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How many times have you heard that phrase? How many times have you used it? I can tell you that back when I was being told, “In my day I had to walk 10 miles to school, in a blizzard, with no shoes or shirt and I had to carry my six brothers over my shoulders while delivering newspapers along the way.” I swore I would never, ever do that.

I was wrong. (Please don’t ever tell He-Who I said that)

A few years back I had an opportunity to “speak out ” about something that really bothered me. What I found myself over and over again coming back to was how disappointed, disillusioned and just plain angry I was at young people and their behaviour.  Apparently they are being referred to as Generation “Y”. Personally, I call them Generation “Entitled“. It may not be catchy or easy to remember, but their sense of “Entitlement” makes it the most legitimate moniker.  Here’s how it went…

Generation Entitled enters the workforce with extremely high expectations. Of course, they were taught that life should be positive, creative, and challenging. They have been pampered, nurtured and programmed with a slew of activities since they were tots, meaning that they are not just high-performance but that they are also high maintenance. Their multi-tasking talents have resulted in an inability to concentrate for long periods of time on a single task. This is often carried into the workforce. Generation Entitled wants to learn as much as it can in a short period of time and then move onto something bigger and better.

They also believe in their self worth (often over inflated).  They’ve grown up questioning their parents and now they’re questioning their employers. They do not know when to shut up or when enough is enough!  “Respect” is something they take ownership of and not something they give.  Today’s youngest workers are more interested in making their jobs accommodate their family and personal lives than the other way around. They place a higher value on self fulfillment.  And they believe in their own value enough that they’re not shy about trying to change the companies they work for. They are surprised when they have to work for their money. They want the corner office right now!

This type of attitude contributes to them being viewed as a bunch of overconfident, inexperienced kids unwilling to pay their dues. Quite frankly, with the state of the employment market today I believe we have done them no favours.  They are unprepared for the realities of today’s economy and cannot comprehend the negative environment they are now finding themselves in.

Personally, I am grateful I wasn’t raised this way. The difficulties I have encountered along my path have made me stronger, more resilient, and better prepared to face anything. I will always have an attitude of gratitude for whatever life throws me.

Ok, apparently I had some pretty strong feelings about this. Did it make me feel better to rant about it? If I am honest…maybe a little. However it wasn’t until this year that I really started feeling better about it. Not because anything had changed as far this particular age group. No. Not at all. What happened was I started paying a little more attention to some of the young people that are coming up behind them.  The little ones. The unspoiled ones. There is hope, people. There is hope for all mankind because there are still some really special children living among us.

JANE has just celebrated her 10th birthday. She is as bright, energetic and lovely as her namesake, Jane Goodall. Last year Jane had the opportunity to meet the woman she was named for.

She was such a calm person. When she was on stage she didn’t have to yell at you really loud like some people on stage do. She was a really good story teller but she kept your attention by speaking softly. I got to give her a big hug and she seems so genuinely nice.”

Jane meets Dr. Jane Goodall - Photo Courtesy Jo McArthur/JGI Canada

Jane meets Dr. Jane Goodall – Photo Courtesy Jo McArthur/JGI Canada

A little over a year ago Jane asked if she could grow her hair out so she could donate it.

At school, my friend Lavina came in with her hair all cut off. When I asked her about it she told me she donated it to make wigs for kids who had cancer. We looked for a local program that did that and we found “Wigs For Kids“.

When all was said and done Jane was able to donate enough hair for two kids wigs. Sporting a new style and big grin from ear to ear, she was one very happy girl.

Before and After

If this is any indication of things to come, it seems we have no worries about Our Jane living up to her name. Jane Goodall would be proud.

LIANA is 5, going to be 6 in September. Her Mom tells me …

She needed a good haircut and because one of her classmates from last year had donated her hair I asked her if she would like to do that – Liana got very excited about the idea of donating her hair to little children who were sick and didn’t have hair. At first she thought the hair would make them better, I explained that the hair would make them feel better about themselves while the medicine and doctors tried to make them feel better. She is very proud of herself and her haircut. We are proud of her too.

Before and After

Liana donated her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths… since she didn’t quite have long enough hair to donate for some of the wigs for kids type of organizations out there (she had 8 inches cut off).

Neither one of these girls knows each other, they actually live more than 200 k from each other.

SARAH is a writer.  Her Father is someone I have come to admire through his writing.  Known as The Hook of You’ve Been Hooked, his stories about his crazy misadventures as a Bellman in Niagara Falls always leave me laughing. Recently he shared a wish for his daughter in An Open Letter To Ellen DeGeneres. A must read in my opinion…

My 14-year-old daughter is an old soul, possessed of more compassion and wisdom than most of the adults I’ve ever met. She genuinely cares about the state of the world, especially the plight of children and animals. Sarah is the type of kid every parent wishes their child would be.

She is also a brilliant writer whose greatest wish is to see her series, The Misadventures of Misery, in print after years of scribbling in notebooks and typing away at her computer in her room.

  • A young girl owns a bookstore in New York City.
  • Her best friend is nicknamed Misery because of her perpetual bad luck.
  • A visit to Misery’s hometown results in the revelation that her relatives are all supernatural beings.
  • Soon the girl and her best friend realize everyone is different, therefore, everyone fits in.
  • The adventures continue from there, with the possibilities being endless.

While other kids are tearing each other down on Facebook, Sarah is giving life to her characters.

While other kids are following feuding celebrities on Twitter, Sarah is placing her creations in unbelievably hilarious predicaments.

A touching tribute to a lovely girl.

ERIC recently graduated from grade eight. Eric is He-Who’s grandson so we were invited to share in the festivities.  We were very proud of him. All the kids were amazing. Each one having worked hard to get to this point in their life. There were all kinds of special awards for all kinds of achievements given out.

Proud Grandpa and The Graduate

Proud Grandpa and The Graduate

After the ceremony the class had a celebration dinner and I sat and talked with Eric about all the kids in his class. I was especially impressed with how this class seemed so invested in each other. They were a team and they all helped each other reach their goals. He was able to point out each kid and share a bit of their back story with me.  One girl had lost her mother to cancer that year. Another very frail looking young lady was very ill herself. There was a boy who had “run home” to quickly change from his suit to something more comfortable. His home was the local homeless shelter where he lives with his Mom. Eric himself is autistic which means, even though he is quite brilliant, he had to work more than twice as hard to be on that podium.  As he chatted and continued to explain about all his classmates I looked in his eyes and realized how much hope there was. These kids…all of them…Jane, Liana, Sarah, Eric and his classmates, they are our hope. There is hope for all mankind because there are still some really special children living among us.

Just in case I haven’t convinced you to have faith in this new generation of kids. This video features some really  insightful kids and their take on a recent racial “controversy”.

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How far are you willing to go for an outstanding product or exceptional service? As a rule I stick pretty close to home. I like to buy local. I like to use local services. There is just something that feels good about supporting business in your own neighborhood. However, there are a few exceptions. Mind you, they may seem a little extreme but to me there is no option.

As I pull up to the immigration booth at the Niagara Falls, Ontario/New York border and handover my passport to the officer I know that I am about to have the same conversation I have in the same spot every 5 – 6 weeks.
Officer: Where do you live?
Me: Oakville, ON
Officer: Where are you headed?
Me: Williamsville, New York
Officer: What is the purpose of your trip?
Me: Going to get my hair done.
Now this is usually where the reactions vary. Some look shocked. Some look at me like I am crazy. Some think I am up to no good.
Officer: Don’t they have hairdressers in Canada?
Me: Well, yes, yes they do. As a matter of fact they have some very good hairdressers in Canada. I’ve worked in the television industry for too long to count and have had access to some of the best hair and makeup people in the GTA, but Tony is quite simply the best.

Anthony Patrick Gattuso at work

“Tony” is Anthony Patrick Gattuso and his salon is Anthony New York. He has a lovely salon right on main street in Williamsville (Ph:716.639.7298). I found Tony by accident, really. My sister asked me to keep her company one day when she was going there. I watched him for a long time and was really impressed. By the time we left I had a new hairstyle and colour. Aside from their incredible skill at what they do, Emily, his trusted sidekick, and Tony always make you feel like you are the most important client they have. Tony actually travels far and wide teaching his hair techniques but always cuts his clients personally.
The best part is on my return trip across the border, when I tell them I have just been over to get my hair done they always tell me, “It looks great”.

Alexis operates her business from her home in Vineland. She is the “Sugar Queen” as far as I am concerned.

Sugar Spa By Alexis

Her services are of a more personal nature and once you find someone with her skill you can never go back. Anyone who sugars (or for that matter waxes) can tell you there is no painless way to go about hair removal. But there are people who can make it far less painful than others. Alexis is extremely skilled and has just the right “touch” to make it tolerable. But, perhaps one of her best skills is her ability to make you laugh so hard while she is “torturing” you that you don’t even notice it. Her sense of humour is demonstrated on her facebook page “Alexis’ Hairy Scary Club”.

My most recent find that takes me out of my way is in Little Britain, Ontario. I have been spending a great deal of time East and North of Toronto lately and started hearing about “the best butter tarts in the world”. Hanging around in Port Perry and the Lake Scugog area I kept hearing them mentioned. This is not the first time I had heard someone brag about someone else’s butter tarts, so I took it with a grain of salt and thought perhaps I would make the trip someday. Well, that day arrived last week. As I drove farther and farther north I thought perhaps I had missed it or made a wrong turn, so I stopped to ask for directions at “The Trading Post”. Of course they knew where it was, everyone knew where it was and the instructions involved turning right at the chip wagon and left at Little Britain Road. So I was off again and finally reached mydestination.

Butter Tarts 'N More - 1037 Little Britain Road, Little Britain, Ontario K0M 2C0

The place was packed and everyone in there was acting like it was a party. It could have been a sugar rush, but the staff, including owner Lynda Moss, was patient and friendly. The customers were smiling and happy. I talked to several people there. One lady was from Sarnia and one was from Welland. Both said they had been coming there for butter tarts on a regular basis for years. I was determined to make the trip worth my while and purchased butter tarts to take home, butter tarts to take to a gathering I was headed to, some Chelsea buns and an Eccles Cake. Seriously, I am not generally a sweets person. I am more of a salty chips kind of gal. Let me just say that one bite of a butter tart and I knew what all the fuss was about. The pastry just dissolved on my tongue. I had never tasted anything like it and I am here to tell you that they are without a doubt the best butter tarts ever. I will never eat another butter tart from somewhere else. There would be no temptation. The group I took the other tarts to agreed whole heartedly. For the record the Eccles Cake was the best one of those I had ever had as well, but the Chelsea buns was absolutely the best thing I have ever eaten in my life! I dare you to take a drive some day to “Butter Tarts ‘N More” in Little Britain, ON and tell me I am wrong.

There you have it. Three places I will go out of my way for outstanding product and service. How far will you go and what is it that brings you there?

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Tom Lucas

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