Terry Paulson

4. Sound principles must be taught early. Parents and grandparents are up against Hollywood, liberal school systems, and peer pressure working overtime to capture the hearts and minds of our children. Do your job! Set limits, discipline, and live out and explain your conservative values. Teach personal responsibility and pride in achievement, care enough to give back to your community, and nurture your faith. My book, "Favorite Family Lectures: The Secrets of Life Every Teen Wants to Know," helps start conversations about the values that matter most. Whatever resource you use, take the responsibility for educating your own children.

5. Don't pay the way to go to colleges and universities committed to turning your teenagers into raging liberal activists. At eighteen, they can go wherever they want, but you control what you will help fund. Good parents are respected, not always liked. State your limits. Use www.yaf.org to find schools worthy of support. To exercise their freedom to go elsewhere, let them have the freedom to pay the bill. Stop paying for progressive indoctrination.

6. Instead of reinforcing the "mean-spirited" Republican image with attack ads, put the primary focus on what we're for! Ronald Reagan shared his secret: "I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears. To your confidence, rather than your doubts." Instead of altering our values to reach America's changing demographics, feature a "Catch America Working" campaign honoring minority citizens who've succeeded because of the conservative principles they value and live. You don't need a lottery win or a government handout; here's how you earn your own American Dream!

7. True American confidence and strength doesn't comes from Washington but from what we do locally to make a difference for ourselves, our communities, and those in need. Get involved locally--your city, your local charities and your faith community. Nothing invigorates personal confidence and satisfaction more than giving back and serving real people. Government can attack your freedoms and take your money, but don't let them take your soul. Shine by serving.

We may be facing a challenging political and economic reality, but as conservative Americans, we believe that an America committed to personal responsibility and opportunity, free-enterprise competition, and limited government can remain the best hope for the world. For future generations now being saddled with limited freedoms, high taxes and growing debt, we can and must turn the tide, but we will have to earn that optimistic future together.

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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