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Courage
05/13/2010
IconRecently, I was walking from my kitchen to my office and passed by my TV, which was tuned to Fox News.' The anchors were promoting an upcoming story that I didn't stick around long enough to watch, but one which I want to comment on nonetheless.' They showed three pictures from a bank security video camera where a guy (who wasn't wearing a mask, and who may or may not have been carrying a weapon) was robbing the bank.'' Behind him was an older, larger man who had a very relaxed expression on his face - almost as though he wasn't aware that anything was happening.The next frame showed the robber turning to leave.' The third frame showed the large man "bear-hugging" this robber from behind - while still maintaining a totally relaxed expression on his face!The caption underneath proclaimed the bear-hugging guy to be a hero.Yes, he was.' He caught the bad guy.' But what struck me is that he waited calmly and then just acted - behavior which is very typical of hero-types.' They do what they do without agonizing over it, without mulling over their fears and potential losses.' They simply do the right thing.Jews for all times call the Christians and their families who risked torture and death in order to rescue Jews during World War II "righteous Gentiles," and hold them in supreme respect.' I have watched documentaries where righteous Gentiles explain why they did what they did when it was a potential death sentence.' To the one, they all said the same thing:"IT WAS THE RIGHT THING TO DO."' It's how they were brought up.Heroes are so "matter of fact" about their extraordinary actions that they don't even categorize what they have done as "heroic" and it's not false modesty.' It's just that it was, for them, simply the right thing to do. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageValues
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05/13/2010
IconI thought I'd continue with the theme of new beginnings during the first week of the new year by telling you a "biggie" for me - something I had to learn at a deeper level than just on an intellectual level.' I took up the game of pool about a year ago.' And like everything I do, I jumped into it "full bore" and with ferocity unmatched by any other living creature.' I practiced hours every day in this mad-like rush to conquer this goal as soon as I possibly could.In general, my enthusiasm and full commitment pay off in learning and conquering new goals, but there are some that actually require a dispassionate approach.' That was tough for me.' I got thoroughly emotional whenever I missed even one shot!' I quit several times out of utter frustration.'Fortunately, I have a great coach/teacher who keeps trying to get me to be quite robotic.' He has me do what amounts to a ritual routine with each shot:' look at the shot and imagine it happening as I put chalk on the cue tip.' Then, put the chalk down and I pretend I'm doing the shot once or twice in the air, then get way down on the table and do practice motions up to the cue ball and then fire.Once I am down, no more thinking, moving, judging...just faith that my mind and body have this covered.'This took the better part of a year to learn.' But it works.The too easy frustration with myself comes from a most critical father's constant berating of me, and taking up pool has helped a tremendous amount with getting rid of that knee-jerk response.'I was setting up my weaving loom the other day, and everything was going wrong.' The set-up looked seriously trashy.' But instead of getting down on myself (like I would have done before), I just smiled, leaned over, cut it all off the loom and threw it away.' I walked away feeling quite accomplished!' Why?' I just accepted that sometimes it doesn't work - thrown away yarn is not the end of the world - and having the calm to make that decision to come back and loom another day is a big victory!I hope this story helps you. More >>

Tags: AdoptionCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentCourageParentingPersonal ResponsibilityRegarding Dr. LauraResponse To A CallStress
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05/13/2010
IconI remember when the Unabomber was caught.' There was an uproar of indignation concerning the fact that it was his brother who "ratted" him out.' When his brother saw the published ramblings of the serial murderer known as the "Unabomber," he recognized the sentiments, mentality, and writing style of his brother, and informed the police.' If memory serves me right, The Los Angeles Times had either an editorial or an op-ed piece castigating the brother for essentially "turning on blood."That was a morally repugnant point of view.' Protecting the innocent against evil is the responsibility of every human being, regardless of the "job description" of the evildoer - in this case, a sibling.Fortunately, in England, a wife of twenty years understood her responsibility to others (in this case, children), and set aside emotional pain and potential embarrassment.' She set out to trap her husband, whom she suspected of being a pedophile.' Apparently, her husband chatted with teenagers as he groomed them for sex.The wife pretended to be a 14 year old girl, and caught him in the act.' She was in the neighboring living room while he was in his study sweating over a hot computer, setting "her" up for a meeting to have sex.' He also used a webcam to carry out sex acts and send the videos over the Internet.' Our plucky wife watched this in absolute disgust and horror.She then contacted police who seized his computer.' She didn't march into his study to confront him, cry, or threaten.' Like a good citizen, she just turned it all over to the authorities. GOOD FOR HER! He only received three years of community service and was banned indefinitely from having access in person or online to children under the age of 18.' He also had to register as a sex offender, and, oh yes, she divorced him. "I did the right thing, and I don't regret it.' Now I just need some time to think and put this all behind me," she said to a reporter.She should have gotten a medal. More >>

Tags: AbuseCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChild AbuseCourageFamily/Relationships - ChildrenInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMarriageMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconTwo recent acts of bravery bring up a clear point:1.' A nine year old boy in a Southern town was in the passenger seat of his parents' car with three siblings all under the age of three in'the back.' His mother darted into a convenience store, and a huge man (who was lurking nearby) jumped into the driver's seat, i.e., it was a car-jacking in the works.' The nine year old had the courage and the presence of mind not to be "politically correct" which would have meant sitting quietly and obeying an adult.' Nope, not at all.' This kid grabbed the car keys and held them tight to his right side.' The would-be carjacker hit the boy's head against the passenger door in an attempt to get the keys, and failed as the boy was resolute.' As the boy said later, "I didn't want my family to be taken."' The car-jacker ran from the car, fell, and was apprehended by police who had been called from the convenience store.2.' A young female (of course I'm proud) civilian police officer stopped an Army officer from continuing his murders of Fort Hood soldiers by standing up to him and shooting him numerous times while being shot three times herself.' Unfortunately, except for military police (MPs) and civilian police, soldiers on a base do not carry weapons, and are, therefore, sitting ducks for the murderous rampage of "one of their own."' As it turns out, by all media reports, the history of this so-called American Army officer was clearly one of a terrorist.'There was a history of his radical Muslim ideology.' Reports against him had been made, but political correctness ruled the day.' Because he had worshipped at a mosque with a radical imam who allegedly had made contact with two of the 9/11 hijackers and had written on the Internet Muslim extremist comments (which, I understand, included a defense of suicide bombers), had tried to indoctrinate patients and his school mates even complained about the political leanings of his class assignments and so much more, was no reason, many authorities have said, to assume he was a home-grown terrorist.' That political correctness caused the death of 13 and serious injury to dozens.' Never mind the fear it has generated on bases around the country and the world where the bullet or bomb can come from the "inside."Instead of facing this threat (and please do remember the plots that were foiled against other military bases on American soil in the past several years), we are being told not to "jump to conclusions."' Well, without jumping to the correct conclusions in a timely manner, hanging on instead to political correctness (meaning that no one should criticize or profile), our military men and women and their families have a good reason to be afraid and angry.' They pay the price.That nine year old boy didn't sit complacently and be a "good boy."' He took charge to protect his own.' We should do the same for our military and their families.' Those who have expressed at any time any philosophy resembling radical Islamic hate should be marginalized, scrutinized, put under surveillance, and supervised.The first obligation of the American government is not "Cash for Clunkers."' It's for the safety of the populace.' The morale of our military took a large hit when they discovered that they were not safe from worldwide terrorists at their own desks.'Dump all that "PTSD by proxy" nonsense.' Look at the truth, without which we are neither free nor safe. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageMilitaryPolitical CorrectnessPoliticsReligionSocial IssuesValues
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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
IconThe Hartford Courant recently published an essay by Justin Verrier on a Connecticut female teenage swimmer. "After swimming laps at a recent practice in the Glastonbury High School pool, Rachel Grusse told her coach, Suzi Hoyt, her shoulder felt sore.' Hoyt responded as she always does to such concerns by her swimmers, instructing Grusse to put on flippers and 'kick for a little while' to rest her arms.' 'I just looked up at her and told her, Um...I don't think I can do that, Grusse said, smiling." Remember the word smiling .' When Grusse was 16 months old, it was discovered that she was born without a spleen, and she contracted a form of bacterial pneumonia that cut off the blood flow to her extremities, which resulted in the cutting off of her legs at the base of her knees, as well as the last joint of her fingers.Now, many teenage girls with just a few pimples would hide in their bedrooms, but not Rachel.' With the help of prosthetic legs, she has participated in all types of sports, including soccer and, most recently, wheelchair basketball, but swimming is her passion.' Since she has to rely on her upper body for swimming, she does a lot of upper body strengthening, like...walking on her hands!Her comment? "I've just heard some people say that I'm an example to other kids.' But to me, I don't feel like I'm any different. I'm just doing what I can, and doing the best that I can. " She swims against "normal" swimmers and rarely wins, but she loves the sport anyway.She swims against others who are disabled and often places, but not always, and she loves the sport anyway.'Since she has no memory of having had legs, for her, it is kind of "normal" - the real amazing quality of hers is her attitude to just do what she can and do the best that she can .Disabled or not, that is the winning attitude in life that ultimately brings you happiness.' She does what she loves and does the best she can at it.' Period.' There is a lesson in that for everyone. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageFamily/Relationships - TeensMental HealthSuicideTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconA now 17-year-old boy from Thousand Oaks, California recently sailed, by himself, some 28,000 miles in one year on a 36-foot sailboat.' Zac Sunderland was 16 when he left Marina del Rey harbor in June, 2008.The Associated Press writer was a bit snarky, I think, when writing: "But the shaggy-haired Thousand Oaks native might not hold the record of being the youngest person to sail around the world alone for long.' British sailor Mike Perham is a few months younger than Sunderland, and is sailing a bigger, faster boat." If I were Zac's mother, this would have annoyed me.' I'm not his mother, but it annoys me .' Assuming she or he wants to keep a scrapbook commemorating his sailing exploits, what a snarky thing to have included. "A few months...a bigger, faster boat." So what?Here is a 16 (now 17) year old kid who, instead of partying, abusing drugs, alcohol or hanging out with silly girls, instead of spending hours on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or whatever, instead of hanging in his room sullen, instead of causing trouble at school, instead of driving too fast in the car he shouldn't have been given in the first place, instead of a lot of typical teenage boy activities, took on a challenge that was to test his ability to discipline himself, live austerely, deal with unpredictable weather and seas, survive loneliness and fear, and fix equipment failures when warranted.Shoving up his nose in print that someone else trying it is younger and has a better boat, shows, in my opinion, a complete ignorance of the difficulties and challenges he had to face.' It is remarkable for such a young person to brave all the elements of wind and sea to take an incredible journey on his own.' I am sure he now has a healthy respect for nature, life and himself.' I am sure he won't hesitate to face many other challenges on land.' I am sure he won't be abusing himself or substances to get a "rush."' I am sure he's a fine young man who should be an inspiration to other teens.' You are never too young to have a dream and go for it.I'm sure his mom is very proud.' She should be! More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageFamily/Relationships - TeensHobbiesPersonal ResponsibilitySailingTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have often told callers struggling with their fears (real or imagined or exaggerated) that next to character, I admire guts.' Actually, having the fortitude to face the things we're afraid of is a measure of character.A few weeks ago, I was out for only the third time on my new paddleboard.' I was balancing well, in spite of passing motorboats leaving scary wakes in my path.' I was in choppy waters, which was not that smart at my level of experience, and feeling great about what I was doing, when-BAM-I hit the board full flat and hard on my left side and slid underwater.' I was stunned, cold, and worried about becoming a shark snack.' I swam quickly back to the board, pulled myself up, and lay there shaking with cold, shock, and fear. I pulled my knees under me, then got my feet down as I poised in a crouched position, and then stood straight up and paddled nervously for another fifteen minutes.' The point of these actions was that I knew that if I just swam ashore, I might never get on the board again.' My left ribs hurt tremendously, and I'm still healing.' But for me, the main point was getting back up then and there, and scowling directly into the face of fear.This is a small step for a girl like me.' A much bigger step for a little girl is the story of Bethany Hamilton.' She nearly lost her life in a vicious shark attack while surfing off the coast of Hawaii almost six years ago.' The shark attack happened while she was lying on her board with her arm dangling comfortably in the water.' The shark ripped her left arm off just below the shoulder, and she almost died from blood loss - the shark left a sixteen inch "bite" on her surfboard.' Grisly, to say the least.' By the way, they caught the shark.' It was a 14-foot-long tiger shark, which weighed 1400 pounds.What was Ms. Hamilton doing just a month after that shark took her left arm?' Re-training herself to surf competitively with only one arm.' Her positive attitude won her a 2004 EXPY award from ESPN for "Best Comeback Athlete of the Year."' She's now ranked among the top ten professional women surfers in the world.' With one arm.Does this mean she has no fears?' No. "When I'm feeling scared, I just sing a song or pray...or I just try to ignore it.' It's always in my mind, and it always will be, but I've got to keep my mind on having fun and just surfing." She says she sees two or three sharks per year in the water and heads in if she gets scared or thinks she sees a shark.' She doesn't go in the murky water after a storm.' In other words, she uses the common sense that all surfers should employ.She travels the world for surfing competitions, and for causes in which she can help children with fears - like going to Thailand to help young children devastated by the tsunami disaster.' With her unique experience, she has something very important to say about overcoming fears, much less overcoming fear of water.I've always said that one of the best learning tools in the universe is to read to yourself and your family biographies of people who have fought inner and outer demons and prevailed.' This is one of those stories.And you don't have to be afraid of the ocean to benefit.' Life has its disappointments, assaults, devastation, frustrations, challenges, and bad luck.' That's just life.' What you do after that point is the measure of your life. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageFearMental HealthPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconIt is understandable that I have received a lot of inquiries about my reaction to Don Imus' problem, as I am also a radio talk show host (32 years) who has taken flack for "objections" to my point of view.The main problem with Imus' comments is that they were in no way taken out of context - they were a direct assault on a group of women for whom the words did not match the reality.' In fact, as a woman, and as a woman often under public attack, I am so very proud of the statement given by one of the Rutgers University basketball players:'"'I am a woman, and I'm someone's child,' said Kia Vaughn.' 'I achieve'a lot.' And unless they've given this name, a 'ho, a new definition, then'that is not what I am.'' She stood with her teammates, a row of unbowed,'confident women. ( Time, April 12, 2007 )Now that's impressive.However, someone will have to tell me when it was that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson apologized for their verbal assaults on the Duke lacrosse players who were wrongly accused of rape and battery.' When will music stores stop selling Eminem's music, filled with violent, ugly commentary about women and homosexuals?' I want also to know when Rosie O'Donnell will get her last paycheck after commentary declaring that America killed its own on 9/11?' I'm also curious about all the demeaning, misogynistic, crude and violent lyrics in rap music which flourish in music stores and on television.' And gosh, if the ACLU can come out in force to stand behind the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation, why no peep about Imus?' How is it that [Howard] Stern's career can survive to the hundreds of millions in compensation after his wondering out loud why the Columbine murderers did not rape the girls before killing them?Note:' There are no problems in the African-American community caused by Imus.' Not one.'' Perhaps black leaders might take note of that and focus in on what is really important:' gangs, drugs, and out-of-wedlock children.As for Imus, it would seem his arrogance caught up with him.' His remark was insulting, stupid, mean and ugly.' It was so seemingly "off-the-cuff," that it felt too casually familiar a thing for him to say. More >>

Tags: Character-Courage-ConsciencecourageMorals, Ethics, ValuesSocial IssuesValues
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