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Personal Responsibility
IconIt seems that it's very much in the nature of human nature to expect more without having more expected of us.' Because so much energy is being focused on the cost of health care and the proposed programs for universal health insurance, the flip side of the equation is starting to get attention.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled a free website application last week called LEANWorks, designed to motivate employers to start "healthy living" and weight loss programs for their employees, because being overweight is a major cause of certain illnesses, and also contributes to missed work days and higher insurance costs.' Of course, representatives of organizations like the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance are up in arms over this.A keystone to the LEANWorks program is the "obesity cost calculator" for companies to estimate how much their obese and overweight employees are costing them in higher insurance rates and missed work days each year.' The ultimate point is to get preventive programs in place.Of course, the "fat advocates" don't want responsibility - just perks.' They are claiming everything from prejudice to discrimination.' In their view, facts are irrelevant.' It's just their "feelings" that count.'It's no secret that obesity is a big risk factor for chronic diseases.' Obesity has accounted for over 25% of the rise in medical costs between 1987 and 2001, according to Dr. Bill Dietz, Director of the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity at the CDC.' While it is also true that people of normal weight have medical issues which result in work day losses and higher insurance costs, most of their conditions are not as controllable as excess body fat.It is the moral responsibility of those who are overweight and obese, of those who smoke, of those who abuse alcohol and various drugs to correct their activities for the greater good of the community which has to take on responsibility for the negative consequences of their behavior, and their lack of self-discipline and commitment to health.If the greater "we" is responsible for taking financial hits in order to cater to the predictable consequences of your actions, then you become accountable to the greater "we," and we cut out the nonsense about discrimination and prejudice against fat.' It isn't healthy, plain and simple.' And now that you think about it, it isn't fair , either. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreFamilyFinancesObesityPersonal ResponsibilityRelationshipsRelativesSocial Issues
IconOne day after winning the title of Miss Georgia, Kristina Higgins relinquished her crown.' Was this another sex scandal or about something she said that was politically incorrect?' Was this about her perpetuating some fraud, like she was really a man, or that she'd had her whole body Botoxed?No!!' It's something that made me want to hug her to pieces.' It turns out that Ms. Higgins is a Gwinnett County school teacher, and she stepped down as Miss Georgia because she would not give up her responsibilities to the middle school children in her classes.'Yes, you read that correctly. She gave up her Miss Georgia title for her children!! When the runner up found out that she would now become Miss Georgia, she dropped her plans for starting the University of Georgia Law School (where she had just been accepted) like a hot potato.I am sooooo proud of Kristina Higgins.' She is a wonderful role model of a responsible young woman.If she had no intention of serving as Miss Georgia, you might ask, wasn't it a fraud to participate at all?' Nah.' First of all, there are a lot of entrants, and any one woman's possibility of winning is small, but the whole exercise is exciting and challenging and fun.' Maybe she was debating within her soul what she would do, and when the time came, she had the right stuff to do the right thing.' No matter - somebody else gets to wear the tiara.I wish a lot of parents would take a lesson from Kristina - who is putting her kids first.' Parents across the country should do the same thing. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCivilityPersonal ResponsibilityValues
IconThe good, the bad, and the ugly....That was the title of a Clint Eastwood spaghetti western (I loved all of them), but in this case, I'm referring to the Internet, but in the same way that I would refer to guns or electricity.' Do you think I've blown a mental fuse?' No.' Here's my outlook:Right now, the governments of China and Iran are working ceaselessly to block web access to its populace.' Why?' So information the government "does not want you to know about" won't get in, and the truth of what is going on inside these totalitarian regimes will not get out.Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and their ilk have revealed the atrocities against the people of Iran protesting the sham presidential elections.' Beatings and murders have been viewed around the world, as people have had the courage to use cell phones and such to take the governmentally prohibited pictures.This, obviously, is a case of calling the Internet GOOD.On the other hand, we have people in the United States of America (where communication is completely open, some say to an unfettered fault) using the Internet for pornography.This, obviously, is a case of calling the Internet BAD.Internet sites have been used to defame and harass people.' Internet sites are being used to "publish" speculation, opinion, and downright meanness as "fact."' Internet sites have been used to troll for victims in order to rob, rape, and murder.' Internet sites have been used to incite violence, threaten, and frighten.This, obviously, is a case of calling the Internet UGLY.Electricity and guns can be thought of in the same way:' you can get electrocuted by dropping a hair dryer in the tub when you're in it, or electricity can be used to run a ventilator and save lives.' Guns can be used in robberies and murders, or they can be used by the free to ward off tyranny and other assailants.Objects have no moral value - the way they are used is the issue - and that assessment is in the hands of the user.' We all have the ability to choose right from wrong.' Our choices, though, generally depend greatly on the human atmosphere around us.' For example, we are more likely to be able to do atrocious things if we're part of a group.' We wouldn't dream of doing them alone.' Yet, there are those who can perpetrate evil all on their own.We are more likely to choose good when we are surrounded by people supportive of "good," and judgmental of "bad."'' However, when the cultural atmosphere dissipates with respect to values and moral judgment, it's easy for an individual to operate out of the moment without regard to circumstances or their soul.'It takes a strong person to choose good for its own sake.' There is often little reward or regard given to them.' There was a time when a child, seeing a dollar fall from an elderly gentleman's pocket, would race to give it back to him.' He would then get his picture on the front page of the local paper - rewarding him for character.' Now, that same child would probably not even entertain the thought of returning the money.' What for?' Look around that child - parents cheat, politicians cheat, entertainers and sports stars cheat.' What's the motivation?The good, the bad, and the ugly - two out of three are on the wrong side.' You choose every day which side to be on.' Now, go do the right thing. More >>

Tags: InternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityValues
Tags: AttitudeCommitmentDatingDisappointmentEducationFamily/Relationships - TeensFriendshipsHealthHopeMarriageMotherhood-FatherhoodPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancyPurposeSocial IssuesTeens
Tags: ChildrenParentingPersonal ResponsibilityValues
IconIt's funny what stays in your mind - one shot of light in the darkness of memory.' One of the more important "shot of light" memories is from my days in the Marriage/Family/Child Therapy program at the University of Southern California.' I was being supervised during my training and displaying lots of frustration over one particular client.' I couldn't figure out how to fix, or help the client fix, the problem for which the client came in to get help.My supervisor, a well-known and talented therapist said five words which reverberated in my head - the head of a "Type A," over-achiever mentality person that I was (or am).' He said, "Not everything can be fixed." I was shocked and horrified.' To even think that there were limits to what any human being could do, to think that there were no remedies for certain circumstances, to think that I couldn't "lay on hands" and make all better every person I tried to help - well, all of this was unthinkable.As I matured, however, I realized he was right.I had several calls in the past week that demonstrated that truth -- that not everything can be fixed -- so it shouldn't be broken in the first place!! It's why I do what I do on radio versus having a private practice.' You all get to hear what decisions, choices, behaviors, and actions put you in a (probably) unfixable place.There was the 21 year old woman who came on the program giggling about how she had listened to me since she was 2 years old.' Now, with two children out-of-wedlock with a guy who won't marry her because she hasn't taken down her Facebook profile after she promised she would, she wanted to know how to fix the relationship and get married.Since he didn't marry her before the children, since he didn't marry her after the first child, since he didn't marry her after the second child, he probably isn't going to marry her after the Facebook argument gave his dumping her some legitimacy.' I guess 19 years of listening to the program didn't do it for her.The second female caller was about the same age, again with two out-of-wedlock children, living at her boyfriend's parents' home.' She was shacking up with him, and wanted to know how to get him to move out so they could be on their own, after he said he didn't ever want to move out of his mother's home!The moral of these stories is that when you insist on making impulsive decisions and act only out of the moment, then you will, at some point, dig a hole that you won't be able to get out of.'By the way, I told the first woman to move in with her parents, so the children can have a father (in the form of Grandpa), and she was not to date until they were grown.' I told the second woman to give up her dreams and faulty plan, keep her mouth shut, and just live there, giving the impression of being happy, so the kids don't have to grow up with a negative mother until the kids are grown.Of course, women are not the only ones who need to hear this message.' A lot of men marry "damsels in distress," only to be stuck with... distressed damsels!! They hope to save them and fix them, but....some things can't be fixed.' I tell them to stay with a smile until the kids are grown.I don't accept any of the "...but what about my happiness?" rationalizations.' The answer is that children matter more than you, and you need to sacrifice and behave properly so that they have a better chance of making better choices in their lives.Some things can't be fixed, so don't do them in the first place.' Consider my radio program a huge emotional and behavioral prophylactic, and take the lessons learned from the pain of others and make the right - even if uncomfortable - choices. More >>

Tags: abusePersonal ResponsibilityValues
IconFor me, an "issue" is a subject that comes up with some frequency on my radio program.' And lately, many callers (dealing with a range of concerns from being overweight to being affectionate to finishing school to exercise and more) have phoned wondering where to find "perpetual" motivation.' I know there are audio tape courses, blogs, and books galore on attaining and maintaining motivation, but I believe that is a hopeless quest.' Why?' Because human beings have moods and circumstances that interfere. It is impossible to feel motivated all the time about anything - even things you actually love to do.There are days you wake up tired; there are days you are distracted by work, plumbing, relatives; there are days during which minor or significant disasters occur (like the backing up of a toilet); there are those days during which you become reasonably upset by someone or something.' You get the picture.' Life happens and it impacts your moods and feelings.' Unfortunately, our culture has become enamored of "feelings" over responsibility, discipline, obligations, and common good sense.' We have come to revere feelings as the grand dictator of reality:' if you "feel" it, it makes it so.' If you "feel" your mother-in-law harbors negative thoughts, then you can retaliate, for example.This is why I stop people dead in their tracks so often with "I didn't ask you about your "feelings."' I asked you about what actually occurred."' We can talk about how you interpret what happened; we can talk about your ancient feelings and how they impact how you respond to today's reality, but first, what actually happened?? Feelings are not rational - they have no IQ, and they are self-oriented, as they serve only the self without taking even the "feelings" of other people into account.' Feelings are primitive, and using them as the pivotal point for your reactions to the world is quite childlike.' It takes the maturity of evolving adulthood to temper feelings with the necessity of examining the world and others in it while being less emotional -- sometimes, even bordering on dispassionate as you use your rational mind to assess the situation more concretely.So, back to motivation .' One doesn't have to feel like "it" to "do it."' Having some hang-ups about being affectionate with your spouse because of unpleasant childhood experiences is totally self-centered and ultimately irrational since, unless you married that parent (literally or figuratively), your current spouse is being punished for the misdeeds of the prior generation.' And you are continuing the pain of your childhood all the way into your grave.' What is the answer?' It actually is quite simple:' do what is right, do what is healthy, do what is loving, do what is smart, and do what is compassionate.' That means show affection, even though you aren't motivated.' Exercise every day, even though you don't feel like it.' Clean your house, even though you don't feel like it.' Do someone a difficult favor, even though you don't feel like it.To operate by feelings instead of compassion, discipline and responsibility is to abdicate being an adult.' It also makes you a slave to irrational, often self-defeating emotions, instead of the master of your destiny.' You are more human when you operate from nobility.' You are more adult when you operate from discipline.So, dump the idea of "motivation," and replace it with discipline and nobility, and then see how you feel! More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityThe Proper Care & Feeding of MarriageThe Proper Care and Feeding of MarriageValues
IconAn all-too-typical issue that comes up on my radio program is cowardice, because someone didn't stand up for others, for values and/or for ideals.' The standard excuses range from not wanting to escalate a situation, being afraid of other people getting mad, fear of being marginalized or left out, being afraid of being "judged," not "liking" confrontation, not wanting to lose the image as a nice person, and so on.I disrespect the actions of not standing up for friends, fairness (even when a friend is not involved), and values.' Some of my callers are parents whose adult children are behaving recklessly, thoughtlessly, and in total opposition to how they were brought up.' Too many of these parents are more concerned with "peace at all costs" instead of continuing their parental leadership by clarifying their position and drawing the line.I remember a long time ago, there was a talk show host coming on right after my program.' We were polar opposites in our political views, and she would use her three hours on the air to critique my program.' This, of course, annoyed the heck out of me, but I never spoke about it on the air - not even once - because I don't use my air time to do anything but help people do and be better in their lives.Fast forward several years later, and a feminist group went after her with venomous attacks, attempting to destroy her career.' Mind you, she was a feminist activist leader herself, but she dared to have her own opinion about something that went against the grain of the activist group's position.' It turns out that I was the first person who called her the next morning - with a call of support.' It galled me that there was a concerted effort to unfairly destroy her career.' I just don't like life's unfair qualities, and I have generally stood up to them no matter what.Fast forward again years later, and I was being unfairly attacked by a different activist group that she had once been part of.' She went into numerous public venues to defend and support me.'We both took hits for doing these things, but we both turned out to like each other very much, and we both still maintained the bulk of our differing opinions.' We did, however, agree on one point of ethics, morals, and values:' you defend who or what is being attacked unfairly, and consequently, we both defended responsible free speech.We both lost to the power of the activist groups, however, but we won each other's respect and support, all while keeping the high ground.' We each went on growing in success and the respect of our peers as well.'That's one very personal experience for me.' I hope the next time you see rudeness or cruelty, you will stand up.Racial comments coming from Don Imus are as ugly and unnecessary (except for ratings) as the joke about Sarah Palin's daughter getting "knocked up" by a baseball player.' It isn't the term "knocked up" that's the issue - I use it all the time for out-of-wedlock pregnancies, because they usually end up with the child being aborted or growing up with the chaos of a life with one parent gone.' David Letterman wanted to shoot insults at Palin simply because she's Republican, and he aimed his gun at her child.' That's disgusting.' How many of you would stand for that happening to your child?'Imus lost his job...temporarily...and Letterman's ratings are higher.' And I'm left wondering if you'll stand up for others (or values, morals, ethics and principles) when most others around you will turn their gaze away. More >>

Tags: EthicsMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityValues
Tags: CharityFamily/Relationships - TeensMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityTeensValues
IconWhy the heck do we need role models?' Can't everyone just think for him or herself and make decisions about right and wrong and choices of action without somebody on a philosophical runway modeling what they could or should be?Possibly...but role models alert us to POSSIBILITIES, in addition to serving as INSPIRATION.Angry rappers role model distrust, rage, anti-social notions and actions: killing, raping, hating.Stupid "stars" role model self-indulgence and excess, self-importance: self self'' selfSuccessful people who "pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps" role model perseverance, giving up a "victim mentality," optimism and plain hard work.Heroic types (military, police, firemen, and caring bystanders) who put themselves on the line of life and death role model taking care of others.'and so it goes.These days, however, good role models are few and far between.' Pastor Bill Shuler, of Capital Life Church in Arlington Virginia, pointed the way in his recent essay: 10 Reasons Why we Are Losing Good Role Models.What follows is my paraphrasing of his list:1. Honorable people are attacked for taking a stand for morality and values The favorite attack here usually takes the form of being called either a "hater" or a "hypocrite." If a person disagrees with you, you can say that they simply hate you or your stand, or that they once (usually decades ago) behaved contrary to their own words so therefore, they have no moral ground on which to defend their position.' I don't have to explain how ugly, stupid, and dangerous those approaches are to the well being of a civilized society.'2. High profile scandals in sports politics and religion have caused us to become jaded. Yup - it's hard to believe that a moral high ground even exists if the people you looked up to don't respect what they have and the responsibility it gives them.3. Fewer dads are present in the home. Soon, most children won't come from intact homes where they see a dad providing and protecting and teaching them how to be decent men and women.'4. Success has been defined as fame, fortune, and power. We used to have the word "infamous" to describe people well known for skuzzy behaviors...now it's all just "famous."' "Octo-mom" Nadya Suleman now has a television show because she's famous for showing incredible insensitivity and irresponsibility in having 16 children with no dad or intact married family.''' If someone is rich (no matter how they got there), they have admirers.'5. Image often supersedes character. Bad boys and bad girls reign supreme in our media-drenched culture.' The more stupid and horrid their behavior, the more important they are to the media.'6. Indulgence replaces sacrifice. Just think daycare.7. The practice of self-discipline is losing ground. If you "feel it" you have license to "do it" is today's mantra.' Consideration of consequences to others, as well as one's own future, became secondary.'8. Seeking of "self," on the other hand, is an over-practiced art." If I hear one more person excuse stupid, cruel, or self-indulgent behavior on the basis of "low self-esteem" or "I guess I have to learn to love MYSELF," I think I'll scream.'9. Family values have become a political issue rather than an ideal to be embraced. The responsibility and obligation to spouse and children outweighs feelings and urges, which are temporary and often foolhardy.10. Good people with deep convictions remain silent when they should speak up. I have said it quite differently:' way too often, good people are "wusses;" they are afraid to stand up (not without good reason...see #1), because they want to be liked. I have gotten myself into all sorts of trouble by "standing up," so I know what it takes. "Being beautiful, uninhibited or rich has become a cheap substitute for courage, decency and selflessness," writes the Pastor.' And he is so very correct. That's why I often ask people to project themselves 20 years into the future, and then look back on themselves at this very moment.' I ask them to tell me what they would need to do in order to be proud of themselves.' It's funny how they always know what's right when looked at from that perspective. More >>

Tags: Morals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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