When to bite your tongue

By DAWN BOOTH, Managing Editor of Connect Weekly

Reflecting back on election night, I was sitting at home with my three children, waiting for my husband to get in from work. Busily completing the deadline for this edition, I was trying hard to concentrate on the task with the voice of Peter Mansbridge updating me on the incoming votes.

With my computer on lap, and my oldest children running around with excitement and chatter – as they always are when I’m on a deadline; my nine-month-old daughter was at it again… practicing her balance and lifting herself up on her toy block.

In a moment’s time, she fell – hard, and the result was that she bit a chuck off the tip of her tongue. After calming her with a cold cloth, and a prompt call to a registered nurse at Alberta Health Link, I was advised to have her checked out at the hospital.

Knowing tongues are pretty resilient organs and heal quickly, I waited it out with her until my husband got home. A couple hours later, he arrives. With the election results coming in and Jays game on his top of conversation, I had to interrupt with the household’s headline news about our daughter and that I had to take her in.

In the background, CBC News had just announced the Liberals taking the majority, and I couldn’t wait around to listen to hear the speeches. I was worried, impatient, and frazzled for my daughter… Ironically, all the same feelings I was going through for the better portion of the day. Heading down the hill towards Northern Lights Regional, I tuned in on FM radio to listen to Mulcair’s speech, but reached the hospital before he ended it.

Inside the emergency waiting room, (which was low in attendance, but alive with election conversation) I waited with my baby. By this time, she was happily babbling bloody spit bubbles out to anyone who gave her a smile. I shared conversations with patients about their thoughts on the results, and some were concerned of what this meant for Fort McMurray and our livelihoods.

Now, through the course of the elections, I’ve been frequently biting my own tongue, as I should being a media personality. But I’ve seen many people across Canada lash out on social media about where they stand and what platforms they felt were best. Locally, I’ve read people calling others greedy and selfish.

To me, a true leader works with others to develop the best interest in their followers. But more importantly, a true leader doesn’t see their followers, as followers, but as fellow colleagues and team mates.

To me, a true leader works with others to develop the best interest in their followers. But more importantly, a true leader doesn’t see their followers, as followers, but as fellow colleagues and team mates. A true leader walks beside… does not tower above.

When I read the “towering above” comments of others to lead people in another direction and validate their arguments by using slanderous terms, racist remarks and name calling; it left me with the feeling that this election may have divided us. That people were expressing their motives by saying: “Unless you’re on my side, you don’t matter.”

Ultimately, we all do matter. Because, we live in a country that celebrates the freedom of speech – our personal beliefs and values. At the hospital, much of this was evident with the people I spoke with.

Four hours later, I finally got to see the emerge doctor. In all of two minutes, he was able to thoroughly check out my daughter’s tongue and tell me: “It’s going to be OK. It will heal.”

So, now that the elections are all wrapped up. I’d like to think his very diagnosis for my daughter can be related to our country going forward. To those who have a sense of worry, it’s going to be OK. And for those of us who said things that may have been hurtful, help the verbal abuse heal by doing what Canadians do best and say: “Sorry”.

– Connect Weekly –