Close
Premium Podcast Help Contact Dr. Laura Dr. Laura Designs Return to DrLaura.com
Join Family Premium Login Family
Personal Responsibility
05/13/2010
IconAs I have mentioned on the air many times, I race sailboats.' I've won some races and lost some, but the favorite wins have been the ones that I least expected would or could happen.' I remember the time that we were over early at the start and had to do a penalty turn of 360 degrees, after getting out of the way of the other starting boats.' We had a heck of a time starting again, as, by the time we finished our penalty turn, many boats were already in our way.'This incident happened early on in my sailing training, and I became despondent almost immediately, because I realized we now had absolutely no chance of even a third place finish, let alone a first.' My coach and tactician sternly yanked me out of my doldrums and told me that we were "down but not out," and we had to work even harder now to catch up.' Frankly, I thought this was philosophically lovely, but hugely impractical, and I could barely see the sterns of the boats in front of us as they had so much distance on us.Nonetheless, after considering breeze, windshifts, current, direction choices, steering, and crew work, there were enough variables to work with to keep our chins up.'We pulled together as a team, and worked very hard to maximize every option we had, and we ended up winning the race.' I learned a lot that day.' It's a lot more gratifying to succeed when it is a righteous challenge than when it seems like more of a slam dunk.Jason Lezak knew this lesson.' Fifty meters from the finish line in the 4x 100 meter freestyle relay at the Beijing Olympics, Mr. Lezak doubted he could overcome the half-body length lead of his French opponent, Alain Bernard, who also happened to hold the world record in the 100-meter freestyle.Instead of just accepting the probable loss, a determined Mr. Lezak pulled grit from down deep, and swam the fastest he's ever done, and touched the electronically sensored wall, winning by eight one-hundredths of a second.' He shattered a world record and won a gold medal.'And then he heard the fat lady sing...the American national anthem! More >>

Tags: AttitudeEat Less-Move MoreFitnessHealthHobbiesHolidaysPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeSailingSocial IssuesValentine's Day
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
IconAll those who don't follow the guidelines for good eating and no smoking are just going to have fewer choices available to them.' Free will to be self-destructive is about to managed by the government.The Los Angeles City Council approved a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a 32 square-mile area of South Los Angeles, an area plagued by above-average rates of obesity:' 30% of adults, as compared with about 21% in the rest of LA.' Nationally, 25.6% of adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.When you look at the realities, an intact family with a homemaker mom or dad (versus a two-career, busy, busy, busy set of parents) generally results in everyone eating less fast food, and more nutritious at-home meals.' But promoting marriage and a division of responsibilities is politically incorrect, isn't it?California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law ordering that, as of 2010, no California restaurant will be able to serve foods containing a harmful form of fats called trans fats .' Baked goods containing trans fats will be banned in California as of 2011.' If a product's list of ingredients contains the words "partially hydrogenated," the product contains trans fat, which is used to harden vegetable oils into shortening and margarine to help extend product shelf life.' Trans fats lower "good" cholesterol (HDL) and contribute to other health problems.According to the New England Journal of Medicine , eliminating artificial trans fats from the food supply "could" prevent between 6 and 19 per cent of heart attacks and related deaths each year.'Do you think there'll be an underground market for trans fat products?San Francisco is ready to become the first city in the nation to ban sales of tobacco products at pharmacies, which last year accounted for almost 20% of U.S. tobacco sales.' The logic is that pharmacies are places people go to get healthy, so cigarettes ought not to be on the shelves as they are a known health hazard.'Since trans fats are going to be off the supermarket shelves because they're unhealthy, shouldn't supermarkets stop selling cigarettes too?I am all for healthy habits.' I work hard at eating as healthily as possible, generally ordering fish without sauces in restaurants and salad without dressing.' As sauces, gravies, and dressing are very high in calories, perhaps they should be banned from restaurant recipes, or ordered only under a physician's approval...assuming you already have a very high HDL level.Lastly, restaurants around the country will soon have to post on menus the exact calorie count of a meal.' It will blow your mind to see what you thought was healthy is actually loaded with hidden calories.' There's a terrific book, called "Eat This, Not That" which will make your head explode when you find out where calories are hidden in some of your favorite meals. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityPersonal ResponsibilitySocial Issues
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
IconThe teen pregnancy rate is up for the first time since 1991, according to a report released by the National Institutes of Health, and is a cause for concern. "This is one of the key indicators for the health of the teen population," said Edward Sondik, Director of the National Center for Health Statistics. "Not only does this affect teen health at this point, but their health and well being for the next 20 to 40 years, as well as the health and well-being of their children." This is one of the most self-centered actions a female can take.' It is obviously not in the best interest of a child to be robbed of a father, a two-parent home, and a committed relationship which would give the child the security and role-modeling he or she needs to fulfill hopes and plans for a loving, secure marital future.It's very "in" lately to be a pregnant Hollywood star, and lots of money is offered for exclusive pictures of the heirs to celebrity notoriety or fame.' It doesn't seem to matter if the star is married or not - there is no judgment, no condemnation, no "clucking," no criticism, no shame, and no consequences.' It is just all "okay."'When people do the wrong thing, repent, and then do the right thing, you'd think that they would be idolized.' Nope.' The media tends to humiliate and denounce them as hypocrites.' So, the "act" is irrelevant; the only thing that is relevant in current day society is that you must never say that anything is "wrong."' If you do dare to call anything "wrong," then you will be attacked.'But back to the children.' Children having children is in no way a positive thing for either child.' There is sufficient research and practical experience to confirm the problems encountered by children without an intact family.' Why is this ignored?' Why is this denigrated or dismissed?' Why doesn't anybody care about the children?' Why is it all about how the female "feels" - which, I'm sure, isn't too great, once the reality sinks in that caring for an infant involves a lot of sacrifice and stress.Kids have very little to connect to these days.' That might sound like an odd comment considering all the means of communication available:' email, text messages, cell phones, and Internet social networking sites, but paradoxically, as the number of technological advances continues to grow, the sense of truly being bonded and connected one-on-one in the non-virtual space continues to diminish...significantly.' When one has a site with 200 "friends," one really doesn't have a true friend.With parents not around to connect with kids because of busy careers or divorce, or because they're shacking up or never got married, having a baby of one's own seems like an obvious way for a kid to get attention, bond to someone, and have some "hands-on" love.' Unfortunately, it doesn't play out that way as the child-mothers discover that children are seriously dependent beings.I remember when actresses like Ingrid Bergman (who left her husband and child to go to Europe to have an affair with one of her directors) were shunned from Hollywood for such behavior,' Now, having affairs, abandoning children, and giving birth out-of-wedlock are met with magazine covers and more job offers based on increased visibility.When children have children, it's largely because nobody is taking care of them; they're lonely and lost.' But we should never point a finger or suggest fault - after all, someone's feelings might be hurt!' And we all know that "feelings" are the most important value - right?' Dead wrong. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancySocial IssuesTeensValues
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
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
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
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
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
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
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
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
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
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
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
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
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
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
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe