No whacks, no personal hate, but lots of twortling

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, November 28, 2001

Some weeks ago our coffee discussion raised the issue of what we could do for a world out of whack. We proposed the creation of "whack packs" to replenish its supply. Suggestions for what to include in those whack packs keep coming in.

The following is from a former British military officer now making the Bow Valley his home. He objects to the suggestion of one of our other coffee companions that what the world really needs is a good whack on the behind:

A WHACK BEHIND the legs is where it begins, but in some cases it ends up as a punch in the head. The respect of others has to be earned, not demanded. It cannot be spanked into someone.

It is a matter of self-whack, of self-discipline.

Family units are breaking down because we have failed to teach our children the virtue of self-whack.

In this busy world, the pressures of work and "keeping up with the Joneses" have led us away from an environment where the family as a whole takes the time to sit down over a home-cooked meal and discuss problems and solutions of the day.

Respect goes downward to our children by teaching them and living the examples we, and society in general, want them to follow.

When they learn to respect the values of others, we will take a step forward in life.

—Ken Carter, Calgary

Part of being respectful is taking responsibility for our own attitudes and actions, regardless of the attitudes and actions of others, according to my dental hygienist.

Denise Kokaram is a knowledgeable and persuasive person whose views I always listen to very carefully – especially if I’m being held "captive" and "speechless" in her examining chair.

While she was scraping plaque from my teeth the other day, I realized she had a thought that just had to be included in the whack pack. Her suggestion: to remove any trace of personal hatred from our own lives.

I asked her if she’d share her thoughts with the rest of you, and here is what she wrote:

IN THE DAYS immediately following the tragic events of Sept. 11, I felt waves of helplessness. I sought to make sense of what had occurred and to think of what I could do to make a difference.

I thought about all the fighting that continues in various countries, and wondered how many people really know what they are fighting over. Was a large part of the problem that generation upon generation have been raised to hate and respond in violence?

It struck me that the way we could most positively contribute to the present situation in the world was to begin with ourselves – our responses to life within our own family and social circles.

Although stopping the cycle of hate and anger in others is outside my control, I can choose to respond with the absence of hate and anger in my own life.

If we become more aware of identifying how we deal with our own anger and hatred, we can begin to change our thoughts, responses, and actions to be more positive.

I believe that, like ripples from a pebble in the pond, we are each capable of having far-reaching, significant impact.

In a world out of whack, we need to recognize our individual importance, reclaim our power, and begin to effect positive changes, starting now!

—Denise M. Kokaram, Calgary

Finally, this comment from a loyal coffee companion who thinks the beautiful sound of "twortling" should be included in the whack pack:

LAST NEW YEAR’S DAY, I too had the chance to experience twortling. The neat thing about the spot we were at was the ice suddenly ended, so our rocks would go twortling across the thin ice and then end with a satisfied plop in the freezing water. It was truly one of the most amazing, miraculous sounds we had ever heard.

—Darcy Sauer, Cochrane

© 2001 Warren Harbeck

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