Terry Paulson

In the many tributes given to Tim Russert following his sudden death, it was Tim’s own comments from a recorded interview with Bill O’Reilly on the challenge of being a good father that stays with me: “What did my dad teach me? That he and my mom loved me, but, secondly. that the world didn’t owe me a favor. And my challenge now, as the father of an 18-year-old son, is how do I teach him that he is always loved but never entitled? … How do I teach him that hard work, preparation, discipline are really what matters when he, in fact, lives in Washington, has met presidents from the day he was born, and lives in this rarified air. I’m just not sure how to teach my son the lessons Russ taught me.”

Mr. Russert learned much from his dad Russ and tried to instill those same lessons in his son Luke. In his Farewell Address to the nation, Ronald Reagan reminded Americans of that same important lesson, “All great change in America begins at the dinner table.” Here’s one father’s attempt to provide one such dinner conversation in an age of entitlement. We hope it helps you start one of your own!

Son: “The gap between the rich and poor just keeps growing! Executives get millions. In today’s economy, workers are supposed to feel lucky they have a job! In November, Obama’s going to change that.”

Dad: “Workers don’t need Obama. If a worker can earn more somewhere else, he should take that job!”

Son: “There aren’t many good paying jobs out there!”

Dad: “Life is difficult. It isn’t fair, but you are luckier than most. Because you were born in America, you have a bedroom that’s bigger than homes in most poor countries. You’re fortunate life isn’t fair, or you’d probably be living in a hut somewhere. Want to trade?”

Son: “No, but with gas and food prices so high, just taking half of a CEO’s salary in taxes and giving it to those in need would make a real difference.”

Dad: “So you want to give the CEO’s money, not yours.”

Son: “They have more than anyone could need!”

Dad: “That would seem true, but that’s for them to decide. Those ‘rich’ people donate the majority of the funds charities need. Bill Gates not only made billions with Microsoft; he’s made a difference with his billions.”

Sean: “Not all rich people give.”

Dad: “That’s their loss. When you invest in giving, the payoff isn’t in money. It’s in meaning. Good guys do finish first. If people don’t realize that, they don’t know what the finish line is.”

Son: “The poor are left behind!”

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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