Respect is necessary in recreation, work, and religion
As snowmobilers in Ontario, we are required to buy a snowmobile trail permit through the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) This allows us to legally use the trails and pays for the groomers’ maintenance.
Trails maintained by the OFSC are dedicated to snowmobilers and restricted to sledders only.
As a child, I remember bushwhacking with our Ski-doo through the backfields. There was no trail and we’d often end up on our side after riding over a small tree or rock.
But as an adult, I’m committed to sledding on groomed trails only. So I was a little surprised to see a sign posted along a short stretch of trail in North Bay that read, “Multi-Use Trail” which was not groomed by OFSC.
Apparently, this small section was open to snowmobilers but also 4-wheelers, side-by-sides, hikers, horses, and anyone else who happened to wander along. OFSC only commits to maintaining trails that are dedicated to snowmobilers.
As a sledder, this meant we had to slow down significantly. At any turn, we could expect to come face-to-face with a person on cross country skis, snowshoes or riding a horse.
We had to be respectful of the other recreational users and not frighten any horses or dogs with the noise of our sled. We had to drive slowly to help avoid adding moguls to the flat trail.
Riding the Multi-Use Trail required respect.
This reminded me of the respect required at my place of employment. I work at a college and a few years ago they underwent a major renovation. Part of the reno involved a complete overhaul of the bathrooms.
The college created “All Gender” washrooms. These bathrooms are open to everyone, regardless of whether they identify as male, female, trans, two-spirit, non-binary, or other non-cisgender typology.
I admit that this took a bit of getting used to. I found it disconcerting to walk into the bathroom alongside my boss, a male. But through mutual respect and civility in using the washroom we adapted.
It also reminded me of respect required in the church.
Christianity split in 1517 into Catholicism and Protestantism. Since then, over 200 Protestant denominations have been formed.
These divisions happened for a variety of reasons. Some churches split simply because of wanting to worship in different ways. Others divided over leadership concerns. Still, others disagreed about communion practices.
Regardless of these disagreements, it’s most important to be respectful of our Christian neighbours.
Respect means that you accept somebody for who they are, even when they’re different from you or you don’t agree with them.
Whether you are enjoying a recreational trail, using the washroom facilities or attending church respect is required.
Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2;17 NIV)