Holiday Greetings

Every year at this time, I find myself wanting to enjoy the warmth and love that people so often show at this time of year.  And I find myself wondering why we can’t have it more often throughout the year.  We need to build a culture where every day most everyone tries to put a little love and warmth in their life and the lives of those around them. It doesn’t have to cost anything and it can be healthier for us than a brand new car! One of the things that often puts a bit of love in my…

Continue reading

“Why should I praise, compliment kids or students for things they should be doing anyway?”

My experience is that when someone says that or asks that, they—themselves—are feeling terribly un-praised and under appreciated for what they do in life.   The comment really means, “I am unappreciated, so why should I appreciate others?” I don’t attack people for this blinded comment about themselves, nor do I try to argue back from the mountains of evidence showing that all living humans need this. The comment arises from a wound, and the wound needs a healing. How can one do that? Here are two examples: I’ve modeled for PAX Partner Coaches (people who help implement the PAX Good Behavior…

Continue reading

The Value of Government

My dear brother-in-law has inspired me to elaborate on the efficacy of government. When I read Milton and Rose Friedman’s “Free to Choose” sometime in the eighties, I became convinced that free markets have an important function for society in that they evolve efficient and innovative products and services; better products and services get selected by buyers who are trying to maximize their own benefit and sellers who are motivated to maximize their economic gain.  Over time new and more efficient products and services evolve. Societies which have adopted free market principles have seen considerable improvements in their economic wellbeing.…

Continue reading

Benefits of the Mindful Pursuit of Values

Recent research in clinical psychology reveals three basic principles thathave relevance for all of us.  The first is that rather than trying to control troublesome thoughts and feelings it works better to accept them and not struggle with them. In dealing with most problems of human behavior we are hampered by thoughts and feelings that get in the way of change.  If you have ever tried to quit smoking, you may have found that cravings and difficulty concentrating drove you back to smoking.  If you have been depressed, your efforts to get moving (a well-established antidote to depression) might have been undermined by…

Continue reading

My Brother’s Keeper: The Vital Role of Prevention Science

We were pleased to hear about the “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative. It addresses a very significant need in society.  As President Obama indicated, young men of color are particularly at risk for a wide variety of problems. There are many factors that influence the statistics, primary of which is their high rate of poverty, harsher living conditions, institutional racism, stressful family dynamics and lack of opportunities.  The consequences for the nation are substantial.  Economist Ted Miller estimated the cost of the most common problems for all youth, such as violence, drug abuse, high-risk sexual behavior, poor academic achievement, high school dropouts and…

Continue reading

We Can Greatly Reduce Child Abuse

Thanks to the NFL we have the opportunity to have a useful public discussion about punishment and violence in America’s families. I want to offer a somewhat different way of thinking about this that hasn’t yet been discussed in the media. So far the primary focus has been on punishing wrong doers. Prosecuting Adrian Peterson, banning him and Ray Rice from playing, demanding that Roger Goodell resign, establishing stronger penalties for off-the-field misbehavior. Given that the NFL policies regarding domestic violence have the potential to reduce domestic violence going forward—both through direct effects on players and through changes in our…

Continue reading

Punishment Is Not the Answer to Domestic Violence

There is a certain irony to the way our public discussion about the domestic violence of NFL players. The emphasis is on punishment in reaction to what they have done. Criminal prosecution, banishment from the league, firing of the commissioner, shaming of the league. But I have not heard one word about prevention or rehabilitation. Don’t get me wrong, I think there has been egregious conduct on the part of many NFL players and obtuse and insensitive actions by NFL officials. But while this media circus will enhance the bottom line of media organizations, I doubt that it will contribute…

Continue reading

Punishment Is Not the Answer to Domestic Violence

There is a certain irony to the way our public discussion about the domestic violence of NFL players. The emphasis is on punishment in reaction to what they have done. Criminal prosecution, banishment from the league, firing of the commissioner, shaming of the league. But I have not heard one word about prevention or rehabilitation. Don’t get me wrong, I think there has been egregious conduct on the part of many NFL players and obtuse and insensitive actions by NFL officials. But while this media circus will enhance the bottom line of media organizations, I doubt that it will contribute…

Continue reading

We Can Greatly Reduce Child Abuse

Thanks to the NFL we have the opportunity to have a useful public discussion about punishment and violence in America’s families. I want to offer a somewhat different way of thinking about this than I have seen in media so far. So far the primary focus has been on punishing wrong doers. Prosecuting Adrian Peterson, banning him and Ray Rice from playing, demanding that Roger Goodell resign, establishing stronger penalties for off-the-field misbehavior. Given that the NFL policies regarding domestic violence have the potential to reduce domestic violence going forward—both through direct effects on players and through changes in our…

Continue reading

A Super Tootle to Madison County and Ohio for a Nurturing Environment

Please go read this newspaper story:  http://www.madison-press.com/news/opinion/5245873/A-Tootle-for-the-Madison-County-Fair   A “Tootle” (for the uninitiated) is the opposite of a tattle, and Tootles are written. An Ohio newspaper is the first newspaper in the world to publish a Tootle. The people of Madison County and the state of Ohio may not realize that they are the vanguard of showing it’s possible to mobilize young people, adults and organizations of every stripe to protect generations from the epidemic of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders [1]. The last time this happened for a large public good for our children was during the 1950s Polio…

Continue reading