As I mentioned in a previous post titled “Dad, What Degree Should I Get?”, I have two daughters in university and a son wrapping up his senior year of high school. My children went through their teens in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007-2008, when the “good times” – if there ever was such a thing for most people – screeched to a halt and a difficult period set in for so many in this country and elsewhere.
I had the privilege this afternoon, after class, to have an extended conversation with a number of my Judo students which left me quite thoughtful.
Perhaps it’s because of the dead leaves on the ground, but I’ve found myself having a number of discussions these past few weeks about depression, anxiety and mental illness in its many, many forms. It was a heart-wrenching conversation with a colleague from work just a few days ago that finally decided me to write this post.
The humor of the title will not have escaped anyone who is parent to a teenager or a young adult. I have two daughters in university and a son who is grappling as I write these lines with program choices for next year, but none of them have ever actually sought my advice on the matter.
Words are almost superfluous in teaching the most important lessons of Judo, as the strong culture of the dojo, as perpetuated by the Senseis and the more experienced students, becomes the vehicle through which acceptable behaviours, as well as desirable values, are actively conveyed to new generations of judokas.
For most people, the words “state surveillance” conjure up images of some dystopian fiction: Round-the-clock scrutiny, ubiquitous video cameras, monitoring of electronic communications, identity checks, informants and agents of the state discretely mingling with ordinary citizens for the purpose of gathering intelligence.