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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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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In Defense of Fido

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Evidence has been piling up for years: animals can have great therapeutic effects of people of all ages.

While scanning the web for research I saw that the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine held an entire conference on “animal assisted interventions in adolescent mental health”. While I was a bit surprised it should come as no shock to any of us that animals can have a definite healing or soothing effect.

Last week we discussed the need each of us ...

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It Takes Courage to Be a Kid

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I was fourteen years old when I saw Robert eat the baby mouse.

He and his friends found five nearly-naked rodents under a hay bale outside of Midway Junior High and dared each other to eat one. I watched from a distance as Robert excitedly took the dare and collected five dollars for his “courageous” behavior. Even then, I was more repulsed and engrossed by his thought process than by the actual deed. The only thing clear was that he was ...

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