What I Believe 722.1

Here’s a small portion of my personal list expressing the beliefs I want to pass on: I believe I’m a work in progress and there will always be a gap between who I am and who I want to be. I believe every day brings opportunities to learn and to do something meaningful. I believe the true test of my …

Mataya’s Coming of Age 719.2

This weekend family and friends gathered to witness our daughter Mataya’s bat mitzvah*, the symbolic transition from childhood to adulthood. It was our fourth bat mitzvah in five years, and frankly, we’re glad we’re done. Anne and I make them major productions. Anne has the hard part. She plans a party equal to a significant wedding and personally creates a …

So What Makes Us Happy? 717.5

There is an ever-growing body of knowledge about the nature and causes of happiness. For one thing, it’s clear that happiness is a feeling, not a circumstance. Happiness is more than just fun or pleasure. It’s a more durable sense of well-being. Our happiness depends not on what happens to us, but what happens in us. In other words, it’s …

Statement of Family Values 717.4

Our values – the core beliefs that drive behavior – determine our character, our ethics, and our potential. Thus, the most important thing we can do for our children is to stimulate them to develop positive values that will help them become wise, happy, and good. This is no simple matter. The first step is to achieve greater clarity about …

Another Parenting Passage 717.3

Have you seen the Subaru commercial where a father is giving a safety talk to his six-year-old sitting in the driver’s seat?* In that exasperated tone I’ve heard a thousand times, the little girl says, “Daddy, it’s okay.” Then, as dad hands his daughter the key with a final warning to drive carefully, she is replaced by a 16-year-old. I’m …

The Rider and the Elephant 716.3

It took me a long time to realize the limitations of logic. For much of my life, including a 20-year stint as a law professor, I relied on discourse and reasoning to understand and resolve problems. I believed that I should suppress feelings that could result in irrational behavior, and I had little patience for those who seemed to govern …

If You’re in a Hole, Stop Digging 716.2

Most of us have lied to get out of trouble. From childhood denials (“it wasn’t me”) to adult fabrications (“the check is in the mail”), what seem like harmless falsehoods easily fall from our tongues. And then we make up more excuses or tell more lies to protect the first one. Soon the “cover-up” is more serious and credibility-damaging than …

The Woodsman and the Leprechaun 715.4

Long ago, a woodsman saved the life of a leprechaun and was given one wish. The woodsman thought for a long time and finally wished that each of his three daughters find a good husband. But the leprechaun was full of games. “How am I to know what’s good in your mind? I’ll give them husbands, but you can name …

Do a Little More 715.3

In 1964, a young woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside her apartment building in Queens, New York. She was attacked repeatedly over the course of an hour. Despite her screams, none of her 38 neighbors intervened or called for help. Some were afraid. Some didn’t want to get involved. Some thought someone else would do it. This …

Seven Truths for Bosses 715.2

Here are seven truths I’ve discovered in my struggles to be an effective boss: It’s not what you say that matters; it’s what people hear. Just because you said it doesn’t mean they heard it. Just because you wrote it doesn’t mean they read it. Be sure your message is received and understood. There are lots of things you don’t …

What You Do Is What You’ll Get 714.3

If you want to help your children do well in life, there are a few things you can do. A high proportion of high achievers had two things in common: First, there were lots of books in their homes and a great emphasis on reading. Second, there was a family tradition of regularly eating dinner together. Filling a house with …

Posttraumatic Growth 714.2

I’ve been fascinated, awestruck, and intimidated by disturbingly vivid real-time images of the destructive force of shifting earth and massive waves of water. Technology has given us an unprecedented ability to experience every nuance of Mother Nature’s show of power. The visuals have an unreal science fiction quality that can cause us to distance ourselves from the tidal waves of …

There’s a Difference between a Happy Life and a Good Life 713.1

Charlie Sheen recently took his place at the head of the line of celebrities who have publicly discredited themselves, ruined their relationships, and damaged their careers by addictive and self-destructive behavior. I’ve been reluctant to give even more attention to an essentially trashy story, but I see an important lesson in the way he continues to defend his unhealthy lifestyle …

Cheating Is Just Wrong 711.3

If you have a child in high school, there’s a pretty good chance he or she cheats at school. In fact, a recent study by the Josephson Institute reveals that 59% of high schoolers admit they cheated in the past year. Yet neither schools nor parents seem to take this seriously. Instead they often tell kids: “You’re only cheating yourself.” …