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Character, Courage, Conscience
05/13/2010
IconSince this is the season of giving, I thought I'd share with you a letter I got from an Army Captain who was the recipient of a kind deed from a stranger: Dr. Laura:I am an active duty soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.' I am not a regular coffee drinker, but after a week of unusually early mornings and late nights, I pulled into the drive-thru of a popular coffee chain this morning on my way to work in need of a caffeine kick.' As you would expect, I placed my order and waited behind a few cars until it was my turn to pay and go.' When I pulled up to the window, the cashier handed me my cup and informed me that the lady in the car ahead of me had noticed my uniform and graciously paid my tab. I'll never be able to thank that lady personally for her kindness, but perhaps she is a listener of yours, and I hope a short note of appreciation can articulate what these kind gestures - no matter how seemingly small - mean to us in the service.' I am always moved by the gratitude and patriotism of strangers, and I never forget a simple word of thanks or the enduring impact that it has. Thank you for everything that you do, Dr. Laura, for us in uniform.' I subscribe to your podcast so that I never miss a minute of your wisdom and insight no matter where in the world I find myself these days. Airborne!Captain W. More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceGratitudeLife LessonsMilitaryPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconFrankly, I'm fed up with excuses for out-of-control, bad behavior.' Excuses like:''''''''' 1) it's an addiction''''''''' 2) it's somebody else's fault.Nothing is going to change in anyone's life until responsibility for choices, actions, or in actions is taken.Here's an example:' during a year-long gambling binge at the Caesar's Palace and Rio casinos in Las Vegas in 2007, Terrence Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million (most of his personal fortune).' Watanabe - unmarried, no kids - who spent his adult life working around the clock for his father's import novelty business, picked up gambling in Las Vegas and was treated like a king.Apparently, he drank to excess, and is claiming that the casinos named in his lawsuit violated gambling regulations by not shutting off his ability to gamble when he was drunk - which is a state rule.Mr. Watanabe is also a criminal defendant who faces 28 years in prison for "intent to defraud and steal from Harrah's," stemming from $14.7 million that the casino says it extended to him as credit and that he lost.So, which is it?' Is Watanabe responsible for his debts, drunk or sober?' Or is Harrah's responsible as they allegedly let him gamble and lose when he was drunk?Well, it might be BOTH!Watanabe may have a case if, indeed, Harrah's broke the law about allowing drunks to gamble.HOWEVER (and it is a BIG "however"), that argument might work for Watanabe for one tour of gambling, but when sober - sober , mind you - he made the choice...the choice ... to go back to Harrah's, drink, gamble, lose, ask for credit, and not pay the full amount he owed.Watanabe is responsible for his bad behavior, bad habits and debts.' If Harrah's employees kept him gambling when he was "fall-down drunk," then they have to deal with the civil courts and the gaming commission of the state.' However, how drunk do you have to be before you are not responsible for deciding on a bet, physically pushing chips forward, and so on?' If you're fall down drunk, you're probably not able to do those things.'He placed his bets; he lost.' He needs to pay up. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConsciencePersonal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI understand that the list is now at 14 distinct dalliances by Tiger Woods, and the count is likely to grow.' One of the reasons the legal types are interested in this situation is the precedent for "alienation of affection" suits, which can be filed when an "outsider" interferes in a marriage.' These suits are allowed in seven states:' Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.' Why these suits are disallowed in all the other states is a curiosity.' Perhaps lawmakers in those states were being pre-emptively self-protective.' Who knows?However, it doesn't matter that Woods lives in Florida, a state where alienation of affections suits aren't allowed.' If any of Woods' professed affairs took place in an alienation of affection state, Mrs. Tiger Woods could sue.' According to my research, the suits rarely make it to trial - usually the threat of such an embarrassing lawsuit is enough to have it end up in an out-of-court financial settlement.On my radio program, when I discuss with the "wronged" spouse their pain and desire to get revenge with the "other woman or man," I remind them that it is their spouse who breached vows.' The other individual was just the means to that sad end.' When people don't wish to leave their marriages, they often focus their rage on that other person to protect their spouse from their rage.' However, I believe it ought to be common understanding that the vows include a warning to others:' "let no man turn asunder" means that no one should interfere with the married couple's intimacy.' All society has really taken that vow.' Therefore, I believe it is fair that there be some consequence, and perhaps compensation, for the hurt caused.I think all states should allow such lawsuits, as they respect the sanctity of marriage. More >>

Tags: AdulteryCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceInfidelityMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconMy comments today are short and to the point.With respect to Tiger Woods:He is the best golfer ever.He is a philandering spouse of major proportions.Should that matter?It was posited to me that what a celebrity does outside of his or her "famous" activity should not matter to anyone.I thought about that for about an hour, and then decided this:That statement is correct, unless that celebrity makes hay (or money) on the issue of TRUST , which Tiger Woods does by using his name and image as a "nice guy" to sell products.' He is untrustworthy...plain and simple, and therefore, should not be representing anything or anyone, because his word means nothing.He is a great golfer.So what.He is not a great man/father/husband.End of commentary. More >>

Tags: AdulteryCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceInfidelityMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconIn a recent radio interview, I discussed the issue of "webtribution," a term coined by Elizabeth Bernstein in The Wall Street Journal to describe people who use the Internet to get revenge - i.e., publicly to hurt another human being with whom they are not happy.The Internet is anonymous, immediate, and gratifying in the moment.' In human history, vengeance is not unfamiliar - people haven't changed that much.' Their means of delivering pain has evolved from poison, duels, clever rumors, and Machiavellian manipulation to the world wide web.' In some ways, damaging someone's reputation is akin to murdering them, as their reputation is devastated world-wide and forever, making it difficult for them to function in private relationships as well as in the community and at work.To quote The Wall Street Journal: "Most of us have heard of someone posting naked photos of an 'ex' online.' Or writing nasty reviews for a restaurant or book, not because they dislike the product, but because they dislike the person who created it.' Or signing up an acquaintance for [unwanted] e-mail advertising lists." My opinion is that it should be illegal, as it is immoral, to post information or opinion about people without identifying yourself.' Obviously, it is also cowardly.' Google and all other such carriers should not permit anonymity.' That would immediately change the complexion of what is posted, and I don't think they'd lose business, except from those who use the Internet for evil (terrorists of the international and interpersonal kind). More >>

Tags: BehaviorCharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCivilityEthicsInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaJill CooperMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesSimple SavingsSocial IssuesSocial NetworkingStay-at-Home MomValues
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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
IconMy husband and I were very disappointed when we learned that we could not be with our military son on Thanksgiving.' We casually mentioned to some friends that we were just going to have scrambled eggs and bagels for Thanksgiving dinner, because without him there, it just wasn't going to be worth the effort.' Well, they kindly invited us to spend Thanksgiving with their family, and we accepted.'I wanted to do something nice for them to really show them thanks for such a lovely gesture, so I knitted a seven-foot runner for their table.' When it was finished, it seemed so "plain," that I spent four hours crocheting around the entire runner twice and added a fringe to the ends.' When I gave it to her, she held it close to her chest near her heart, and her eyes teared up as she expressed her emotion for my putting in that amount of effort for her.' I have to tell you that I've never felt so moved by a reaction to a gift in my life.She and her husband were doing something "personal" for me, and I wanted to return the favor.' Having Thanksgiving with their adult children and a couple who were mutual friends made for a fabulous evening, with lots of laughs and a yummy turkey....mmmm.So, I've stopped buying bottles of wine and chocolate-filled baskets.' I've been working around the clock for weeks either knitting, weaving, or sewing Christmas presents.' I finished my last project for my "peeps" on Sunday (our office holiday party was on Tuesday), so I had a bit of a crunch for time.' While it was exhausting and sometimes frustrating when equipment has a mind of its own, I feel giddy about giving gifts that are so much of myself.' Clearly, it means more to the receiver AND the giver.To top it off, a few of my dearest friends sent me "Thanksgiving" e-mails, enumerating the reasons they felt grateful for having me in their lives.' It blew my mind.' It is incredibly touching to know that you matter to someone.I'm writing these stories to urge you all to do the same this Christmas.' Don't buy a card - write to that person and let them know why they matter to you and what you appreciate about them and how you feel grateful for them.' Instead of purchasing something generally useless that they might never use and will not cause them to reflect on your relationship, make something or do something.' For example:' plant some flowers on either side of their front door; make a rocking chair for the back porch; fix something on their property; take their kids for the night so they can have a romantic time to themselves....the list of possibilities is endless. Make it personal , and that doesn't require ridiculous expenditures for gifts that ultimately don't matter.'Oh, and one more thing.' We will see our kidlet for Christmas.' The tree is already up. More >>

Tags: AbortionCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCharityFamily/Relationships - FamilyFriendshipsHolidaysMorals, Ethics, ValuesRelativesThanksgivingValues
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05/13/2010
IconFacebook and MySpace and other social networking sites have become a means of not only communicating with so-called "friends," but they also allow for showing off and "going wild" in ways that often come back to bite...even when you think your site is private.According to the Arizona Daily Star , Ashley Payne, a teacher in an Arizona school said that she was forced to resign after photos and a comment posted on her Facebook page were forwarded to the superintendent of schools in her county.' And she said she had the highest level of privacy controls on her site.' The photos in question showed her in pubs and beer gardens while on summer vacation.' In a comment on her Facebook page, she announced that she was headed to play a game called "Crazy Bitch Bingo."According to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators, the bottom line is that "the state code addresses on and off-campus behavior, including inappropriate relationships with students and anything that violates the mores of the community."I'm good with that, because teachers have a profound influence on young minds, and being role models seems an obvious obligation.' Not enough teachers think about the consequences of their conduct, not just in terms of their own employment, but in terms of the well-being of the children for whom they are responsible.' Posting extremely inappropriate sexual content and nudity on the web as well as posting photos of teachers yucking it up with booze is a breach of professional conduct.For teachers, this is obvious.' However, each and every one of you must understand that anybody with knowledge can hack into your private site and edit as well as download and reproduce material elsewhere.' Don't write or post pictures you would not want to see on the front page of The New York Times , unless, of course, you're into being infamous.' The word "friend" is simply a term for someone with access to your site.' Don't imagine that they necessarily have the honor of a real-life friend.' Anything you write or post might be used against you.Now that this is all said, how about your just inviting real friends over for dinner and meaningful conversation? More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenCommon SenseInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMorals, Ethics, ValuesMySpaceParentingSocial IssuesSocial NetworkingValues
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05/13/2010
IconElizabeth Ann Lambert has been suspended indefinitely from playing college women's soccer.' And that is a good thing.During the Mountain West Conference Women's Soccer semi-final recently between Brigham Young University and the University of New Mexico, BYU scored the only goal during the first half.' BYU's outstanding player, Kassidy Shumway and the BYU scorer, Carlee Payne paid the price for that.According to the New York Times and what you can see on YouTube (in case you missed the news reports at the time) was a level of violence that escalated horrendously.Payne gave a slight "dig" with her elbow to Lambert, who retaliated with a punch between Payne's shoulder blades.' What followed were tackles, kicks up to waist high, face punches and cleats aimed into the inner thigh, and Lambert's final violent jerk on Shumway's pony tail, which sent the six foot girl to the ground.' It was frightening.' I worried that the girl's neck could have been broken.' While Shumway was on the ground, not moving, one of Lambert's teammates kicked a ball into Payne's face.That's what I call feminist good sportsmanship:' if you can't beat 'em....beat 'em up!!What was stunning was Lambert's coach didn't pull her out while her behavior was escalating.' Equally stunning was the fact that the referee took no action outside of a yellow card for a "trip" move on Payne.' It's interesting that these officials did not see the punches, slaps, high tackles and that ferocious pony tail jerk.The coach revved up her girls and then stood back while one of them went out of control.' That's a sad state of affairs.' Of course, Lambert gave the usual mea culpa/ "my bad" apology, which was orchestrated in order to stay in the game.' I'm glad it didn't work.Call me cynical, but the look on her face and the deliberateness of her violent yank had the aura of entitlement and rage.' I don't believe she's sorry she did it.' My guess is that she's sorry she's gotten heat over it.She should never be allowed to play again... never ... and that would send a message.' Now, we've got to figure out how to deal with the coach and the referee. More >>

Tags: AbuseCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenParentingResponse To A CallValuesViolence
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05/13/2010
IconSix days before Teanne Harris of Chicago was to walk down the aisle in a glorious white gown, her fiance called off the nuptials.When Harris and her mom went to the catering hall to cancel the reception, they were told that their deposit was nonrefundable.'Now, between being dumped at the altar and not getting her money back, I would expect a screaming meemee, locking herself in the bathroom, ripping up every picture of the two of them, screaming to all her friends, getting drunk, not showering - you know, the usual melodrama.Not Ms. Harris!' Leaving the catering hall, she noticed the Asbury Court Retirement Community across the street.' So, instead of letting her Halloween-themed wedding reception go to waste, she decided to move the party to the retirement home, where more than 300 residents attended the party.Harris had her bridal bouquet placed in the retirement home's chapel.'She also went on the Hawaii trip anyway...the trip that was meant to be her honeymoon.All I can say about this story is that she is a magnificent, spiritual human being, and the joker who left her did her a favor.' I'm sure she'll find a real man worthy of her mature and generous spirit. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceSocial IssuesValues
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