Life is Precious

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I have to say that I was very surprised to see the strong response to my last column. Clearly I offended Steve Oakey with some of my statements on the topic of suicide. I like Steve, and agree that there is great value in public debate of important topics. And no topic could be more important than the sanctity of human life.

But I very much regret that Steve misunderstood me to suggest that his comments somehow related to or caused ...

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To Be, or Not to Be? Here Is the Answer.

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As I drove home from the office Saturday I picked up the Standard Journal (Nov 5) and was saddened to see the cover story about the young boy who took his own life, and his mother’s efforts to find some meaning in the loss and to protect others from a similar fate. So it seemed particularly ironic to see a feature letter to the editor in defense of doctor-assisted suicide.

In the span of those few pages one person sought to ...

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Take the Challenge!

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“Ice Bucket Challenge” fever swept the nation this year. Time magazine reports that Americans donated 115 million dollars to the ALS foundation to fight a disease most had never really thought about before.

So why the big response? It seems we want, even need, to be challenged. The need for challenge—taking on tasks that stretch our abilities—is very real in all of us. I gained a greater appreciation for this fact when our youngest son was nine months old.

Tyler wanted to ...

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Sometimes You Gotta Take a Break

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I am writing this week’s column from exotic Richfield, Utah where Ruth and I have spent a couple of days with Trevor and Miranda—our oldest son and his wife—and their 3.4 kids. (Child number 4 is due in April.) We brought our six-year old granddaughter, Emma, as a surprise guest for her cousin, Allie’s, sixth birthday celebration.

Other than the “fallout” from car sickness everything has gone well so far. (Maybe fast food and seven hours of Angry Birds and educational ...

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The Paradox of Protection

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Working closely with young gang members in Southern California helped me to better understand the drive many feel to “get even”. Revenge seems to offer protection from being hurt, something we all desire.

A young lady recently told me, “Nice people get walked on. If I come off as mean and insincere people won’t take advantage of me.” How sad that many kind-hearted people harden their hearts as a means of protecting themselves from potential pain, only to find that this ...

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You Can Never Really Get Even

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In 1990 I sat in my office with five or six young men, aged 16 to 18. We had been talking about the gang activity that led to their being sentenced to the residential treatment program where I worked, and where they lived. A little more open than most of the residents in the program, this small group was willing to talk privately on a sensitive subject.

Street vengeance had played a bit role in how each of these guys ended ...

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We Are All Power Hungry

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Over the years I have taught parenting classes to an assortment of groups and in a variety of venues. But the most memorable has to be the series of classes i taught to “a captive audience” in Lompoc Federal Penitentiary.

I learned a great deal in that class. There I came to appreciate the tremendous need we all have to make choices regarding our own lives—that people who lack a sense of personal power will do ANYTHING to regain that sense ...

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3, 2, 1…Contact!

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“You can never get enough of what you don’t need, because what you don’t need cannot satisfy you.” This observation discussed here two weeks ago (Sept 16) has many applications and implications, and goes a long way toward explaining how we can easily become stuck in the very behaviors that cause us the most grief.

What if parents kept that in mind when responding to their children, and the behaviors that concern them? Instead of using rewards and punishments to nudge ...

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The Cure for Adult-Onset Discouragement

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Several weeks ago I wrote about discouragement—the condition in which one finds it difficult to move toward a worthy goal for fear it may not be accomplished as hoped. In that column I discussed ways of helping our children to overcome discouragement. But as a fifty-one year old with frequent pimples I know that many “kid” problems don’t necessarily go away with age. Discouragement can be a big challenge for adults, too.

Michael Popkin—one of my favorite authorities on parenting issues—points ...

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Kevin Durant and His Mom: True sports heroes

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If you are interested in reading about Kevin Durant’s contributions to the game of basketball, you might want to skip this article and turn to the next section of the paper. But if you are interested in true heroism—doing something brave and admirable in the face of adversity—read on.

Last Tuesday the NBA awarded Kevin Durant the Most Valuable Player award. His acceptance speech was unlike any other I’ve read or heard. “First I would like to thank God for changing ...

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