Posts filed under ‘Self-Help’

Interview with President Barack Obama – on Responsible Fatherhood

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Interview with President Barack Obama

Then Senator Barack Obama appeared as a guest on the Jeffery Leving Fathers’ Rights Legal Show on SOUL 106.3 FM – Chicago/Indiana.  Here is a transcript of the interview where they discuss the importance of responsible fatherhood:

Jeffery M. Leving
:
Senator Barack Obama

President Obama: Yes, sir!

JML: How are you doing? It’s an honor to talk to you. I actually met you at an NAACP event Vera Davis put on in Chicago years ago.

President Obama: Well it’s wonderful to talk to you again.

JML: This is Jeffery Leving with the Jeffery Leving Fathers’ Rights Legal Show today. And today we are honored to have as our guest Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama.

Senator, I was reading your website, BarackObama.com/family and I was reading about Strengthening Fatherhood and Families and in your website, you talk about fatherless children and how they are more likely to end up in poverty and drop out of school and I also read your Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families Act.

And I think that’s tremendous and it can help a lot of children and families. What motivated you to re-introduce the Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families Act?

President Obama: Well, Jeffery as you know my father left me when I was 2. I remember watching my mom struggle as a single parent, trying to go to school and work and raise 2 kids at the same time – and fortunately she has support from my grandparents but a lot of single moms don’t have that.

And unfortunately although many of them do heroic jobs – it is true that statistically; children without fathers involved their lives are more likely to experience poverty, more likely their girls to get pregnant as teenagers, they’re more likely to have problems at school and so I really believe that it’s important for us in all communities but especially the African American Community – which has seen such as problem with lack of men and male involvement in family life that we really put an emphasize on this.

And this is something that the government can help to make sure that we don’t have a dis-incentive for fathers to be involved; make sure that our welfare programs for example are designed in such a way that they don’t penalize fathers participating.

I think we got to do a real good job trying to reintroduce males who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system as ex-offenders – giving them the opportunity so that they are able to support their families, find work, get on the right path – but ultimately there’s a lot of personal responsibility that’s involved in this. And one of the things I want to do as president is to use the bully pulpit to say to men, “You’ve to get involved in your child’s life. It will make a difference not only in their lives but in yours.”

JML: I agree with you 100%. We need to support and involve fatherhood. I also believe, to do this, we have to change the way the world views dads – and fathers are an untapped resource and I believe by involving fathers in positive relationships with their children, that will reduce youth violence which is affecting our country terribly, especially in Chicago where we’re from.

So we need to do this and justice shouldn’t be a luxury and many fathers don’t have the resources to seek legal counsel, to involve themselves in their children’s lives and they don’t have even basic knowledge – so your bill is excellent.

I’m a big supporter of it because I think the bill will help many many children throughout our country – because millions of children are father-absent in the United States and because of that, they are living in poverty and they can escape poverty by this bill coming law.

How do we keep crime down in the United States? We know that involving fathers and positive relationships with their children is one solution. But what are other solutions to keeping crime down and fighting youth violence?

We also have to have after school and summer school to give positive alternatives to our youth. And if we invest in early childhood education, studies show that every dollar we invest there we see improvements in reading scores reduced dropout rates, and reduced delinquencies. So giving young people positive things to do and investing in more police on the street the better off we are going to be.

Alright Jeffery, thank you so much for having me.

JML: Thank you for being on my show, I appreciate your time.

President Obama: Thank you so much – take care.

To listen to the archived interview, please visit: www.DadsRights.com

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March 12, 2009 at 5:23 pm 1 comment

Which Power Do You Honor?

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I had the most amazing experience today as I was out and about, running errands downtown. I was surprised to be unable to find a parking space, since I usually park in front of my destination, regardless how crowded the streets may be. I’d been circling the block for about thirty minutes when I spotted a van on the corner ahead of me about to pull out of its parking spot. As it moved out, I glided right on in… to see a sleek BMW sedan just ahead flashing it’s blinker as if it had been waiting to back into the exact same spot. The flashy BMW slowly pulled back alongside my car, and we both lowered our windows as soft flurries of rain drizzled down from the sky. The BMW’s driver was a 20-something Asian male wearing black sunglasses, who crisply announced, “I was waiting for this spot.”

I replied, “I was waiting for this spot, too. I didn’t see you there — I’ve been circling this block for thirty minutes.”

The Asian fellow furrowed his brow and looked very annoyed as he said, “I’ve been circling for thirty minutes, too.” As I looked at the young man, I saw another myself. A younger, male, Asian version of myself, perhaps, but I had a very clear sense that our roles could easily have been reversed. Only a moment of time had passed as I gazed into the depths of his Ray-Bans, yet I felt that there was only one course of action that would give me peace of mind; to relinquish the parking spot. I replied, “You can have this spot. It’s yours,” and pulled forward to watch the young man park his BMW there. I sighed as I noticed he hadn’t even said, “Thank you,” no doubt because he was sure that he was right and I was in the wrong.

As I began to drive around the block one more time, I bit my lip and asked Spirit, “WHY is this happening to me? I just don’t get it.” It was so strange for me to be deprived of a parking spot for thirty minutes — this had never happened to me before! As I passed the BMW in its corner spot on my circuit around the block, I noticed it’s license plate for the first time: “BM POWER.” Suddenly, I understood — and laughed out loud! When I was growing up, “BM” was a word that children used when they were talking potty talk, and seeing it proudly displayed as a source of power was just too funny! Naturally, the owner of BMW was most likely intending to demonstrate pride in his vehicle, but the wonderful and oh-so-timely message for me finally put my entire frustrating parking experience in perspective.

You can’t let the @#$% win the game, regardless how much power it might think it has. After all, you are always the one who chooses how you respond to every situation — your feelings and your attitudes are your greatest riches, and there’s no way that any kind of “BM POWER” (no matter how trying the situation may seem) can ever be greater than love!

Within seconds of this divine revelation, a car on the block ahead of me pulled out so I could park my car. In that instant I knew for sure that it really is that simple. All you have to do is decide which power you will honor in your life.

About the Author:
MBA,  Intuitive, and Spiritual Life Coach, Cynthia Sue Larson helps people tap into the extraordinary powers that lie within them to create their best lives.  Please visit her website: http://www.realityshifters.com.

March 9, 2009 at 9:02 pm 2 comments

Reverse Negative Self-Talk

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I’ve often not realized how damaging the little things I say to myself and others can be. It may seem innocuous, humble or modest to say something like:

I’m not very good at this“,

but when I hear my child repeating my very same words of self-abasement to someone else, I suddenly recognize the tremendous power hidden in those six little words.

My daughter asked me to help her tie a balloon string around her stuffed animal toys at a recent birthday party, and I cheerfully agreed to help. As I wrapped the balloon string around her stuffed toys, I was surprised to hear myself saying,

I’m not very good at tying knots… I can’t remember all the knots there are“,

The words came out of my mouth before I could stop them — like slippery will-o-the-wisps who blew through the garden unbidden and unannounced. Once they’d burst out of my mouth, I could think of no way to retrieve them. My eyes caught my daughter’s eyes, as I looked for any clue as to whether these words had slipped away unnoticed, or had landed on her and taken root. My daughter’s eyes shone with the simple joy that I was helping her, and I hoped and prayed that my words hadn’t become part of her personal inner talk.

When I went to the bathroom a few minutes later, I overheard two children talking outdoors through the open window in the bathroom. I heard my daughter talking to a little girl, repeating verbatim exactly the same words I’d just spoken aloud and instantly regretted!

In that moment, I could see how the things we think and don’t say often get their start in early childhood, when we listen with reverence and full attention to every word our parents and care-givers say. These little words sink in very deeply, indeed.

What the Research Shows
Author Adam Khan shares a story in his book Self Help Stuff That Works of how Randall Masciana, M.S., found out what kind of mental strategy most improved a person’s performance when throwing darts. Masciana asked his dart-players to try everything from mental imagery (visualizing hitting the target) to Zen meditation (clearing the mind of extraneous thoughts). Masciana discovered that positive self-talk was the best technique for improving the dart thrower’s ability to hit the target. This kind of positive self-talk is very simple — it consists of talking to oneself in a confident, reassuring, positive, friendly way. Surprisingly, positive self-talk works better than anything else!

In her American Journal of Nursing article, “Making Self-Talk Positive”, McGonicle defines “harmful” negativity as being “awfulistic” – where everything is viewed as being catastrophic, “absolutistic” – using “must,” “always,” “never”, or “should-have” statements in one’s self-talk. It’s generally healthier to refrain from all-or-nothing thinking, discounting the positive, emotional reasoning, and personalization and blame.

In her book, Your Body Believes Every Word You Say, Barbara Levine recommends that we examine our seed thoughts for signs of mindless cliches and other negative elements, so we can replace these thoughts with something more constructive. Regardless whether our thoughts are positive or negative, Levine suggests that we reflect upon how we are feeling when these kinds of self-talk statements arise. We can then discover which thoughts help us feel better, so we can pay more attention to those thoughts more often.

Positive self-talk has been associated with reduced stress, which has been shown in numerous health studies to affect our health. Both thoughts and self-talk are based on beliefs that we form early in life. As I’ve now witnessed first-hand, beliefs shape our self-talk, which in turn affects our self-esteem… and our quality of life.

How to Transform Negative Self-Talk
The technique that works for me is to write two columns of phrases down… one on the left with the negative self-talk that I’ve noticed and would like to neutralize, and a column on the right for it’s antidote or reverse self-talk statement.

For example, if I wish to rectify my negative self-talk regarding my feeling of inadequacy tying knots, I would write down the reverse of my negative self-talk statement as something like this:

“I am very good at tying knots.”

At this point I am concerned more with my inner feeling about tying knots than with my actual ability at knot-tying. I know that by improving my confidence on the inside first, I will be able to more easily learn what it takes to be good at tying knots.

Perhaps more importantly, I’ll be setting a good example for every impressionable person around me, and feeling much better about myself.

For Further Information:
Grainger, R.D. (1991). “The Use–and Abuse–of Negative Thinking.” American Journal of Nursing, 91(8), 13-14.

Khan, Adam, Self-Help Stuff That Works (1999), a collection of 120 short chapters on taking your attitude and your effectiveness to new heights. Write to Adam at adamkhan@aol.com

Levine, Barbara H. Your Body Believes Every Word You Say: The Language of the Body/Mind Connection (1990). Boulder Creek, CA: Aslan.

McGonicle, D. (1988). “Making Self-Talk Positive”. American Journal of Nursing, 88, 725-726.

About the Author:
MBA,  Intuitive, and Spiritual Life Coach, Cynthia Sue Larson helps people tap into the extraordinary powers that lie within them to create their best lives.  Please visit her website: http://www.realityshifters.com

March 5, 2009 at 5:01 pm 1 comment