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Personal Responsibility
IconIt used to be that people planned for such important things as marriage, child-bearing, child-rearing, finances, and living arrangements.' Now it seems that these important milestones and responsibilities are quite secondary to impulsive behavior and immediate gratification.' I have been stunned at the growing number of callers who marry without consideration for religion, finances, extended family problems, lifestyle, goals, and even personality differences.For example, it flabbergasts me to get so many calls from young women complaining about their overbearing mothers-in-law, then admitting that the young couple is living with his mother because they don't have the wherewithal to take care of themselves.' So, they're living as a married couple, but also as dependent children in his Mommy's home, and the wife wonders why she doesn't have the power at home?It's also unbelievable to me that so many couples will marry before either one of them is in the position to support a family, yet they start making babies and then the fights begin -- over not having enough money or time to have any freedom, fun or opportunities.It is not surprising, however, when women call to complain that their bosses are cutting back on maternity leave.' That's because we've become a culture that makes everyone else responsible for our choices.' Maternity leave pay generally comes in the form of six to eight weeks of disability pay, and such payments have been cut back due to economical issues.' According the'non-profit Families and Work Institute, only 16% of employers offer full pay for childbirth leave, down from 27% in 1998.' The average maximum length of job-guaranteed leaves for new mothers dropped from 16.1 weeks a decade ago to 15.2 weeks. The Wall Street Journal's "Work and Family" column (6/11/08) admits that "This comes despite research showing attentive nurturing has particular developmental power in a baby's first year, and that longer leaves can ease postpartum depression in some mothers." Boy, was I ever glad to see that truth in print.' But when we are grousing about employers extending maternity leave by weeks, whose responsibility is it to maintain at least one full year of hands-on mothering?' The government?' Corporations?' I think not.' The first five years before kindergarten, and not just the first year after birth, are crucial in the emotional, social, and psychological development of children.Children are not pets, only needing attentive care in case of danger, or who are just fed at one end and cleaned at the other.' Every day, their brains grow and develop, and each day, they experience life and feelings.' Each day offers significant opportunities for a loving and educational interaction with a parent who ought to be experiencing it with them, and supporting them in their explorations.What is the solution?' Better planning.' I have often suggested that people live on one salary, putting the other in savings and/or conservative investments before they start building a family.' I have suggested that they research areas where they wish to establish their family lives and roots, and make sure they are affordable.'The point is that when you become parents, you must shift the focus from individual gratification (through career) to group gratification (through family). More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - FamilyParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRelationshipsRelatives
IconPresident Bush presented the Medal of Honor to the parents of Specialist Ross McGinnis.' Spc. McGinnis, at 19, is the youngest of the five servicemen who have received the Medal of Honor for valor during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.His training called for him to warn his comrades that a grenade fell inside their Humvee, then jump from the gun turret to escape.' Instead, Spc. McGinnis jumped INTO the vehicle, deliberately placing his body between the grenade and the rest of his crew, thus losing his life while saving all of them.Of the five servicemen who have received the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan, three died absorbing grenade blasts to protect their comrades.' What can you say that would be adequate to describe this courageous sacrifice?' Bless you, thank you, and Hoo-ah!' These are the role models our schools should teach about when issues of character and bravery are discussed. More >>

Tags: MilitaryPersonal ResponsibilityValues
IconToday, I'm turning my blog over to Lisa, a listener who wrote me the following email: I called [your radio show] today to ask you about making dinner for my husband every night, and how I could get him to take a part in it.' Your response was "make dinner every night."' When I got off the phone, I thought:' 'I don't want to make dinner every night.' I was one of those women [who] swore I would never not agree with you.' Boy, it's a little harder when you are the one getting advice!' I have to admit, I was a bit ticked.' I called you so you could tell me to have him make dinner, not for me to still be "stuck" with the responsibility. As I sit here typing, I am laughing at myself.' Silly, silly me!' I had an epiphany.' My epiphany came from you saying 'We CHOOSE every day what we do,' and I thought 'Okay, then I will CHOOSE to do dinner every night' as a way of saying 'thank you' to my hubby, who has always worked so hard to provide me a home, a safe place, and a caring heart.' This wasn't an acceptance of defeat [like] I had lost some battle. What I had accomplished was CHOOSING my marriage .' Not to pat myself on the back or to receive accolades for making dinner every night, but to CHOOSE the role of serving and loving my hubby in this area (i.e., food).' Sometimes, roles are fun, adventurous, sexy and admired, and sometimes, those roles are the 'make the dinner late, dust the house and clean the toilets when I'm so tired' kind of roles. I got really excited [about making] a fabulous meal, knowing that even without a 'thank you,' I would be CHOOSING to do this for him.' I didn't need a thank you, because I was seeing it as an accountability point.' I chose my marriage, I chose to be a wife, I choose to work full time, I choose, I choose, I choose.' The one thing I wasn't choosing was being accountable for those choices.' With choices come responsibility. Countless friends and family have shown me the 'don't take that path' way of being married.' I don't want to give 50% -- I want to give 150% so that no woman will take that role away from me.' I want to create a place that will be the only home he'll ever come home to, the only lips he'll ever kiss, the only laundromat he'll ever take his clothes to....and while I'm at it, I might as well make some darn good dinners, even if it's spaghetti with red sauce every night! Thank you again for who you inspire women to become! Thankfully, Lisa More >>

Tags: MarriagePersonal ResponsibilitySAHM stay at home momValues
IconBack in the day, people believed it was morally correct and pragmatically smart to save for a rainy day.' These days, folks prefer to spend what they have to "enjoy the moment."' It turns out that most Americans say they're not saving as much as they should, but apparently, they're not very worried about it.' Talk about living in dreamland!It is sad to receive a call to my daily radio program from a hard-working young couple with children who are frustrated with their parents who spend, spend, and spend some more and don't worry at all about retirement or medical issues they might face as they age.' These young families are frantic, concerned about their obligation to parents who are doing nothing to provide for themselves.' And then there are the young men who are making babies, "shacking up," and/or marrying young women they are in no financial position to support.Somewhere along the line, we've lost the notion of personal responsibility, and have substituted a sense of entitlement - i.e., that our families or our tax-paying communities should be paying our way.According to federal economic data and a recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Social' and Demographic Trends Project, 3 out of 4 Americans admit they aren't saving enough.' While you constantly hear people complaining about their finances, these feelings don't seem to motivate action:' Americans now save, on average, less than 1% of their incomes , and the saving rate has been in almost continuous decline for more than twenty years! This lack of fiscal planning is equally evident for men and women.' From the lowest income level to the highest, the admission of not saving enough ranges from 78% to 71%, indicating that level of wealth is irrelevant to notions of saving.Interestingly, the group most involved in saving is....senior citizens!' Only a narrow majority (54%) of those ages 65 and older say they aren't saving enough.'Necessity is the mother of frugality. More >>

Tags: BudgetFinancesPersonal Responsibility
IconJust when I thought it was safe to go on to another subject, we have yet another attempt to draw our kids down the wrong alley.' Picture this: a white powder that comes in a clear vial.' It's sold with a mirror and fake credit card.' The product is called "Blow," one of the street names for cocaine.' It's a powdered energy drink, and the obvious comparison to cocaine is alarming.The advertising is very pro drug culture, designed to entice and to look at drugs and drug behavior as cool and glamorous.' Not only that, but each drink is like having almost 7 cans of Coca Cola, with 240 milligrams of caffeine - downright dangerous!When the company's owner was challenged, he said: "Parents that think it's despicable are typically the parents that don't want to take personal responsibility for educating their children about drugs and addiction in general." That is a load of garbage.' How can parents deal with their children's constant brainwashing with the Disney girl behaviors and power drinks that mimic drugs?' How can families insulate themselves from the forces attempting to make a profit as well as have access to ever new markets for sexual exploitation and drug sales - legal or otherwise? More >>

Tags: HealthPersonal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesValues
IconFulton Superior Court Judge Marvin Arrington got in hot water when he cleared his courtroom of white people so he could speak frankly to a group of more than 50 young, black defendants, because he didn't want to air the community's dirty laundry in front of whites.After being publicly attacked, he is now defended by Bill Cosby and Chris Tucker, both of whom showed up at Benjamin E. Mays High School, packed with mostly at-risk high school students and their parents. Cosby has been tireless in his attempts to reach out to the African-American community with his message of tough love: "The man from Nigeria comes here, he's here two months, and what does he do? He goes to the community college. He's learning a second language while he drives a cab. What are our children doing? Practicing a first language only they can understand." Chris Tucker has vowed to assist Cosby and Arrington in setting up a mentoring program for the approximately 600 students who attended the forum.Bill Cosby denounced "petty criminals, low-income black who choose athletic shoes over education, and rappers who dwell on ignorance and vulgarity." He demanded that people start taking personal responsibility or their lives.Cosby said: "Our people climbed and did stuff they said we couldn't do," listing Joe Louis, Althea Gibson and Marian Anderson, to name only a few greats. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
IconLast month, I was asked to write a note to wives of Los Angeles SWAT team members ("warrior wives") after a SWAT officer was killed in a real life incident.' I thought it made sense to share it with all of you:Not long ago, I received an award from a Native American patriot group for being "the proud mother of a deployed American paratrooper."' The representatives of this group travel the country giving special awards to military personnel and their families honoring their efforts, sacrifices, and suffering.' Part of the quite moving ceremony was that I was given a Native American name.' The representative of the tribe said that he got special permission from the elders to do so, and that he prayed to the spirits for many days until they told him what name to give me: Walks With Warriors .The obvious irony is that I talk about "warriors" with great reverence and respect almost every day on my radio program.' Modern-day warriors include the military, firemen, and the police.' These folks elect to put themselves in harm's way for perfect and imperfect strangers.' Why?' Because as the hot dog commercial touted, they "obey a higher power."' That higher power is purpose .When my son volunteered for the military, I was at once proud and scared.' I talked to him just before he left for basic training and said something like "You know, honey, this is not like a video game or shooting targets.' There will be young men on the other side trying to kill you before you kill them."' "Mom," he replied, nonplussed while I was reverberating with discomfort, "the way I drive, I could get killed on the freeway.' Of course, I don't want to die or even get hurt.' And some day, I'm going to die anyway, because, eventually, we all do.' If I die in combat, I will at least have died for a noble purpose." I was stunned.' My eighteen year old wild kid had overnight turned into a man who understood that a life without purpose is the greatest loss.' The constant memory of that conversation is what buoys me as a mother of a combat soldier.' I'm so proud.I have used my own experience to help the mothers, wives, and children of warriors; I help them understand that they are not just wives, mothers, and children - they are warrior wives, warrior mothers, and warrior children - and provide them real back-up for these extraordinary people' The sacrifice of time, energy, commitment, financial riches, and sometimes life and limb, make these warriors and their families special and deserving of infinitely more respect than they get by some who don't appreciate the price of freedom from enemies foreign and domestic, as well as from natural disasters.I am reminded of a scene from the Yul Brynner version of the film, "The Magnificent Seven." It takes place in Mexico, where a small village is one of the many terrorized by a roving gang of Mexican bandits preying on their own.' Yul and six of his gun-slinging buddies are hired to protect the town.' The scene of most importance to the issue of heroes and warriors is one in which one of the gunslingers tries to shoo away two young boys who are enthralled with him as a warrior and hero.' One of them insults his own father, calling him a coward.' The gunman grabs him and yells at him (I'm paraphrasing here): "We're just men with guns.' Your fathers are the real heroes.' They work hard every day trying to squeeze food from the dirt to take care of your mothers and siblings.' They struggle against the forces of nature and the evil of bandits.' And they survive to protect and provide for you - they are the real heroes!" The truth is, we need both.' We need those willing to fight evil and disasters and we need those who toil each day supporting those warriors and the life they have us live.' When we lose "one of ours," and collapse into negativity and despair, we destroy 1) what they built, and 2) what they lost.' Their deaths are best honored by our continuing to do what they lived for:' to have wonderful, productive, happy, and safe lives.'Don't take what they lost and waste it with self-pity and rage.' Take what they lost and honor their memory and their efforts by squeezing every ounce of joy that life,' love, relationships, hobbies, work, family, and just plain smelling the lilacs can give.We most honor the deaths of warriors by continuing their commitment, not by giving up on our own.'A respected rabbi once said: "Despair is a cheap excuse for avoiding one's purpose in life.' And a sense of purpose is the best way to avoid despair." I have relied on this sentiment many times as despair has grabbed at my feet.' I hope this helps you.My heart is with all of you, past and present.Dr. Laura C. Schlessinger More >>

Tags: AttitudeHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
IconIt's no surprise to my listeners that I see much of today's media as instrumental in dumbing down our collective moral sensibilities.' I'm happy to let you know of an exception.' NBC Universal and Liberty Mutual have announced a marketing and programming partnership that will deliver NBC's two-hour movie/backdoor pilot "Kings" as well as an additional original movie to air on NBC and the USA Network during the 2008-09 season.' The movies are part of a broader Liberty Mutual marketing campaign tied to the theme of personal responsibility.According to NBC Universal's press release, "Through the Responsibility Project, Liberty Mutual uses independently produced short films, online content, and (with the addition of the NBC partnership) television programming, as catalysts for examining the decisions that confront people trying to 'do the right thing.'" Each movie will be promoted and linked to The Responsibility Project website ( responsibilityproject.com ), which features independently-produced film shorts, discussion guides, interviews, articles, and blog postings tied to the central theme of personal responsibility.I can't wait to see how - and if - this works.' It seems to me that sneaking up on people with entertainment to tickle their sensibilities about honor, integrity, honesty, courage and convictions is, in this era of media "OD"ing with messages to the contrary, a very smart idea. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
IconEver notice that after you hurt a finger or toe, it becomes the only place you keep hitting against something?' Weird, huh?' Well, the same odd thing is happening to me about my new book, "Stop Whining Start Living." It seems that wherever I turn, something relevant to the main concepts of responsibility, choices, courage, endurance, and character just keeps popping up.I received an email from a twenty-four-year-old woman who is new to my radio program and my books.' She has had a tough time since the age of eleven, due to a father with a severe borderline personality disorder and a mother who simply pretended everything was fine.But everything was not fine.' The young woman did about everything she could to get their attention and/or punish them for the abuse and neglect: anorexia, abusive relationships and go-nowhere jobs.Ironically, her mother finally gave her a copy of my books, "Bad Childhood Good Life" and "The Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives." I remember telling parents that the way they could make up for their mistakes with their children was to give them the former book with enthusiasm, humility, and optimism.Well, it worked.' The more this young woman read, the more she wanted to explore herself, and the more she did that, the more she began to enjoy life.' It was at this point that this very young woman came up with amazing insights: "In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I resolved to begin taking care of myself and (this is a doozy for me) showing love to others." "I am happy to say that once I started taking responsibility for myself, I became happy for the first time in my whole life!" "I can choose whether I want to have a good day or a bad day...just like that!." "I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I'm going to damn well use it for something great." ....and last but not least: "I've been through enough crap to not take life for granted." What impresses me about this young woman the most is her enthusiasm.' She gave up the ugly, but comfortable "known" (self-destructive and parentally punitive) behaviors for life-affirming, exciting, but "unknown" - and that takes guts.' I so admire guts!My favorite of her phrases is "I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I'm going to damn well use it for something great!" Just today, my yoga instructor (who is my friend) told me her fifty-seven year old cousin, whom she had just seen during Easter, died precipitously of a tear in his aorta.' They tried to save him, but he had so many immediate complications that he didn't survive.' Just like that.' One day you're here...the next day you're not.Let me repeat that:one day you're here...the next day you're not.' One day your parents, children, the love of your life, a good friend is here...the next day they're not.' So - my advice is STOP WHINING about the stuff that ultimately doesn't matter and START LIVING each day as if it is your only opportunity to bring something beautiful into this world. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesValues
IconI want to share with you a letter I got from a woman who listens to my radio program: Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a serious, progressive, degenerative disease, which will eventually end in a torturous death.' That's the bad news.' Now for the great news. I believe this may be the best gift I could have been given.' Thanks to you and just the title of your book, "Stop Whining, Start Living," I realize I have received knowledge most people never get-that is, that this is my best day.' I will never feel better, so I CHOOSE to live it thoroughly, and wring out every last drop of love, laughter and giving that I can.' Tomorrow, I will CHOOSE to do the same. You can't imagine how energizing this is, to know that each day is the best day of your life. There is an old Rabinnic story lesson that Satan's most potent weapon is to let humans believe they have "all the time in the world."' That's because when we feel that time is limitless, we tend to put less value in each moment...in each day.' When we don't value the moment, we don't tend to make the best, most noble decisions, and instead, follow our impulses - thereby making our souls more "available" to Satan, as the story goes.When I received this letter, I was truly and deeply impacted.' I wondered at first, as I suspect most of you would too, if I could dig that deep into myself to pull out that perspective and live it.' I then realized that this woman's thoughts would be in my head for the rest of my life, and would inspire and guide me if I have to face imminent and painful mortality.' My final reaction, with a slap against my own forehead, is that we need to live each day with her mentality.She isn't ignoring or denying her disastrous fate.' She is CHOOSING to live each day in order to make it the best she'll ever have.' In her case, it's literally true.' For you and me, it is figuratively true, and therefore, wholly dependent upon our choice of mood and behaviors.Her letter is at the philosophical center of my book, "Stop Whining, Start Living." It humbles me to be reminded of my own words by people who are struggling more than I.' I am reminded of the values I hold most dear, and which help me survive the nonsense and villainy that tempt every day's despair.' Purpose is the antidote to despair.' And teachers need to be reminded of that, too. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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