By Hogan Hilling and Tom Konecny

 

As active and involved dads in our communities, we question how after over three decades fatherhood organizations like the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) and National Center for Fathering (NCF) can continue to misinform the public about father absence.

 

The following statements appear on the NFI and NCF websites:

 

According to the national surveys conducted by NFI, 9 in 10 parents believe there is a father absence crisis in America. – “NFI”

 

If it were classified as a disease, fatherlessness would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency…… In short, fatherlessness is associated with almost every societal ill facing our country’s children. – “NCF”

 

From the observations we’ve made, the facts and images that reflect the true nature of fatherhood has been far different than the one described by the NFI and NCF. Therefore, we question the validity of their method of practice in their research and conclusion about father absence.

 

We began an extensive research into the history of father absence, and more importantly, to find the truth about today’s modern dads. The most interesting discovery was a 2004 article written by Dr. Stephen Baskerville published in the Independent Review titled, Is There Really a Fatherhood Crisis?

 

One of Baskerville’s conclusions struck a chord with us. He stated that, “On its surface, the government’s fatherhood campaign seems to make good sense. As currently conceived, however, it may be having precisely the opposite effect of that advertised.”

 

We agree father absence exists but not to the degree the NFI and NCF claim it does, nor do we believe there is a fatherhood crisis.

 

We feel if a fatherhood organization proposes to improve the quality of life for fathers and their children, then the focus should be on the greater number of good, responsible, active dads and not the minority of absent, irresponsible dads. A good example is the professional sports industry. There are many great athletes who developed good habits to be successful at their craft and perform at a higher level but there are also bad players with bad habits who never improve their skills and achieve fame. To help aspiring athletes who would like to become professional athletes, the sports world encourages them to model their game after the good players, not the bad players. We don’t know of one major sports organization who advertises mediocrity or promotes a campaign that highlights athletes with bad habits to encourage young athletes to not be like them. What we see everyday from the sports world are positive role models. Remember the Gatorade “Be Like Mike” commercial that highlighted Michael Jordan?

 

We feel it’s time to share the truth about how researchers and fatherhood organizations have inflated the father absence numbers; mislead the public to believe a fatherhood crisis exists; and more importantly share evidence that proves today’s dads have made tremendous progress as active parents in the last three decades. Here is a list of our top five truths.

 

Truth #1: There is no clear definition of father absence.

 

In 1995, David Blankenhorn fueled a national father absence campaign with his book Fatherless America. While his book did an excellent job cataloguing the issues and problems associated with a father’s absence in the raising of a child, the book didn’t provide a clear definition of father absence.

What we did find was an explanation by Dr. Lynda Boothroyd, Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Durham:, University of

 

Father absence is a term that is not well defined and much of the literature does not discriminate between father absence due to death, parental relationship discord or other causes.

 

To our knowledge fatherhood organizations and researchers have still no established a clear definition of father absence. We also contacted several research organizations like Pew Research. All of the researchers we contacted admitted and agreed that no conclusive definition of father absence exists and that the interpretation of father absence varies with each study.

 

How is it possible to collect the correct data about father absence without a clear definition?

 

Other questions also crossed our mind. Without a clear definition of father absence, how can any person or researcher make a judgment call on whether a father is really emotionally absent?

 

Without the correct data, how is it possible to measure the true scope of father absence?

 

Who should have the authority to judge whether a dad is emotionally absent?

 

The answer is because father absence has been more about perception than fact.

 

Truth #2: There has been no research on what causes father absence.

 

Based on the collection of data referenced by those who have led the father absence campaigns, fathers are solely to blame for the fatherless crisis in America, as though abandoning a child is a natural phenomenon among dads, and only his actions contribute to fatherlessness. We believe this is a false and unfair declaration because there are other possible factors, which could contribute to and/or cause father absence. Some examples include maternal gatekeeping, the legal system, especially in divorce, custody cases and paternity status and rights.

 

In 1999 the National Council on Family relations published a journal about maternal gatekeeping. The title alone demonstrates how it is possible for a mom’s over zealous participation to contribute to father absence – Maternal Gatekeeping: Mothers’ Beliefs and Behaviors That Inhibit Greater Father Involvement in Family Work by Sarah M. Allen and Alan J. Hawkins  (Journal of Marriage and Family, Vol. 61, No. 1 (Feb., 1999), pp. 199-212.)

 

According to most state laws, if a mother is not married at the time a child is born and has not been married any time during the preceding 10 months, no father will be named on the birth certificate unless both parents file sworn statements or unless so ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

 

Even if a mother lists the father on the application, it will not make it onto the actual birth certificate without the father’s signature on a legal acknowledgement of paternity form. Ultimately, the decision of whether to include a baby’s father’s name on the birth certificate is a personal decision made solely by the mother, which is a strangely high degree of power with far-reaching implications.

 

These and other legislative acts led us to consider the following scenarios.

 

What about the mom who has full knowledge of the man who helped her conceive the baby, yet still refuses to identify him and place his name on the birth certificate?

 

What about the mom who gave birth to a child but didn’t know the father?

 

What about the father who didn’t know he was the father?

 

What about dads who filed for divorce and live in a different house? Does his physical separation from a child constitute labeling him as an absent father? We believe the answer is “no” because there is evidence to prove that dads who live in the house are also capable of being emotionally absent.

 

Truth #3: Since the early 1990s there is sufficient evidence to show how much father presence has grown in America.

 

In 1986 Dr. Bruce Linton founded the Father’s Forum, a program for expectant dads. That is eight years before the debut of the NFI and nine years before Blankenhorn’s book – Fatherless America.

 

Dr. Linton’s success and valuable work spawned other expectant dads groups to prosper. The most notable is Boot Camp for New Dads (BCND) founded by Greg Bishop in 1990. BCND started with one program in Irvine, California. Today, BCND is offered in 45 states.

 

In 1994 the first active Dads Club at an elementary school debuted at El Camino Elementary School in Irvine, California. Today, there are thousands of Dad Club Chapters throughout the USA.

 

The National At-Home Dad Network founded in 1995, a year after the NFI debuted, has the distinct honor of hosting the second longest consecutive fatherhood convention in the USA and in 2018 the NAHDN will host their 23nd Annual Convention.

 

New York City Dads Group was founded in 2008 and now operates and manages other groups in 32 major cities in the USA.

 

The Dad Blogger industry has grown exponentially. There are more than 1,000 dads who belong to a Facebook group called “Dad Bloggers,” and there are thousands more independent dad bloggers throughout the online world.  There is also an annual Dad Bloggers event called Dad 2.0 Summit, founded by Doug French and John Pacini in 2012.

 

What today’s modern dads have accomplished in the last thirty years has been a remarkable achievement.

 

Truth #4: Our fathers before us have been given a bad rap.

 

Researchers describe dads of previous generations as less than capable to care for and nurture a child and also accused them of not spending enough time with their kids.  How is it possible for researchers to measure a dad’s level of involvement at a time when they were not alive to evaluate the dads and, more importantly, also accuse fathers of any generation as being absent without a clear definition of father absence?

 

In previous generations dads and moms were designated with specific gender roles established by our culture. Dads played the role of the primary breadwinner and mom the primary caregiver. However, as far back as 1971 there is evidence of dads who chose to be the primary caregiver for their family.  This is documented in the movie Duel.  In the beginning of the movie while the main character Dennis Weaver is driving his car, a radio interview is heard in the background about an at-home dad.

 

Given the aforementioned truths we feel the fathers of past generations deserve an apology.

 

Truth #5: The responsible, active dads far outnumber the irresponsible, absent dads.

 

We believe the good people in this world far outnumber the bad people. Therefore, we feel it would be fair to make the same statement with respect to fathers – that the number of responsible, engaged, purposeful, and involved fathers far outnumber the irresponsible and absent fathers.

While the NFI, NCF and other fatherhood organizations continue to play the father absence card and claim that there is a fatherhood crisis, we believe dads in the last three decades have clearly demonstrated that Fatherhood Is Alive and Well!

 

Tom Konecny and Hogan Hilling are co-owners of Dad Marketing Consulting, LLC, and authors of, “DADLY Dollar$: How Marketing to Dads Will Increase Revenue and Strengthen Families.” Hilling is also a nationally recognized and OPRAH approved author of 12 published books, and founder of United We Parent. Hogan Hilling, P.O. Box 3763, Crestline, California 92325 hogan@dadlyrally.com and hogan@unitedweparent.com

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by Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D.

Authenticity offers emotional protection and supports satisfying relationships.

There are a lot of axioms about being genuine, being who you are, and living an authentic life. People who present themselves accurately to others and behave in ways that are congruent with their identities actually do reap important relationship benefits.

Being true to yourself is encouraged by pop psychology, the media, our friends, and our parents. The expectation today is that everyone should embrace their unique identity and forego trying to be like everyone else. “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” This slogan can be found on posters, T-shirts, tote bags, and mugs. When a friend is interviewing for a new job, you probably remind them about the value of “being yourself.” Research proves that employees who are supported in their authenticity are more productive and happier than those who are less authentic in the workplace.

Feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin takes a lot less effort than play-acting someone else’s idea, or your idea, of who you “should be.” It’s kind of like advice about lying: it’s harder to keep a story straight when it’s not based on the truth. We spin our wheels trying to remember the various details that we artfully inserted into a fabricated story and end up crashing into traps of our own creation. Learning to be authentic is more about unlearning the habit of trying to be someone you’re not.

Hallmarks of Authenticity

  1. Awareness of how you feel inside about the world and the people in it. It’s okay to be unhappy or angry about what you see happening, but lying about it to yourself isn’t the best choice if authenticity is what you’re aiming for.
  2. Ability to take in and process information about yourself with an unbiased perspective. Most everyone thinks the best of oneself and wants to focus on their strengths, but being able to acknowledge and accept shortcomings and areas for growth will provide a foundation for growth that “rose-colored glasses” won’t allow.
  3. Behaving in ways that are congruent with your aims and beliefs. We lose respect for people who “say one thing but do another.” Don’t be that person.
  4. Engaging with others with no intention to deceive or exploit anyone. Lying to get what you want suggests that what you want isn’t yours to request.

Authenticity Minimizes the Pain of Rejection

One of the powers of authenticity is that we don’t worry so much about the people who don’t like who we are. When we’re not trying to be someone else, we can accept that not everyone will appreciate who we are and what we stand for. We don’t feel as bothered by exclusion from social groups when we choose to live in congruence with our beliefs, aims, and values (Gino & Kouchaki, 2020). Authenticity is connected to self-esteem and if we’re okay with ourselves, we’re okay with others being “not okay” with who we are. We also don’t feel as threatened by novel situations when we’re being true to ourselves. If you can be comfortable in your own skin, you will be more comfortable anywhere you show up.

Authenticity Is Good for Life and Good for Love

With the ability to self-present any way we want on social media and dating or hook-up sites, it can be tempting to create an “aspirational profile” or a downright bogus profile that is shared with potential matches. However, the research indicates that being unapologetically yourself can pay off in the long run if you’re looking for a long-term relationship. article continues after advertisement

The higher our levels of self-reported authenticity, the less anxious we tend to be about trusting our partners and the more we focus on the positive aspects of our relationship (Wickman, 2013). And when we are with a partner who we believe to be authentic, we feel more satisfied in the relationship. We enjoy more trust in our pattern and experience higher levels of commitment to the relationship. In addition, authenticity has been shown to be positively connected to emotional intelligence and more pleasing outcomes in romantic relationships (Josephs et al., 2019). When we’re with someone who supports our own authenticity and is equally “real” with us, we enjoy greater security in the relationship, which is integral to each partner’s ability to relax with one another and to be true to themselves.

Conclusion

It’s not “putting on an act” or showing “false bravado” or an inflated sense of self-esteem that offers us “rejection protection,” but the practice of living an authentic life. When “you do you,” it gives those around you the opportunity to be themselves, as well. This honesty and genuineness form the foundation on which satisfying and dynamic romantic relationships, friendships, careers, and futures can be built.

Him Loving You Ain’t One of Them

The Love Dr Is Back!

They say if you love something let it go and if it comes back it must be meant for you. Let me just say that the lie detector test has determined that is a lie. Just because something or somebody returns to you doesn’t mean that it is meant for you, or good for you. In fact sometimes what keeps coming back is what is holding up what’s meant for you.

This is something we see a lot in relationships. Oftentimes I hear women saying he came back so he must love something about her. That is a fact. The problem is he can love something about being there and still not love her. Not knowing the difference between the two is why so many women are still dealing with the back and forth.

Usually when I say this to a woman her immediate response is, “well why is he here then”? There are a few reasons that he keeps coming back, but let me assure you none of them have anything to do with love. How do I know you ask? Because if he truly loved you he wouldn’t have left in the first place, and you can’t debate me on that.

1st Reason

The first reason he keeps coming back is because of the benefits. Even though he may not want you, he can still want what you’re giving. The fact that he can get love, affection, sex, attention, and whatever else from you and still do whatever he wants is what a keeping him coming back. The minute you put provisions and expectations on what you’re giving him, the chances of him trying to come back will be slim and none.

2nd Reason

The second reason is he is selfish. He might know that he is not ready for the woman you are, but keeps coming back so nobody else can get there. As long as he keeps coming back you stay emotionally connected and if he is who you really want you won’t give anyone else a chance. Every time he shows up again, you have hope that one day he might be the man you need him to be. The truth is he is only blocking the man that is already who you need them to be.

3rd Reason

And lastly, and the one that will hurt the most, you keep letting him come back. The truth is if he valued you there wouldn’t be all the back and forth. At the same time if you loved yourself more there wouldn’t be the back and forth. Reopening that door every time he comes back is only proving to him that you don’t even believe you deserve better than him. Also, it shows him you can’t find better than him, because if you could then you wouldn’t keep taking him back.

The truth is a man can see the value in what you do and not see the value in you. It’s up to you to stop them from walking in and out of your life on a regular basis. Remember you teach people how to treat you. Every time you take him back you’re telling that it’s okay to treat you how he treats you. You’re saying there is nothing wrong with the things he is doing to you. And most importantly you’re saying you would rather have him than the better man you deserve.  Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone <https://overview.mail.yahoo.com/?.src=iOS

Whenever we finally have the next election in Louisiana, there will be constitutional amendments on the ballot.  Didn’t know?  Aware but not sure of the details?  We got you.  Read on for a concise and easy to understand breakdown of the 4 amendments you will see.

Amendment 1

Authorizes streamlined electronic filing, remittance, and collection of sales and use tax 

 “Do you support an amendment to authorize the legislature to provide for the streamlined electronic filing, electronic remittance, and the collection of sales and use taxes levied within the state by the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission and to provide for the funding, duties, and responsibilities of the commission?”

YES VOTE  Creates a new statewide tax commission that would collect all sales taxes handle all electronic tax filings and create new policy for all state and local sales taxes. The appointed commission would replace all current tax commissions and take away any and all local control of sales tax collections.

NO VOTE Leaves things as they currently are. 

Shallow Dive into the Issues

Most states have a central collection agency that passes money back to the local municipalities.  Big businesses would view the state more favorably.  The current system has every parish and even cities in parishes collecting their own taxes. This is unfair complex and oppressive. Supreme court rulings probably make the system unconstitutional.  But taking away local control means outsiders control not only collection but policies, rules and regulations. 

Amendment 2

Lowers maximum allowed rate of income tax and allows providing a deduction for federal income taxes

 “Do you support an amendment to lower the maximum allowable rate of individual income tax and to authorize the legislature to provide by law for a deduction for federal income taxes paid?”

YES VOTE Reforms and updates Louisiana’s tax code

NO VOTE Maintains Louisiana’s current tax code that dates to 2003.

Shallow Dive into the Issues

The current system is at odds with the federal tax system.  When federal taxes get lowered, then individual Louisiana state taxes are actually increased.  And when federal taxes are raised, then individual Louisiana state taxes are reduced but state revenue is also reduced.  If you are interested in tax reform for Louisiana then a vote yes will implement a cascade of tax reform.

Amendment 3

Allows certain levee districts to levy an annual tax for certain purposes

 “Do you support an amendment to allow levee districts created after January 1, 2006, and before October 9, 2021, whose electors approve the amendment to levy an annual tax not to exceed five mills for the purpose of constructing and maintaining levees, levee drainage, flood protection, and hurricane flood protection?”  

YES VOTE Allows  5 levee districts created after 2006 to raise property taxes without a voter approval.

NO VOTE Requires the 5 Levee districts to get voter approval before raising taxes

Shallow Dive into the Issues

Older districts can raise taxes by 3 mils without voter approval.  But these 5

  • Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority (Calcasieu, Cameron, and Vermilion Parishes)
  • Iberia Parish Levee, Hurricane and Conservation District (Iberia Parish)  
  • Squirrel Run Levee and Drainage District (Iberia Parish)  
  •  St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District (St. Tammany)
  •  Tangipahoa Levee District (Tangipahoa Parish)

Must get voter approval.  The whole state votes. The districts and the state must approve the change for it to go into effect.

Amendment 4

Increases amount of allowed reduction to certain dedicated funds when a budget deficit is projected

“Do you support an amendment to increase the amount of allowable deficit reductions to statutory dedications and constitutionally protected funds from five percent to ten percent?

YES VOTE Lets the governor transfer more dedicated funds to fix a budget deficit.

NO VOTE Keeps the current 5% cap on use of dedicated funds

Shallow Dive into the Issues

The state’s budget must be balanced. When there is a deficit, the governor can take raid dedicated funds to the tune of 5%.  This change increases that to 10%.   

Now you know! #Geaux Vote

The NFL is about a 1/4 of the way through the season. The Saints have battled through displacement, injuries, inconsistency, and an adjustment period. Here’s a statistically based assessment of where they stand.

Offense:

The offense has been terrible this year, one of the worst of Sean Payton’s career. They’re down in almost every statistical category – points per game, total yards per game, passing yards per game, rushing yards per game. 5 games into the season, the offense has just struggled to move the ball, especially through the air.

At quarterback, Jameis Winston is only completing 60% of his passes for 178 yards a game. That’s near the bottom of the league statistically. His overall QB rating is skewed by the fact that he has 12 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. But 4 of those came in one game where he threw goal line touchdowns after the Saints ran the ball down the field. 4 others have come on big plays. Simply put, the Saints have had few sustained drives through the air. In a quarterback driven league, there’s no way you can consider yourself a SuperBowl contender with stats like that.

Part of it can be chalked up to the Saints missing both starting wide receivers. And part of it can be chalked up to Winston just not reading the coverages, or bad play calling on Sean Payton’s part. Whatever the reason, the Saints have got to get the passing game together in order to make the playoffs for the 5th consecutive year.

Saints All Pro Receiver Michael Thomas

Reason to be optimistic: Michael Thomas is coming back. There’s no getting around it. The Saints’ season hinges on Michael Thomas. On paper, he’s not only the best player on the team, but he’s one of the best in the league. The last time we saw a healthy Can’t Guard Mike he was the 2019 Offensive Player of The Year, leading the league in yards and receptions. That year he caught 80% of the balls thrown to him for an average of 9 receptions and a 107 yards per game. To put that in perspective, Jameis Winston barely threw for over 107 yards in each of the first 3 games this season.

Thomas’ presence should open up the offense. With less attention thrown his way, Marquez Calloway should shine as a 2nd option. Alvin Kamara should see more favorable matches coming out the backfield. And in pressure situations, Thomas should serve as a security blanket for Winston when no one else is open or he has trouble reading coverages down the field.

Reason to be concerned: Who knows which Michael Thomas will return. His consistency on the field has been matched by his inconsistency off of it. The last 2 years, his tweets have risen to Antonio Brown levels. Last season, he was suspended for fighting. And this year, he stubbornly waited until training camp neared to have ankle surgery, which is why he’s not on the field now.

Defense:

The defense has been carrying the team. And if you had to pick a MVP so far, it would have to be defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Since 2017 all Allen has done is scheme up the best defense the Saints have had since the Dome Patrol.

Reason to be optimistic: The defense is actually slightly better this year. They’re only giving up 18 points per game, 3 points less than the 21 they gave up last year. They’re also only allowing 79 yards rushing. That’s down from 93 last year. And despite going up against 3 of the best running backs in the league – Aaron Jones of the Packers, Christian McCaffrey of the Panthers, and Saquon Barkley of the Giants, they have yet to give up 100 yards to a single back.

This means that opposing offenses have been forced to be one dimensional. And even with teams resorting to throwing the ball more, the Saints D hasn’t been giving up big plays down the field consistently. They also rank 3rd in creating turnovers, up a spot from last year.

Reason to be concerned: They’re not sacking the quarterback. The Saints rank 29th in sacks so for this year. Last year they were 8th. They loss an elite pass rusher in Trey Hendrickson. And no one has stepped up to replace him. Cameron Jordan is in year 2 of a late career slide. Marcus Davenport is inconsistent when he does manage to stay on the field. Carl Granderson and Tanoh Kpassagnon have shown flashes. But this lack of a pass rush is partly why the Saints failed to close out the Giants game. This may become a big problem when they step up in QB class later in the season.

Special Teams:

Punter – Blake Gillikin has made us forget all about Thomas Morrestead.

Kicker – absolute disaster. The Saints are now on their 3rd kicker – 5 games into the season.

Reason to be optimistic: Wil Lutz will eventually come back.

Tidbits:

*  Alvin Kamara is averaging 3.9 yards per carry, down from 5.0 last year, but he’s a much better runner now.

*  Malcolm Jenkins is actually playing good football. He’s projected to finish with 86 solo tackles, 3 interceptions, 6 pass defenses, and 10 tackles for a loss.

*  11/14 – 12/2. @ Tennessee, @ Philly, then home against the Bills, and Cowboys. Those 4 weeks will tell you all you need to know about this team.

Prediction:

This team most likely has a ceiling of 11-6. But they’re a disgruntled Michael Thomas or an injury away from being 9-8 or 8-9. In the meantime, sharpen your teeth. Because this should turn out to be a nail biter of a season.

Robert Taibbi L.C.S.W.

What you learned to do isn’t working. 6 ways to begin to turn your life around.

KEY POINTS

  • We often struggle because our old coping styles no longer work.
  • Knowing your old dysfunctional patterns helps you know how to begin to run your life better.
  • Discover what you can’t do and experiment with acting differently.

Life can deliver its share of troubles and we step up and handle them as best we can. But, for some, their struggles seem never to end. While they, too, are doing their best, what often fuels their difficulties is how they are running their lives. They seem to repeatedly fall into the same potholes, replicate the same dysfunctional patterns, and react to problems in old ways that no longer work.

If this seems to be true for you, maybe it’s time to step back, stop doing what isn’t working, and begin replacing this outdated psychological software with upgraded versions. Here are some of the most common potholes and patterns to stop alongside their new-and-improved replacements. See which resonate most with you:

Stop being a victim

You’re upset because your partner always brings up that incident at Christmas that he knows makes you angry. You’re tired all the time because you’re always going a hundred miles an hour juggling work, kids’ demands, and everyday life. The core problem here is that you see yourself as a victim of others and their reactions, a victim of the life that you have created.

What to start doing: Yes, you can’t control your partner; you feel trapped in a lifestyle that drains you. But most of all you’re not taking responsibility—for your emotions and your reactions, for the choices you make even when you feel like you are not making choices.

Stop being emotionally driven

Being emotionally driven easily overlaps with feeling like a victim. What we’re talking about here is you running your everyday life based on how you feel. You’re tired, so you don’t mow the lawn or do your taxes; you’re overwhelmed about the new project at work, so put off tackling it; it’s already 2:00 pm, the day is shot, and so you mentally kick back and coast—you’ll tackle it tomorrow.

Folks who have high anxiety or who have AD/HD are often emotionally driven: They do what they do based on how they feel. The problem with this is that you understandably avoid what you don’t want to do, what is uncomfortable, and don’t follow through when the going gets tough.

What to start doing: The underlying problem is that your emotional brain is driving your life rather than your rational brain. It’s time to stop your rational brain from being a passenger and to allow it to become the driver: time to learn to act despite how you feel; time to develop some perseverance, some discipline so your feelings aren’t constantly derailing you from success.

Stop being passive

It’s okay; that’s fine; no problem; whatever. If you find yourself saying these often, you probably get kudos for being laid back and accommodating, and as an extra bonus, you avoid a lot of conflict and confrontation. But it comes at a cost: by going along and essentially letting others make choices for you, you are living the life of a child rather than an adult who shapes his life by making his own decisions. Periodically, you may find yourself feeling resentful; you may flare up and be self-destructive. Rather than living a life that reflects your unique purpose, the moral of your life is to not make waves, not get into trouble.

What to start doing: While those who are emotionally driven pay too much attention to their emotions, those who are passive tend to not pay enough attention to them. If you feel like it’s time to stop being passive, you have two skills to develop: One is listening to your gut, paying attention to what you don’t like, don’t want to; two is doing something with it.

Speak up, be assertive, tell others how you feel and think. Even if it takes three days to figure out how you feel, that’s fine; it’s okay to take baby steps. All you have to do is act. Not perfectly, not because you expect some magical outcome, not because it will make someone else happy. Simply speak up and act rather than leaning back and doing nothing.

Stop being a martyr

You volunteer for every committee; you’re always doing for others. That’s fine if that is part of your values, your vision of a good life. But all too often, it’s about anxiety, walking on eggshells. While the story you tell yourself is that you are just being a good person, you’re being over-responsible and being good so others like you, to avoid the conflict that may come from saying no. You can tell when you are losing control of your life when you get burned out, or, like those who are passive, you periodically feel resentful that others aren’t appreciating what you’re doing or are not pulling their weight. If this happens to you, your life is out of balance; you’re being a martyr.

What to start doing: Like the others, realize and acknowledge when this is happening. Next, do what you struggle to do. Keep your hand down when they call for volunteers; learn to say no. Change your expectations about what you expect from others in return. Use your burnout as a wake-up call to tell you that you are not living your life.

Stop settling

The vacation your partner planned was “okay.” The salary increase wasn’t what you expected but “understandable.” Good for you for not overreacting and being critical. But…if you are doing this a lot, if your life is an endless series of compromises and watered-down experiences, if you are always settling, eventually it’s going to back up on you. Yes, it is good enough, but like that poor woman who in old age regretted eating too many beans and not enough ice cream, do you too need to learn to slow down on the beans and try going for more ice cream?

What to start doing: Speak up and try not to rationalize that what you get is good enough, or that it’s probably what you should only expect. You deserve more than you think; you can get more than you believe you can. And you have to believe it and try living it to find out.

Stop cutting and running

The relationship isn’t working out—you ghost him. Your supervisor is awful, and you quit. Your mother makes some nasty comments about your partner, and you decide you’re done and never want to talk to her again.

This is about coping with hurtful situations by cutting them off—the situation, the pain, the person. The problem here is your anxiety and your coping style works so you keep doing it. But the downside is that your life becomes a series of emotional cutoffs and unresolved problems; the hurt isn’t ever really resolved. You never learn the lessons that life can teach you. You stay the victim; your life is an accumulation of problems swept under the rug.

What to start doing: Don’t run; talk. Don’t run; tackle the problem. Your supervisor may still be a monster, your mother sticks to her nasty ways, but you’ve pushed back. You’ve been that adult rather than the scared, angry 10-year-old who runs away. At some point, what you say will be heard and the problem will be fixed.

The theme here is clear: Figure out what you can’t do, where you settle, resign, go on auto-pilot, or avoid what is hard. Stop doing it. Try doing the opposite.

The NOLA Project theatre company is getting a new leading artistic

voice.

Ensemble member Brittany N. Williams (HARRY AND THE THIEF, SPARE MISSION 1) has

been tabbed as TNP’s first-ever Co-Artistic Director. She will assume the role in January of

2022.

Brittany N. Williams

“I’m thrilled to be joining The NOLA Project team as Co-Artistic Director,” Williams said.

“Working with this brilliant group of artists as an ensemble member has been wonderful and I’m

excited to help us grow and evolve as a company and as part of the greater New Orleans

community.”

Williams, is an actor, singer and writer. You last saw her on stage in TNP’s last in-person production,

HARRY AND THE THIEF (Vivian), at the Contemporary Arts Center in 2020. During the

pandemic, she penned one of the company’s four original PodPlays as well as provided her

voice for it and two others. Outside of TNP, Williams’ credits include Stage Door Songbook: Cole

Porter (Susan), Mary Full of Gray (Mary/writer) and she was the The National World War II

Museum’s 2019 Stage Door Idol winner.

Williams will share Artistic Director duties with current AD A.J. Allegra.

“I couldn’t be happier to announce the addition of Brittany N. Williams to our new shared

leadership model at The NOLA Project,” Allegra said. “She is a passionate, smart, and creative

theatre artist with an incredible depth of knowledge and experience. The pandemic-forced

pause in our work allowed our ensemble to look inward at ways in which we could strengthen

and improve our organization. And, I am so pleased that in the tradition of NOLA Project, and the

spirit of ensemble, we selected one of our own to co-lead the next era of The NOLA Project.”

Originally from Baltimore, MD, Williams performed across three continents – including a year

spent as a principal vocalist at Hong Kong Disneyland – and several US states prior to

relocating to New Orleans in 2017. Some favorite out-of-town credits include Universal Robots

(Helena), Margaret I (Joan of Arc), Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (Nansi – Helen Hayes Award

nom.), Antony and Cleopatra (Soothsayer/Clown), and Lear (Cordelia/Fight Captain). Williams

holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from Howard University and an MA in Classical Acting from the

Royal Central School of Speech & Drama.

Last time we saw her

Williams’ latest work will be on display this fall when The NOLA Project and the New Orleans

Museum of Art present her new play, TELL IT TO ME SWEET, in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.

For more information on the original outdoor production, running October 29-November 14, please visit

NOLAProject.com. PRESS CONTACT: kclaverie@nolaproject.com | 504.913.5057

 In an unprecedented move, two opponents endorse each other during an election

District “C” Councilmember Kristin Palmer and District “D” Councilmember Jared Brossett announced that they are taking the unprecedented step of endorsing each other for the Council At-Large before the November 13th Primary. Palmer and Brossett are running against each other in a four-way race for the Division 2 Council At-Large seat that includes former State Senator JP Morrell. Typically opponents in the same race do not endorse the other until after one loses.

Why would they do this?

The opponents see an opportunity to move voters away from their primary opponent JP Morrell.  Polling shows Morrell making the runoff with either of them.  For Palmer this is a political calculation.  In addition to politics, the personal dispute between Brossett and Morrell just got revved up significantly. 

Brossett and Palmer have worked together on the Council on multiple issues, including the $15 an hour minimum wage for city employees. They worked on the growing Airbnb problem. But this unforeseen action is not only shocking but politically risky for each of them.  

We will see how or if this unprecedented move affects the primary.

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

Wait, the party out of power was complaining about the party in power trying to raise the debt ceiling? What year is it? I feel like we’ve been here before. Some would call this deja vu. Others would call it a glitch in the Matrix. But this is the debt ceiling debacle.

This episode played out predictably. I had trouble deciphering if it was a new one or just a re-run. At the heart of it all was the funding of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion Build Back Better budget.

Democrats, the party in power, we’re trying to rally two holdouts in the Senate. And Republicans were running around talking about how the budget would usher in the total ruination of the country. This all made for high drama.

Senators Sinema and Manchin contribute to the Debt Ceiling Debate

HOLDOUTS 1 & 2

Senator Krysten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, also known as holdout #1, got jacked up in a bathroom by some citizens who still actually take national politics seriously. Not like literally jacked up, but you know, confronted, politely questioned in public about why she’s stalling President Biden’s budget.

Holdout #2, Senator Joe Manchin, a Republican who identifies as a Democrat, did what he usually does in highly partisan showdown. He got squeamish when Democrats started asking how he’ll be voting. Manchin subjected his fellow Democrats to a lot of public foot stomping over the green energy policies included in the budget. This shouldn’t be surprising. He’s a Democrat from West Virginia, a coal mining state that has voted Republican in every presidential election since 2000.

Meanwhile, Republicans were dealing with their own internal drama. In one breath, it wouldn’t make proper partisan sense to be seen voting with the Democrats. But in another, it also wouldn’t make much political sense to sit back and watch the Democrats nuke the filibuster.

The filibuster is the only weapon a minority party in the Senate has to influence legislation. It takes 60 votes to break one, which is something no party in recent memory has had. So, a compromise is forced. Naturally, the threat of losing the filibuster scared the bee gee bees out of Mitch McConnell. So, he did the unthinkable: he rallied votes on behalf of the Democrats.

In the end, McConnell betrayed his party (their words) and did just enough to throw Democrats some cover fire until December. Instead of actually voting to raise the debt ceiling to cover the budget, Republicans and Democrats agreed to raise it just enough to cover the bills until December. The price – $480 billion.

People who try to make sense of this ask: why when they vote to spend money we don’t have, they just don’t also raise the debt ceiling to cover it?

The answer: because there’d be no incentive to curb spending. Imagine if every time you were about to max out your credit card, the bank just increased your credit limit. You know all the trouble you’d get into?

Right now, the federal government is in $28 trillion of trouble, mainly because it has just that – unlimited credit. The debt that incurs is usually only a problem to the party that’s not in control of spending.

Over the years, the rhetoric surrounding the budget and federal spending has degenerated to stomp speeches and red meat for constituents. You can look for this to intensify until one party, probably Republicans, actually do something crazy like block the other party from raising the ceiling. Then all catastrophes will break loose.

But the good people in Washington made sure that is something we won’t have to worry about until Christmas. Think of it as a premature lump of coal in your stocking. In a month and a half, we’ll actually see if they will take all the merry out of Christmas.

By TiOnka Writez

On September 9, 2021,  President Biden signed the executive order to mandate the vaccination of all federal employees and employees operating with one hundred people within the private sector by 12/08/2021. The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force issued guidelines. Unvaccinated employees are to submit a negative COVID-19 test result every 72 hours before reporting for duty. In true American fashion, the edge of a life-altering event stirs dissent. We understand the need to stop the virus. But the plan of tampering with the working classes’ lively hood is a bit extreme.

The three most common vaccine questions are:

1) Are you vaccinated?

2) When will you get vaccinated?

3) Why won’t you get vaccinated?

Depending on who is asking, you may need to ere on the side of caution when preparing to answer. The decision to vaccinate or not is causing a rift in home and work environments worldwide. The unvaccinated now face hostility. How did we, as a “united” nation, get here?

Now, I know what you are thinking. This COVID-19 virus is no joke. Humans have never faced this before. And you cannot fathom why anyone would object to a scientifically formulated and tested solution. However, The unvaccinated have real issues to consider. Initially there was confusing and mixed messaging. For instance, medical professionals advise patients to take the “shot” to save lives. But a liability waiver is necessary to proceed with vaccine administering. And multiple contracting cases and deaths by COVID-19 are on record in vaccinated individuals. Warnings of use labels, of course, are available on all over-the-counter and prescribed medications. But the difference here is choice and the ability to proceed with informed consent.

The first amendment (“Freedom of Speech”) means freedom of expression. If individuals express their desire not to receive the vaccination, accept their decision. Amidst the debt ceiling debate, now is not the ideal time to threaten Americans’ job security. Stifling employee wage-earning potential and restricting medical coverage for COVID-19 testing is counterproductive to replenishing a depleted economy.

We should develop a solution that considers the position of all parties involved. The most relevant question here is, who or what constitutes a valuable person?” The answer is simple; every living person holds value. And their opinion matters. Don’t bully or shame people for staying strong in their conviction. Placing restrictions on employment is not the best create trust and cooperation with the citizens you are attempting to save.

To vaccinate more people, appeal to what matters to them. Implement a solution to address daily issues like the unstable workforce or unjustly inflated insurance rates in certain areas. Address their concerns without gaslighting them, overlooking how they perceive your message or threatening them with excessive force.

RELATED: For some lack of access is the issue

         

            In my recent pandemic rant, I railed against adults, who, for no good reason, refused to get vaccinated. I argued that it constitutes reckless endangerment of our children. As I write this, yesterday (August 25), a baby and a 14-year-old football player died in Louisiana of COVID.

            My daughter Rebecca, who is a physician and has a nine-year-old, thought my rant was spot on. My son, Jonathan, also a physician and whose 8-year-old just recovered from COVID, could relate to my frustration, but he thought I should be more understanding of the unvaccinated. And my unvaccinated friend V called me up to say I can’t just call her a baby killer. I didn’t, and yet . . . what do the facts say?

            I know V extremely well and love her. But I can’t for the life of me see how she reaches her anti-vax conclusion. She’s not stupid. In fact, she is brilliant. She doesn’t buy conspiracy theories. She’s never been betrayed by doctors or the medical establishment. She’s generous and community oriented. But she’s not a Republican. And yet she’s one of those people I referenced in my rant that you can’t reason with.

            I have to grant, therefore, that my son’s approach may be more useful. He had a patient last week, an elderly woman with underlying conditions, who refused to get the shot because she was sure that the Lord would take care of her. He affirmed her strong faith and said he wanted to tell her a story/joke. You know, the one about a person in dire straits who refuses three rescue offers because she believes God will save her. She dies and then takes God to task for not answering her prayers. And God says, but I sent you X, Y, and Z.

            Jonathan, being a homeboy, gave it the New Orleans spin of a woman on a rooftop after Katrina. Boats and a helicopter came to the rescue, and she waved them away. His patient laughed uproariously and said she’d think about it. He had occasion to call her several times as a follow-up to their appointment asking various questions about her medical history. On the fourth call, she said she had some surprising news. She got the shot.

            “Great!” he said. “What made you decide?” She said she shared the hilarious story with a friend. When Jonathan called, she said that was God’s second message to her. When he called again – that was God’s third message. “I got in my car,” she told him, “To drive to the Walgreens. And if nothing happens on the way, I’ll know that God wants me to get the shot.”

            Jonathan is 1 for 0 on convincing people. I am 0 for 0. So I have to admit, as good and righteous as my rant felt – yes, his approach is proving more effective.