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America the Beautiful


Dear Friends:

Hello again and welcome to the March edition of our parenting newsletter. Much has happened in our world in the past thirty days and we find ourselves living in uncertain and precarious times. Since our last newsletter, America's war on terror has escalated with the action in Iraq that we have been witnessing on television.

Many parents have sent in questions regarding this issue. Many are seeking answers and want to know, "at what age should we talk to our kids about issues like war?" and "what should we tell them?" The answer to the first question is NOW!  If they ask a question ANSWER IT! Often it is even necessary to bring up subjects for discussion simply because you deem that it is time. I believe that our nation being at war is a topic that kids need to hear from parents. It is not possible to stick your head in the sand and act like it is not happening. It is on the radio, on TV, in the newspapers, and everyone is talking about it. Kids need to hear from Mom and Dad on big issues like this!

There has been an outpouring of emotion and public demonstrations around the globe, both favoring and denouncing these events. One of the great things about being an American is that debate on such issues is not only permitted, but also encouraged. Be that as it may, it is not our purpose in this newsletter to side with either viewpoint. But YOU need to tell YOUR KIDS where YOU stand on issues of this magnitude!

Our objective is to help parents raise well-adjusted, responsible children. As parents, grandparents or educators, we may find ourselves in situations where we are asked to explain to children why America is at war, and why these terrorists seem to despise America. This week we received an email with noteworthy significance that we feel could be shared with children and adults alike. This message helps to add perspective at a time when it is needed most. This man's essay may not make war clear but it does a pretty good job of letting kids, or anyone for that matter, know what an American is! I doubt that many parents would have a problem sharing this essay with their children.

You may have missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone (in another country) had published in a newspaper, an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American. In response, an Australian dentist wrote the following to let everyone know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.

An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan. An American may also be Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan.

The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses. An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God given right of each person the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need.

When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.

Americans welcome the best, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes. But they also welcome the least. The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America. Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. I've been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 other countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

The sender of this email asked that we pass this around the World.


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Book report

Mac's new book, "Parenting With Dignity", continues to fly off the shelves. Reorders from book stores have been astonishing, and letters and emails from appreciative parents continue to pour in. If you haven't already gotten your copy of Mac's wisdom and common sense, you can order your copy here.

Web additions

In February we told you about a new easy-to-use navigational menu on our Website. Thanks to all of you who took the time to tell us how much you like it. This month we added a new calendar where you can view Mac and Barbara's speaking schedule. Also, for those of you who invite Mac to speak at an upcoming event, we have added a new section with suggestions as to how to make a PWD event a success. See how to promote your event by clicking here.

Remember to "RAP"

Last month we introduced our acronym for "Refer A Parent". We're asking each of you to refer just one parent and introduce them to our program. We believe that every parent can benefit from being exposed to PWD, and we're asking you to help. There are a number of things you can do to help us:

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Until next month, thank you, and stay safe,

The Editor

PS: While it is fresh in your mind. . . (remember to RAP), please forward this newsletter to another parent in your address book and encourage them to subscribe to our free newsletter. Thanks, we really appreciate your help!




In This


Ask Mac


A regular feature of our newsletter. Mac responds to your concerns. Send questions to: Ask Mac



Ask Mac?

Dear Mac,

I am the mother of a 2 1/2 year old who has all of a sudden decided to throw temper tantrums when she doesn't want to leave a place (a store or the library, for example).  How can I reason with such a young child.  My husband says, "Don't talk, take action" and I don't always agree with him.  I like your methods of dealing with older children,  Do you have any suggestions for me.


Mary from Canada

Dear Mary,

You do not try to reason with a human being of any age when they are in an agitated state! Doesn’t matter, 2 1/2 or 50! So what do you do? Wait until things calm down and do some practicing of the situation when both you and she are calm. Before going to the store or library practice the desired behavior. Then let your actions speak. Explain very clearly that the practiced behavior must be adhered to or we will have to leave. The minute the tantrum starts leave. (I would rather tell you to just ignore it but you might never get to go back to the library again after they revoke your library card.) No explanations at this point. Never give warnings. (“The next time we are leaving.”) That just teaches her that first statements must never be listened to. The minute the calm behavior returns practice the desired behavior.

Don't discuss the undesirable behavior. Act like it didn’t happen. Do not assume that leaving has taught anything about proper behavior. It has not. All it has taught is that there is a real consequence for inappropriate behavior. Only instruction of proper behavior will teach proper behavior. That is where so many people fail to understand… punishment says nothing about what is correct. You must do that. You must teach the positive behavior.

As a young boy, I was sent to my room 1002 times for teasing my sisters. I never once conjured up a thought of the desired behavior. What I thought about was how I was going to get the little brats out behind the barn and hold their heads under water in the horse trough and how I was going to stick gum in their hair. I also thought about how I was going to run away from home and how unfair my parents were. It would have been so much easier if Mom and Dad had taught me how to get along with my sisters. I had to learn how to do that on my own at 35! Don’t let your daughter wait until 15 to discover how to behave in a library. Teach her today!

One more thing. Delight in this time with your daughter. See the humor in her action. She is discovering what works and what doesn’t. She is just trying out things. Be her guide. Teach her that appropriate behavior works to get what she wants and then watch in excitement as she delights people with her charming behavior that you taught her. Remember, when she is twenty-nine you will be recalling these antics with nostalgic delight.

The strength of using our parenting videos is that many people can watch them together and discuss what they are learning! For this reason, I recommend that you get a set and watch them with some parents of the kids your kids play with. You will not believe how much more you will learn if you share thoughts with other parents from your community! Also, by watching them with the parents of your kids friends is that it will insure that your kids will get some of the same stuff while away from home. So much easier to teach manners, study habits, drug free living, etc. if your kids hear the same thing in every home they visit! Fits won’t work there either and the other parents will understand when you simply ignore inappropriate behavior until it disappears.


Mac Bledsoe
Mac and Barbara Bledsoe




Mac & Barbara Bledsoe

Five Great Lessons
By Mac Bledsoe

  I picked these ideas true stories up in different places and put them together here because I feel that they are well worth passing on because there are some things in life that are not taught in classes nor do we need a college professor to tell us are true! I hope that they will stimulate some meaningful discussions at your dinner table or on your next trip in the car with your kids:

FIVE GREAT LESSONS: Some Important Things Life Teaches Us ...


During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello.' "

"I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.


One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her-generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote down his address, thanked him and drove away. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."


Mrs. Nat King Cole


In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old Boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a Glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?"

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress. The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a number of coins in it. "How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired. Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit impatient.

"Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely. The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - her tip.


In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.

As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never understand.

Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's condition.


Many years ago, as a doctor was working at Stanford Hospital, he got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies, needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "When will it happen?"

"When will what happen?" Asked the doctor.

"Will I start to die right away?" Asked the boy.

Being young, you see, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood.

Attitude, after all, is everything.
The ideas in your head do rule your world!





Time out . . .


A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal, its throat was very small.

The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.

Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.

The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah."

The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"

The little girl replied, "Then you ask him".

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."

With no hesitation, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."



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