Posts by slapin

A Finished Product?

December 1st, 2020 Posted by Practical Parenting 1 comment

A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter

Names in the Bible are not just names, When the twins, Yaakov and Eisav (Jacob and Esau) are born, their names don’t only reflect their physical traits but spiritual ones as well.  Eisav’s name is from the word “asui”, meaning, made or finished. Yaakov was named from the word “eikev,” meaning heel. Yes, Eisav’s name reflected his mature physical features and Yaakov was born grasping Eisav’s heel, but that is not the complete story.

Eisav’s philosophy in life was one of “asui”, “I’m finished, I’m done growing. Whatever I am today is what I will always be.”  Not surprisingly, since he was not future-oriented, he didn’t value his first-born status and was ready to sell it.

Yaakov, however, always saw himself at the heel of life, at the bottom of a growth trajectory, which, throughout his life, he strived to climb day in and day out.  Yaakov knows that even if today he has nothing, that does not reflect tomorrow.

An Eisav worldview is one of complacency and accepting today’s experience as tomorrow’s reality.  No hope of change, no struggle to change.  Yaakov, on the other hand, sees today as only a tiny start, a small step on the ladder of life.  He is always struggling, always growing, always changing.  You’ll recall, that in chapter 32 Yaakov received another name after he struggled and prevailed in the fight with an angel.  The angel gave him the name “Yisrael – because you struggled against angel and people, and you prevailed.”  Wouldn’t we expect his name to reflect the words “you prevailed”!  After all, that’s what was so noticeable about this encounter.  Instead, the name “Yisrael” comes from the word, “sarisa”you struggled, you wrestled.  Yaakov isn’t about the final success, he’s about the struggle to get there.  Yaakov is all about the process, growth, change, never about the final product.

The Yaakov attitude is at the heart of a believing person’s life.  We don’t believe that we are locked into today’s reality or must accept today’s limited position as a given.  We are forward-thinking, always seeing hope, and working towards a beautiful future.  This quality becomes incredibly obvious and incredibly important when raising children.  We have to remember that a stage is just a stage. Our children are works in progress who are constantly growing and changing.  Today’s limits, today’s struggles, are just part of the process of maturation.  Feeling stuck has no place in our families.

When we’re in the middle of a challenging phase it’s easy to forget that this is temporary, but the message from Yaakov is to see ourselves always at the heel, always climbing higher and higher.  We, and our children, keep putting one foot in front of the other. We keep striving, we keep building, and one day at a time we grow.

Our job is to share this mindset with our children.  Our kids pick up on the labels and limitations, and they sometimes believe they are defined by them.  “I’m not good at learning,” “I’m irresponsible,” “I’m disruptive,” and more.  We want to be the voice that reminds our children that today’s struggles lead to tomorrow’s victories.  None of us are limited to today’s reality. There is no magic moment when we pass or fail life, rather until the day we die we are in the process, winning some, losing some, but always changing, always growing.

We can all use this reminder that life isn’t static.  However rough today was, tomorrow can be better.  Both names, Yaakov and Yisrael, remind us to embrace growth, focus on the process of development, and never succumb to the static fatalism of Eisav.  This is a message for all of us, mothers who sometimes feel stuck in a difficult stage of parenting or life, and for us to share with our children who need to be reminded that today’s mistakes are the stepping stones to tomorrow’s growth.

The Press Secretary vs. The Homemaker

November 27th, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 18 comments

Will you join me in a  thought experiment? Imagine that I proudly identify as an artist. (I did say that this was a thought experiment and so it does require imagination.) If at the end of my days, my art lives on, carrying my values into the future, I will consider myself as having lived a worthwhile life. I consider my art to be so important that I spend time on it even when I am not paid for my work. Perhaps there will be tangible rewards down the road, but there is no guarantee of that. I create art because it is my passion. I also share my art with my city and nation, convinced as I am that the presence of uplifting art leads to a happier and more prosperous populace.

However, being an artist doesn’t consume me. There are other areas of my personality that vie for my time. I am also trained and employed as a lawyer. I certainly have material benefits from that job. Not only I am well paid, but I have good health benefits and a retirement account. There are also non-material benefits. I get to meet interesting people and stretch my talents and abilities by overcoming difficult challenges. I enjoy the intellectual atmosphere of the office. As with my art, I feel that my work is valuable and leads to a healthier and safer life for those in my community and city. Nonetheless, in the final analysis, I am proudest of being an artist.

There is one more part to our thought experiment. The government applauds my art and wishes to help me be successful in that arena. They value artists and agree that the city is a better place when artists feel supported and validated. To do so, the government will spend tax money to provide me with art assistants, whom I can direct to carry out my artistic vision. In this way, they predict, I will be less torn about leaving my art studio and spending more time in my legal office. In addition, they will require all businesses, including my employer, to give artists paid time off to work on our craft. What a wonderful perk of my job!

These assistants and the time off will be paid by increasing taxes on everyone (including my fellow artists).  Regulating businesses to pay for my time off will, of course, add a cost to business, but they have the option to raise the cost of all goods (including art supplies). The important thing is that I should feel comfortable working for a company that values my art.

Wait?  That doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? If the government deems that art is truly important, then why instigate policies that will raise prices and force artists to work longer hours in other occupations, leaving them less time to create art? Will an art assistant truly be able to fulfill my personal artistic vision? What if I want to do my own art? Wouldn’t it be better to form an environment with lower taxes and less regulation so that I can choose to work less at my non-artistic job? Then it would be my choice to give up the positives of my law career and focus on my art or to spend less time on art but keep my legal career alive.

Replace artist with mother and lawyer with press secretary and you will understand why I was confused by a small part of Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ memoir. Overall, I enjoyed the book recounting her years as President Trump’s press secretary. In that role, she was strong, articulate, and classy. Despite being treated despicably by many in the press, she stayed on target, didn’t cower and remained a southern lady.

Speaking for Myself: Faith, Freedom and the Fight of Our Lives Inside the Trump White House is a wonderful reminder of many of the successes of the Trump presidency as well as an inside look at the author’s childhood as the daughter of the Governor of Arkansas and her experiences serving in various political campaigns. All in all, it was an enjoyable and illuminating read.

There was only one place, a few sentences in all, that baffled me. That is the subject of my thought experiment. Since I respect the author and our views converge on so many issues, I truly would like to understand her thinking.

More than once, Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks about the conflict between being a loving mother and also having such a high-tension, high profile job—one that often necessitated last-minute changes of plan as well as travel. One chapter in particular, focuses on that dilemma. She speaks of her personal challenge worrying that she was either short-changing her job or short-changing her children. I understand that and, as a United States citizen, I am grateful for how she served our country, recognizing the sacrifices she and her family made. I also understand when she says that her most important title is ‘mother.’ What I don’t understand is her conclusion:

“…I was so proud of the Trump administration for leading the fight to double the child tax credit and champion paid family leave. Four years ago Republicans were hardly talking about paid family leave at all, but thanks to the leadership of Ivanka Trump, also a working mom of three, there was now broad bipartisan support for it. “

I am not a fan of that bipartisan support. I think that government-directed paid family leave is a terrible mistake that will lead to fewer options for women while damaging the economy and family life. As in my example, if we truly value motherhood, then policies such as lower taxation and less regulation, allowing companies to keep costs down, seem to be the way to go. If couples could once again live on one salary, then they can choose for themselves who and how much to devote to a paid career. Mrs. Sanders seems to have a husband who valued her position with the president and, together, they made the decision that she should accept a grueling government position. Together, I presume, they then made the decision that she should step back in order to be more available to their family. Why should the government make that choice for us using economic incentives to promote one vision?

At the same time as I read Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ account, my daughter shared a book published in 1924 with me. The Homemaker, by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, is a surprising book for its time. (Totally off-topic: If you have not read her book, Understood Betsy, as a read-aloud with your 8-11-year-olds, do that immediately.) While the book has been described as a “feminist novel,” it is actually a ‘protection of children’ novel—those very little people whose needs are often ignored when the importance of women in the workforce is promoted.

The protagonists of the book are Lester and Eva Knapp, both of whom are miserable and causing great misery to their children. In order to get married to Eva, Lester took the first job available. Years later, he despises his work, and is, not surprisingly, quite bad at it. Life is a burden. Meanwhile, the ambitious and business-minded Eva immerses herself in a hated life of cleaning, cooking, and child-rearing. She does those with technical competence and frighteningly resentful vigor. The three children suffer emotionally as one would expect, and the entire family has physical ailments directly connected to stress and unhappiness.

When an accident confines Lester to bed, Eva goes out to work. The family soon discovers that Lester is a loving homemaker and father while Eva thrives at her job. Everyone is happier and their economic situation is vastly improved. At the end of the book, a crisis unfolds as there is a chance for Lester to recuperate and both adults worry that the expectations of society will force him back to the workforce and her back to the home.

However, the primary theme through the book is society’s neglect of the importance of a loving, dedicated figure in children’s lives, one who delights in their growth and makes a true home for the family. Lester and Eva need to make the best choice for their individual family, but caring for that family means that someone has to be devoting his or her intelligence, time, creativity, and talents to the children.

For a few decades now, we have been telling people with disastrous results that raising children is a boring, unfulfilling, and tedious job. We hold up the mirage that if only it didn’t cost so much, parents could find that magical being who will love their child as much as they do and guide them exactly as they would. Then they could do the rewarding and important work of earning money. The person raising their children will be earning money as well. That is, after all, what really matters! Or is it? Mrs. Sanders didn’t accept her job because of the salary and she didn’t quit her job because she couldn’t afford help. She accepted the press secretary position for well thought out reasons and she left because she made a well thought out decision that her family needed more of her presence.

Insisting that companies have a certain proportion of women in their workforce reduces opportunities for men, taking the choice away from husbands and wives as to which one of them will work out of the home. If my husband can’t get a position, while the company is begging me to come to work so that they can show how “woke” they are, then we are less free to run our own lives. If the government provides paid leave so that I won’t step away from my career, they are declaring that the career is more important than my family. They want me to think that having a family won’t interfere with my work, but work is what they are truly holding up as the highest value. If we look to Europe as a role model, we see that there is a serious danger of below replacement population growth. There is generous family leave time—and there are fewer and fewer children. When family and children are not valued, people do not establish families and have children. America is already seeing the result of attitudes that remove the concept of marriage and children as a blessing and vital part of life. As I see it, family leave will be one more nail in the coffin.

Few women or men get similar professional or business opportunities to those that Ivanka Trump or Sarah Huckabee Sanders did. Many, many women work because of economic need rather than for fulfillment. Given a choice, they would rather have more children and take care of them. Perhaps they would homeschool or volunteer in their children’s schools and in their communities, activities that tended to coincide with healthier neighborhoods. Policies that increase the cost of living or constrict the economic choices of husbands and wives, such as paid family leave or quotas for female workers, diminish these options. I know that forcing women into the workforce is a dream of the Left, presented as allowing women to reach their full potential and contribute to society. What I do not understand is why women who recognize the importance of motherhood are pushing conservatives to jump on the bandwagon. The government never works with a light touch; it tends to function with an increasingly heavy fist that leads to all sorts of unintended consequences.

I may not work in pastels or oil paint, but for years I was privileged to use my creativity and intellect, my passion and talents, in raising my children in partnership with my husband. Other women made different choices. I would like for my daughters to have the same options that we did.

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What’s the Question?

November 23rd, 2020 Posted by Practical Parenting, Your Mother's Guidance 2 comments

A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter

There are two fascinating parallel stories about Abraham, one in Genesis 12 and one in Genesis 20.  In each of them, Abraham travels to a foreign land for a temporary stay, once in Egypt and once in Grar.  In each of them, Abraham says that Sarah is his sister instead of his wife. In both stories the king takes Sarah and God intervenes to let both Pharaoh of Egypt and Avimelech of Grar know that Sarah is really Abraham’s wife.  However, there is an interesting difference.

In Chapter 12, Pharaoh calls Abraham and he says:

“What have you done to me?  Why did you not tell me that she is your wife? Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ even when I took her as my wife?  Well, here is your wife. Take her and go.”

Abraham says nothing in response—he doesn’t answer Pharaoh’s question; he just gets up and leaves the country.

In Genesis 20 Avimelech asks Abraham, “What did you see that you did this thing?”

This time, Abraham responds with a full, complete answer—it actually is 3 verses long.

Why the difference?  Both kings ask him for an explanation of his behavior, but Abraham ignores Pharaoh’s question and answers Avimelech.  Why?

Rabbeinu Bachye, a transmitter of ancient Jewish wisdom, notes that Pharaoh’s question wasn’t a real question.  It was a rant. The proof is that his final line is “take her and go.” Pharaoh was letting off steam with all his questioning but he wasn’t truly interested in a dialogue.  He just wanted the situation over.  And so, the polite, respectful thing for Abraham to do was to get up and leave quickly and quietly.

Avimelech on the other hand asked a meaningful question and waited for an answer, which Abraham respectfully gave him.  Isn’t that a beautiful distinction?

This balance of knowing when a question should be answered and when the situation should just be remedied without discussion is one that all mothers work on. There are many times that our children ask us something and they truly want to hear our perspective. There are other times when they ask us something but they are only letting off steam.  They don’t want our explanations; what they really want is the situation to change.  We have to work at knowing the difference, knowing when to answer a question right away, when to defer an answer until a later time when the child will be more receptive, and knowing when to not answer at all.

It also goes the other way when we question our children.  There are times we ask questions just to let off steam, “Who left the door wide open?”  or, “Why did you do that?”  Most of the time when those words come to my mouth, it isn’t because it really matters to me who or why, I’m just expressing that I’m upset.  And I work on trying to bite my tongue because I don’t want to ask my children questions that aren’t really questions.  I also don’t want to ask my children questions that they are incapable of answering such as,  “Why did you do that?”  Most kids and adults aren’t self-aware enough to answer that one without a lot of reflection.  Why ask something that they can’t answer?  We want to show our kids that when we ask them something, we are honestly engaging in dialogue. We want to hear from them, like Avimelech and unlike Pharaoh.

May God bless us with the wisdom and self-control to know when to answer our kids and when to be quiet, when and how to ask our children true questions and when to refrain.

The Traditional Biden Voter

November 19th, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 29 comments

I expend an outsized amount of mental effort trying to understand the half of America that voted for the Biden/Harris team. I realize that those people don’t all fit into any one category, just as all the people who voted for Trump/Pence, can’t be described as having one monolithic mindset.  I understand the young who have been tragically misled to believe that socialism is a viable political option. I get those who make decisions without deep thought but simply listen to popular personalities or follow what those around them do or have done for generations. Even as they see no change or improvement when they re-elect the same types of people whose empty promises have yet to materialize, they continue to vote exactly as they always have. I even recognize the cognitive dissonance of those, often older voters, who cannot move past their decades-long conviction that Republicans are affluent, racist, anti-Semites. Some people, certainly, are one-issue voters who look only at one topic, say abortion, and ignore everything else.

The subgroup that interests me, however, are those people who I would classify as politically involved, intelligent, patriotic, and traditional-leaning.  They are appalled at rioting and looting, believe in free speech and freedom of religion, and proudly fly American flags outside their homes. Yet, they and I came to different conclusions about which of two extremely different paths the country should follow for the next four years.

Or perhaps, we didn’t. Maybe they are putting faith in Joe Biden to lead with the steel of Patton and the wisdom of Solomon. They trust him to stand up and save the Democrat Party from Leftism. They were horrified at President Trump’s manner and speech (based on the President’s admittedly unorthodox method of speaking and a great deal of deceitful reporting), but they were equally dismayed by the anti-Semitic, anti-religious Leftist tilt of the Gang of Four, the viciousness and blatant lying during the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, and the waste of taxpayer money on the Russian collusion hoax and the  groundless impeachment. Their visceral dislike of President Trump ran up against their memories of a more nuanced time when Ronald Reagan could work with Tip O’Neill or Bill Clinton could enact welfare reform with Newt Gingrich. They truly blame President Trump for the chasm dividing America. This pushed them to believe that a Biden presidency would return things to a state of more fraternal collegiality. After all, there were bad spots in the past like the appalling treatment inflicted on Judge Bork or on Justice-elect Clarence Thomas and things seemed to stabilize for a bit after that.

I do not know if the thoughts I am imagining these voters having are accurate. I do know that, should the election go forward as predicted by the media (not the topic of this writing), I see only two choices. Perhaps, my support for President Trump was not as crucial as I thought it was and these voters are correct that a Biden presidency will prove centrist and calming. Or, as I suspect, a Biden presidency will succumb to Leftist anti-American voices and betray these voters. If I was wrong, I would actually be quite relieved. I would love to see this country thrive and see Leftist violence and hatred stifled.

If, however, my fears are correct, then these individuals will bear the privilege and responsibility of loudly and forcefully speaking up. They will be the ones who will have to let the Democrat Party know that they will never be deceived again. And, I sleep at night only because I do believe that, whatever propelled them to support Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, they are at heart, good and noble people with a deep love for this country.

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A Prince and a Pauper

November 16th, 2020 Posted by Thought Tools 8 comments

There is no such thing as a level playing field in the real world. Some of us win what I call the ovarian lottery when it comes to health, others when it comes to place of birth. Some of us have genes wired for height and attractiveness, while other babies might enter the world with outstanding artistic talent lurking in their chromosomes. Newborns do not choose their parents, yet our lives are tremendously influenced by those who conceived us.

The Bible usually provides meticulous detail about family. Twelve spies are sent to explore the land of Canaan—each is identified with his father’s name. (Numbers 11: 1-16) Betzalel is to be the Tabernacle’s craftsman? Not only are we told who his father is, but, in a way that is extremely common, also his grandfather. (Exodus 31:2)   

This makes it all the odder that when we first meet King Saul’s son Jonathan, we’re not told who he is.

Saul picked 3,000 Israelites, of whom 2,000 were with Saul in Michmas and in the hill country of Bethel,
and 1,000 with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin;
the rest of the troops he sent back to their homes.
(I Samuel 13:2)

Only after King Saul has disobeyed the prophet Samuel and imperiled his kingdom, does Scripture inform us that Jonathan is the son of King Saul.

Saul and his son Jonathan, and the troops who remained with them, stayed in Geba of Benjamin,
while the Philistines were encamped at Michmas.
(I Samuel 13:16)

Shortly after that, Jonathan performs an act of both wisdom and courage, leading to terror and confusion in the Philistine ranks.

Saul and the troops with him assembled and rushed into battle; they found [the Philistines] in very great confusion, every man’s sword turned against his fellow.*
(I Samuel 14:20)

This is one of only two instances in all of Scripture where the phrase, “every man’s sword against his fellow” is used.

Here is the other:

For when the three hundred horns were sounded, the LORD turned every man’s sword against his fellow, throughout the camp, and the entire host fled as far as Beth-shittah and on to Zererah—
as far as the outskirts of Abel-meholah near Tabbath.*
(Judges 7:22)

When we are initially introduced to the hero of this incident, Gideon, we are told about his family. Yet the contrast to a royal prince could hardly be more striking. Gideon’s father is the most impoverished in his tribe and Gideon himself is the youngest of the sons.  (Judges 6:15)

Why are these two men, seemingly so different, united by a rare Biblical phrase?

In the 2nd act of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, his character, Malvolio, proclaims this memorable truth:  Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

Gideon, plucked from obscurity by God, had no reason to expect to be great. Jonathan’s royal parentage is omitted from when we first encounter him to indicate that, although “born great,”  his distinction was not a result of being born the son of the king but was of his own doing.

Both these men stepped on the ladder of greatness by sowing internal discord in the ranks of their enemies. Although outnumbered and outflanked by their nation’s enemy, they both had complete faith in the rightness of their cause and their ability, with God’s help, to overcome their limitations. This moral spine of steel overwhelmed the opposition, leading the Midianites (Gideon) and Philistines (Jonathan) to turn upon and destroy themselves.

What a message to us! Each one of us must strive for greatness whether or not our backgrounds seem to predispose us to such or not. In our roles as parents, employers, citizens or friends, once we determine the right path, we should march ahead with steadfast determination. We mustn’t crumble or cower beneath opposition and we must never use the excuse of who our parents are to justify our being anything less than we can be.

A little boy whose seven siblings were each conceived by different men, none of whom was married to his mother, does not have the same chance in life as the eighth son of a couple whose long-term marriage is dedicated to raising their children.  Those two boys are not competing on a level playing field.  What is more,  not only is the lifestyle of one boy’s mother and father far more helpful to him than that of the other boy, it is also far more beneficial to society. Family does matter.  But your own actions matter even more.
_________

*If you would like to see the phrases in the Hebrew using Rabbi Lapin’s recommended Bible: חרב איש ברעהו

Judges 7:22 – p. 762. Words 8, 9, and 10 in verse 22.
I Samuel 14:20 – p. 860. Words 12, 13, and 14, in verse 20.

חרב = sword
איש = man
ברעהו = against his fellow

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Kindergarten Lessons for Teens

November 15th, 2020 Posted by Practical Parenting No Comment yet

Some book titles provide value even if you never read the book. (It’s quite possible that for some books, the title is the best part.) I never read All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum, but the title sticks in my mind as a clever one.

I don’t know if, “Reputation Matters,” is one of the lessons that Mr. Fulghum includes, but it  is certainly one of the crucially important messages we strive to teach our children. That lesson is front and center in politics today and worth discussing.

This message resonates on both sides of the political divide. Personally, I think that President Trump has been an outstanding president when judged in terms of policy results, both domestic and international. His unique personality and methods of communicating may not be my cup of tea but his bluntness and lack of polished political skill well may be the reasons he was elected. However, he knew that he faced a hostile press and many hate-filled enemies both in politics and the general media. For four years, the president’s persona was presented as a caricature, downplaying any speeches and events that contradicted that view. In my opinion, he made a big mistake when much of his re-election campaign, including the first debate, served to emphasize the negatives that these enemies presented as the whole picture. For too much of the past six months, he didn’t recognize the need to meticulously advance the more nuanced side of himself and to aggressively promote his many accomplishments that needed to be highlighted.

On the other side, newspapers, media outlets, and Democratic politicians were openly consumed with hatred for the past four years. When California Democrat, Maxine Waters, called on Americans to “tell them [those who work in the Trump administration] they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” and that was one of the milder displays of contempt, calling for unity in a contested election is futile. When you lie to the American people, publicizing debunked stories of Russian collusion and others with little chance of veracity while suppressing stories that are undoubtedly true, you don’t get to ask people to trust your judgment about whether or not the election was fraudulent.

We explain to our five-year-old that if she upsets a board game because she is losing, her friend may not want to play with her the next day. We tell our nine-year-old how important it is not to breach a friend’s trust. These are normal opportunities to talk about developing a reputation for fair play and trustworthiness. When it comes to our teens, the stakes get higher and our lectures get heard less.

We can take advantage of the real-life examples in front of us to spark discussion and spur thought among our young adults. No matter who you supported in the last election, reputations have been shredded and trust has been eviscerated. We may not be able to stop people from lying about us or control the words and actions of those with whom we generally agree, but that only means that we need to be more careful about developing and projecting a reputation we are proud to claim.

A Good Name

November 15th, 2020 Posted by On Our Mind 3 comments

A statement of King Solomon’s comes to mind as we continue this United States election marathon.  “A good name is more precious than good oil.” Having spent four years deceiving the American people both through acts of commission and omission, including encouraging the spending of enormous amounts of taxpayer money on an investigation into Russian collusion that the simplest investigative journalism revealed as highly problematic, the media is saying, “Trust us,” about the honesty of this election? Reputation counts and they destroyed theirs.

Don’t Be Shocked

November 12th, 2020 Posted by Susan's Musings 31 comments

Whatever the outcome of this election, about half of all Americans will believe that it is not honest and accurate. After I wrote last week’s Musing, Anne commented, “Not liking the results of the election is not credible evidence [of fraud].”

I responded, “You are absolutely correct that not liking the results doesn’t equal fraud. However, just as in any relationship, when you sweep problems under the carpet over many years, you erode trust. There have been “irregularities” for decades that have been ignored. These go back to non-partisan problems, such as the need for identifying every voter but the Democrats yelled “racism” anytime they were brought up and the GOP cowered. Also, there was little political capital to be gained by fixing these problems. This resembles how repairing infrastructure doesn’t win credit for local government while handing out tax money for new programs does. Then, everyone sounds shocked when the bridge collapses or the water is polluted. It’s not a shock–it was ignored when it was easier to fix. […]You can’t allow mistakes/fraud/carelessness for years and then expect people to accept that everything is on the up and up, especially after four years of hatred.”

The integrity of our elections is not the only area where those with an agenda push forward deliberately while most Americans have their eyes elsewhere. It happened with education over the past sixty years, resulting in many highly ignorant and anti-American university graduates. And it is happening in health care now.

You can easily see two simultaneous trends: While veteran doctors are being frustrated, demoralized, and insulted, incoming medical students are being vetted for Leftist leanings. What do I mean?

If you pay close attention, you might notice that doctors have routinely been demoted to being called “health care providers.” This is a not-so-subtle attempt to denigrate the years of study and hard work they put in to achieve their degrees. The old Soviet Union had more doctors and health care facilities per capita than did the United States. They also had worse quality health care with worse results. I don’t think that was unrelated to the fact that being a doctor was not a terribly lucrative or respected position.

Yet, we are moving in that direction by increasingly treating many of our doctors like commodities. Their administrative bosses want to wring the most amount of work out of them with the least amount of respect for their education, instincts, and devotion. Doctor burnout is real and increasing. Here are two articles that are a small sampling of, literally, hundreds that you can find: Doctors Are Fleeing the Medical Field and Here’s Why and Burnout by a Thousand Cuts. When health care deteriorates over the coming years, it should not be a shock.

Meanwhile, the test that aspiring doctors need to take to gain entrance to medical school is changing. Would you prefer to know that your doctor has a firm grasp of biology, chemistry, anatomy, and other hard sciences or that they are able to correctly name all the growing varieties of gender? There are only so many test questions that can be asked.

The focus of medical school is changing as well. This year, the incoming Class of 2024 at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine composed their own class oath. It included these words:

“I will champion diversity in both medicine and society, and promote an inclusive environment by respecting the perspectives of others and relentlessly seeking to identify and eliminate my personal biases.

‘I will be an ally to those of low socioeconomic status, the BIPOC community, the LGBTQIA+ community, womxn/women, differently-abled individuals, and other underserved groups in order to dismantle the systemic racism and prejudice that medical professionals and society have perpetuated…

‘I will restore trust between the health care community and the population in which I serve by holding myself and others accountable, and by combating misinformation in order to improve health literacy.”

The doctors I prefer actually treat all patients with respect. I also want my doctors to take pride in belonging to a field that has had many outstanding individuals who have toiled, labored, and sacrificed to serve their fellow human beings. I detest the arrogance that sanctimoniously says, “Those before us were terrible but we noble and wonderful students are different.”

What happens once you are out of medical school, practicing as a nurse or a doctor and you are slated to take part in a procedure that you see as unethical? For decades now, abortion has raised this issue. Now, we must throw in gender-change surgery. What if you think this is a breach of your promise to help heal? What if you think this has less to do with medicine and more to do with Leftist indoctrination? Welcome to being labeled a bigot and possibly losing your job.

No one paying attention should be surprised that Americans are increasingly losing faith in our elections. When people like John Fund, who in 2012 wrote the book, Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, were warning for decades that this was going to happen, it simply wasn’t of urgent concern for most of us. No one should be surprised that so many college students see free speech as a threat or that they support socialism. How many years will it be before we will be shocked, simply shocked, to discover that caring and competent doctors and nurses are increasingly difficult to find?

Now that I’ve grumbled, you might not believe it but I really am a Happy Warrior.
Are you?


Get your free ebook today: The Holistic You: Integrating Your Family, Finances, Faith, Friendships & Fitness

Mission Possible

November 11th, 2020 Posted by Thought Tools 4 comments

Each one of us is unique, of course.  It’s just that some are, well, a little more unique than others. Our president is certainly unique. Over the past few years, President Trump has worked at a pace that younger presidents did not attempt or manage. Whether you agree or disagree with his policies, he takes his mission seriously.

Let us look at five individuals who also took their missions seriously. In his own way, each has a lesson for us.

And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before me…I will destroy them… make an ark…”(Genesis 6:13-14)

And the Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, and your family, and your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” (Genesis 12:1)

And the Lord appeared to him [Isaac] and said, “Don’t go down to Egypt; live in the land of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 26:2)

And, behold, the Lord stood above it [the ladder] and said [to Jacob], “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, to you will I give it, and to your seed.”  (Genesis 28:13)

And when the Lord saw that he [Moses] turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said, “Moses, Moses. And he said, ‘Here I am’.”(Exodus 3:4)

These are the very first times that God spoke to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses, respectively.  Each of these instances heralded a major change in the life of the individual involved.  Each occasion propelled each person onto a powerful new plateau of being.

Most of us yearn to move to new levels in one or more areas of our lives.  Some seek added success in finances, while others wish for progress in family and friendships.  Whenever we seek transformation in our lives, God’s help can make all the difference. What sort of behavior characterized these five Biblical personalities?

Noah remained uninfluenced by the mistaken ideas of the evil people around him. (Genesis 6:5-9)

Abraham didn’t delay; he instantly started his journey. (Genesis 12:1-4)

By claiming his wife was his sister (Genesis 26:7) just as Abraham had done (Genesis 12:13), and by re-digging his father’s wells (Genesis 26:18) Isaac reasserted that he was Abraham’s heir and would further his father’s mission (Genesis 18:19) by dedicating himself to doing the things he alone as the heir to Abraham’s blessing could do.

Jacob single-mindedly seized the opportunity to purchase the birthright when his brother fortuitously asked him for his lunch. (Genesis 25:30-31)  Later he single-mindedly pursued Rachel, working for seven years to win her. (Genesis 29:18-20)

At the Burning Bush, Moses committed to bringing Israel out of Egypt and to the Promised Land. In so doing, Moses accepted a mission that was to absorb all his effort for each and every day of the next forty years (Deuteronomy 29:4)

Above all, they all took their lives and their missions seriously.  Transformation arrives from treating one’s life seriously enough to adopt five practices.

How might we phrase the actions of these men in modern terms?

1.  Ignore bad ideas and tenaciously fight complacency, never settling for the status quo. (Noah)

2.  Never postpone decisions unnecessarily.  Sometimes, we need to act quickly and promptly.  (Abraham)

3.  Dedicate ourselves to the tasks that we are specially positioned to do.  (Isaac)

4.  Focus on one thing at a time, while keeping your eye on the bigger picture. (Jacob)

5.   Expect the ups and downs that you will meet. Keep the global landscape of your mission in mind at all times. (Moses)

God made us each unique. At the same time, we share with most other humans the desire to thrive in five main areas of life: Family, Finance, Fitness, Friendship, and Faith.  If we keep our eye on balancing these vital parts of our lives, we will be best suited to moving ahead with our overall mission.

Are you a Happy Warrior?
Are you ready to be one? 

Thank You to Our Veterans

November 11th, 2020 Posted by On Our Mind No Comment yet

Fewer and fewer Americans know what it means to fight for your country. To those who do, we owe a debt of gratitude and a commitment to honor the Constitution and flag under which they serve.

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