Parenting With Dignity - a resource where parents learn new effective parenting skills.  HOME Sponsored by The Drew Bledsoe Foundation - see What's New See the Five Rules of Parenting and the ideas in your head will rule your world! The Foundation contacts parents through existing youth activities and agencies including Juvenile Court Services. Drew Bledsoe's dream with this foundation is to address some of the problems which kids are facing, at their source. This foundation provides a source of information for parents, giving them the tools necessary to create an encouraging, and loving home for their children Information for kids, teens, children of all ages. From proper parenting skills to substance abuse and gang activity. Mac & Barbara Bledsoe are the creators of the Parenting With Dignity curriculum. Drew Bledsoe (Quarterback for the New England Patriots). SPONSORS  

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January
2002

Parenting With Dignity™

 

Effective Parenting Skills


     
 

Dear parents, supporters and facilitators:

Happy New Year and welcome to the January 2002 edition of the Parenting With Dignity™ newsletter. We have so much to tell you this month. We are delighted to introduce several new changes to our website, exciting new promotional opportunities and the addition of a premier financial sponsor, Prince Pasta.

You will notice that our website and this newsletter continue to evolve. Now that we have a full-time webmaster on staff, we're looking forward to introducing innovative new resources on a regular basis. This month, we have launched a parenting resource called "Warning Signs", a place where parents can go to obtain information about drugs, alcohol, gangs and even computer addiction. In addition, we added a new regular feature to this newsletter called "Ask Mac". Each month, Mac and Barbara will answer a question from one of our subscribers.

Enjoy!


   

In This
Issue:

   

   

Ask Mac Bledsoe your parenting question.

Ask Mac is a new feature of our newsletter. Send your questions to:
Ask Mac

 

 

 Ask Mac?

Dear Mac and Barbara,

Thought you might enjoy this little piece by Paul Harvey. Many parts of this really touched my heart and had me thinking that even though it's so hard not to shelter my kids, they really do a lot of their growing by experiencing...My question is how do we know how and when to protect and when to let them experience life?

Here is a pretty neat little thing from Paul Harvey.

Paul Harvey Writes: We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I'd like better.

I'd really like for them to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meatloaf sandwiches.

I really would. I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated.

I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen.

It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep.

I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in.

I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother or sister. And it's all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he's scared, I hope you let him. When you want to see a movie and your little brother or sister wants to tag along, I hope you'll let them.

I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely.

On rainy days when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don't ask your Mother to drop you two blocks away so you won't be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom.

If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one.

I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books.

When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head.

I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like.

May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole.

I don't care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don't like it and if a friend offers you drugs or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend.

I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle.

May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays.

I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor's window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand.

These things I wish for you - tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it's the only way to appreciate life. Written with a pen. Sealed with a kiss. I'm here for you. And if I die before you do, I'll go to heaven and wait for you.


Dear Mom,

Boy, your statement about kids learning from experience is the truth! The only time when we must not let kids simply learn by experience is when it is illegal, immoral, or life threatening. At those times we must be the adults in the situation to protect them from self-destruction. Drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, and driving or riding in a car with someone who has been drinking would be the most obvious situations that come to mind where it would not be good to let kids "learn from the school of hard knocks".

Lately, I have come to believe that unsupervised use of unfiltered Internet access might be another I might throw in. In every one of those cases, the danger of the experience is too great to allow them to learn by experimenting. The way that I always tried to keep it straight in my head while raising our sons was by imagining one of our kids running toward the street with a truck approaching at a high rate of speed. Would I act to stop my kid? Absolutely! Would I be particularly concerned at the time if I offended my child by acting on their behalf? Absolutely not. Would I care if the neighbors or their friends were disapproving? Not in the least. I would act to save them first!

Drugs are a vehicle that will take them out more certainly than a speeding truck! I include alcohol as a separate item on the list even though it is a technically a drug, simply because it is viewed so differently by society. It is legal. But, a more important distinction is that it is lethal. In my experience, it has been the #1 killer of kids who sat in my classroom, 44 of whom are now dead. 3 died of natural causes that probably could not have been prevented but the other 41 were all either stoned or drunk or both at the time of their death. The overwhelming drug involved in all but two of the rest of the cases was the legal one… Alcohol.

I just cringe every time I hear a parent say, "Oh, well, it was just alcohol!" My gosh, would they casually watch the truck rushing toward their kid and say, "Oh well, it is just a truck!"

I really enjoyed reading this article by Paul Harvey's. Please keep me in mind with other bits you have like this because, via our newsletter and our website, we can pass it on to thousands and thousands of people.

Sincerely,

Mac and Barbara Bledsoe

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John Stossel of ABC's 20/20

 

ABC's 20/20 Show to feature Mac Bledsoe

Earlier last week, we sent out a special alert announcing that Friday would be the day that Mac Bledsoe would be featured on ABC's 20/20 broadcast with John Stossel. Unfortunately, the show was held due to the breaking Enron story.

However, we just learned that the show will air Friday, February 1st. We will send a special alert to all newsletter subscribers if we hear anything different, so if you haven't yet subscribed, (click here).

Also, Mac is scheduled to do an online chat with ABC on Monday, February 4th. Go to ABC's website to learn more about this.

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Mac & Barbara Bledsoe

 

The Alarm Is Sounding
By Mac and Barbara Bledsoe

 

They are our kids and we must answer the alarm!

Please be warned that, in this article, we may seem to be alarmed or worried. Well, we are alarmed and worried and it is because we are scared! We are scared for the children of America, some of whom belong to you.

About 23 years ago we had a very shocking experience… we were awakened from our sleep by our neighbor banging on the wall of our trailer house. He was screaming, "Our house is on fire! Our house is on fire! Call for help!" This was before 911 had become universal, so we dialed the number of the volunteer fire department and then ran across the road to see if we could help. Luckily, our landlord was on the fire crew so he was immediately on the scene and able to take charge.

The fire hall was only a mile down the road so the rest of the crew was there almost immediately. Our neighbor had gotten his wife and two older children out of the house but was yelling frantically that their baby was still in the house. The trained firemen told him there was nothing they could do because entering that burning building now was suicide. At that moment the father grabbed a blanket from the ground, dunked it in the kids wading pool in the back yard, pulled it over his head and crawled into the roaring house.

Moments later he crawled out with the two-year-old wrapped in the wet blanket. He had found her huddled in the corner of the closet, unharmed except for the effects of smoke inhalation. The father himself was now badly burned with little hair remaining on his head and blisters forming on his face, arms, and torso. The firemen were tending to him when one of them asked how he could take that courageous action when they, the firemen with all their training, had been able to do nothing. The father's answer was very enlightening. He looked calmly at the firemen and replied, "She's not your baby!"

Parental love can allow us to do some amazing things on behalf of our children and the time has come for some courageous parental action. The alarm is sounding. It is not the fire alarm at the volunteer fire department but it is sounding with equal urgency.

Just listen. Teen suicide is at an all time high; gang violence is out of control; teen pregnancy is more common every day; childhood drug abuse is stealing children's ability to make decisions and clouding their thinking everywhere you look; and this alarm is getting louder each day. The tragedy is that any one of the above situations could claim the life of one of our children just as surely as a burning house! We as parents must act and act now because they are our kids.

It is no longer acceptable to wait until our children are in crisis to teach them how to make the tough decisions about drugs, sex, friends, violence, and treatment of others, honesty, compassion, and the rest. Would you run into a burning building to save your child? Yes! Just like our neighbor; but wouldn't he have been better off teaching that two-year-old how to get out of the house before the place was on fire? Wouldn't kids be better served if parents gave more guidance before they were in crisis rather than waiting until things get hot?

Just last week we received a frantic letter from the distraught mother of a 13-year-old girl who is making some poor decisions. To quote the mother's letter, "We're having Big Troubles with our daughter's decision making! We have sent her to her Dad's for the time being to get her away from a no good, loser boyfriend!" The mother is in a second marriage and the daughter is the product of her first failed marriage. At the time when her daughter most needs her mother's guidance she is shipping her off to her Dad's with the thought that a change of location will bring about better choices.

What the daughter really needs right now is guidance in picking mates of the opposite sex, not a new environment. A new environment may be necessary if things have become illegal or life threatening, but the mother's role should be that of giving guidance and leadership, hopefully before the daughter has became involved. Now that she is involved the mother must become a source of information and guidance at this tough and challenging time. It is not right to "leave her in a burning building." This scenario is being repeated all across America. Parents are deserting their children at the very time when the kids need them most.

  • Have you begun in the process of teaching your children how to pick friends?

  • Have your children received usable guidance, from you, about appropriate behavior with the opposite sex?

  • Have you given your children instruction in how to act at their first exposure to a drug pusher?

  • Have you instructed your children in how to make the decision about entering a fight or walking away?

If your answer to any of these is, "No!" then you may be in the situation of the mother in the letter and you may be there sooner than you think. Our apologies for seeming to spend this entire article speaking of alarming and shocking thoughts but our current position simply has proven to us that increasing numbers of parents are leaving kids in burning houses or are waiting until the house is on fire before giving needed instruction to their kids. Please don't be one of those who wait until it is too late. The alarm is sounding and they are your kids!

Warmest regards,

Mac and Barbara Bledsoe

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What's New

Please support our premier sponsor, Prince Pasta, visit them online - click here.

The New Year has brought all kinds of new and exciting things to our foundation. We are extremely pleased to announce that Prince Pasta, one of the largest pasta companies in the nation, has become a major funding sponsor of the Drew Bledsoe Foundation.

 

This is no ordinary sponsorship. Prince Pasta is well known for their active role in sponsoring community building programs. Prince's Anthony Fund provides dinner and fundraising kits, and has significant involvement with various Food Banks, churches, clubs and teams. Prince Pasta works hard to help you and your efforts to make a difference in the community. You must visit their Web site and see the interactive pasta gallery and recipe database. They offer a delicious new way to get your family to eat healthy – Healthy Harvest whole wheat pasta.

 

Warning Signs

Parents, learn the "Warning Signs" of Drugs, Alcohol, Gangs and Computer Addiction.

This is a brand new area of our Web site (still being developed) to help parents and educators understand and help their children. Kids telegraph signals to us when they are engaged in activities in which that they shouldn't be involved. Learn the Warning Signs about drugs, alcohol, gangs and more.

  Video Previews
 

Preview a short clip from each of our nine parenting videosWe're very pleased about another new feature on our website. Now you can preview a short clip from each of the nine parenting videos. In the curriculum section of this Web site, when you click on an icon (shown at left), you'll be able to view a 2-3 minute highlight from the corresponding video. Try it, click here.

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If Parenting With Dignity™ is to continue...

There's an old axiom that says . . .

"If it is going to be, it is up to me"

The significance of those words is self evident; our actions determine the course of our lives. As a foundation with such an important mission, our collective actions determine the ultimate success or failure of this undertaking.

If it is going to be, it is up to "us".

Since this foundation was established, last month was the first time we publicly asked you for help. Asking you to share your hard-earned money is something we’ve just not been comfortable in doing. But, this foundation and our mission have grown to be much bigger than our comfort in asking for help. The opportunity to make a significant difference and help America's kids has even grown beyond our son Drew and Maura's two-million dollar contribution.

We have taken our message to people in classrooms, in prisons, in town hall meetings and over the public airwaves. Many of the families and organizations we visit can't afford the cost of our videos let alone pay the travel expenses for us to visit their communities.

The secret to the popularity and success of this program has been based in grass roots involvement by people like you. We don't advertise on national TV or buy ads in magazines. We can't afford it and we would not advertise that way if we could afford it. We believe that there is a better way to increase our effectiveness and to build a solid financial base of support for our mission.

We count on the people we are trying to help to contribute to our efforts. We have proven that our mission can be fulfilled because Americans are a people who will help each other in time of need. We really need your support. Won't you please donate a few tax-free dollars to our foundation's efforts? Just click on the icon below. Every little bit helps! With your help we can and will build a better world for kids!

Help us help America's Kids

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