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,
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!
A Holiday Reminder!
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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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
in YOUR Family
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing
that ever has."
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
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
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
Will you please help us help more kids?
donation can be made
securely online via
Network For Good.
Do it today while it is fresh in your mind.
Or, send your tax-deductible check to:
The Drew Bledsoe Foundation
730 Capistrano Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901