Martket Branding .

Have a great week.

Be The Best store link.

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Be The Best.

Let’s face it.

Part of this ’10 years later’ thing is that I read a few posts from the past. One I was thinking about this week came to mind as I was watching a little Premier League action last weekend. With no crowds and manufactured crowd noise it was an interesting watch but great to see live sports in any event. The way you face – is an expression I learned from Davie B (you know who you are) on the soccer pitch. The main point is that you may be turned around and facing away from your goal. That’s ok. That’s the direction you should play at the moment. Going backwards is a powerful method to move forward. Kinda sounds like pandemic recovery to me. Many times since 2010, we’ve had to play the way we faced. We needed to make a defensive move so we didn’t lose control. Ten years later, I see the wisdom from those words more than ever. Here’s the original post from 2011.

Football (Soccer ball)
Image via Wikipedia

One of the things I love about Saturday mornings is watching a little Premier League Soccer as the schedule permits.  With games as early as 5 and 7am, the timing works well with the newspaper and a good cup of coffee.

I love the skill, the speed, the set-up and I love those British announcers use of the English language.  Their phrasing and commentary adds a poetic quality to the experience.

We’ve played a lot of noon hour soccer with my work gang over the years.

It’s not quite at Premier League level…but you wouldn’t know it from the locker room stories told just after the match.

When you play sports and you are in the heat of the moment field-of-play one thing you’ll hear is players shouting to other players.  Usually instructions come in bursts of 2 or 3 repeats.  Move the ball, move the ball, MOVE THE BALL…all increasing in urgency.

Ok, that last one is what gets yelled at me a lot, so maybe I’m just sensitive.  Joking aside, I’ve wondered about this form of communication and liken it to military instruction in the heat of the battle.  You want to be clear about your communication and there’s no time to waste with niceties.

One of the most interesting lines I’ve heard a million times on the soccer pitch is, ‘the way you face’.

When you are playing soccer the objective is pretty clear.  You need to score on the opponent’s goal.  In order to do this you should be moving the ball forward toward the enemy’s net.

However, many times you don’t receive the ball in a position where going forward makes the most sense.

In other words, if you receive the ball and you happen to be turned towards your own goal, your natural instinct may be to make an immediate turn and try to push the ball forward.

That could be the worst move.

When you hear, ‘the way you face’, ‘the way you face’, ‘the way you face’, it’s a reminder from your teammate to gain control of the ball and move the ball in the direction you are facing at the time which may appear counterproductive but ultimately allows your team to go forward.

I’ve thought about that phrase a lot in the game of life.

Sometimes turning too quickly and trying to push forward to the opponent’s goal is not the right move.

Playing the way you face, ie passing the ball ‘backwards’ before your team moves the play forward again protects possession and ultimately provides a greater opportunity to score.

Too heavy on the soccer analogies?

I think I may get another Americano and watch game 2 of the Premier League.

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Be The Best.

Love Shines

Many of you will remember my sister (known to Chris as AC – Aunty Cathy) – Cathy AJ Hardy to most. She sang this song at Chris’ funeral and to say it was impactful is a dramatic understatement.

She recently did a concert from home and sang this wonderful song. Her backstory of the song starts at about minute 44 with the song shortly thereafter.

Hope you enjoy and remember that love does shine – regardless of the weather.

Click here for the link. Enjoy.

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Be The Best.

Perspective

I’ve always loved art and photography. One of the things I learned from the pros early on was that light and perspective meant more than quality of equipment. Don’t get me wrong, good equipment is important, but you can take bad pictures with a good camera. These pics are simply plants in our urban backyard. Nothing special in a macro view, but when you get up close and add the brilliance of a Michigan early morning sun, it makes things come alive.

See inconspicuous plant in middle right of picture. I’m sure the flower has a name. Begonia or something. Geranium? Hosta? Ok, fact check: Hydrangea
Same hydrangea, different perspective.

I remember being at the mall with 8 year old Chris looking for video games. He was playing a demo game and his video character kept on getting zapped. I said, ‘Move your guy. Move left. Move right’. It was so OBVIOUS to me. He continued to struggle and then it dawned on me. I knelt down to get to his height and the angle of the screen was such that you could see movement but couldn’t really see what was going on. In that moment, perspective became very real.

I needed to change my vantage point to understand his reality.

In these divisive times viewing things from another’s perspective isn’t weak or non-decisive. It’s powerful and radical. We don’t have to ‘choose sides’ as much as aim to understand each other a little more and gain perspective.

We may just find some beauty and understanding along the way. Have a great week.

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Be The Best.

Happy Canada Day eh.

A quick mid-week post on July 1, Canada Day.

Art courtesy of my sister Grace. She’s an artist, blogger and chaplain and recently posted this great artistic rendition of the flag.

For me nothing exemplifies Canadian ideals more than Terry Fox.

His dedication to a cause, his dedication to people, his dedication to perseverance are all traits certainly embodied by Be The Best in a beautifully understated Canadian way. Just get out there – and run a marathon every day. 😉

This short video has some clips I hadn’t seen before and you see the pure passion and kindness behind the young man who has become an icon, not only for Canada, but worldwide. Have a watch and get inspired. Have a great day.

The Terry Fox story
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2020 - 10 years later Be The Best.

Fort Langley Forest

What you are about to watch is a fake movie trailer.

Yes, fake news – but not really.

The actors are very real. Chris had lacrosse buds, family, family friends and then a tight knit group of school and Langley friends. These guys were so awesome to our family in the months and years after Chris passed and I still remember this day from 9 years ago. A bunch of teen aged guys willing to spend their afternoon on a walk (we called it a hike!) with a couple of parents.

As a Dad, Chris’ memory and thoughts of him are part of every single day. I know for many of his friends, teammates and coaches, they feel the same. He was a great kid, an amazing human. The sentiment from that hike and many other interactions with these young people have stayed with us all these years later and still bring feelings of warmth, love and support that we hope are echoed back to others as they go through their own various journeys through life.

All the best as you Be The Best this week.

Without further ado, I present the fake movie trailer from 2011 that never made it to the theaters (US spelling on US soil in Detroit…).

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Be The Best.

Father’s Day 2020

First a Happy Father’s Day to my Dad, who many know as Rev. Jake.

A sprightly 89 years young, this guy plays tennis, ping-pong, rides his bike, drives, plays the guitar and reads like a librarian on pandemic lockdown. He could have a conversation with you about world politics, current events or history. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Chris also loved his Grandpa. He LOVED the beard Rev Jake grew for a Christmas event. He LOVED the trucker hats. So Chris got one too. This vid below is a walk I took with Dad just a few months after Chris passed. I’m wearing Chris’ shoes and Dad is wearing Chris’ hat. This is what guys do and how they show respect.

Rev Jake poses with Chris’ hat.
From Sept 2010

To see more on trucker hats – have a read here.

A Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads. Of course, this is a poignant day on the calendar as it’s easy to think of what could have been and what things would have been like with Chris still with us. I still feel that in 2020 of course. That said, we look back at the memories, share the stories and laugh more than cry as we continue to aim for living BeTheBest values. Which reminds me, I have some push-ups to do. Have a good week.

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Be The Best.

Dads and Brothers and a little Father’s Day preview.

I don’t have a brother. I’ve got three sisters. I was usually nice to them growing up except when I wasn’t. Like getting my mouth washed out with soap from my generally gentle Mother after going too far in calling them names. Sorry Sisters. Like hiding under AC’s bed and grabbing her ankles when she sat down. A juvenile move and yes, I still pay for her counselling sessions related to this trauma decades later. (I think she’s forgiven me for these acts). I should probably check on that.

Brothers, however, are different. They express love by performing atomic wedgies and continually pushing each other to the edge with sports and activities. 95% bravado, but when it counts, they have each other’s back.

July 2004 road trip (Chris and Max)
After 8 hours in a car, a little brotherly love is quite predictable. Don’t worry, Max got his revenge.

Max, our oldest, had a birthday yesterday and is 29. Happy Birthday Max!!! When Chris passed he was a rock. I remember him at the funeral and for months and years afterwards helping others with their own grieving process as he dealt with his.

I’ve written a lot about Chris in these posts over the years for obvious reasons but Max was the first. The guy who paved the way. The guy who had to do everything first. The big brother. Our relationship today is built on years of experiences and memories that forge the trust and bond that allows confidence in the decisions to push the future. It may be a lot of fun and banter – but that builds funds in the ‘trust bank’ and in darker times, having equity in that bank is essential.

This little video from 9 years ago was typical and we look forward to many more in the future.

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Be The Best.

What I believe

I was sent a link to a letter written by the President of Harvard University. (Thanks Grant!)

Lawrence (Larry) S. Bacow wrote a poignant piece identifying what he believes. This was written May 30, 2020 in light of the recent protests and violence in the US following the death of George Floyd. For me currently living near Detroit, his words (he references Detroit from the 60’s) are profound as we are living through history repeating itself in 2020. If you have 5 min, read through his entire letter. Here are some key statements:

I believe in the goodness of the people of this country—and in their resilience.

I believe that America should be a beacon of light to the rest of the world.

I believe that our strength as a nation is due in no small measure to our tradition of welcoming those who come to our shores in search of freedom and opportunity, individuals who repay us multiple times over through their hard work, creativity, and devotion to their new home. 

I believe in the American Dream.

https://www.harvard.edu/president/news/2020/what-i-believe

It is the final paragraph, however, that is extremely important for all of us; Canadian, American or any other citizen of the world. It is a call to action.

What we believe is important. Acting on our beliefs is critical. ESPECIALLY when we must believe that there are many more people in this world who believe in equality, respect and fair treatment for all – regardless of race, gender or political leanings.

As I continue to remember Chris in a more direct and public way throughout this year, I am thinking continually of what Be The Best really means. If I believe that, what are the actions that bring that belief to life? One simple one is to follow through on acts of kindness – not just think about them. Could be a spending time as a mentor, writing a note of support, or simply saying thank-you. Ok – and doing push-ups. That was a big part of the Be The Best thinking that Chris worked on. Those are the simple things that can bring beliefs to life. I’ll leave the closing to President Bacow. He’s stated it perfectly below.

I hope you will pause during these troubled times to ask what you believe. Even more importantly, I hope you will find the strength and determination to act on your beliefs—to repair and perfect this imperfect world.

This tribute video for Chris was put together for the Langley Thunder Lacrosse team and played in Chris’ honor. At about 1 minute 29 seconds you see a few seconds of an interview I did with Chris in prepping for college recruitment activity. If you want to see what he believed, have a view. Have a good week.

Originally put together April 2010.