Parenting With Dignity Website


Monthly Newsletter

November 2004

Effective Parenting Skills - Holiday Edition



Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Parents and Supporters:

Although it is celebrated in may countries around the world, to our friends in the United States, the Thanksgiving holiday is a very special occasion.  Traditionally, this holiday commemorates the founding fathers landing at Plymouth Rock, but it has evolved into a custom of gathering together as a family.  Regardless of what Thanksgiving represents to you most would agree that it is a day to reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for.  (View this issue on the web, click here.)

The Bledsoe family would like to wish your family a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.  When we gather together this Thursday, one of the things we will be most thankful for is having the opportunity to have met so many of you during our travels.

Thank you and best wishes,

Mac and Barbara Bledsoe

PS:  Food for thought...If the Pilgrims were alive today, what do you think they would be most thankful for?

A: In all likelihood, their extraordinary old age!






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A Holiday Reminder!

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As far as the content of the lessons, there is no difference between VHS and DVD. The DVDs and the VHS videos are the same.  Nevertheless, there are many reasons for choosing DVD over VHS. The DVDs offer:

PWD on DVD- the ability to jump to any chapter or menu topic
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In This


Ask Mac

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Ask Mac?

Hi Mac,

I am listening to the Tape #6 in your Parenting with Dignity series about showing love to children and I have to tell you how you hit the nail on the head. Your description of the DJs harassing the President's wife and daughter is an issue we discuss at home. I've always told my children even if the person we vote for doesn't win; it is our duty as Americans to speak respectfully of our President.

We don't watch much TV (no sitcoms) for the very reasons you discuss: the "put-down" humor, condescending behavior, etc. Thank goodness for Netflix. We get copies of "Little House on the Prairie" for the kids to watch. That is a wonderful program where love is being shown in every episode and the issues that the Ingalls family deals with are the same issue my children often face today. If only the networks could come up with a similar show for family viewing. Thank you so much for this program. It is helping us a great deal! God bless you!!!


A Grateful Mom

Dear Mom,

Thanks for your nice letter. It is nice to know that many agree that we Americans need to be considerate and dignified when we speak of our leaders and elected officials. I honestly believe that many, many people in our country agree with us but the problem is that most of the people who hold those positive beliefs are remaining silent and letting the negative "whiners" get most of the attention. Your letter needs to go to your paper and not to me. I obviously agree with you, I have authored the Parenting with Dignity Curriculum for the purpose of getting people who hold high moral standards to teach those standards to their children. I have also written a couple of books on the topic and I speak over 270 times a year about this and other parenting issues.

Please do not misinterpret what I am saying. I am not saying that I do not appreciate your wonderful words of support. I sincerely do appreciate your point of view! What I am saying is that your point of view also needs to be heard by people other than me! Write to your newspaper about your beliefs! Speak up at PTA meetings and city council meetings. Join in to lead groups that teach positive attitudes and ideas like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, FFA, and the many other groups dedicated to educating youth. Volunteer to supervise Sunday school classes at a church of your choosing. Start a Parenting with Dignity class to get parents talking to each other about what they want to teach the children of your community! Do not just watch the tapes in your own home... Share them with others in a group setting and let your voice be heard; you might be surprised at how many will follow your positive lead.

Now for a word about television broadcasting... (I better watch out here because I could go on for a week!) I wonder what has happened in America! I get hundreds of letters from folks who bemoan the fact that modern television broadcasting is ruining the fiber of American culture. When I read those letters I honestly wonder if all of those people somehow got cheated when they bought their televisions... Did they get TV sets without an "off" button? Did their sets not come with a channel changer to allow them to select what they watch? Do these people not have activities, other than watching television, which they can engage in as families?

My gosh, have we forfeited so much control over our own behavior in our own homes that we are incapable of turning off our own television sets or selecting programming that we deem appropriate for ourselves and our children? Are we not capable of teaching our children to be very selective in choosing what they watch and listen to? Can we not teach our children effectively so that when they are on their own they will be able to select material intelligently based upon sound moral and ethical standards? In our modern world, the ability to make wise choices might be the most important skill we need to teach our children. Modern society is just going to give more and more choices to make at an ever increasingly rapid pace.

Now for a comment on broadcasting: I believe that there is a whole lot of good stuff on television! The very technology that brings us the programming has given us the ability to be much much more selective in choosing what we watch. First, there is so much more to choose from. We are no longer the victims of having just three channels to choose from. Here in our home we subscribe to satellite television but it is almost identical to modern cable broadcasting in that there is a huge choice of great programming available. Have you tuned in to the PAX Channel? Programs like "Doc" are very contemporary and engaging and they portray wonderful concepts. The major networks have some great dramatic programming available like Boston Public, which portrays teachers in an unusually accurate and positive light. The Discovery Channel has some great programming. The list is endless. All it takes is a little bit of searching and active use of the ability to make good choices. (What a wonderful teaching opportunity for you to use with your children! Have them establish a set of guidelines for the programming that they will select to watch.) All good choices in life involve selecting the best options from all of the rest! In the process of them making their list they will probably become much more selective than you are in choosing programming.

In many homes I hear the mantra of "Mom and Dad won't let us watch..." which is a step in the right direction; but as children grow they should be vitally and personally involved in those decision-making processes so that they learn how to make those selections for themselves! Then, when they move out on their own and are raising families of their own they will make good decisions for themselves and teach their children to make similarly good decisions.

The evil in our society is not the proliferation of bad programming. The evil is that we, as a society, have given up our power to make good choices for ourselves! We certainly have gotten to the point that we are not teaching decision-making skills to our children to match the decisions being thrown at them.

Boy, you are on the right track in selecting the programming that you choose for your children. I hope that you are often including them in the selection process.

Another way that modern technology is helping us to be more precise in our selection of programming is the development of DVR (digital video recorder) products like TiVo. Now it is possible for all of us to select programming that we choose for its' superior and valuable content and have it recorded and waiting for us at the time that we choose to watch it. We have that technology here in our home and I cannot believe how has drastically changed our television viewing habits. We almost never get baited into watching bad programming just because it is on. We set our recorder to record the programs we have selected and when we decide that we want to wind down with some television entertainment, we go to the list of programs we have selected and then watch something that we have chosen for its' value.

It does little good to sit and bemoan the fact that programming is bad or that the producers of television are ruining our moral character. The variety of programming is never going to go away... It will only continue to become more diverse. I believe that is actually to our advantage. What must change is that people (and parents in particular) must become more adept at using the amazing technology available to their advantage in make great choices and in teaching kids to make great choices!

Finally, I continually hear parents offer the old adage that they cannot afford the technology to do the things that I just suggested. Pardon my irreverence but baloney! It simply involves wise choices in the first place. Children can learn a great deal watching you make choices about efficiently spending income. Put a dollar a day in a piggy bank and in a year you will have more money than you need to pay for a Satellite or Cable Television Subscription and have money left over to buy a TiVo type of digital video recording device. (We bought one of those TiVo sets for one of our sons as a home-warming gift and by the time that we had collected the rebate we did not pay a cent for the machine!)

If the television is one of the chief sources of the ideas that will rule the world your children, then it is a medium that parents must teach them how to use intelligently! Kids learn by watching us. We must model good choices for them in what we watch.

One final comment here and I will get off of my soapbox. I also believe in the power of numbers and I believe in the power of the free-market economy. If enough people start selecting "good programming" then the producers will produce more of it! Believe me the producers are watching us, and the producers are paying very close attention to what we are watching on our televisions! If we watch a bunch of crap then they will serve us more crap! If we become very selective in what we watch then they will serve us more of what we watch. If 23 million people tuned in to watch "Doc" on the PAX network regularly every Wednesday night and only 7 million tuned in to watch "Reality TV Battle of the Sexes" the message would get through to the producers. Advertisers would flock to the programming we are watching and create a demand for more programming of a similar nature.

Wow, I did not intend to go on so long but you tripped my trigger. Thank you for that.


Mac Bledsoe
Mac and Barbara Bledsoe




Mac & Barbara Bledsoe

Speaking of Kids…

By Mac and Barbara Bledsoe


Far too many people in the world today speak of children as if they had nothing to do with them!

Just last week we went to watch some young neighbor kids play in a youth football game at our beautiful athletic park here in Kalispell, Montana. It was a glorious morning! Six football fields and six soccer fields filled with hundreds of kids competing in some very healthy physical activity and learning some great lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. It was such a delightful experience for us because the conduct of the coaches, parents and kids alike was so positive, supportive and appropriate. The parents and other spectators sat on the side of the fields opposite the benches and coaches. The kids play the game.

Because we were having such a great time, we stayed to watch another young friend of ours participate. His game was very much like the other game we had just watched and was equally enjoyable.

We witnessed so many positive things going on during these games. The focus was not just on winning. There was a whole lot of teaching going on with coaches sometimes right on the playing field behind their athletes. Parents were knowingly or unknowingly modeling positive behavior for their children and what we saw was that the kids imitated the behavior of the adults! Simple concept. Young people will act the way they see adults act. Children will live up to the expectations set for them by the adults in their world.

Kids between the ages of 8-12 were playing these games and were fully capable of competing within the boundaries of the rules of the game. They were also totally capable of playing the games within the unwritten rules of sportsmanship. We saw many instances of players helping opponents up off of the ground and applauding outstanding plays by their teammates. We did not witness any instances of players yelling at officials, teammates or coaches.

As we watched this day of competition, we witnessed numerous teams getting ready to compete at both soccer and football and at every warm-up we witnessed coaches giving instructions about sportsmanship. Sure the coaches were also giving instructions about playing hard and hustling but it was all couched in the context of sportsmanship! Is it any surprise that as we watched the games we saw that very behavior from the young athletes? The kids had been taught how to act and they were doing it.

As we walked around among the parents, grandparents, and friends watching the games we did not hear one person yell at an official but we did hear many people talking about the code of conduct for parents. The parents were positive in their yells and cheers for the players. Is it a surprise that the players were yelling similar encouragement for their teams? The young people were imitating the conduct of the adults! The adults had taken on the responsibility of controlling their own behavior and the kids were imitating that behavior. This is not hard to understand.

Then just to point out how easily it can go the other way, a couple sitting right in front of us had two young daughters come to them and ask for money to go to the snack shack for a candy bar. Each girl was given a dollar to go and pick out candy for herself. When they got back with their candy, the girls proceeded to take off their Hershey bar wrappers and throw them on the ground right in front of their parents. A garbage can was no more than30 feet away. The parents did nothing and the wrappers just lay there to be blown away and litter the beautiful grounds. I only bring this up to point out the difference between this behavior and what we had previously witnessed. On one hand we saw kids exhibiting the best of behavior as they had been taught and then we watched the contrast when the adults chose to not teach. What a difference.

Now this may have been just be a day of football and soccer games and two little girls with candy bars but it is so instructive of the way our society is going. Everyone seems to bemoan the fact that our younger generation is out of control like somehow the problem is the kids'. Clearly the problem is not the kids… the problem is the parents who taught, or more likely, failed to teach them.

We must teach our children. We must teach them that we in America are a society of rules and laws. Freedom does not mean that we have no rules or laws. Freedom means we are gifted with the privilege of selecting and writing the rules and laws that we will live by. When we have the right to choose, right along with that right to choose comes the obligation to teach the rules and laws of conduct to our children.

We cannot talk about the younger generation as if we have nothing to do with them. We must accept our obligation to teach them how to live in our world. We must teach them how to act. We must teach them to choose to act in the manner that fits the standards of our society.

Kids will become what we teach them to be and they will give us just about what we are willing to accept! Let's teach well and hold up high standards for our youth.





Time out . . .


These are actual (we're told) excuse notes from parents (including original spelling) to schools.


My son is under a doctor's care and should not take P.E. today. Please execute him.

Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33.

Excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of tree and misplaced his hip.

Megan could not come to school today because she has been bothered by very close veins.

Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.

Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.

Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father's fault.

Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

My daughter was absent yesterday because she was tired. She spent a weekend with the Marines.

Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.

Maryann was absent December 11-16, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache, and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn't the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.




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Margaret Mead, anthropologist

Friends, the meaning in the quote above is something to which we have always subscribed; that people like you and I can change the world - one family at a time. That is why we created this Foundation, to help make the world a better place for our children, and it all begins with you - parents.

We would like to make a suggestion that could have huge implications to you, your family and our foundation.  We are asking you to invest in your family and purchase a set of our DVDs. . . . and just possibly change the world.

Invest in your family, and our Foundation. If you already have our VHS videos, get the new DVDs and donate your VHS tapes to a local school, church or a family who would benefit from watching them.  Together. . .

We can change the world by making sure that our children know how to make good decisions. To do this, we must teach parents effective parenting skills that work. This takes your commitment.

Will you please help us help more kids?

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God bless America and her kids!


With Dignity



Drew Bledsoe

730 Capistrano Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901
(406) 752-8035