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StephenVance 270I am typically not one to observe, celebrate, or care about holidays of any type or description, and a little over a decade ago, I can recall rolling my eyes when there was talk of introducing a new holiday in February. The last thing I figured we needed was another dang holiday, but I confess, I have grown to like and appreciate the long-weekend in February that we call Family Day.

Winter around these parts can be a long, cold, soul draining experience, and that is something I didn't consider all those years ago when Dalton McGuinty was tossing around the idea of a new provincial holiday in February. Perhaps it didn't help that it was McGuinty that was publicly pushing the idea, as I was never a fan of his government, and in my more crusty moments I might have been prone to dismiss anything he or his government had to say.

But I was wrong.

An annual holiday in February seems to lift most everyone's spirits, including my own, and the fact that the focus of the holiday is on family, I think is certainly a worthy celebration.

Over the Family Day weekend, I saw plenty of families out and about enjoying our parks, sliding down the big hill at Beautiful Joe Park, and filling our local restaurants. The overall mood in town was positive, and that in itself is refreshing.

Myself, I took full advantage of the Family Day weekend. My 16-year-old son came to Meaford for the weekend, and we did some exploring around town, watched a few movies, talked about his brand new report card (97 in Grade 10 math, nicely done, Zack), and we had a lengthy discussion about the intelligence of primates after exploring some wildlife videos on Youtube. So we did nothing overly exciting during the Family Day weekend – we didn't go on a ski trip as some would have done, we didn't go ice fishing as others did, but we had a relaxed weekend, with an extra day off work, to do things as a family, and I found it to be a much valued break.

So I was certainly on the wrong side of the issue back in 2007, and I regret my scoffing at the notion of a new holiday. I likely shouldn't have mocked the idea as much as I did at the time.

It is in moments such as this, a moment of reflection, that I wonder what other issues I didn't give a fair shake, either due to my political views, my pre-determined stance generally, or simply because I can be stubborn. I have found that one of the greatest challenges in life, particularly as I get older, is to be able to keep enough of an open mind that you can alter your position as you learn and grow. It can be much cozier to remain protected within whatever bubble we inhabit, and it isn't ever easy to admit we were wrong, but when you can arrive at such an admission, that is when true growth really happens.

Sometimes with a little distance, and a little time to reflect, we can evolve on issues, we can look at an issue or a proposal through a new lens, in a more reasonable frame of mind. It's okay to evolve, it really is.

I hope all of our readers had an enjoyable Family Day long weekend, and now it is back to the grind in the final stretch of winter – it won't be long before all this snow is gone, and the sound of birds chirping returns.


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