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Values
05/13/2010
IconIt's no surprise to my listeners that I see much of today's media as instrumental in dumbing down our collective moral sensibilities.' I'm happy to let you know of an exception.' NBC Universal and Liberty Mutual have announced a marketing and programming partnership that will deliver NBC's two-hour movie/backdoor pilot "Kings" as well as an additional original movie to air on NBC and the USA Network during the 2008-09 season.' The movies are part of a broader Liberty Mutual marketing campaign tied to the theme of personal responsibility.According to NBC Universal's press release, "Through the Responsibility Project, Liberty Mutual uses independently produced short films, online content, and (with the addition of the NBC partnership) television programming, as catalysts for examining the decisions that confront people trying to 'do the right thing.'" Each movie will be promoted and linked to The Responsibility Project website ( responsibilityproject.com ), which features independently-produced film shorts, discussion guides, interviews, articles, and blog postings tied to the central theme of personal responsibility.I can't wait to see how - and if - this works.' It seems to me that sneaking up on people with entertainment to tickle their sensibilities about honor, integrity, honesty, courage and convictions is, in this era of media "OD"ing with messages to the contrary, a very smart idea. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconEver notice that after you hurt a finger or toe, it becomes the only place you keep hitting against something?' Weird, huh?' Well, the same odd thing is happening to me about my new book, "Stop Whining Start Living." It seems that wherever I turn, something relevant to the main concepts of responsibility, choices, courage, endurance, and character just keeps popping up.I received an email from a twenty-four-year-old woman who is new to my radio program and my books.' She has had a tough time since the age of eleven, due to a father with a severe borderline personality disorder and a mother who simply pretended everything was fine.But everything was not fine.' The young woman did about everything she could to get their attention and/or punish them for the abuse and neglect: anorexia, abusive relationships and go-nowhere jobs.Ironically, her mother finally gave her a copy of my books, "Bad Childhood Good Life" and "The Ten Stupid Things Women Do to Mess Up Their Lives." I remember telling parents that the way they could make up for their mistakes with their children was to give them the former book with enthusiasm, humility, and optimism.Well, it worked.' The more this young woman read, the more she wanted to explore herself, and the more she did that, the more she began to enjoy life.' It was at this point that this very young woman came up with amazing insights: "In what seemed like the blink of an eye, I resolved to begin taking care of myself and (this is a doozy for me) showing love to others." "I am happy to say that once I started taking responsibility for myself, I became happy for the first time in my whole life!" "I can choose whether I want to have a good day or a bad day...just like that!." "I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I'm going to damn well use it for something great." ....and last but not least: "I've been through enough crap to not take life for granted." What impresses me about this young woman the most is her enthusiasm.' She gave up the ugly, but comfortable "known" (self-destructive and parentally punitive) behaviors for life-affirming, exciting, but "unknown" - and that takes guts.' I so admire guts!My favorite of her phrases is "I get to renew my promise to myself that if I get the chance to have one more day on the planet, I'm going to damn well use it for something great!" Just today, my yoga instructor (who is my friend) told me her fifty-seven year old cousin, whom she had just seen during Easter, died precipitously of a tear in his aorta.' They tried to save him, but he had so many immediate complications that he didn't survive.' Just like that.' One day you're here...the next day you're not.Let me repeat that:one day you're here...the next day you're not.' One day your parents, children, the love of your life, a good friend is here...the next day they're not.' So - my advice is STOP WHINING about the stuff that ultimately doesn't matter and START LIVING each day as if it is your only opportunity to bring something beautiful into this world. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI'm amazed at the constipated stupidity of many librarians who believe that privacy issues are more important than national security or the protection of children or the support of laws against child pornography.' Blame it on the extremist positions of the American Library Association, which I have long viewed as a family and values unfriendly bully group.Case in point:' a recent news report of a librarian who called the police because a fellow was a repeat offender in the library, downloading kiddie porn - a Federal offense.' The first time it happened, the news report tells us that the supervisor told this librarian not to report it.' When she saw him a second time, she called the police.' This heroine was fired.' Why?' Privacy issues!' What??' There is no presumption of privacy in a PUBLIC library - especially when one is breaking a Federal law.All of which makes it even more weird that Sprint Nextel Corporation has signed up hundreds of thousands of customers for a feature that shows them where their friends are with colored marks on a map viewable on their cellphone screens.' Basically, people would know, all day long, exactly where you are...right down to a restroom or a street corner.All the folks who use the social-networking websites don't seem to mind losing their privacy.' So when a librarian protects the children in the library by ridding it of a prospective child molester - who is the bad guy and who is worried about what privacy? More >>

Tags: Internet-MediaInternet/MediaSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI want to share with you a letter I got from a woman who listens to my radio program: Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with a serious, progressive, degenerative disease, which will eventually end in a torturous death.' That's the bad news.' Now for the great news. I believe this may be the best gift I could have been given.' Thanks to you and just the title of your book, "Stop Whining, Start Living," I realize I have received knowledge most people never get-that is, that this is my best day.' I will never feel better, so I CHOOSE to live it thoroughly, and wring out every last drop of love, laughter and giving that I can.' Tomorrow, I will CHOOSE to do the same. You can't imagine how energizing this is, to know that each day is the best day of your life. There is an old Rabinnic story lesson that Satan's most potent weapon is to let humans believe they have "all the time in the world."' That's because when we feel that time is limitless, we tend to put less value in each moment...in each day.' When we don't value the moment, we don't tend to make the best, most noble decisions, and instead, follow our impulses - thereby making our souls more "available" to Satan, as the story goes.When I received this letter, I was truly and deeply impacted.' I wondered at first, as I suspect most of you would too, if I could dig that deep into myself to pull out that perspective and live it.' I then realized that this woman's thoughts would be in my head for the rest of my life, and would inspire and guide me if I have to face imminent and painful mortality.' My final reaction, with a slap against my own forehead, is that we need to live each day with her mentality.She isn't ignoring or denying her disastrous fate.' She is CHOOSING to live each day in order to make it the best she'll ever have.' In her case, it's literally true.' For you and me, it is figuratively true, and therefore, wholly dependent upon our choice of mood and behaviors.Her letter is at the philosophical center of my book, "Stop Whining, Start Living." It humbles me to be reminded of my own words by people who are struggling more than I.' I am reminded of the values I hold most dear, and which help me survive the nonsense and villainy that tempt every day's despair.' Purpose is the antidote to despair.' And teachers need to be reminded of that, too. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI work very closely with Operation Family Fund, a non-profit organization that helps the families of military and civilian personnel injured or killed in the global war on terrorism.' But there are families of deployed service members who haven't been injured or killed who also need support - they may be feeling lonely or just are just having a hard time dealing with the deployment of their loved ones.Army Community Services (ACS) is a great starting point for any new military spouse. They assist with everything from the transition into military life to community outreach, job placement, relocation, and financial planning.Their website: https://www.myarmylifetoo.com/skins/malt/home.aspx?mode=user gives all the information you need for yourself or someone else struggling with the deployment of a family member. More >>

Tags: MilitaryValues
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05/13/2010
IconI get letters..... I was listening to your radio program today, and heard the call from the man whose daughter was receiving support from the government because she was an unwed mother whose convict boyfriend wouldn't get a job.' You were frustrated that your taxes were helping to support her bad decisions (especially since she was living with her parents!). I, too, share your frustration.' I am a 29-year old married woman who is going to have her first child in 6 months.' My husband and I each struggled to put ourselves through college, have both held jobs since our mid-teens, waited to get married until we could afford to, and have saved my entire income since we got married so we could afford to me to quit my job once we got pregnant. We have worked very hard to make all of these goals possible.' Once we are living solely on his income, it will continue to be a struggle for us to make ends meet.' We will have to stick to a tight budget that doesn't include toys or even cell phones.' This is why I am disgusted at the way our government doles out money to enable less conscientious Americans (or illegal non-Americans) to live irresponsible lives.' I run into people all the time who are benefiting from this injustice.' There is a woman in my church who got pregnant out of wedlock and subsequent to her marriage has had five children (none of which she could afford) with a husband she just kicked out of her home.' She has been going to school for the past several years (paid for entirely by the government), and Is living in government housing paid for mostly by the government. No one I know looks on this as a problem, because she has such a "hard life."' Her life, however, is a result of the poor choices she has made, and I resent having to pay for those choices.' If our government continues along this track, we will have more and more people taking advantage of the "free handouts," and fewer and fewer of us who are paying for those handouts.' We will bankrupt not only our economy, but also our souls, because we are not teaching the next generation to take personal responsibility for their choices. I'm keeping the name of my correspondent private in order to protect her and her family from irresponsible backlashing. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconShawn Sage must be one incredible young man.' The 17-year old California high school student, who has been raised in the foster home system of Los Angeles, decided last fall that he wanted to join the Marines at the end of his senior year.Unfortunately, Los Angeles Superior Children's Court Commissioner refused to let him do early enlistment and earn a $10,000 signing bonus.' Why?' Because young Mr. Sage is a foster child under the age of 18, and the judge in the case is a foster care administrative judge who opposes the war.But that did not stop our young hero.' The resourceful young man heard about the State Assembly's "Write A Bill Challenge" contest.' He entered it with a proposed law that would allow foster parents to give consent.' Kudos to the Assemblyman who introduced the legislation.' And when Mr. Sage turns 18 in June, he says he will still be joining the Marines, but this time as an adult who needs no consent.As a winner of the contest, Shawn Sage gets to fly to Sacramento to testify before the Assembly.' In true "Semper Fi" fashion, he says: "I didn't do it for the signing bonus, because I'm a motivated kid.' I am hoping to join the military before I graduate.' I want to serve my country." Three cheers for a hero in waiting. More >>

Tags: MilitaryValues
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05/13/2010
IconMy, my, my.' My comments last week on why many men stray from their marriage vows generated more email to me than any one thing I've said in years.' 85% of the letters I received were wonderfully appreciative and supportive of what I said.' Men and women alike "got" what I was saying and acknowledged the need for husbands and wives to share the responsibility for the health of their marriages.'One wrote "After seeing you on The Today Show, I asked myself, 'Am I the kind of wife my husband wants to come home to?'' I look at each day as an opportunity to honor him.' Thank you for challenging me to have the courage to change.' My husband will never go a day without knowing his wife needs, loves and respects him." Another person emailed me because my comments motivated her to look at her own issues with the overall concept of personal responsibility.' This young woman wrote that she was motivated by my comments to stop her methamphetamine addiction: "I have chosen to quit.' Once you stop feeling like such a victim to some inanimate object (the pipe does not jump into your mouth on its own) you realize your power over it." Other folks, though, seemed absolutely apoplectic over my point of view that people need to take responsibility for their lives and their relationships.'Clearly this is the crux of the problem in this country.' The concept of promoting personal responsibility in a society that encourages victims to stay victims and glamorizes the bad behavior of celebrities and politicians seems to be a hot button that makes some folks' heads explode.' People tend to hold on to their anger, hurt and depression, especially if they don't have the tools they need to break out of the cycle of personal self-destruction.That's why I wrote Stop Whining, Start Living .' I wrote it because I wanted to help people enjoy their lives more and be more content inside themselves.' None of us can do that if we persist in the self-defeating notion that we are victims... that only leads to complaining and not LIVING.This book is not for people who want to embrace their problems - it's for people who want to solve them and move on to a more productive and happy life.' If you want to feel more in control of your situations in families, neighborhoods, jobs, etc., then you first have to look inside yourself and see what YOU are doing that you shouldn't be... or what you are NOT doing that you should be!' This is where the power to change everything comes in.Some people won't ever do this.' They hold on to sadness, victimhood and complaints.' But those who read Stop Whining with an open heart and mind will find the keys - through other people's real experiences and stories - to make their life easier and more pleasurable; to improve their lives as husbands, wives, parents, and friends, and to discover the joy of being an evolved human being.Getting letters and calls from people who have taken my advice to stop whining and turn themselves into productive members of society is all the inspiration I need to keep on keeping on.' That's what puts the smile on my face. Book signing tonight in Costa Mesa, California: And if you want to see me really smile and you live in L.A. or Orange County, come on down tonight to the Barnes and Noble at the Metro Pointe Mall in Costa Mesa at 7pm.' I'll be signing copies of the aforementioned new book, Stop Whining, Start Living for all of you who embrace your own personal responsibility. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconRecently, a committee of the Vermont State Senate approved Democratic Senator Hinda Miller's bill to have a task force weigh the pros and cons of lowering the legal age of drinking, back to 18.' The logic behind this is similar to the concept of having your underage kids have sex in your home.' Parents think that "they're going to do it anyway, so we might as well make it comfortable and convenient for them!"On the other side, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) calls this "folly to even consider."' They say that the higher age limit has saved thousands of lives since the National Minimum Drinking Age Act was passed in 1984.' The act required states to raise the drinking age to 21 or risk losing federal transportation funding.Vermont voted to raise the age in 1985, and, according to the Vermont State Police, there's been a 40 percent decrease in alcohol-related fatalities in the last 20 years.' Vermont stands to lose about $17 million per year in highway funding if they flout the Feds and lower the drinking age. "The facts speak for themselves," said William Goggins, Director of Education and Enforcement for the state Liquor Control Board. "To me, saving lives is the grandest argument of all." Obviously, this argument is not good enough for some Democrats in Vermont. More >>

Tags: MilitaryPoliticsSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconTwo weeks ago, Sgt. Wayne Leyde won $1 million from a scratch-and-win lotto ticket.' ABC News reported that he was driving near his home in Mead, Washington when he stopped at a store by the side of the road and bought a ticket, a Coke, and beef jerky.' Using a penny lent to him by the store clerk to scratch his card, he discovered his winnings.As a 26 year old member of the Washington National Guard who has completed two tours in Iraq, the obvious question was:' "Whaddya gonna do now?"' His answer was:' "It was a commitment I made...and I'm going to stick to it."' He plans to return to Iraq to service with his band of brothers. "For right now, I'm going to hold off [spending] and let reality sink back to earth.' This is a true blessing.' I'm going to turn it around and see if I can bless other people with this," Leyde said.A parent emailed me just the other day to tell me what her six year old said in response to overhearing her talking to her husband about how little the military is paid for their extraordinary service.' The child piped up with, "They don't get paid, because you can't pay people to be heroes.' They just are." Meet Sgt. Wayne Leyde:' an American hero. More >>

Tags: MilitaryValues
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