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Personal Responsibility
05/13/2010
IconEarlier this month, I took a call that I thought was a perfect example of how "moral nearsightedness" is overcoming American society.This twenty-something young woman was pregnant out-of-wedlock, "shacking up" with her alleged fiance (they are living with his father), and the fiance doesn't have enough income to support a wife and child.But that's not why she called!! In fact, when I pointed out the irresponsibility and immaturity of conceiving out of wedlock with a guy incapable of supporting a family, I got back: "Well, that's not my question!" (And, by the way, she didn't want to have a wedding until after the baby was born and she got her figure back in order to wear a white gown).Her question actually related to her mother.' Apparently, her mommy came to visit and "got it on" with the fiance's dad.... all night .' There were other children (of other family members) in the home when this was happening.That's as far as she got when I said: "It's genetic." She responded with: "What?" I repeated and expanded: "It's genetic...having no moral foundation for decisions.' Like mother, like daughter." Now that may sound harsh to you, but truth often is, and there was nothing I could do to change anything about this situation.' She was already "shacking up" and pregnant; her mother already had humped the maybe future father-in-law.' Her question was going to be about confronting her mom about this outrageous behavior.' I couldn't bear to hear her even go there, considering she was the pot and the kettle all by herself.It's a shame both of our eyes point only outwards.' It would be a far, far better thing if one of them turned inwards. More >>

Tags: EthicsFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyFeminismHealthMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityRelativesShacking UpShacking-UpSocial IssuesValues
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Tags: CharityFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyHolidaysNew YearPersonal ResponsibilityRelativesStressValues
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05/13/2010
IconSince this is the season of giving, I thought I'd share with you a letter I got from an Army Captain who was the recipient of a kind deed from a stranger: Dr. Laura:I am an active duty soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.' I am not a regular coffee drinker, but after a week of unusually early mornings and late nights, I pulled into the drive-thru of a popular coffee chain this morning on my way to work in need of a caffeine kick.' As you would expect, I placed my order and waited behind a few cars until it was my turn to pay and go.' When I pulled up to the window, the cashier handed me my cup and informed me that the lady in the car ahead of me had noticed my uniform and graciously paid my tab. I'll never be able to thank that lady personally for her kindness, but perhaps she is a listener of yours, and I hope a short note of appreciation can articulate what these kind gestures - no matter how seemingly small - mean to us in the service.' I am always moved by the gratitude and patriotism of strangers, and I never forget a simple word of thanks or the enduring impact that it has. Thank you for everything that you do, Dr. Laura, for us in uniform.' I subscribe to your podcast so that I never miss a minute of your wisdom and insight no matter where in the world I find myself these days. Airborne!Captain W. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceGratitudeLife LessonsMilitaryPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconFrankly, I'm fed up with excuses for out-of-control, bad behavior.' Excuses like:''''''''' 1) it's an addiction''''''''' 2) it's somebody else's fault.Nothing is going to change in anyone's life until responsibility for choices, actions, or in actions is taken.Here's an example:' during a year-long gambling binge at the Caesar's Palace and Rio casinos in Las Vegas in 2007, Terrence Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million (most of his personal fortune).' Watanabe - unmarried, no kids - who spent his adult life working around the clock for his father's import novelty business, picked up gambling in Las Vegas and was treated like a king.Apparently, he drank to excess, and is claiming that the casinos named in his lawsuit violated gambling regulations by not shutting off his ability to gamble when he was drunk - which is a state rule.Mr. Watanabe is also a criminal defendant who faces 28 years in prison for "intent to defraud and steal from Harrah's," stemming from $14.7 million that the casino says it extended to him as credit and that he lost.So, which is it?' Is Watanabe responsible for his debts, drunk or sober?' Or is Harrah's responsible as they allegedly let him gamble and lose when he was drunk?Well, it might be BOTH!Watanabe may have a case if, indeed, Harrah's broke the law about allowing drunks to gamble.HOWEVER (and it is a BIG "however"), that argument might work for Watanabe for one tour of gambling, but when sober - sober , mind you - he made the choice...the choice ... to go back to Harrah's, drink, gamble, lose, ask for credit, and not pay the full amount he owed.Watanabe is responsible for his bad behavior, bad habits and debts.' If Harrah's employees kept him gambling when he was "fall-down drunk," then they have to deal with the civil courts and the gaming commission of the state.' However, how drunk do you have to be before you are not responsible for deciding on a bet, physically pushing chips forward, and so on?' If you're fall down drunk, you're probably not able to do those things.'He placed his bets; he lost.' He needs to pay up. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConsciencePersonal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesValues
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Tags: AddictionChildrenEat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPoliticsSmoking
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05/13/2010
IconStudents in the American Fork High School Marching Band swept the awards not long ago in a competition at Brigham Young University.' What made this story interesting and somewhat controversial is this:' on the way back from another competition held in Idaho, the driver of the bus in which the students were riding fell asleep at the wheel.' All of the students survived.' The one fatality was the 33 year old instructor who grabbed for the steering wheel when she noticed the driver was out cold.The controversial part occurred because some people believe that it is unseemly for life to go on, for joy to be in people's hearts, or for friends and relatives to be happy and involved in their lives when someone dies.' Some people believe that it is disrespectful, cavalier and insensitive for others to carry on as though a tragedy didn't happen.' Generally, this belief comes out of a confusion of pain, emotions and guilt over survival.I think it's a good thing that these students competed, and they did so in remembrance of Heather Christensen, the teacher who saved their lives.' And that's the point:' she saved their lives so they could live, love, and play music.' I believe they showed her immense respect by playing in her honor, continuing with the competition for which she coached them.'' Her immortality comes from being remembered fondly by her students who used the skills they learned from her to create the music she loved so much.When someone we love dies, we don't honor them by denying ourselves the normal pleasures of life.' I find that to be an insult.' Life is precious, and when somebody is gone from life, that which they lost should be treated with the utmost reverence by squeezing every moment of dignity, creativity, joy, adventure, work, love, compassion and fun that is possible.' This is the way you honor the deceased:' you carry on and do something of value with your life.The students received a long, standing ovation as they marched off the field and embraced in tearful hugs.' What a fitting memorial to a brave, caring teacher. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageEducationfamilyHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeRelativesSchoolValues
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05/13/2010
IconThis is from Michelle: Dear Dr. Laura: A few weeks ago, you had a caller who was contemplating divorce, because her husband wasn't being nice and, in turn, she wasn't being nice to her young son.' During the call, the little boy started crying and to calm him, she picked him up and he immediately stopped.' You told her of the power of a mother's arms, and you told her that if she would just treat her husband the same way, he would melt just as her son did.' I thought about it, but forgot to do anything, and then I listened to the program again this week.' It was like you were personally talking to me. I have been married for 16 years to a wonderful man who has been the sole financial provider for all that time so I can be an at-home mom to our teenage son and daughter.' While I always thank him for making this possible, unfortunately, my attitude has been 'well, while you were at work all day, I had to deal with very important things like toddler meltdowns to teenager meltdowns.'' But your words changed all that. Last night, my husband arrived home after a business trip to find out we have some unexpected, high medical bills for our son (he has special needs so, while this has happened before, now is a particularly hard financial time).' Instead of me attacking my husband and telling him I had to consent to all the tests which resulted in the bill, I took your advice.' I held him in my arms and said:' 'This must be so hard for you, when you work so hard and you plan all the finances for our family, to have something so big come up when you don't expect it.' I really appreciate you supporting this family, and I feel our kids are so blessed to have you as their dad.' Dr. Laura, he melted, just as you said he would.' We went on to have a lovely night, planning how we would pay for this bill and then talking about other things.' If I had not taken your advice, we both would have been angry and sulking and it would have lasted for days.' You reminded me that even though my sweet husband is a big, strong provider, he still needs compassion and comfort.' How blessed am I that I could provide that for him. Your words have changed my life and my marriage, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.' Keep helping people do the right thing. More >>

Tags: AbortionDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyMarriagePersonal ResponsibilityRelativesSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have watched film adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in all its incarnations many, many times, and I recently watched the 2005 film version again. I love the film...no matter what criticisms may be about a portrayal or a performance. I clearly have a profound attraction to this work.First and foremost, I love the utter regard the men had for women, which is evident from how they addressed them: "Miss..." (and their first names if they were single) or "Mrs...." (and their last names if they were married). Men bowed upon entering and leaving a woman's presence, and women curtsied, even under unpleasant conditions. Flirting was ever-so-subtle: a look, a light "accidental" touch of a hand. A man romantically yearned for and tried to earn the affections of a woman. The sweetness of the regard for women in this era (particularly in upper and middle classes) was something to be admired, and something we now miss. There was a clear distinction between a "good" woman and an easy, loose woman or whore.That distinction is gone today. Now, women put down good money for music that represents them as whores without pay. So many young men are casual about women and sex in general, and sex is a casual expectation almost always fulfilled.Young women scoff at dignity and modesty as just stupid, prudish, sexist notions. They "shack up" with some dude without a marital commitment, yet expect the love and respect, fidelity and loyalty to exist without the spoken vows, only to be disappointed, hurt, and generally confused.There was a recent film comedy, called "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," in which Matthew McConaughey (in a twist on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" ) got to go back into his life to see all his old girlfriends. There was one scene in the television ad for the movie which showed a seemingly endless dining table filled with hundreds of girls. Obviously, this was meant to show how shallow and manipulative he had been. To me, it just showed how many stupid girls there were (and are), "putting out" in a situation where there was clearly no respect, regard, or intent.Men used to have to ask a woman's dad for permission to "court" her, even when the woman was an adult! Now, all he has to do is show her a bedroom, back seat of a car, or a motel room, and the date is sealed. When men had to explain and express their intentions, they had to take the whole activity of dating much more seriously, as there were personal and social consequences to misleading a young lady. That reputation would annihilate any chances he might have had of marrying a good woman. He'd have to move states or provinces away. Now? That kind of rakish reputation makes girls/women want to line up to get some from an infamous entity.The women's revolution did not raise any consciousness worth elevating. It mostly diminished a woman's sense of herself as special, minimized her value in the minds of men, put sex on the level of animals, created a nanny/baby-sitter/institutionalized day care financial boom (as women gave up the blessing of nurturing their own children), increased the use of abortion as a birth-control technique when an accidental pregnancy occurred with a guy who did not want fatherhood, created perpetually unhappy, angry, nasty wives, and made it very difficult for "nice girls" to be respected and cherished.The last scene in Pride and Prejudice between the two now-married lovers has them discussing what she wants to be called by him when he is not using her given name. He suggests one name, and she rejects it sweetly, because it is what her father calls her. She then asks him what he will call her when he is angry. He, not being able to envision that situation, talks to her about always letting her know how lovingly important his happiness in wrapped up in her...forever...and he kisses her gently about her face as he says "Mrs. Darcy" over and over again. He gave her his heart, his life, his vows, and his name. And, in that era, giving a woman your name was the ultimate public and private statement of his total commitment to her, which makes that scene so moving to most of us, and infuriating to feminists who see that scene only as ripping away the woman's identity.I always cry at the end of the movie.I cry also for what women have given up in exchange for wanting to have it all and not be subordinate to a man. I don't know...I kinda think being on a pedestal is not subordinate. But what do I know? I'm only a recovered feminist. More >>

Tags: AttitudeChildrenDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyFeminismHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeRelationshipsRelativesSocial Issues
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Tags: Personal ResponsibilitySAHM stay at home momValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was on a working trip to New York City, some of my staff and I popped into a very lovely open-air sort of restaurant for lunch.' The menu was huge in size (I always wonder how they have all that food on hand), and I noticed something I had never, ever seen before: calorie counts between the description of the food and the price!I read each and every calorie count and was shocked at how unbelievably caloric many of the foods were that I had thought were healthy.' An appetizer of fried calamari had more calories than one should have in a whole day!' Even the veggie meals were stuffed with extra calories from oil, cheese and sauces.' Oh my!Talk about being "scared straight," like those kids in front of convicts who warn them to clean up their acts.' I immediately selected the healthiest thing I could find (boring, but healthy), ending up with a turkey sandwich on rye with lettuce and tomato - no mayo and no dressing, but with some salt, because I normally have low blood pressure.' I give callers high blood pressure, but mine is usually low.'New York City was the first place in the country, I believe, to require calorie posting.' What have we learned from this experiment?Researchers at New York University and Yale discovered that, although 9 out of 10 people who saw the calorie counts claimed they "made healthier choices as a result," when the researchers checked the receipts afterward, they found that people, had, in fact, ordered slightly more calories than the typical customer had before the labeling law went into effect in July, 2008.The lead research scientist said, "I think it does show us that labels are not enough." What?' What else do you want to do?' Send in the calorie police?' On cityfile.com, someone made a suggestion that restaurants could have scales for people to weigh themselves before sitting down to dinner (ohhhh, what' rude reminder!) or they should post pictures of what you're going to look like if you have that lasagna in addition to' bread, butter or olive oil, a big salad with a cup of dressing and then cheesecake to wrap it up!So, if calorie postings have no impact, except for the people who already are careful and appropriate in their healthy food choices, then what is the point of continuing them?' I still think it's a good idea to continue.' Perhaps with patience, we will see people care about their bodies and their health as much as their family, friends and relatives do, and as much as the taxpayers who are not overweight and are forced to be burdened by the rising health costs brought on by illnesses associated with obesity. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthNutritionObesityPersonal Responsibility
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