Posts Tagged ‘Learning’


It has been awhile since I have written a mass recommendation for group change theory work. The last time was Irshad Manji’s (2005) The Trouble with Islam where I encouraged groups of all stripes to read this memoir calling for transformation, and then compare/contrast it to their own journeys—that is replace Islam with whatever belief system one held and see where growth and transformation was needed no matter how regressive or progressive the system was.

There is a cancer in the city’s corridors of power. It is a cancer that is spreading…a system that is corrupt as it is incompetent.

The cancer is a toxic mix of neo-Nazism, white supremacy and a hate group that literally seeks to wipe away everything that is modern and urban, and start all over again in a primitive, Far Right nirvana that will only accept so called “Aryans”. And the organization that is supposed to be preventing this? The organization that is, instead indifferent to this spreading Cancer—or, perhaps, even secretly assisting it?

                                                                                               -(Kinsella, A Recipe for Hate,  p.241)

Today I finally completed Warren Kinsella’s (Dundurn, 2017) A Recipe for Hate is a downright masterful, mystery allegory weaving a mystery tale form the 1977-79 Portland, Maine growing Punk scene, into an allegory for our world today. Yes, I wish I could say it was simply a timepiece mystery, but Nazism and systematic hate appear to be harder to exterminate than 21st century bed bugs.

This is a book I encourage people to read. If you can only read it by yourself, fine, read and process the story. Listen to the rhythm of its soul and what it means for us today. Which character (s) resonate with you? Why? Which do not? Why not? When does this happen in your own life? What instincts may this tell you about yourself in knowing whom to trust? Who has darker secrets at play?

If you can read it in a book group even better, explore the character and system dynamics laid out. If the book group is part of a broader ideology or belief system even better. For the conversation can even deepen:

  • When is our organization like the Punk scene?
  • When do we become the organization (police, schools) that is supposed to stop the spreading cancer? Do we succeed or fail? Or are we frozen?
  • When are we the hate? Or, like the history of the skins, do we allow a segment to be co-opted by the hate?
  • What old hates still fester in community? What new ones go unsaid?

At the root, it is a well written mystery, that will keep you turning the pages. Which is what good fiction is supposed to be. I am not going to reveal many plot points outside of the broad strokes, because I want you to experience the roller coaster with unfiltered eyes.

Truly though, when you enter the story and reflect on any or all the questions, individually or better in a group conversation over coffee my hope is that it becomes the tiny ripples in the pond that change…change our trajectory at this point in history where we are secretly and quietly feeding the cancer once more. Change it to where we finally are the chemo that destroys it and the system moves to recovery and rebuilding in healthier ways.

Basically, know that hate exists. It permeates between what we have seen in the past. It exists across all ideologies and belief systems. It needs to be destroyed. Full stop. We are in this together, neighbours and family.

Let love win, and if it is only this once against systematic cancer hate…then it has won big.

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It is a parable that uses a story telling device made famous on CBS’ How I met your mother…a father telling a story to their children to discover. This time around the story invests in theory of change.

There are many theories of change. There is the U theory or the stages of change to name but two. As well these have been adapted into grief work. There are stories of transformation and coming through change like the book parable series, FISH.  For you see change, morale are inter-twined together. It is about coming through the journey from what was to what is. But within the journey being able to honour and include the best of what was, wit the best of the new, or the crystalizing phase as in U theory to become the new norm.

This is the story of Dream Works Boss Baby (2017). For it is the story of actualizing reality beyond the “truth” out of fear, about enough of love (a resource) to go around and as such one group needs to be vilified over another.

“Obviously you have never been to business school!”

“Obviously you have never had a family!”

            -From Boss Baby (2017)

   But there is more. For it is the story of change in dynamics and understanding. The balance of quantitative results and qualitative existence. It is the story of new life. Not a complete abandoning of the old, but rather a building upon what was, to include what is, so what is to become can emerge.

This is the relationship between Boss Baby and older brother Tim on their journey together. A journey of give and take of learning. Learning that transforms each when they each open themselves up to learning from one another.  It was a gem of a surprise when my kids picked up the DVD from our local Wal-Mart for family movie night (and yes have been watching it at least twice a day since).

I am not going to share many plot points because it is a fun ride, and yes you need to experience it. Shape the parable for your own context. For it is time to discover hidden questions on your change journey:

  1. How are you Tim?
  2. How are you Boss Baby?
  3. How do you know you are ready to embrace the new? What from the old is coming on the journey?

But above all…remember you do not end with Ha! But Arrr!

Masts ahoy matey on the change journey!