Important purposes served by brick walls

I’m beginning to see that two separate topics that have been on my mind can be – perhaps need to be – linked.

Both are about videos:

  • The ‘jaw-dropping’ testimonies of cancer patients in Ontario, Canada who have been denied funding for their cancer treatments.
  • The other, university professor Randy Pausch’s ‘last lecture’, which over the past week+ has had such a huge public response. It is the story of a man who desperately wants to see his kids grow up, but now knows that will not be possible. All three kids are under six, and they are why, at the end of his university talk to a full lecture hall, he told the assembled students and faculty that the talk they had heard was not for them.

Last year, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation invited viewers to give their opinions on who is (or was – they can be dead) the greatest Canadian to date. Canadians finally decided on Tommy Douglas, who shifted Canada to universal health care. That Canadians held his initiative so incredibly important is why I’m surprised at the lack of outcry about the inequal and often inadequate health care treatment from province to province. I’m amazed that there aren’t more comments on this video, or more links to it from other sites.

Jumping back to Randy Pausch – one of the memorable things he discussed was the purpose served by brick walls. The brick wall is important, he said, because its existence (and our frustrations at how impassable it seems to be) lets us know how badly we want something. I love how this statement re-frames my perception of insurmountable obstacles.

It seems to me that we need to figure out how to bring that re-framing to activate more Canadians into moving toward that brick wall. We need a surge of civil society committed to removing the bricks.

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