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Character-Courage-Conscience
05/13/2010
IconThis story is actually four years old, but many people seem to have discovered it only recently, so I did a little investigating, and thought it was worth sharing with you.' Because this has made its way around the Internet, like the game of "Telephone," new things have been added and some things have changed as it's been forwarded.' My staff went back to the original story to verify the facts, and that's the one I'm posting here.'Luke Air Force Base is a little west of Phoenix, and it's surrounded by residential developments.' People have complained about the noise from the base and its planes.' One day in June, 2005, an individual who lives somewhere near the base wrote the local paper complaining about the group of F-16s that disturbed his day.' Here's his Letter to the Editor of The Arizona Republic newspaper: "Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base:' Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11AM, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet.' Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying to impress the cashiers at Mervyns' early-bird special? Any response would be appreciated. Tom MacRae" Mr. MacRae received a response from a commander at Luke Air Force Base which was published in the newspaper the following day, but it's the response from Lt. Col. Scott Pleus, commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base that caught the attention of everyone.' This letter was also published in The Arizona Republic , four days after Mr. MacRae's initial complaint: "Regarding "A wake-up call from Luke's jets": On June 15, at precisely 9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four-ship of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques. Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day. At 9 a.m., on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend. Based on the letter writer's recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son's flag on behalf of the president of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured. A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.' We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects. The letter writer asks, 'Whom do we thank for the morning air show?' The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives. Lt. Col. Scott PleusLuke Air Force Base" The postscript to all of this is that Mr. MacRae, to his credit, wrote an apology that was published in The Arizona'Republic on July 9: "Regarding 'Flyby honoring fallen comrade' I read with increasing embarrassment and humility the response to my unfortunate letter to The Republic concerning an Air Force flyby. I had no idea of the significance of the flyby, and would never have insulted such a fine and respectful display had I known. I have received many calls from the fine airmen who are serving or have served at Luke, and I have attempted to explain my side and apologized for any discomfort my letter has caused. This was simply an uninformed citizen complaining about noise. I have been made aware in both written and verbal communications of the four-ship flyby, and my heart goes out to each and every lost serviceman and woman in this war in which we are engaged. I have been called un-American by an unknown caller and I feel that I must address that.' I served in the U.S. Navy and am a Vietnam veteran.' I love my country and respect the jobs that the service organizations are doing. Please accept my heartfelt apologies. Tom MacRae" More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMilitaryValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have often told callers struggling with their fears (real or imagined or exaggerated) that next to character, I admire guts.' Actually, having the fortitude to face the things we're afraid of is a measure of character.A few weeks ago, I was out for only the third time on my new paddleboard.' I was balancing well, in spite of passing motorboats leaving scary wakes in my path.' I was in choppy waters, which was not that smart at my level of experience, and feeling great about what I was doing, when-BAM-I hit the board full flat and hard on my left side and slid underwater.' I was stunned, cold, and worried about becoming a shark snack.' I swam quickly back to the board, pulled myself up, and lay there shaking with cold, shock, and fear. I pulled my knees under me, then got my feet down as I poised in a crouched position, and then stood straight up and paddled nervously for another fifteen minutes.' The point of these actions was that I knew that if I just swam ashore, I might never get on the board again.' My left ribs hurt tremendously, and I'm still healing.' But for me, the main point was getting back up then and there, and scowling directly into the face of fear.This is a small step for a girl like me.' A much bigger step for a little girl is the story of Bethany Hamilton.' She nearly lost her life in a vicious shark attack while surfing off the coast of Hawaii almost six years ago.' The shark attack happened while she was lying on her board with her arm dangling comfortably in the water.' The shark ripped her left arm off just below the shoulder, and she almost died from blood loss - the shark left a sixteen inch "bite" on her surfboard.' Grisly, to say the least.' By the way, they caught the shark.' It was a 14-foot-long tiger shark, which weighed 1400 pounds.What was Ms. Hamilton doing just a month after that shark took her left arm?' Re-training herself to surf competitively with only one arm.' Her positive attitude won her a 2004 EXPY award from ESPN for "Best Comeback Athlete of the Year."' She's now ranked among the top ten professional women surfers in the world.' With one arm.Does this mean she has no fears?' No. "When I'm feeling scared, I just sing a song or pray...or I just try to ignore it.' It's always in my mind, and it always will be, but I've got to keep my mind on having fun and just surfing." She says she sees two or three sharks per year in the water and heads in if she gets scared or thinks she sees a shark.' She doesn't go in the murky water after a storm.' In other words, she uses the common sense that all surfers should employ.She travels the world for surfing competitions, and for causes in which she can help children with fears - like going to Thailand to help young children devastated by the tsunami disaster.' With her unique experience, she has something very important to say about overcoming fears, much less overcoming fear of water.I've always said that one of the best learning tools in the universe is to read to yourself and your family biographies of people who have fought inner and outer demons and prevailed.' This is one of those stories.And you don't have to be afraid of the ocean to benefit.' Life has its disappointments, assaults, devastation, frustrations, challenges, and bad luck.' That's just life.' What you do after that point is the measure of your life. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageFearMental HealthPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen my now 6'3" son was a little guy, housework was secondary in priority to interacting with him.' One of my most wonderful memories is of taking him on a walk (and pulling him in his Radio Flyer-like wagon) to the huge parking lot of the local Target.' I would put him in one of the shopping carts, and run like mad, twisting and turning and twirling the cart until he whooped with delight.' This would go on for the better part of an hour.' Thinking back, I got a good aerobic exercise workout, and he got a Disneyland-like ride.' At the time, though, it was just about having fun together.One of the constant complaints I get (especially from at-home moms), is about the drudgery of housework, particularly about how it is never-ending and repetitive.' Frankly, I liked knowing the parameters involved with housework:' bathrooms, kitchen, and washing and folding laundry.' Folding laundry was my meditative exercise.' I found it quite relaxing.Attitude is the essential issue in dealing with anything in life.' I had a recent caller to my radio program who was still working through her rotten childhood by yelling and being physical with her kids...but in a bad way.' After a bit of a lecture from me on finally having fun in her life, and my giving her examples of getting kids to do things (like putting toys away or getting their pajamas on) with fun (complete with giggles and applause), she wrote me back and thanked me.' Then I received this email from another listener: I am in the middle of three loads of laundry (I have four boys ages 7,10, 12 and 14, so I have a lot of laundry), and wanted to thank you for being my "housework buddy."' You may not realize it, but you've been helping me with my housework for the last 3 months.' How?' I've always hated and avoided doing housework, because I never saw the value in it.' Instead, I took part-time jobs while the kids were in school and hired a housekeeper once a week.' While she put a dent in the mess, there was still a lot of housework left, and I asked my full-time working husband to help out on the weekend.' This meant that our weekends weren't much fun. After listening to you talk to a caller about what a great gift she was giving her family by keeping the house neat, I decided to devote the three hours you're on the air to housework.' I can now happily listen to you from any room in the house.' While I still don't enjoy housework, my family and I do enjoy having a clean, well-organized home.' And we have a lot more fun on the weekend.' So, thank you for being my "housework buddy" and keeping me company while I work! DebraSan Diego Everything we do is of value, even if it is the same thing every day (which, of course, it doesn't have to be).' Creativity in how we approach situations changes everything about how we feel and how much we appreciate life, love, and family.' So, whatever it is you have to do, find a way to make it fun. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodPersonal ResponsibilityRelativesStay-At-Home-MomsValues
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05/13/2010
IconDuring his recent African trip, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms would not resolve the AIDS problem.' The Pope has made it clear that abstinence is going to be the best way to fight AIDS.Google "Pope" and "condoms," and you'll never run out of reading material excoriating the man for his observation and opinion.' Many health advocates have gone ballistic in their criticism of his comments.' They feel it is one thing to promote abstinence as part of the Catholic religion, but that it is an entirely different thing to preach it to the world.On a person-by-person basis, wearing a condom does, of course, offer some protection against contracting various venereal diseases and (of course) unwanted pregnancy.' It is also true that condoms sometimes break, slip, or are put on incorrectly (taut to the very end).' Everything has its limitations...except abstinence.I remember listening to a rabbi describing a situation that occurred to his kosher family.' His 7 year old child was invited to a birthday party for a classmate at one of those fast-food hamburger establishments.' When he came to pick up his child at the end of the party, one of the mothers - clearly annoyed - chastised him for the pain he caused his son.' "All the children had hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and dessert, and your little boy had to sit there and eat none of it.' Imagine how terrible your son must have felt?' How could you do this to him?' Food is food.' There is nothing sinful about food.' What you are doing to him is just cruel."' Just about at the end of her tirade, his son bounded up to him, gave him a huge hug around the waist, and said "I had a great time.' This was a fun party."The woman blanched and walked away.' The rabbi followed her and gently told her the following:' animals will eat whatever is around, even if it will make them unhealthy.' Humans are to rise above animals and become masters of their urges.' Imagine my son in a dorm room where harmful illicit drugs are being passed about.' We already know that peer pressure and urges will not force him to relent and give in to the impulse.' Learning at his early age to control impulse and desire is not a harmful trait - many times, it might be a life-saving one.' Look at him.' He enjoyed the company of your son and the rest of the children without giving up his values.' He looks happy and satisfied.' We really need to bring up our children to be masters of their instincts, not slaves to them, don't you think?The woman scowled, but listened to him.Yes, in any one instance, a condom could protect, but in the overall scheme of humanity, why do so many people wish to push away the enormous protective power of moral values?When the Pope suggests that human beings are best off saving their sexual passion for the stability of a covenant of marriage, he is making a statement that the act of sexuality is elevated by the context, and ultimately protects both man and woman from a myriad of hurtful consequences from venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancies (complete with abortions, abandonment, single-parenthood, and homelessness to name a few).The naysayers all have one thing in common:' they refuse to want, believe or accept that human beings can commit to a higher spiritual state of thought and behavior.' The Pope believes in us more than that.I am not Catholic, so this is no knee-jerk defense of my spiritual leader.' The truth is that he is simply correct and too many people don't want to hear it, because they want to live lives unfettered by rules.' It is sad that they don't realize that this makes them a slave to animal impulse versus a master of human potential. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-Consciencechoose wisely - treat kindlyChoose Wisely-Treat KindlyDatingHealthMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityReligionSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010
IconAs children do in general, when I was a small child, I lied to my parents when I got caught doing something I shouldn't have, or not doing something I should have.' The reason why lying is so popular among children is that it is their attempt to keep out of trouble and avoid punishment.After a while, as children mature, they learn that lying is worse than the dumb thing they did (like eat all the potato chips before their parents' party started), because it hurts the relationship by destroying trust .' In addition, lying brought consequences - dire consequences in the old days (spankings) and stupid consequences in the present (loss of cell phone privileges for a few days), or none at all (when parents are just too busy).Nonetheless, the value of honesty (as demanded in the commandment not to bear false witness) has been a cornerstone in this country's value system about measuring character in individuals.We already have way too many "role models" who actually make superficial lifestyles, drugs, casual sex, and domestic violence attractive to our children, making it harder and harder to tell them " That's wrong to do, and if you do it, you will be publicly embarrassed, and your life will get off track ."' There isn't much in society to back that statement up anymore.I am soooooo glad I don't have a young child at home anymore.' Sitting at breakfast last week, watching the so-called news, I looked up to see Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd say (and I paraphrase) that the line in the federal stimulus bill which would have given over $100 million in bonuses to AIG executives - the ones responsible for the company's demise - if they were promised before February 11th, was nothing he knew about. "When I left work after writing that part of the bill...that sentence wasn't there." I sat there "chewing" on his statement, wondering what gremlin snuck into his office and typed that sentence while he was home in the bosom of his family.' My question was answered within seconds as a second news clip was shown with him admitting the HE was the gremlin, but then he threw the White House under the bus with, "They made me do it."Now I am mortified. "I didn't have sex with that woman," and "I didn't' write the sentence that stole money from Americans to give bonuses to high-ranking losers" have entered the ranks of the story about George Washington admitting to his dad that he cut down the cherry tree.I could see my kid right now..."Ah, mommy, what's the story here?"' You said lying was bad, and bad things would come of it, like at least looking bad, but he's still going to be a Senator tomorrow."Millions of you out there have children who saw what I saw.' What are you going to say to them about corruption at the highest levels that ultimately gets just a "wink and a nod?"' What about all those courses in school where "character matters?"' Where does it matter in public anymore?' Some of you can fall back on "God knows, and for all eternity, it WILL make a difference."' I like that a lot, except children don't think long-term, nor do they dwell on the importance of what they can't see.Asian countries have it right - they threaten people with the anger and shame of their ancestors.' America has it wrong.' It would seem to children that the only really important quality needed to become a public figure is to not give a damn about right and wrong or what people think, or that a lie is anything but an expedient tool with no meaningful consequences.Oh, yeah, the White House is acting all outraged about the AIG bonuses at the same time it is apparently the source of the benevolent donation to the failed executive fund of AIG.' Is this what they mean by the "trickle down" theory?Were I to have a child by my side this morning, I would say:' "Beloved child, when you read history books (and not the purged ones you get at school, but real history books), you will see that success and honesty are not necessarily bed partners.' Nonetheless, never do anything you would be ashamed to have your kids know you did or have them do.' I would rather you lost everything you worked for, rather than lose your soul."' I figure the more you tell kids this from the day they're born to the day you die, we'll have some people in this life we can trust. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
IconKohl's Department Store has signed a deal with Britney Spears for her to "represent" their Juniors clothing line - you know, the line for young girls.' Part of this deal is to promote her music and current tour.' Parents, here's a sample of what Kohl's sees as a great match for your daughter: "Get Naked"My body is calling out for you, bad boyI get the feeling that I just want to be with ya'Baby, I'm a freak and I don't really give a damnI'm crazy as a mother 'effer'Bet that on ya man Get naked...would you mind?Take it off (I took it off)Get naked. Her so-called "Circus" tour is highlighted on YouTube.' Ya gotta love the guys in leather thongs and those tassel pasties she sports.' Frankly, she makes Madonna's Virgin tour look downright virginal.Kohl's Department Store must know that:* Her first marriage lasted 55 hours.* Her second marriage lasted a bit longer* She posed in the nude for Harper's Bazaar* She flashed a naked crotch at photographers getting out of her car* She has been busted for drug use* She lost custody of her children because of child endangerment issues* And on and on....just the role model for our young daughters of today.Did you know that Spears was named the "Most Searched Person" in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2007 and 2009?' Kohl's probably thinks that "attention is attention" - what the hell if it sells junior-size schmatas?One of my listeners wrote a letter of complaint to Kohl's, stating that she is "very sad to learn Britney Spears is a part of your store.' She has had such troubles and still is not in charge of her life, nor has she been found competent to raise her own kids.'' You have elected to reward her and flaunt her irresponsible behavior.' We will no longer shop at Kohl's." I read the (probably) form letter that Kohl's wrote in response, which purported to "regret that you have concerns regarding this decision.' Ms. Spears is an international celebrity and pop culture icon who embodies the spirit of the Candie's brand and personifies the iconic 'Candie's Girl:'' flirty, self-confident, and stylish." Their letter goes on to say that Britney has a right to privacy (are you kidding?' Twisting tongues with Madonna on a stage demonstrates a desire for privacy??), and her personal life does not reflect the views of Kohl's Department Stores.Flirty, self-confident and stylish?' How 'bout "piggish, out of control, and irresponsible parent?"' She is, however, PAYING Kevin Federline (a/k/a "Daddy") some $5,000 per week while she blasts around with this vulgar tour which should make billions.How stupid does Kellogg's now feel for dumping Michael Phelps for sucking up pot through a bong?' They actually thought that values, character and role-model responsibilities mean something!' Silly, silly them.You parents ultimately decide where your children shop and what they buy.' Try being responsible and stand up for values. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconThe Health section of The New York Times on March 2 debated the usefulness of bribing school children with money, toys, candy and electronic gizmos to have them attain better grades.When I was in school, it was cute stickers and the pride of getting a good grade that you could brag about that made your parents all sorts of happy.' The good grade was the proximate award for all the hard work.' Getting the reputation as being smart was a good thing, and becoming valedictorian was great, as was qualifying for scholarships of all sizes for college.' Spending a lifetime knowing you worked hard and earned what you had the hard way was the long-term reward.Now, some geniuses want to rob children of all of that.' These greater minds than ours want children to fight for things of substance (money) rather than for things of glory (purpose).' Not all endeavors have a high rate of financial return:' a hospice worker helps the dying and their families face their fears of death; a fireman runs into burning buildings to save complete strangers from a horrible death; kindergarten teachers introduce our children to the world of budding independence, self-confidence, social maneuvering and the alphabet...and that's only a few examples.Frankly, we need more kind and compassionate people than we do more "A" students in this world, as it turns out that the greatest thieves (many CEOs, crooked politicians and Ponzi scheme giants), terrorist masterminds, and general sociopaths all have very high IQ levels and got great grades.How about us giving financial rewards, candy and electronic gizmos to kids who go out of their way not to bully, tease, steal, lie, sexually harass, or sexually act-out?' Or to those who won't drink or take drugs or steal or backtalk their elders?'Would that work, I wonder? More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenCommitmentEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeSchoolValues
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05/13/2010
Icon"I love your show, but it makes me CRAZY when you subscribe to the double standard that men get a pass on being sexually cavalier but women are to be thoroughly and soundly condemned.' Why, oh why, don't you condemn the men as much as the women?' Why aren't they just as 'piggy' and deserving of condemnation?' That societal attitude encourages men to attempt to use women sexually as their birthright and also encourages women to be insecure and distrustful of sex in general.' You're putting a sexual burka on women overall with that attitude. I'm not advocating casual sex.' I'm condemning the acceptance of a double standard.' Come on!' There are two sides of that coin and each should assume major responsibility for engaging in casual sex.' Until the act is equally condemned, how can women take those rules seriously?" This is a recent email from a listener taking me to task for what she perceives is a sort of anti-female, double standard mentality.'First of all, God and nature are responsible for the reality of a double standard.' Women have breasts from which to suckle the baby born from their uterus after a nine month gestation.' Women's high-pitched voices and hearing are geared for the infant-mother bonding that miraculously takes place right after birth.' Women's temperaments to nurture, cuddle, coo, and protect are hardwired into their psychological programming.' Women are different from men.There is no question that men more easily dissociate love and sex.' Young males in particular are open to sexual experiences for the challenge, orgasmic satisfaction, and status among other males.' These qualities are not synonymous with femininity.Women give themselves sexually to men out of love, a desperate desire to be wanted and loved, or for money.' It is not typical, as it is with men, for a woman to feel proud of the number of men who have penetrated her; and the only women who look for the sexual challenge are those so twisted with anti-male rage that domination of a male is a form of psychological rape which satisfies that neurotic anger.Males are generally out of control every which way until they fall in love and take on the obligations and responsibilities of a man committed to a woman and family.' All the research demonstrates that men who are married make more money, are healthier and happier, and function better socially than "loner" men.' In fact, the deranged males who perpetrate horrendous acts of violence are generally such loner males with no families to make them feel important, give them purpose and direction...and love.Women are the taming and socializing force in society.' Men will only do what women allow.' Remember the ancient Greek classical play "Lysistrata" ?' The women in the town refused to have sex if their men continued to participate in war and violence.' Poof, all the violence stopped.' Women have always had the power over men; but feminism got women off the track of realizing that, and on the track to only hating or disdaining men.Now, women have largely become "pigs."' Instead of embracing modesty, pride, values, and self-value, they parade around showing their bodies like Playboy bunnies, have sex before "hello," shack up with men without marital commitment, make babies on their own (declaring that men/fathers aren't necessary), use abortion as birth control, and don't imagine feminine sweetness has any place in marriage and are bored with sex with their husbands but turn on to every other Tom, Dick, and Harry.' That is why men have little respect for women these days. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentFeminismPersonal ResponsibilitySexSexualitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconKellogg's, the cereal and snack manufacturer, cancelled its lucrative sponsorship contract with Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps because he was caught on camera smoking marijuana last fall.' Apparently, all the other companies with similar contracts did not cancel their contracts with him.' However, USA Swimming, the sport's governing body, has suspended him from competition for three months.My point of view is "hurrah" to Kellogg's and USA Swimming team.' They are demonstrating to the children and young adults of America that the perks of fame are earned in an ongoing manner with not only the accomplishment (Gold Medals from the Olympics) but a continuous responsibility to represent the team, the sport, and personal character with honor.' Having consequences for bad judgment and stupid (as well as illegal) behaviors teaches children and young adults to think twice before sacrificing so much for so little. More >>

Tags: AddictionCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMarijuanaPersonal ResponsibilityResponse To A CallSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconOn a recent Sunday afternoon I was having my favorite salad (spinach salad - hold the dressing) at one of my favorite restaurants, when I couldn't help noticing two well-coiffed and dressed women having lunch (salads and pizza) at the table directly to my right side.'I was not intentionally trying to listen to what they were saying - I promise you! - it's just that every now and then, the noise lulled and I could hear one of them say, "Yes, she is so nice/smart/talented, etc." .' I don't believe they were talking about the same woman each time, but I was so impressed that two women "gossiping" over lunch were - brace yourself - saying nice things about another woman or women!When we got ready to leave, I went over to the table and admitted that I could hear some of what they were saying - although I wasn't really trying to - and that I was immensely impressed that having had the opportunity to be critical or catty, that they were both speaking so nicely about others.' I further said, "You two must be really nice people!" They smiled at me - with distinct surprise - and one of them immediately said, "You must be a nice person too to stop and say this to us." Wow- a real "karma" moment.'Why don't you look carefully around you and take the opportunity to compliment folks you see who are doing the "right thing." More >>

Tags: AdulteryaffairCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceMarriageWomen's Point of View
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