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Personal Responsibility
05/13/2010
IconI am just sickened.' It seems the "male" who impregnated Sarah Palin's teenage daughter outside of wedlock (and now, with no wedlock to be had) is going on television shows to give "his side" of the story.' What "sides" are there to be had when two teens breach basic moral good sense and have sex when they are in no position emotionally, psychologically or financially to raise a family?' Now there is yet another poor child in the world without an intact, covenantly committed, grown-up and secure two-parent, mom and dad family.' Sad.In the old days, the man "did the right thing," and marriage was the solution.' These days, men just walk away, or women declare that they "don't need" a guy - they can do it all themselves.' Well, the abandonment by a dad is devastating to a child in many painful ways, and no woman, no matter how nurturing, can offer any child what they lose in not having that paternal influence.So, instead of tarring and feathering this young man for daring to "kiss and tell," he's being treated like something special, with polite interviews on television!' I find this utterly disgusting, but typical for TV, which goes looking for situations like this to exploit for ratings, e.g., "We have an exclusive interview with the boy who knocked up Sarah Palin's daughter!"During the election, Mrs. Palin paraded her pregnant daughter and the sperm donor around to display family values, saying they were "engaged."' That, too, was a disgusting display, especially with John McCain embracing this shameful young man on international television."Normalizing" children born without the protective womb of family is an assault on the well-being of children everywhere, and a bad influence on young men and women who too often follow that old adage:' "Monkey see, monkey do."Children should be our first concern and responsibility - not our incidental playthings. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensParentingPersonal ResponsibilityTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconEvery time I go out to buy anything from shoe polish to hair spray to a new Harley-Davidson jacket, I get taxed.' Every time this happens, I ask, "Hey, what's the story here?"' When I earn it, the federal government taxes it, the state government taxes it, and then when that's all done, and I'm down to what I can actually spend, they tax me on everything I use my "already taxed" income for. Does that seem right, fair or fun to anyone?' I think not.That was until last week.' The per-pack federal tax increase on cigarettes from 39 cents to $1.01 has made for a smokin' "stop smoking hot line" and treatment center boom!' The Denver-based National Jewish Health line received triple the usual number of calls last Monday for six states in which it operates:' Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and Ohio.'Quit smoking phone lines around the country are feeling the surge, and Michigan's quit line itself had to quit because it ran out of money in mid-March after logging more than 65,000 callers in 5 days!' Besides counseling and tips, Michigan's hot line offered free nicotine patches, gum or lozenges.Arkansas had to quit general advertising for its quit line to keep up with the surge.Not all "quitters" will be successful.' It's a tough physiological and psychological addiction to break.' One source guesses that about 1 million adults will quit as a result of the tax increase.'So, after hearing about this, I got to thinking...if money outweighs morality in issues of behavior, the government is onto something.' Instead of super-taxing yachts and Harry Winston-level jewelry, why not tax divorces, so that people will make more of an effort to make their vows mean something more than their egos or impulses? Why not tax people who use day care, nannies and/or baby-sitters, so their children will come to know them better and be more loved, nurtured, and end up feeling safe and confident about love and family?' Why not tax women who abort instead of finding a wonderful family to give life and love to their unwanted children?' Why not tax men who walk away after knocking up some woman they have no intention of adoring, protecting or providing for by marriage?I could go on, but you get my meaning.' On my radio program, I try to reach and influence people with a bit of good sense, rational thought, and (when necessary) appropriate guilt.' I give them direction, motivation, support, and a good motherly nag.Callers don't pay for their time on the phone.' Sometimes, I joke with them that if they don't start doing the right thing, I am going to reverse the charges - and impose a kind of "talk show tax."' That's starting to sound more and more like a good idea.' If people are willing to get rid of a nasty, dangerous, addictive habit like smoking because of money, maybe costing them money would prod even more people into "doing the right thing." More >>

Tags: AddictionBudgetFinancesPersonal ResponsibilitySAHM stay at home momSmoking
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05/13/2010
IconWhen my now 6'3" son was a little guy, housework was secondary in priority to interacting with him.' One of my most wonderful memories is of taking him on a walk (and pulling him in his Radio Flyer-like wagon) to the huge parking lot of the local Target.' I would put him in one of the shopping carts, and run like mad, twisting and turning and twirling the cart until he whooped with delight.' This would go on for the better part of an hour.' Thinking back, I got a good aerobic exercise workout, and he got a Disneyland-like ride.' At the time, though, it was just about having fun together.One of the constant complaints I get (especially from at-home moms), is about the drudgery of housework, particularly about how it is never-ending and repetitive.' Frankly, I liked knowing the parameters involved with housework:' bathrooms, kitchen, and washing and folding laundry.' Folding laundry was my meditative exercise.' I found it quite relaxing.Attitude is the essential issue in dealing with anything in life.' I had a recent caller to my radio program who was still working through her rotten childhood by yelling and being physical with her kids...but in a bad way.' After a bit of a lecture from me on finally having fun in her life, and my giving her examples of getting kids to do things (like putting toys away or getting their pajamas on) with fun (complete with giggles and applause), she wrote me back and thanked me.' Then I received this email from another listener: I am in the middle of three loads of laundry (I have four boys ages 7,10, 12 and 14, so I have a lot of laundry), and wanted to thank you for being my "housework buddy."' You may not realize it, but you've been helping me with my housework for the last 3 months.' How?' I've always hated and avoided doing housework, because I never saw the value in it.' Instead, I took part-time jobs while the kids were in school and hired a housekeeper once a week.' While she put a dent in the mess, there was still a lot of housework left, and I asked my full-time working husband to help out on the weekend.' This meant that our weekends weren't much fun. After listening to you talk to a caller about what a great gift she was giving her family by keeping the house neat, I decided to devote the three hours you're on the air to housework.' I can now happily listen to you from any room in the house.' While I still don't enjoy housework, my family and I do enjoy having a clean, well-organized home.' And we have a lot more fun on the weekend.' So, thank you for being my "housework buddy" and keeping me company while I work! DebraSan Diego Everything we do is of value, even if it is the same thing every day (which, of course, it doesn't have to be).' Creativity in how we approach situations changes everything about how we feel and how much we appreciate life, love, and family.' So, whatever it is you have to do, find a way to make it fun. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodPersonal ResponsibilityRelativesStay-At-Home-MomsValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I brought our one child into the universe, I pushed hard for 12 hours, but he must have been holding on for dear life, because I ended up having a C-section.' I was a bit bummed that I couldn't just pop him out in 20 minutes like the 22 year old down the hall - humphff!They had to give me morphine so, of course, I was out like a light until morning.' The first minute my eyes were open, there was the nurse with my little miracle.' She reminded me that I had signed up for breastfeeding, and...well, here she was and he was hungry.In my sad little stupor, I mumbled "I haven't been able to do anything right yet...I don't know if I can do this." She said it was easy, and then showed me how to hold him.' The side of his cheek touched my breast, his eyes perked up (typical guy!), and he went right on, and all the pain of the night before just evaporated and I fell in love.' Imagine - my own body feeding my own child.' Seriously cool!All of this is not idle reminiscing on my part.' It is a lead-in to the story that there is a new Rhode Island law that allows a woman to breastfeed or bottle-feed her child in any place open to the public.' This new law permits a woman to allege a violation of her civil rights if she is prevented from breastfeeding in public.Now, breastfeeding is very important, not only for the mommy/child bond, but to pass on the mother's immune factors to the child for the first 6 months, saving everybody time, money, and discomfort with infants getting sick.' One might also suggest that it is the responsibility of the mommy to breastfeed for the health of her child, but there is more to the story.Dr. Laura Viehmann, a Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said "Too often, mothers are asked to stop breastfeeding, to move to a private location, or to cover themselves up when they breastfeed at a playground, at the airport, in a restaurant, or in other public places." This is where the typical separation of rights vs. responsibilities occurs.' I breastfed my son whenever he was hungry, wherever I was...but I never imposed this lovely experience on strangers at another restaurant table, or passers-by in the mall, or a pew in a house of worship.' I would either go to a private place for the peaceful setting, or I would take a thin diaper and cover us both up...kind of like "tenting" us.'While at that time, my breast was a source of life fluids for my son, as modestly endowed as I am, the breast is still a source of sexual stimulation to half the population.' Perhaps women who breastfeed uncovered in public with men around should be charged with sexual harassment?' While I'm kidding, of course, I don't think my point is a minor one.People are always "crumbing" about their privacy, and' yet they're willing to show their underwear with pants that barely stay up, or skirts that barely stay down.' My point is that while breastfeeding is a sacred, wonderful, natural part of mothering, it deserves respect, and we hardly show respect for something by parading it in front of strangers.I was a breastfeeding woman, and I always showed respect for the situational expectations of others.' I also never brought our son to a fancy, adult restaurant when he was an unpredictably screaming baby.' To me, breastfeeding is a sacred bonding moment between mother and child - like the passionate act that brought that child into being is between husband and wife.' These sacred moments are private, and should be kept that way with a simple draped cloth.Exposing yourself in full view of potentially unwilling onlookers is less about bonding and feeding, and more about exhibitionism or disrespect for others, or an attitude that nobody else in the world matters - like that Sixties mantra of "if you don't like it, it's YOUR problem."' No matter how you look at it, special things are put on pedestals and treated as special. More >>

Tags: HealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconDuring his recent African trip, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms would not resolve the AIDS problem.' The Pope has made it clear that abstinence is going to be the best way to fight AIDS.Google "Pope" and "condoms," and you'll never run out of reading material excoriating the man for his observation and opinion.' Many health advocates have gone ballistic in their criticism of his comments.' They feel it is one thing to promote abstinence as part of the Catholic religion, but that it is an entirely different thing to preach it to the world.On a person-by-person basis, wearing a condom does, of course, offer some protection against contracting various venereal diseases and (of course) unwanted pregnancy.' It is also true that condoms sometimes break, slip, or are put on incorrectly (taut to the very end).' Everything has its limitations...except abstinence.I remember listening to a rabbi describing a situation that occurred to his kosher family.' His 7 year old child was invited to a birthday party for a classmate at one of those fast-food hamburger establishments.' When he came to pick up his child at the end of the party, one of the mothers - clearly annoyed - chastised him for the pain he caused his son.' "All the children had hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and dessert, and your little boy had to sit there and eat none of it.' Imagine how terrible your son must have felt?' How could you do this to him?' Food is food.' There is nothing sinful about food.' What you are doing to him is just cruel."' Just about at the end of her tirade, his son bounded up to him, gave him a huge hug around the waist, and said "I had a great time.' This was a fun party."The woman blanched and walked away.' The rabbi followed her and gently told her the following:' animals will eat whatever is around, even if it will make them unhealthy.' Humans are to rise above animals and become masters of their urges.' Imagine my son in a dorm room where harmful illicit drugs are being passed about.' We already know that peer pressure and urges will not force him to relent and give in to the impulse.' Learning at his early age to control impulse and desire is not a harmful trait - many times, it might be a life-saving one.' Look at him.' He enjoyed the company of your son and the rest of the children without giving up his values.' He looks happy and satisfied.' We really need to bring up our children to be masters of their instincts, not slaves to them, don't you think?The woman scowled, but listened to him.Yes, in any one instance, a condom could protect, but in the overall scheme of humanity, why do so many people wish to push away the enormous protective power of moral values?When the Pope suggests that human beings are best off saving their sexual passion for the stability of a covenant of marriage, he is making a statement that the act of sexuality is elevated by the context, and ultimately protects both man and woman from a myriad of hurtful consequences from venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancies (complete with abortions, abandonment, single-parenthood, and homelessness to name a few).The naysayers all have one thing in common:' they refuse to want, believe or accept that human beings can commit to a higher spiritual state of thought and behavior.' The Pope believes in us more than that.I am not Catholic, so this is no knee-jerk defense of my spiritual leader.' The truth is that he is simply correct and too many people don't want to hear it, because they want to live lives unfettered by rules.' It is sad that they don't realize that this makes them a slave to animal impulse versus a master of human potential. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-Consciencechoose wisely - treat kindlyChoose Wisely-Treat KindlyDatingHealthMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityReligionSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhile it does interfere with the comfortable digestion of my breakfast, I usually watch the morning TV news for twenty minutes or so, just to see if anything important has happened in the world...and I have to watch carefully, as most morning TV shows just consist of cute exchanges, truncated conversations with important people, or the rehashing of stories that have minimal significance but maximum power to pull in an audience. Recently, though, I watched a story about how credit card companies are raising their interest rates to 30%, and how that might border on "usury" - which is supposed to be illegal.'As a young adult, I didn't even have a credit card.' I got my paycheck, put it in the bank, and used checks against what I actually had in my account in order to pay bills.' If there was anything over at the end of the month (and if there was, it was very little, as I was making only $11,000 per year as a college professor), I considered it "splurge money" and used it on something stupid.' Today, I've got lots of credit cards, but never pay any interest, as we pay off the bills in full the day they arrive.' Admittedly, in between being a young adult and today, there have been some stupid and/or disastrous times when the use of a credit card put us in debt, and it took effort and pain to pay it off.'I say all this to make it clear that I've "been there and done that" like everyone else.' And ultimately, I think the answer is: don't use a credit card unless you have every cent in the bank to back it up.' Don't consider it a credit card at all - consider it a cash card.' In fact, you might consider only having a debit card, which means it can only be used in relation to what you have, and not what you wish you had.' That way, you won't have credit charges which can rip apart the fabric of your life.Here's another idea:' take the time to earn what you want - that special car, a home, jewelry, a vacation - instead of having your folks give you a down payment for a house you can barely afford.' Take the time to build your foundation, and when you can finally afford the next step in your life, you'll feel much more accomplished, proud, special, and downright happy. More >>

Tags: BudgetEconomyFinancesMoneyPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconI can't even guess how many times I've read about some so-called "mother" leaving her kids in cars to die in the heat, either because she "forgot" she had a child, or she was busy with partying, and then the sympathy goes to....the mother!The same thing applies to women and their abusive "significant others" (choke).' Recently, in North Carolina, a mother left her child in the care of a gang member.' She knew he was a gang member when she made him her boyfriend-of-the- month.' The self-declared Bloods gang member beat her 2-year-old son to death, with a combination of 41 blows, which ultimately burst his liver and caused his brain to bleed.According to the report in The News & Observer , the murderer will spend the rest of his life in jail, and there's no mention of the mother being held on any charges whatsoever:' not negligence, not child endangerment....nothing.When informing me of this story, one of my listeners wrote: "I am incensed that this woman was not fined or jailed as well.' I guess our society no longer expects moms to protect their innocent, helpless children.' No doubt, this is what the abortion mentality has done to us." I thought about her comment, and it holds water.' Mothers farm out their kids to daycare, nannies, and baby-sitters.' The "feminista" movement talks about women having power, yet treats women as helpless victims of sexual harassment when they get meaningless comments about their butts, and suggests that only men are responsible for domestic violence.Power and responsibility are two sides of the same coin....or should be.' To leave a child with a known, self-acknowledged gang member should be considered a criminal act, because it clearly puts a child in harm's way.'As a woman and as a mother, I am shocked. More >>

Tags: AbuseChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityViolence
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05/13/2010
IconThe Health section of The New York Times on March 2 debated the usefulness of bribing school children with money, toys, candy and electronic gizmos to have them attain better grades.When I was in school, it was cute stickers and the pride of getting a good grade that you could brag about that made your parents all sorts of happy.' The good grade was the proximate award for all the hard work.' Getting the reputation as being smart was a good thing, and becoming valedictorian was great, as was qualifying for scholarships of all sizes for college.' Spending a lifetime knowing you worked hard and earned what you had the hard way was the long-term reward.Now, some geniuses want to rob children of all of that.' These greater minds than ours want children to fight for things of substance (money) rather than for things of glory (purpose).' Not all endeavors have a high rate of financial return:' a hospice worker helps the dying and their families face their fears of death; a fireman runs into burning buildings to save complete strangers from a horrible death; kindergarten teachers introduce our children to the world of budding independence, self-confidence, social maneuvering and the alphabet...and that's only a few examples.Frankly, we need more kind and compassionate people than we do more "A" students in this world, as it turns out that the greatest thieves (many CEOs, crooked politicians and Ponzi scheme giants), terrorist masterminds, and general sociopaths all have very high IQ levels and got great grades.How about us giving financial rewards, candy and electronic gizmos to kids who go out of their way not to bully, tease, steal, lie, sexually harass, or sexually act-out?' Or to those who won't drink or take drugs or steal or backtalk their elders?'Would that work, I wonder? More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenCommitmentEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeSchoolValues
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05/13/2010
IconA frequent caller "issue" is this: someone in the family has died, and somehow, in the midst of everyone's grief, the caller has the time and energy to put anger and resentment toward someone who did not write, call, send flowers, show up, nor acknowledge the events in any way.Well of course this sounds strange, and perhaps even insensitive or even hostile, but there usually is another side to the story.' The caller never seems to have any information or insight which might explain why this happened, and I'm left with a suggestion that they simply call or visit and see "what's up."' This is generally met with even more anger as though I'm putting some extra burden on them when indeed they're the one who has been hurt or slighted.There are two explanations for this situation:First: when we are emotionally devastated by some sort of hurt or loss, it is not unusual (since we feel so out of control of our life's circumstances) to focus all of that pain towards something that we perceive as a slight.' The "offending" person literally becomes a kind of emotional dumping ground for all our chaotic and excruciating feeling.' In other words, we displace our grief into anger at someone or something concrete, because events often are not within our control.Second: sometimes, in our hurt, we feel unique and the center of the universe.' Our pain is the only pain that matters or, at least, it is the worst pain imaginable and we expect everyone to care and be solicitous of us.' When someone has issues in their own lives, we resent even having to consider that as important, and we can't imagine that interfering with our needs (or narcissistic vision of the world).For the sake of compassion, let us consider the "first" understanding as the most typical and powerful motivation and re-direct our energies into helping others who are suffering the loss right along with you - and not worry about others whose stories we simply don't know. More >>

Tags: acceptanceAttitudePersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI'm turning my blog today over to a 15 year old, who wrote me the following: Dear Dr. Laura: Hi. My dad sent something to my email that frankly made me sick. A young 13 year boy is now the father of a baby girl that was just born last Monday. The fact that the parents of this young boy let him have a 15 year old girlfriend, and the fact that they support this, makes me angry. This poor little girl is going to grow up with an extremely young mother, an even younger father, and is probably going to live in a broken home. These kids are not ready to be parents. Fortunately, my parents are together and happy, and all my life I've been given examples of what a relationship should be. I'm 15, and will never make the mistake of getting pregnant before I'm married. I feel sorry for the mother and father of the baby, because they've been robbed of their childhood. They will never get the freedom now that I have. I've listened to you for as long as I can remember, and I guess some of what you've been saying has sunk in. I was talking to my mom about the story and telling her how this baby needs to be given a good home with GROWN UP parents to take care of her. I couldn't help thinking afterwards "WOW! That sounded like Dr. Laura!" Thank you so much for your preaching, teaching, and nagging that helps many little babies just like this one. It makes me cry to think that this story probably won't have a happy ending, and my heart goes out to that baby. Thank you so much for fighting for kids who can't speak for themselves, and being a great role model. Laura O. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPregnancySexSexualitySocial IssuesTeensValues
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