It’s the Ian Robinson example..

“You have excellent Kung Fu discipline.”  “You have great Edie style!”

It’s an idea I stole years ago from somewhere: Every year, I cut out a few paper hearts and write 4-5 things that are true about my kids. I leave the hearts outside their bedroom doors to find when they wake up on Valentine’s Day. Yes, sweet. But now I’m typing this while telling them to stop talking at me but also telling them to keep getting ready for school, haha.

You see, it’s not perfect. Nobody is – and Lord knows, it seems we’re not getting it right lately. Consume too much mass media / social media / be rigid in your beliefs – and yeah, you’re going to feel stressed. When you’re stressed, it’s hard not to react. Your reaction often dictates what happens next because people will react to you….and here we go. An endless loop of people saying it’s their way. Not taking the time to listen. On both sides.

Honestly, to keep my inner peace, it’s enough for me to tune out. Yes, weird for a reporter to say, but the news can stress me – and even though I worked at a major daily, it kind of always has. Moreso lately, it seems like it’s amplification vs understanding, yelling vs listening. The constant stream of content saying the same things. Someone once wrote journalism is a trauma-informed industry. “If it bleeds, it leads,” is what I was taught in J-school (more than 20 years ago now!)

The stress is why I left the Calgary Sun in 2009. Something happened (which maybe I’ll write about one day, I dunno) and it was hard. Really hard for a few years. And that’s when your people come in. 

Ian Robinson had a big impact on my life – Calgary Sun columnist, Grand Headline Writer, husband, dad, storyteller – the guy who would deep fry a turkey for everyone working on Christmas Day on the Sun’s loading dock – his was a personality that filled a room, in the best way. He wasn’t intimidating. He had time for everyone, and he made time for me when I was struggling in that newsroom. We lost him on Saturday morning. Cancer. Because he’s Ian, he took the time to write his own obituary, and my former bosses / mentors Kathleen Robinson (Ian’s wife), Jose Rodriguez, Marty Hudson, and Mike Platt all wrote beautifully about him in today’s Calgary Sun / Calgary Herald. I would love it if you took the time to read.

Ian was the kind of person needed in the world today – yes, he was an outspoken columnist, but he made the space to listen. We tend to squeeze that space shut when we fill it with our personal reactions. That happens a lot these days.

Over the past couple years, we’ve all gone through stuff. Every one of us, with no exception. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, financial worries, a loved one’s illness, wondering about what you said last night – whatever. We all have the same insecurities, hopes and feelings of stress. We just present them in different ways. Right now, some are waving Canadian flags and participating in convoys. Some are irked by seeing this, because they feel that’s not what our flag represents. Yes, we’re all kinds. 

So, let’s just be kind, OK? Even if it’s just for today. It’s needed.

Ian’s the guy in the white shirt ❤️

Written by Kristen Friesen

February 14, 2022

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