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Attitude
05/13/2010
IconMy birthday was a little over a week ago, and my husband actually got away with setting up a surprise party for me.' I went to the party location under the guise that we were going to use a 'Happy Birthday' coupon for a free dinner.' It was wonderful to see the many people who have meant, do mean, and always will mean something important to me (and the cake and dancing were great too)!I want to mention one particular gift:' a bocce ball set.' I sent out all my gift 'thank yous,' and when it came to the bocce ball set, I said something like ''Thank you so much for the bocce ball set.' I don't know how to play it, but, heck, learning yet another sport is a great idea!' Ha ha ha!'I added the 'ha ha ha' because I hike, I play tennis and badminton, I shoot pool, do yoga, race a sailboat and work out...and do at least one of these daily .' But then I thought about my 'joke' and realized it IS a very good idea to learn yet another 'whatever' all the time.' Part of the joy of being alive (and a large part of what keeps your brain and body healthy and your mood positive) is having purpose in your life and learning something new all the time.People who don't continue to grow, be challenged, learn and be involved in activities tend to 'contract,' have depression problems, and compromise the quality of their aging and actual life span.So, while this blog is not an ad for bocce ball, it is a suggestion (and don't forget who's making it!) for you to constantly challenge yourself with everything from crossword puzzles to chasing butterflies.' The more you are invested in the opportunities of living, the more you will enjoy it and be alert and happy. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceEat Less-Move MoreEducationExercisegrandchildrenHealthPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeRelativesValues
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05/13/2010
IconGuilt and longing are two very human emotions that often blend into a desperate glue that keeps people stuck in situations they ought not to be in.' Whether it is with family, friends or a prospective spouse, trust that small, smart voice inside of you which repeats the mantra you try to ignore: "This is destructive or dangerous.' Let it go or get out." Decent people feel guilty about pulling away from a relationship because "it will hurt the other person's feelings," and decent people just cringe at the idea of causing another emotional pain.' That's nice, but guilt is a cue that what you're doing is wrong , not that what you're doing is something somebody else just doesn't want or like.' There is no intent to hurt in this situation.' There is only the intent to preserve one's own emotional and physical safety and/or well-being.Longing is a natural condition - i.e., wanting something to be right and good because you've invested in it, and because it is a good thing to want:' a great, happy, healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship is always a blessing.' However, when that is clearly not the case, then withdrawing is the healthiest and, therefore, right thing to do.' It is difficult for people to give up their dreams, but you have to remember that the dream is not the problem.' The current object of that dream is the problem.' Take your dream and plant it where it can actually grow well.Remember, there is no growth without discomfort or outright pain.' Consider growing pains of the emotional sort just a natural course of events as you mature, and make wise decisions.'Choose wisely; treat kindly.' Treating kindly won't work if you haven't chosen wisely. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConsciencePersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconA number of people have expressed to me that they feel somewhat guilty that their lives are so blessed and/or peaceful right now while people are being blown up in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places - and by their own countrymen!' Or that people are suffering and dying by the tens of thousands in Haiti in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake."How [they ask] can I dare to have a good day when all of this is happening?"I think that's a good question asked by decent people.'The answer is simple:' what choice do you have?Shall you undermine yourself and those who count on you by crumbling under the awareness of this cruelty of people and nature?' Does that add to the miserly of the world?' YES.' Does that minimize the misery of the world?' NO.Your job is to do and be your best and to bring light into darkness in your own mind and home, and among family, friends, and community.' Where you have the wherewithal and the expertise to extend that to deserving people and places, do so because all humanity benefits by your action of caring - if not aided directly , then at the very least inspired by your example.Where you can't extend yourself to some place around the world, be cognizant that compassion and love in a circle around you has a ripple effect to help perfect the world for whatever moments of bliss might exist.' They add up.'Whether close at hand or off to a distant land, when you extend mercy, you do an act which magnificently defines humanity. More >>

Tags: AttitudeBehaviorCharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCharityCivilityHealthHopePersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
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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
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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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was in grade school one year, I got a few "D's" on my report card.' With a pen of contrasting color to the D, I made a line halfway across the letter from left to right, and turned the two D's into weird looking B's.' Much to my astonishment, my father noticed the alteration!' And, boy oh boy, I got punished.The following story ups the ante on my little escapade:' An 11 year old boy from Alabama didn't want to bring home his bad report card either.' So, he said that a man with a pistol snatched him after he left middle school, forced him into a beat-up car, and threatened to kill him.' He then explained that he escaped by jumping out of the car, but that he wasn't able to grab his book bag in which was (no surprise here)....the report card.' The police investigators were a bit suspicious when the boy was able to "escape" with his cumbersome band instrument, but not his soft, smaller book bag.'The boy ran to his grandfather's house, and admitted to lying.' The grandfather called the police to apologize.I mention this story because the issue of grades is important.' Grade inflation definitely exists -- and it's like telling a kid he's special just because he breathes regularly. It builds a false sense of competency and value which condemns a kid to fail in the future and be frustrated that his unconditional perfection hasn't quite panned out.'In addition, there's a lack of willingness to respect children who are able and willing to work hard and attain high grades and become valedictorians.' In fact, the acknowledgment of a valedictorian has been banned in some schools so the feelings of those less accomplished won't be hurt.'Then there are parents who want to see A's, even if their child is capable only of a C+.' I always tell parents that the teacher should let them know at their regular meetings whether or not their child is doing his or her best - that's the best -accomplishment.It's sad when parents don't know what's happening with their children's school work until report card day, and then the yelling starts.' Yes, this Alabama boy did the wrong thing, but he must have been (as I was) VERY scared about the consequences.' He's 11....11!!' If he's that scared,' then let's look at that first, and then help him to do his best.' Punishment for bad grades is not the way to go in this case.'Punishment for editing the D's or for lying to police?' Now that makes more sense. More >>

Tags: appreciateAttitudeEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingPersonal ResponsibilitySchoolStressValues
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05/13/2010
IconI usually spend little to no time at all on the "celebrity" sections of Internet news sites.' Frankly, I don't care what celebrities are doing, except in a performance for which I pay good money.' Every now and then, however, something comes to my attention that does make me want to comment.' This time, it's about actress Anne Heche.Apparently, Anne Heche went on the Late Show with David Letterman and ragged on her ex-husband.' She made fun of him collecting checks from her (as mandated by the court as spousal support) following their divorce.Tacky, mean, vindictive and very self-serving.Not long ago, I took a call from a woman who was complaining about her ex-shack-up honey's girlfriend, (the "homewrecker" as she called her).' Here's the gist of how that call went:Me:'Is this woman someone who took vows of fidelity to you?Caller:' NOMe: 'Is this man someone who took vows of fidelity to you?Caller:' NO.Me:'Is this man someone you simply shacked up with without a commitment?Caller:' YES.Me:'Did you decide to create two children in this insecure situation?Caller:' YESMe:'And you're mad at HER???While these two situations seem unrelated, they most certainly are related.' How?' When a person makes foolish decisions and then complains about the most typical, logical and predictable outcome, that is a person totally out of touch with the reality of life.' YOU make choices;' YOU should be willing to take responsibility for those choices and stop looking and acting as if you are an innocent victim of life's tidal waves.Anne Heche did a terrible thing to her ex-husband by humiliating him in public.' What did he do to earn that?' The court mandated the financial support.' I don't know the quality of choice she made in a husband, nor do I know what quality of wife she was.' All I see is that she is not classy, and that she takes no public responsibility for the demise of her marriage.Blaming everything and everyone else may be humorous if you do it on the Letterman show, but it doesn't speak to the truth (and ultimately, we all live with the truth).' She should have said nothing, or added "y'know, I have to take responsibility for my choices and actions here.' I don't like that a grown man is taking spousal support, but I have some responsibility for this marital fiasco too." Now THAT would be classy....and closer to the truth. More >>

Tags: AttitudecompassionMarriagePersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconMice kept on a diet that is healthy (but absolutely no fun at all) in which their caloric intake was restricted to only 70% of what's considered "normal" lived 30 to 40% longer than the usual lifespan.' The only downside of this restriction was that the mice were less fertile than their non-restricted counterparts.'Most people can't restrict calories for long, so, according to the New York Times , scientists are trying to find a drug that tricks the body into thinking it's eating fewer calories.' The problem is that all of these restricted calorie experiments are done on captive mice, who are selected for quick breeding and who are fed on rich diets.' A low-calorie diet could be much closer to the diet that mice are adapted to in the wild, extending their life simply because it is much healthier for them.' Mice don't live that long, anyway.' Humans have a longer life span, and that extended duration of time on the planet leaves us more vulnerable to cancers.So, after 20 years of experimenting with caloric restriction on monkeys in captivity, studies found the monkeys were healthier (i.e., they had fewer incidents of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease), but their life span was not significantly longer.' Eating more prudently than we generally do, therefore, was good for quality of life, but not for quantity of life.And that's the point of my taking on this issue in the first place.' People call my radio program knowing they're probably going to die of some particular terminal disease they have.' They call me, because they're spending each day suffering emotionally over the realization that they will soon be dead.' My response to one woman in this situation was to wake up each morning and yell out loud: "Damn - I'm not dead!' Today, I'm gonna LIVE OUT LOUD!!!" The point of our being upset about death is the realization that we've lost all we value in life.' So, take each day that you're not dead to live life to the fullest.' Enjoy that day you're not dead.' Don't waste one precious moment of it.Come to think of it, that's good advice for everyone, since at different times, and at different rates, we're all terminal.' Don't waste one minute of life. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommon SenseHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
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Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommon SenseHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
PERMALINK | EMAIL | PRINT | RSS  Subscribe
05/13/2010
IconI have a friend who is temporarily without a computer, so I've been texting him.' I've found myself using the letter "u" for "you," and "r" for "are," but other than that, I try to use the English language the way it was meant to be spoken and written.I've complained quite often about how this text messaging thing is completely out of hand, and how your children should not be able to use such technology as it occupies way too much of their time without depth and without development of language skills.' Quite the contrary - spelling and syntax and content are out the window when it comes to these mindless exchanges.' Additionally, people of all ages are so focused on that little gadget that they ignore their responsibilities as well as their environment.Numerous states have had to implement bans on texting while driving - that's how utterly stupid people can get.' Text-related injuries and deaths are not limited to the vehicular variety.' In 2008, the state of Illinois proposed legislation that would make texting and walking (with or without gum) illegal!' Pedestrians who ridiculed the idea might now need to reconsider their stance.A 15 year old girl on Staten Island was obliviously thumbing away when she disappeared into an open manhole, falling five feet, scraping her back and arms, and landing in a pile of mush.' The workers were off getting cones and markers to barricade the opening, so it was a potential hazard.' However, if this teen were actually looking where she was going, not a thing would have happened to her.' Of course, her parents are going to sue.' Well, why not?' Your daughter behaves stupidly, so naturally you're going to look around for someone to sue.' Money versus common sense.' Oh well.If I were a purse snatcher or predator, I'd keep my eyes open for texting women who are moving through life without any awareness of their surroundings:' whether people, entities, or holes in the ground.' They make easy prey.I keep wondering...what if we looked at everyone's text messages over a 24 hour period of their life?' Would we find anything important being discussed?' I doubt it.' More likely, we'd just find them attempting to create a mini-universe to live in, where meaningless discourse makes them feel important or connected - or provides an activity where they avoid dealing with real life issues.What if this teen had stepped on a baby?' What if she had tripped over an elderly person who had then fallen?' What if she walked right into the hands of a kidnapper?' What if she didn't see a person doing harm to another (so she couldn't provide witness testimony to help the police)?' I could go on and on....but you get the idea.Yes, the manhole should not have been left unattended - those guys should all be fired.' Yes, she should have been looking where she was going.' That's just plain common sense.' This would have been a preventable accident if the men had done their jobs properly, and if this girl had shown better judgment. More >>

Tags: AttitudeFamily/Relationships - TeensPersonal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesTeensValues
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