The Subtleties (and subtitles) of Sexism 

I stumbled across the following post a few days ago: (comments a woman hears over her lifetime that a man never will)

and it reminded me a similar marketing campaign from Always (R) – you may have seen this already – “Like A Girl”

The phrases are prevalent in every day speech – throw, run, hit ‘like a girl’; when are you going to find a nice man and settle down?; how many children are you going to have….but only when it comes to women.   When was the last time a man was asked if he was going to stay at home with the baby, take his wife’s name, start a family?

We do this to our children – female and male – from birth. Preschool, “she likes you, you have a girlfriend”, to the soccer field “you’re running like a bunch of little girls” to career “women don’t belong in politics, law, etc” or “a real man isn’t a hairdresser, pastry chef, decorator, etc”.  A male relative of mine once commented to me “women shouldn’t be police officers because it ruins families having men and women in close quarters.”  I was a bit dumbfounded, and responded back with his logic  – “Why are men in police work?  Doesn’t it ruin families?”

Why do we genderize our daily commentary to each other, especially to our children? Focusing on gender as a qualifier for ability, aptitude or competence is outdated and detrimental to our society.


I am the mother of three young women and I hope I am raising them to be strong, healthy human beings, capable to accomplish great things and to be the strongest, brightest people they can be.    

It is 2016.  As we mark this International Womens Day, give thought to how you speak to the next generation, to each other.  Let’s not continue to spread these subtleties of sexism.

I’ll end with this talk from TEDwomen, delivered by Liza Donnelly : Drawing upon Humor for change.

My #powHERtalk – #HoldyourHeart

Today was the second instalment in a six-city series of powHERtalks, an event that aims to connect and empower women in different Canadian communities.   You can find more information at

I was one of the speakers at today’s event in Sechelt.   Here is the transcript of my powHERtalk; I’ll share the video when it is available.   Thanks Charlene sanJenko and team for an amazing event!  Let the momentum continue…


How often do you hold your heart?

Holding your heart.

To take the time to acknowledge its beats, its rhythm..

But it’s more.

Take the time to acknowledge the stress and daily grind of life that you put it through.

Take a moment.   Right now.

Put your hand on your chest, feel it. This muscle that serves you, without fail, every moment.

Close your eyes,.. breathe out. breathe in.

Stretch your shoulders back to open your chest…

The gentle beat as it pumps your life through your body.

Breathe out your stress, breathe in your calm.

I had this amazing experience as I was winding my through a divorce and custody battle with my ex-husband.

I had a massage. 
The moment the therapist set her hands on me, she sucked in her breath and said, you have a heart knot.

A heart knot? What do you mean?

A heart knot. It’s very tight. You’ve been through some trauma. If you’re open to it, I’ll hold your heart at the end of your massage and see if we can loosen it.

At this point, I had an image from Grey’s Anatomy pop in to my head, of the surgeons massaging a heart that was on its last beats.

Ok, I agreed, game for what this might entail.

At the end of our hour together, as I was lying on my back, she cupped her hand over my chest, above my heart, and positioned her other hand under my back, just below my heart. 
She gently rocked my body from side to side, telling me to focus on my breathing.

After a couple of minutes, what I can only describe as a bubble drifted up from my chest and popped near the base of my throat and a few tears drifted from the corners of my eyes.

Wow, I said.   Was that it?

That was a bit. She said.   You’ve got a long ways to go.

And we don’t have the time today.

Since that day almost eight years ago, I have observed my body’s reactions to events, to people, to what I hold in.

When I feel the stress of work, of my personal demands on my body; of all the other ways I’ve let the external forces become internal battles, and manifest them physically.   During my separation, I got quite ill – tonsillitis and bronchitis that took two different sets of antibiotics and a week worth of sleep to combat.

After an incredibly busy summer at the Resort, I broke my ankle at work, forcing me to not only slow down, BUT ask for help from others, a difficult thing for a single independent mom to do.

My weight – the reaction to being sad, angry, bored, which then leads to these extra pounds that become an emotional layer to shield me from getting too close, which then makes me sad angry bored;

The act of holding my heart, reminds me to calm down, to let go and feel the power that serves me.

This story of holding my heart has become more poignant for me this past week, through Remembrance Day and the stories of the Soldiers of Suicide, soldiers that return from wars and police action physically unscathed, yet with their own demons that won’t subside, and of a crisis hitting very close to home with a friend whom is suffering an internal battle within their own mind.

How can we hold the hearts of others, to help them before it becomes too late, before they succumb?

Is it being kind when we don’t need to be right? Or simply using the knowledge that we don’t know what is going on, and simply offer help or being there for them.

My theme word this year is authenticity. (I turned 40 this year, and finally feel like I am coming in to my own. )

In sharing who I am, how I hurt, how I hurt myself, challenging me to be who I am without fear.

I have always been the master of the brave face, of “everything is fine” – the one that everyone thinks has it all together.

I don’t.

I have been the teen with suicidal thoughts, binge drinking my way through high school..

The mom with the ‘baby blues’, at home with her beautiful babies, yet feeling so isolated, friendless and alone…

the overextended woman who volunteers for everyone, everything because she is trying to fill in her time to not have to deal with the inadequacy and disappointment she feels within herself for not doing more, for not being better as a mom, a wife, a friend, an employee.

These disapprovals with myself have hurt my heart over the years, causing me to get to a place where my chest is always tight, heart tightly wound a thick knot of shame.

Through the constant check-in with my breathing (always out first, then in) and a hand on my heart reminds me there is a power me that is strong.

I have a dear friend that I adore, but this person can drive me crazy. Challenges me, my way of thinking, pushes me out of my comfort zone..

One particular day after one of our visits over coffee, I was a bit wound up so I sat on the beach and looked down to find a heart-shaped rock.   Gripping it in fingers, rolling over and over in my palms, I felt a bubble of laughter lift from my throat, and a calm descend.

This is now become my talisman – a reminder to hold my heart even with those I love most.

So, I have three asks–

1 – hold your heart, by yourself if you can stretch that way, or with a loved one.

2 – Share the message– Through kindness, Donate a blanket, clothing food to someone in need; buy a coffee for the person behind you; LISTEN to a friend… kind words, thoughts and action can make a world of difference.

3 – go for a walk in a special place and find your own heart rock as a reminder to be kind to yourself, to your heart.

Musings from an undecided Voter on Federal Election Eve 2015 

As this marathon campaign (the longest since 1872 – source, winds to a squeaky, screechy, nails-on-a-blackboard closure, I realize that I am at a loss. 

 I am truly undecided. 

I am informed.   I’ve followed Federal Politics for years; debating issues with my family and friends, discussing public policy from a young age.  I first voted at age 18, dragging my best friend with me, the entire time lecturing her on the importance of this civic responsibility. 

I do not feel an affinity with the major parties.  My core values – fiscal conservatism, environmental stewardship, social entrepreneurship,  support for families to name a few – are not reflected in any one party, but in snippets across them all.  

 The candidates within my riding are all quite approachable, and I’ve had the opportunity to chat with each one over the past few months.     I am weighing the options of voting for the person, or for the party.  

I find it incredibly promising to have a strong voter turnout at advance polls. Our collective apathy has been on the rise the past few decades and Canadians appear poised to reclaim their democracy.  

I will vote at some point on October 19.

  But my “X” will be undecided until I enter the booth.  

The Cinnamon Bun Song

I like to bake.

It’s one of those things that I do well.  I find baking to be therapeutic.   There is nothing like matching flavours together, playing with the ratios and textures for the best taste, testing different oven temperatures and baking times for optimal results.

Each batch is always slightly different, as I tend to not measure; at least, not in a conventional sense.   My grandmother taught me a few tricks – how to hold the palm of your hand to get a perfect teaspoon, when the egg whites were the right consistency, and that there is no wrong way to cut a pie.  The best things learned from her at a young age were to not be afraid to have fun with your baking and from scratch always tasted best.

And one thing about baking, I always make extra and share it with whomever I encounter throughout the day.  Besides my family, my colleagues at Painted Boat and at the School Board tend to have the most baked goods bestowed upon them.

Truth be told, I love to share the baked treats.   I don’t know if it’s the ‘nurturer’ or the ‘people pleaser’ in me, but it’s better than having them sitting on my counter at home!  But it likely comes from my grandmother as well – you were never allowed to leave her home without a goody bag of some delectable delight.

One of the favourites at the School Board office are cinnamon buns.   I have a ‘jiffy’ recipe that doesn’t use yeast, and is baked in muffin tins.   The buns tend to be crunchier than a regular roll, with the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon mixture soaking in to the dough.  The end result is a crispy sweet treat that is the ultimate crowd pleaser. (except for my gluten-allergen friends out there.  Don’t worry Tracey – I’m working on a recipe for you)

We were joking at the Board office one day during a meeting break about songs dedicated to baked goods – the Muffin Man, etc – and Patrick, our superintendent, said “Isn’t there a Cinnamon Bun Song? If not, there should be!”

Well, I don’t know if there was one before, but there is one now!

At least my gluten-free comrades can enjoy this…

The Cinnamon Bun Song (for Patrick)
Fresh from the oven
or even a day old
A cinnamon bun is heaven
It’s just as good as gold.

A sweet filling of sugar and spice
the dough a crisp, yet tender texture
it’s so much more than a treat so nice;
the goodness will sustain any boring lecture

An unexpected batch of rolls
in the middle of a mundane day
​Chases away the humdrum trolls
​They brighten the world in ev’ry way

The basket is full to the brim
​Many to choose from and pick
​Don’t stand there too long with a grin
​or you’ll lose out to Greg and Nic

​From mini two bite tastes
​to jumbo pinwheels of gastronomy
​there’ll never be any waste.
​Buy one and support local economy.

​Cinnamon buns are a great treat
​They’re the best of all the types of bread
​But you never know;  when we next meet
​I may bring some scones instead

Poem from a Negotiation Observer

A hotel deep in Richmond
Is where public focus lies today
We all share the bond
Of waiting to hear what they’ll say

The Hotel corridors, piled
Full of Media, waiting to glimpse
Their Stories soon to be filed
On web, telly and prints

A star of sports, song or movie?
Maybe even Mario Andretti!
No wait, could it be…
The one and only Vince Ready

He crosses the hall to a closed door
To the reporters, a nod of head
They clamour for news of “score”
But he silently enters room instead

The summer that would not end
And continues through this fall
Our kids to school, we’d like to send.
the talks persist, movements small.

At least the teams are at the tables
And even if they don’t share the same space
and continue to use media for their fables
There may be agreement to sign with grace

the public, divided.. a casualty of circumstance
Community, citizens, politicians posturing
Each side shouting their own political rants
Not aware of the bad feelings this is fostering

Our Students are caught in the middle
their futures – clouds- hang in mid-air
To them, this matter is not little
To gamble their lives, not fair

Education in this province should excite
New Curricula, a landscape so opportune
Local boards that take great delight
In the staff and students in each school room.

and outside the Richmond hotel, the Public waits
glued to TV, Facebook and Twitter
to hear of the teachers and their contract fates
Parents, desperately trying not to be bitter

Whether you look from left or right
Your politics do not matter
It’s for our kids we must fight
But not leave each other in tatter

The balance of the modern world is found
in the harmony of success
even arguments can be a sweet sound
In their tangled, ugly mess

At the end of this… we rebuild
relationships, community, schools, our self
We try and forget of animosity that filled
But wait for the next contract to come off shelf

Chatelech Secondary Graduation Speech June 25,2014

I had the pleasure of attending the Chatelech Graduation ceremonies on behalf of the Board on Wednesday evening.

Here’s my speech to the Grads.

Family and friends, honoured guests, staff, community members,

It is with great honour that I bring you greetings and congratulations on behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast. As trustees, we are so very proud of all of our students and their successes, many of which we get to celebrate this week – graduation.
As trustees, it our students that drive us to better for you all.

Chatelech is home of the Eagles. The Eagle is a fitting mascot for this school. From its physical location, perched on a cliff in the trees, to the nesting support of the incredibly dedicated teachers and staff that protect, nurture and guide you on your educational journey that allows you all to soar in the great sky.

You are an amazing group. I know but a few of you personally, but I have witnessed your great talents and prowess for the boardroom. We hear of the athletic achievements, the academic successes, of the kind hearts and great leadership.

As a Board, we thank you for lending us one of your own to become one of us, sitting at the governance table to give Students voice in their education. Maya, it has been a true delight to have you as a colleague and watch and support you as you have advocated for your peers and successors in our province and across our country.
Thank you Maya.

So, what’s next? I know that you have all been asked this question at least once. Is it university, work, or are you going to find an air current and glide?
The great thing about being an Eagle is that you can choose.
You can soar as high as you wish and with your strong wings you will fly far.

We are so proud of you all, watching as you spread your wings away from us: your family and friends, your teachers, the community that has watched you hatch in to these beautiful magnificent beings.

Please know that your nest on the Sunshine Coast will still always welcome you home.

Grad Speech for SCAS June 23, 2014

I had the incredible honour of representing my Board at the Sunshine Coast Alternative School Gradation celebrations earlier today at the SC Golf & Country Club. The students and staff of SCAS are incredible. Their dedication is amazing to get students through school which is why the school motto is “Whatever it Takes”.

I think that would be a great motto for BCEd.

Here’s my speech.


Parents and family, staff, community members.

On behalf of the Board of Education of School District 46, Sunshine Coast, I bring greeting and Congratulations.

I have to be honest, this is the first time that I have attended the SCAS graduation since I became a trustee. What a great venue and how wonderful to be surrounded by all of your family, friends, community members and teachers.

The Motto of the Sunshine Coast Alternative School is “Whatever it takes”. As trustees at the board level, we do not witness your day to day struggles, triumphs and successes to get you through your coursework and homework.
We do not know of your personal stories – why you chose SCAS, how it works for you and why it kept you in school.
But the teachers and support staff around you do. They have witnessed and coached and struggled with you to get you to this point: graduation.
Your families and friends have been there for you as well and with them you have made it here.

Through the generous donations from our community, you will be awarded bursaries and scholarships. Thank you to the generous support of the entire Sunshine Coast Community for all of our graduates.

Between the staff at SCAS and your families and support system, you have this wonderful network that has brought you to this point and will assist to give you the wings for your next steps.

As trustees, it is our job o create the environment for this to continue through our advocacy and policy directions. We are extremely proud of all of our graduates and for me, especially of our SCAS grads as your path has not always been the straightest line to this finishing point. For me, school was easy – I was the peg that fit in the hole, but many of my friends were not, and they ended up dropping out and not finishing. They did not have the staff and structure of a school like SCAS to do “whatever it takes” to get them to graduation. You have an incredibly dedicated teaching staff that helped you to get you here to this day.

Your success and engagement drives us at the Board table to do better for you all.

We wish you all the best in the next step of your life’s journey.


Christmas Poem – RePost from 2012

I had attempted to write a Christmas Poem for 2013, but after several attempts, I decided to shelve the thought for the time being.

So in the Spirit of the Holidays, I will re-post the poem I wrote in December 2012 for your enjoyment.

Thank you all and I wish you all the best for a safe and happy holiday. Best wishes for 2014

Twas the Week before Christmas in SD 46

Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the schools
the principals were considering a relaxing of rules
The teachers were teaching with all their might
In hopes students could retain knowledge for the holiday fortnight

The students worked hard and their talent did grow
As they practised for performances and matinee show
how well they could act sing and play,
for their parents, neighbours and Great grandma May

From Port Mellon to Egmont and all schools between
The gyms were alive with many a Christmas or Holiday Scene
Superintendent Bocking drove forth and back
To hear the bands play and watch those kids act.

Even with the Snow, ice and rain and new hires as well
Greg Kitchen could be found in the gyms after bell
And interspersed in the audience in the facilities
Were the seven trustees enjoying the festivities.

With a young witty leader, so lively and slight,
you could tell in a moment it must be Chair White
More rapid than eagles his letters they came,
And he encouraged and moderated, and called them by name!

Trustee Baxter! Trustees Dixon and Pratt,
Younghusband, Mewhort Russell, where are you at?
We shall write To the province! to the minister
Let’s lobby for our district, those cuts are quite sinister”

“Rob Collison needs dollars for the Maintenance department
We will lobby for more than our usual allotment
His team does great work without a full AFG
They keep things humming, and looking great to a “T”

Our SETAs, custodians and admin assistants
Look after our students with no resistance
We are grateful to them and the service they provide
As they help our teachers get students grad-certified

So quick, you would miss him if you didn’t turn ‘round
Down the street Nic Weswick comes in with a bound.
He was dressed all in leather, as he zoomed up on his bike
A Honda brand , that is , not “little tyke”

His Assistant John Pritchard sported a ‘stache
Leftover from Movember’s efforts to raise cash
And in the board office on South Fletcher Road
spirits were bright and positively glowed

All the staff were so happy and joyous for the season
(actually they are always that way, they don’t need a reason)
From Bev and Teresa at your first sight
Such lovely smiles will always make your day right

And Anne at her desk helping out with staffing
And pleasant Colleen with her occasional laughing
With Tara on HR with her great people skills
And Erica has joined us to experience new thrills

Lai Piera and Carol help keep us all paid
Which may explain all the friends that they’ve made!
Deb, Shannon and Lorna help to round out the team
But we can’t forget Di who runs things without seam

Our employees as we don’t need to be told
All have the biggest hearts filled of gold
Which you can see in students that they hold dear
Which is what keeps us in education year after year

This poem may never end up published
Especially from all of the rhymes that have been flubished
But know that we all see how great
Our district is; this it is no act of fate

From our dedicated principals and teachers
Inspiring our students to become far-reachers
Our support staff does whatever they can
To keep our systems humming for success of our clan

On behalf of the board, I wish you a holiday merry
for whatever your days over Christmas may en-tarry
Let it be known that we have little to fix
And we are all quite happy in SD 46
-L. Pratt