Monday, May 23, 2011

Building Your Daughter's Self-Esteem

Several years ago, my wife and I adopted a baby girl whose biological father is black and whose mother is white. When this high school girl got pregnant, her father gave her two choices: have an abortion or move out of the home. She moved out. This same father called her "pizza face" as she was growing up. Today, she admits that she has been looking for her father's love in all the wrong places.

So my 3-year-old adopted daughter is a daily reminder that my words and actions have great power to influence her self-esteem. She may face people who are insensitive to her racial background, or she may someday be rejected by her biological mother's family. I'm striving to give her a positive view of herself and prevent something similar from happening to her life.

One of our favorite things to say in our household is, "Who's the most beautiful little girl in the world?" She's my only daughter, and her name is the only right answer. I'll ask my sons that question, and they'll give the right answer, then I'll ask my daughter herself, and she knows the answer.

Urban Youth and Education

We Should Be More Concerned About The Failure of Urban Schools Than About The Success of the Taliban

My parents, dirt poor people, were share croppers, picking cotton in rural dirty Oklahoma. My parents never wanted their children to have to live as they did. My dad often said that the next generation should live better than the previous generation.

Today, some 50 years later, I want to be a part of helping the next generation live better than my generation. To move more of poor people into middle class America with a keen awareness of creating wealth and passing it on to future generations, ending cycles of poverty and shame for many is how America will survive threats from within.

The reality is, we are failing to educate the students in the urban core of this community. In desperation they may become our terror from within.

I believe the educational system is the most important institution we have in our society. Being educated is essential for a productive life and for a stable democracy. Failing to educate all of our children puts the future of this community at great risk.

Where are the Outraged Fraternity Men?

Several weeks ago, the Executive Director of Delta Upsilon Fraternity sent his Board of Directors, of which I am a member, website links to news stories detailing the despicable behavior of some young fraternity men at Yale University. It appears that the University is investigating the charges against the men, and perhaps even the Justice Department. The sites are below.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2011/mar/31/breaking-does-office-civil-rights-investigate-yale/

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/04/29/amid_yale_investigation_some_critics_want_to_end_fraternities

I have waited these several weeks for what I hoped might develop: a response from the National Fraternity community or from local chapters of undergraduate men just as appalled as I was to read about the alleged deeds of these men who represent our fraternity community. To date, I have heard nothing. I am disgusted there has been no response, no counter statement to the media that says that the general fraternity world abhors and denounces the behavior of these few men and this behavior in no way represents the many outstanding men who are living out their undergraduate careers with great honor and respect. Not a single word. College women and the general public are left to assume that all college fraternity men are wild alcoholic pigs, while there are editorials calling for the elimination of campus fraternities.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The World is Changing Exponentially

The model we used in the 20th century to live by will not get us where we want to go in the 21st century. We need a new and expanded plan because our turf is no longer just the US. Our play ground is the entire world. And to be successful in this world, we need to abandon the outdated models and plans for success. These posts should help inspire you to think, dream, imagine, and engineer a 21st century plan that will take your community to a wholistic modeling for living successfully!

Let's get started!

It takes a village...to raise a child!

This ancient African proverb teaches eternal truth. No man, woman, or family is an island. But in these tough days, community isn't always what it is supposed to be. We'd all like to think we live in a place where people care about others -- where people pitch in to help when things get rough -- where it's safe to leave the doors unlocked and let the kids play around outside.

Today, this is not what we are experiencing. Instead of community, we find alienation; looking for safety, we are attacked by crime; hoping for a better life for our kids, we encounter gangs and drugs and education that is failing our children. And our death rate is the highest of any other group!

It does take a village, to work with the family, to raise a child and weather the storms of life. If we want that kind of support, the place to begin is with ourselves. Community, like charity, begins at home. You start building a good neighborhood when you yourself decide that you will be a good neighbor. If you don't know anyone on your block, you can take the initiative. You can bake some bread and take it to your neighbors and introduce yourself. You can join a church and become part of that community. You can reach out to your own network of friends and start building community. And you can change your diet and teach those around you that we no longer have to eat the scraps that the "master" threw out to us!

There are many things that we just don't have much control over. But like eating good food, building community is something that you can do, right here, right now, in the place where you are now -- whether or not you have a job, an education, or a car. Be the first one on your block to reach out and touch your neighbor. Find -- together in God -- a new sense of purpose and life on your street. Make your neighborhood your village and find the truth that humans have learned the hard way. United we stand, divided we fall -- cooperation is as important as competition. Maybe, at certain times and places, it's more important. In this space we will discuss how we can re-imagine or re-engineer the Village!

Public/Private Sector

We can work together! Check back soon!