Did you know that radical Islam (only 1% of our population) is being taught at taxpayer expense in your children and grandchildren’s schools? If this outrages you, it should!

At Riverheads High School in Virginia, a mandatory assignment had students practice calligraphy by copying the Muslim declaration of faith, “There is no God but Allah.” And female students were invited to wear the traditional hijab, or head scarf, to teach them the value of the “modesty” of Muslin women!

While leftists have thrown the Holy bible out of our schools and banned the Pledge of Allegiance, public school teachers are indoctrinating your children and grandchildren with Islamic teachings.

And right now, our government is ignoring an Islamic propaganda campaign on your children and grandchildren that’s taking place right in our own backyards!

Your children and grandchildren’s textbooks are designed to whitewash radical Islam’s anti-American agenda. The radical left has ripped God out of our schools…while adding pro-Islamic lessons.

Over the past few years we’ve seen a massive increase in pro-Islamic lessons, along with an all-out assault on God and our Judeo-Christian values. Just look at what’s happening:

• In a Florida school, students had to design and create Muslim prayer rugs…while a Federal judge prohibited public prayer at a high school graduation ceremony—and even banned the words “prayer” and “amen.”
• In Maryland, students had to write out the Shahada, which states “There is not god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”…while in Texas a seventh-grade assignment taught kids that God was a myth and not a fact.
• Countless schools around the country force children to learn and recite the five pillars of Islam…while in New Jersey the ACLU forced a school to cover up all religious symbols during a graduation ceremony.

Do you think what’s happening in classrooms around the country is good for America? If that’s not bad enough—even more disturbing is that some of these pro-Islamic lessons are paid for with your tax dollars!

As I write this blog, New York is promoting an “educational” video for teachers to use called “Dying to be a Martyr.” The video interviews Islamic terrorists who tell students why their attacks are justified.

Your children and grandchildren are being taught that Paul Revere was a “real terrorist” but the 9-11 hijackers were just “freedom fighters”!

These aren’t mistakes, my friend. This is all part of the left’s deliberate effort to rewrite history.

Anti-Christian and anti-Israel bias is found in books distributed to your children and grandchildren at public schools in all 50 states.

• An elementary Social Studies text titled The World by Scott Foresman described Jesus Christ as “a young Palestinian.”
• A teachers’ guide called the Arab World Studies Notebook, published by the Middle East Policy Council, claims that Muslim explorers discovered America before Christopher Columbus.
• And major textbook publishers allow the powerful Council on Islamic Education to review and even censor material before publication.

The books your children read in college are even more anti-American. For instance, too many students are forced to read The Autobiography of Malcolm X by the radical “Nation of Islam” leader than books about our founding fathers!

As a result, impressionable students are being filled with a hatred for America.

Consider American pre-med student Abdisalan Hussein Ali from the University of Minnesota. He died as a terrorist suicide bomber in Somalia. And he was the third young American student to do so!

And then consider that three teenage girls from Denver ran away from home to join ISIS! Too many young people today are learning to HATE America and despise liberty and patriotism.

Unfortunately, many students learn this from leftists in academia, where biased professors control what your children and grandchildren read in our taxpayer-funded schools!

And so they’re eliminated history lessons…exalted the work of anti-American jihadists…and expanded courses on radical Islam and other movements that advance their extreme agenda.

Meanwhile, polls show our children are learning very little about real American history.

The leftist indoctrination of our young students is a full-out attack on our freedoms.

Enough rewriting history. Enough of this “blame-America-first” liberalism. And enough manipulating of your children and grandchildren’s textbooks to scorn patriotism and praise Jihadists!

Your children and grandchildren are forced to adopt diversity, multi-culturalism, and a white-washed view of Islam all in the name of “political correctness” and “tolerance.”

Tragically, the serious study of our Founding Fathers, our veterans, and their battles has all but disappeared from our schools.

Polls today reveal most students don’t even know who America fought against in World War II. However, because they’re read the new, politically-correct textbooks, today’s students believe America is mostly a “racist” country.

In one popular high school textbook, American Odyssey, there are five pages of “expert” quotations about the U.S. dropping the atomic bomb, and every single quotation is critical of America.

There is no mention of World War II’s great leaders or liberators, but there’s an entire chapter on “The War and Civil Rights.”

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An interesting analysis by David Brooks, opinion columnist for the N.Y. Times.

“People are always changing their minds, day to day. But over the past 20-odd years one group has shifted to an astounding degree: highly educated white Democrats. I’m not sure I understand why this group has undergone such a transformation, but it has, and the effects are reshaping our politics.

“The easiest way to describe the shift is to say that educated Democrats have moved steadily to the left. In 1994, only about a sixth of Democrats who had gone to graduate school said they were consistently liberal. In 2015, more than 50 percent did. In 1994, only 12 percent of Democrats with college degrees said they were consistently liberal. Eleven years later, 47 percent did, according to the Pew Research Center.

“One of the results is that, as my colleague Thomas B. Edsall put it this week, there are now three Democratic parties. The most moderate faction is the most nonwhite and focuses on pocketbook issues like jobs and taxes. The most left-wing segment is the most populated by whites. It focuses on issues like abortion, global warming, immigration and race and gender equality.

“To say that white educated Democrats have moved left is true, but it’s not the essential truth. The bigger truth is that this segment is now more likely to see politics through a racial lens. Racial equality has become the prism through which many in this group see a range of other issues.

“For example, immigration is now seen through the lens of race, in a way that simply wasn’t true two decades ago. As Zach Goldberg noted in an essay in Tablet Magazine, between 1965 and 2000, the percentage of white liberals who wanted higher immigration levels never deviated far from 10 percent. During the Obama administration, the number rose to the range of 20 to 30 percent. Now, more than 50 percent of white progressives want to see higher immigration levels.

“Many progressives see barriers to immigration as akin to unjust racial barriers. Many want to dismantle the border enforcement agencies and eliminate criminal sanctions against undocumented crossings precisely because they are seen as structures of oppression that white people impose on brown people.

“The racial lens also affects views on foreign policy topics. For most of the 20th century, for example, white liberals consistently sympathized with Israel more than with the Palestinians. But that has reversed. White progressives are much more critical of Israel than ever before. What had once been seen as an intractable regional conflict between a democracy and a series of authoritarian regimes trying to destroy it is now seen as a conflict between a white colonialist power and the brown people it oppresses.

“In this new dispensation, the concept of white privilege is on everybody’s lips. As Goldberg points out, in 1996 and 2010 about a quarter of white liberals thought racial discrimination was a very serious problem. By 2016, 58 percent did. White liberals have warmer attitudes toward other races than they do toward their own.

“In this dispensation, more white progressives view society as basically unjust. In last year’s Hidden Tribes survey, for example, 86 percent of progressive activists said that people’s life outcomes are outside their individual control.

“This shift in outlook has yielded several paradoxes. As many researchers have pointed out, white progressives are now farther left on immigration and race and diversity issues than the typical Hispanic or African-American voter.

“Second, two of the great marks of privilege in our society are skin color and education levels, and yet in the Democratic Party it’s the highly educated whites who express the greatest alienation with the system that benefits them so directly.

“Third, the progressive framework is egalitarian, but the shift has opened up wider opinion and cultural gaps between this highly educated elite and less educated groups.

“Why have white progressives moved so far so fast? There are several theories.

“The most direct theory is that America is a land of systemic racism. Highly educated white progressives have woken up to this fact and are out in front of other groups. This is, after all, the nation that elected Donald Trump and that puts children in cages at the border.

“The more cynical take starts with the observation that the creed of wokeness is mostly centered to the super-prestigious universities and the affluent progressive enclaves along the coasts. In this take, if you’re a rich white child of privilege you have to go to extraordinary lengths to prove you’re one of the good children of privilege and not one of the bad ones. In this take, white progressives don noble clothing to make themselves feel good without really dismantling the structures that keep them in lifestyle bubbles, and on top.

“For me, it’s a good idea to assume that people adopt their positions for honest, well-intentioned reasons. The crucial question them becomes: When is the racial lens (with its implied charge of racism against those who disagree) the right lens to use and when is it not? When does it illuminate an issue and when does it conceal?”

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Simple squat solutions

Squatting is one of the fundamental movement patterns the human body should be able to complete. The interesting thing is that this pattern often deteriorates over time due to a loss of stability and mobility in the proper joints.

If you ever want to see a perfect squat, just drop a toy in front of a toddler and have him or her pick it up. Babies are born with perfect mobility and earn their stability over time. If we think about the major milestones that we are excited for babies to accomplish, this makes sense: first they learn to control their neck and look around, then roll over, then creep and crawl, then standup, and finally walk.

Once they are walking, we are often treated to perfect demonstrations of squatting and deadlifting because they possess the proper mobility in the appropriate joints (ankles, hips, thoracic spine) and have earned their stability through natural motor learning.

As we get older and begin to spend more time sitting and typing and doing other sedentary activities, we tend to lose our mobility and our body begins to alter its functional movement patterns like squatting and deadlifting that we once knew without any coaching. All that said, helping clients achieve a good squatting pattern is something I try to focus on.

Goblet squat technique:

1. Initiate the movement by sitting tight into your hips.
2. Try to keep your torso upright as you squat down.
3. Try to keep your knees aligned over the middle of your toes (i.e., do not let _ them cave in as you squat down)
4. When standing on the ground, keep your heels flat and do not let them come up and shift your weight to your toes
5. Try to squat to achieve thighs parallel to the floor as long as this does not cause pain or joint discomfort
6. Use a heel lift or counterbalance help technique if necessary

Anti-rotation for a stronger core

Core training is a topic that many people are typically very interested in learning about. The “core” is a bit of an ambiguous term, but for practical purposes we can think of it as the groups of muscles that connect our extremities (i.e., from “pits” to “hips”). One way that we can think about effective core training is to think of our core musculature as force transmitters (i.e., transfer force from our lower body through a stable trunk to our arms).

Picking up a toddler and carrying grocery bags at our sides are a couple of examples of how our core muscles need to be able to activate and stabilize our spine both to accomplish a task and to avoid injury. Core exercises that focus on resisting motion through the different patterns our spine can move are a great way to train our core for long-term health, limit exposure to injury, and also enhance performance.

The major patterns that help train our core through the resisting of motion are: anti-extension (resist bending backwards), anti-flexion (resist bending forward), anti-rotation (resisting rotations of the spine) and anti-lateral flexion (resist side-bending of the spine). The exercise demonstration in this blog tip shows a way for us to train anti-rotation of the spine.

Technique pointers for the tall-kneeling anti-rotation pressout

1. Adjust the cable column so that, when you are kneeling down, it is aligned with your chest muscles.
2. Position yourself so that the cable/pulley is lined up to your side.
3. Begin with a fairly light weight.
4. In a kneeling position, “make yourself tall” by staying tight in your glutes, abdominals, and “reaching your head for the ceiling.”
5. Bring the handle of the able to your chest with some tension on the cable, and then press straight out in front of you, then return to your chest.
6. Press out and back while keeping your core engaged as if you are stiffening your core for a “punch.”
7. Perform 8-10 repetitions, and then turn around and repeat to resist rotation to both your right and left sides.

A simple relaxation technique to help with sleep

It’s no secret that sleep is important. The full benefits of sleep could fill an entire book and far surpass the scope of a weekly training tip. However, sleep is commonly one of the most overlooked recovery tools available, and it also one of the most powerful. We also can’t forget that it’s free! Sleep loss can result in an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, with one study showing as much as a 45% increase the day after subjects slept for only 4 hours. In addition, sleep can impact focus and performance in physical skills.

A research study at Stanford University found that when players on the men’s basketball team extended their sleep to 10 hours per night, they improved their sprint times significantly and improved their free throw and 3-point shooting percentages by 9% each. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults sleep for 7-9 hours each night. With busy work schedules, making time for the gym, and other personal commitments, it can be a challenge to get the amount of sleep we need for recovery.

One challenge can be when we have a difficult time falling asleep. A tool that can help shift our bodies into a state of relaxation and parasympathetic dominance in our nervous system (the state encouraging “rest and digest”) is slow breathing. This could be a helpful took in feeling relaxed and having an easier time falling asleep.

Slow relaxed breathing

1. Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet on the floor. Your neck and spine should be neutral and comfortable.
2. Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your lower abdomen.
3. Take three seconds to slowly breathe through your nose.
4. Try to make the hand on your lower abdomen rise up with your inhalation minimize the rising of the hand on your chest.
5. Allow for a brief pause.
6. Exhale slowly through your mouth for two to three seconds.
7. Pause again for 2-3 seconds.
8. Begin next breath cycle.
9. Aim for 5 full breath cycles.

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It has been over 130 years since sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi gave form to one of the world’s greatest symbols of freedom.

The Statue of Liberty stands today as an inspiration to all. She is at once a reminder of our nation’s history and of our enduring vision of freedom, hope, and opportunity for the future.

But before she towered over New York Harbor, welcoming voyagers with the embrace of possibility and sharing her legacy with over four million visitors a year, she was, simply, an idea…

…a vision of a powerful way to motivate the world over, not just with the story of liberty in the United States, but also with its hope and possibility around the globe.

Today, an exciting new vision to build on this great legacy and share the message of liberty with millions more people stands before us the Statue of Liberty Museum.

With the museum now open, it is the most monumental addition to Liberty Island since the Statue herself arrived. More than that, it allows millions more visitors to enjoy the Statue of Liberty experience and be inspired by her legacy and message of freedom and opportunity.

From Idea to Icon: Building the Statue of Liberty

You already know that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States. But did you know that her construction was made possible, in large part, by people like you and me?

Indeed, her construction was a remarkable feat of engineering in its time, but also a triumph of generosity on the part of ordinary citizens, each giving to their own ability, to realize the dream of the Statue.

From the time Bertholdi imagined “Liberty Enlightening the World,” it took ten years for French and American citizens to bring Lady Liberty to life. Finally, in 1885, the last pennies and nickels needed to complete the pedestal in the United States poured in. And on October 28, 1886, in a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland, the Statue was unveiled to the world.

The museum shows the massive negative molds necessary to create the Statue’s final form. Artifacts from her development and exhibits on her message in the context of world events will further illuminate her story.

An Inspiration Gallery. Finally, in this awe-inspiring space, people are invited to document their visit by adding their names and photos to an ever-growing Liberty Mosaic. The tour culminates with an up-close view of Liberty’s most iconic symbol—her original torch—which Lady Liberty held high for nearly 100 years. Rescued from the elements and replaced in 1986, the torch is the most powerful artifact visitors encounter as they reach the end of their museum experience, a touchstone of the light she continues to shine from generation to generation.

The Statue of Liberty Museum is a world-class museum to engage visitors in the history and future of liberty through thought-provoking experiences including:

An Immersive Theater. Weaving through this soaring theater space, museum-goers learn the rich story of the Statue’s origins. Progressing through this visual presentation, they are captivated by a virtual experience of ascending the Statue, recreating the views and sounds from within her interior. Visitors are also be invited to contemplate liberty today and its measures around the world, such as access to education, free elections, and free press.

An Engagement Gallery. Here, visitors are able to explore what took place in the warehouse where Bartholdi built the Statue. In a series of interactive, multimedia displays evoking the feeling of being in the sculptor’s studio, they see the step-by-step process of her construction, from small plaster model to the pounding of copper sheets on the new colossus.

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land, here at our sea-washed, sunset gates stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows worldwide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your stoned pomp!” cries she with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

In 1883, New York native Emma Lazarus wrote “The New Colossus” for an auction to raise funds for construction of the pedestal. In 1903, words from this iconic poem were engraved on the Statue’s base so that all visitors can read the words that celebrate Lady Liberty’s promise to the disenfranchised people of the world.

My father and mother both immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island. I have visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island twice and it is a very touching memory for me. There is a large plaque with my parents’ names on it.

If you would like to join me in making a donation to this gateway to America, you can write to Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, 17 Battery Place, New York, NY 10004.

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I was tired of the whole fantasy impeachment folly by the second day so, let’s turn to more important things.

Follow Up to a Blog

A few blogs ago, in September, I posted a piece on the “Epidemic of Adult Children Divorcing Their Parents.” As a member of that diverse group, I was interested in writing the blog, but a little disappointed in not finding any answers on how to resolve my dilemma.

A week or so following that blog, I had lunch with a good friend who has a wealth of experience dealing with life’s vicissitudes as a college basketball coach, as a personal trainer, and as a life coach.

In the course of our discussion, she told me “If you can make a connection with a lost child, the contact is to try to find out what the problem was,” but that’s a mistake.

What you need to communicate is, “I miss you in my life,” “I love you,” and “I’m sorry for whatever happened.” If someone can’t respond to that, they’re really lost in the wilderness of immaturity.

Not Everyone Loves L.A.

Last year, 98,608 people moved out of Los Angeles County than moved in—the most of any of the nation’s big counties.

Understanding Kabbalah – A Beginning

This is not a written text or an official explanation of Kabbalah. These are the observations of your blogger about Kabbalah, what it is not and what it seems to be.

Kabbalah is not a cult, a secret society, nor a restrictive club. It is a community of people trying to understand and deal with the vicissitudes of life.

It has many roots in Jewish heritage, but it is not a separate religion.

The people who attend Kabbalah classes, sermons, services are not more than 50% of Jewish heritage. It is appealing to people of all religious faiths who want to better understand how to change themselves to deal more effectively with the challenges of personal lives, family and the world they live in.

Winston Churchill said: “Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.”

Where L.A. Started

El Pueblo de Los Angeles is often called the birthplace of the city. The much- celebrated historic district in downtown, today, is brought to life by all the Spanish-language music.

The vibrant colors of Olvera Street marketplace assure you: We celebrate our Mexican past.

But La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, the Mexican-American museum and community center nearby, asks its visitors to also interrogate some of the darker aspects of Los Angeles’ story.

The museum’s audience has nearly doubled in the last five years to about 111,000 visitors in 2018, according to a spokesman for La Plaza. He believes recent criticism of people of Mexican descent has given members of the community a sense of urgency to learn more about their history.

Visitors can look at an exhibit that explained the annexation of California by the U.S. in 1846 following the Mexican-American war. The annexation came just decades after Mexico had won independence from Spain in 1821.

The Sanctuary Movement Has Spread Like Wildfire

The following statistics and info has come from the Southeastern Legal Foundation, an activist public legal firm who has decided to take legal action against this movement.

Sanctuary cities are a large—and growing—threat to the safety and integrity of our country. There are nearly 300 state and local governments with laws, rules or policies having some form of sanctuary designed to thwart federal immigration enforcement.

In fact, California passed a law in 2017 declaring that the entire state was a sanctuary jurisdiction!

These sanctuary cities willfully shield dangerous illegal aliens from deportation by interfering with federal immigration efforts targeted at illegal aliens in the custody of local officials for other crimes. By definition, these are the most dangerous and lawbreaking segment of illegal aliens.

The costs of these sanctuary cities have been immense.

• Illegal aliens account for over 30% of the murders in some states, such as California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and New York. And a mind-boggling 21% of the population of federal prisoners are foreign-born, nearly all of whom are illegal aliens.

• Sanctuary cities cost taxpayers billions of dollars in public services for illegal aliens, overwhelming hospitals, schools, and local social services.

• And sanctuary cities have played a key role in the spread of the opioid epidemic that now kills more Americans every year than breast cancer or auto accidents.

Busing May Be Coming Back

Nestled in the scenic hills across the bay from San Francisco, the heavily white enclave of Sausalito is home to a thriving, racially and economically integrated charter school. And about a mile away, in the more diverse community of Marin City, is an overwhelming black and Hispanic public school.

This division within the Sausalito Marin City School District was intentional, the state Justice Department found after a two-year investigation, concluding that the district had “knowingly and intentionally maintained and exacerbated” racial segregation.

In a settlement with the state, Sausalito Marin City agreed last month to desegregate after the Justice Department found that the arrangement violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution.

What is it About October?

We’re not the biggest believer in seasonal patterns in the stock market. But that doesn’t mean we don’t see the patterns.

May through October has historically lower returns and higher volatility than November to April. The numbers are there, it’s just that this information isn’t usually investable.

While market crashes have been found in disproportionately high numbers in September and October any given year, stocks can, and often do, perform fantastically well during those months. For example, the S&P 500 was up 8.3% in October of 2015.

Well, this isn’t shaping up to be one of those months.

For the second year in a row, October is looking to be rough. I don’t know that the S&P 500 will drop 7% like it did last year. Only time will tell. But it’s obvious that investors are scared. There aren’t a lot of buyers right now.

The potential for a presidential impeachment has people on edge. Whether you like the man or hate him, a lengthy impeachment process isn’t good for anyone. It means the government will grind to a halt for months and no meaningful legislation will be passed.

It also brings added uncertainty to the 2020 election.

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This is an article written by Dr. Timothy Habbershon with Fidelity Viewpoints.

Key Takeaways

Financial matters can have a significant influence on every aspect of life, yet families often avoid discussing financial topics—particularly estate planning decisions—for fear they will stir up family conflict.
However, when it comes to financial conversations, it is possible not only to avoid conflict, but also to positively shape future family relationships.
Bill was a family man who could fix anything, and his children grew up counting on that. He wasn’t the most communicative person, but he was a devoted father. His wallet nearly burst at the seams because it held so many family pictures.

When Bill passed away suddenly, the whole family was heartbroken. When his will was read, his daughters experienced a sense of abandonment inconsistent with the feelings they had for him throughout their lives. Their dad was so generous, and always put them first. They could not understand the choices he made for them and their children through his estate plan. This lack of communication and confusion led to family conflict and eventually to no interaction at all. Bill could have fixed this, but he wasn’t there to fix things anymore.

Bill’s family story is not unique. Bill was a kind and loving father, and his family was, by most standards, close. But by excluding his children from financial conversations and decisions on his estate plan, Bill set in motion a series of unintended consequences that were passed down along with his estate.

A Development Arena

Next to health, financial matters may have the most comprehensive influence on every aspect of life. Unfortunately, similar to health matters, families tend to avoid these topics, or put them off for as long as possible. But there is a progression of financial topics through the life of a family.

Each one of life’s events provides opportunities for families to learn and grow together. The developmental goal is to break the silence and move beyond parent-child hierarchs to become peers in discussions about these important and sometimes difficult financial topics, through a lifetime of open conversation.

5 Rules of Thumb for Navigating Money>>Wealth>>Estate Planning

A rule of thumb is a principle that helps frame complex conversations. Rather than defaulting to silence or simplicity, the 5 rules of thumb below provide general guidance to help foster reflective and relationship-building conversation, allowing families to co-create outcomes.

1. Closeness-Distance: Be mindful that every financial decision has the power to create closeness or distance in family relationships. We can all recognize what closeness and distance feel like, and can understand the differences. Close family relationships typically involve open conversations: All views are considered, everyone feels respected and cared for, and there is a sense of fairness. Distant family relationships, on the other hand, often involve a lack of communication: Some family members may feel they have no voice, they may feel judged or controlled, and they may feel unfairly treated. So when it comes to financial conversations and the decisions that surround them, ask yourself, ‘With what I am thinking, saying, or doing, am I creating closeness or distance in my family’s relationships?’

2. Voice-Vote: Giving a voice and input to others does not mean giving up the vote and final decision on outcomes.

When it comes to navigating Money>>Wealth>>Estate Planning, it is often difficult for families to determine who should have a voice and who should have a vote. The default parental practice on financial topics is generally to keep both the voice and the vote. When John found out his parents appointed him the trustee for his special-needs brother, he understood his obligation, but wished he had been given a voice—and maybe even a vote—in the decision.

When Sandra was told how much money she was allowed to spend on her wedding, she felt she should have had a voice. When she was given a prenuptial agreement by her father’s attorney, she was confused about who should have the voice and vote.

At every developmental stage, parents may avoid or fear giving children a voice or relinquishing the vote because it means giving up degrees of control. But as children mature and change their roles in the family, the Voice-Vote engagement between parents and children should also evolve. As children marry and form their own families, and as parents age and consider next-generation planning and age, passing along the vote becomes an important life passage. When these Voice-Vote decisions are made together, they build mature family relationships.

3. Fair-Equal: Fair is not always equal, so explore perceptions of fairness with family members. Siblings do not always have the same lifestyle, capabilities, career choices, health, maturity, marriages, number of children, or life spans, and parents’ circumstances and beliefs can change over time. And yet, the more differences there are within a family, the more parent seem to simply default to “fair IS equal.”

When Jonathan’s mother asked him if he would approve of her helping his brother financially, even though she wasn’t doing the same for him, he did not know how to react at first. This turned out to be a good thing because it gave them the opportunity to talk through the family’s circumstances. This allowed Jonathan to hear his mother’s thinking, and her to hear his.

This scenario illustrates the importance of talking through what is considered fair. Fairness is a matter of personal interpretation, so what each person perceive as fair may differ widely. And the basis for deciding what is fair must also be clarified: Is it based on need, merit, bringing siblings’ circumstances in line, or trying to treat everyone equally? Both the process and the ultimate decision are factors in the perceptions of fairness.

4. Transparency-Disclosure: Balance age-appropriate transparency with future disclosures.

One of the most common Money>>Wealth>>Estate Planning questions is ‘When is it appropriate to talk about money or disclose wealth and estate plans to children?’ Ultimately, this rule of thumb highlights that it is not just a question of when to disclose. How to create an appropriate level of transparency at each stage of life is equally important to finding the right balance. ‘Disclosures’ about wealth and estate plans are often prompted by late-in-life angst, illness, or death. Balancing transparency and disclosure encourages parents to have developmentally appropriate Money>>Wealth>>Estate Planning conversations with their children. This creates a sense of shared knowledge and decision-making through time, and still allows parents to hold back certain information until they are comfortable sharing it.

Paul and Jan both came from families that never discussed money, and late-in-life disclosures influenced their personal finances and family relationships. Jan was called upon to be the sole caretaker and financial decision-maker for her parents, which left her with added stress that her siblings were spared from. It also created secrecy and jealousy among Jan and her siblings because she held the financial reins and they felt excluded.

5. Wish-Fear: Seek wishes in your financial decisions and actions rather than defaulting to outcomes based on fear.

Conversations and decisions surrounding Money>>Wealth>>Estate Planning are often laden with wishes and fears. We wish for our children to have an easier life than we did, but we fear that any assistance or knowledge of family wealth will destroy their motivation. We wish for our children to have passionate and fulfilling lives, but fear they will choose careers that cannot support the lifestyle we want for them. We wish our parents would be more forthcoming with their retirement and end-of-life plans, but we fear any conversation about the subject.

When Mark’s uncle received his inheritance, he quit his job and never worked again, and his cousins followed in their father’s footsteps. Mark fears money will likewise demotivate his own children, so to ‘protect’ his family, Mark lives like a miser, never discusses his personal wealth, refuses to help his children financially in any way, and is considering giving all his money to charity.

It is important to ask ‘What are my fears?’ and ‘What are my wishes?’ to uncover the true motivation behind behaviors and decisions. Living like Mark is a missed opportunity for families to involve one another in their wishes about the future. Fears also erode the quality of family relationships and communications.

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Stefan Smith, writing for the Foundation for Economic Education, makes the case against reparations.

“There has been much debate about reparations for slavery. According to its proponents, the federal government should award Americans of African descent financial damages solely because slavery, as an institution, existed in the United States from the founding until almost a century later.

“Three principal arguments are offered: (1) The legacy of slavery has hindered the economic progress of blacks in America; (2) reparations would serve as a damage award that would rectify a historical wrong committed by the United States; and (3) reparations would give poor blacks more disposable income, which would increase their living standards and lift entire black communities.

“On the surface. These arguments seem to have a modicum of legitimacy. However, because of the potential divisiveness that the issue is sure to have, it is important to closely examine the premise on which these arguments are based. To do that effectively, we must first look at the institution of slavery itself from a historical perspective.

“Slavery as an institution existed on every inhabited continent of the earth for at least 4,000 years of recorded history.

“In the West, once the abolitionist momentum was underway, there was no turning back. This was especially the case in the United States, where the ideological underpinnings of a constitutional republic made it increasingly difficult rationally to deny slaves their rights. The abolition of slavery in the United States marked a historically significant moral high point, not only for this country, but also for the entire world.

Has Slavery Hindered the Economic Progress of Blacks?

“Economist Thomas Sowell, in his seminal work Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality, concluded after exhaustive statistical research that the vast majority of whites and blacks believe there are a higher percentage of blacks in poverty that there actually are. Indeed, when surveyed, most whites and blacks believe three-quarters of black Americans live below the official poverty line, when in reality only one in four do, according to the 2001 Census.

“Why is there so much confusion? Part of the problem is the perception that ‘black’ and ‘poor’ are synonymous. In the 1960s it was politically expedient to associate the state of being poor, uneducated, and oppressed with being black. The civil rights establishment found this association rhetorically necessary to focus public attention on the plight of southern blacks and to engage the emotions of the white majority against overt southern racism.

“However, this political strategy had an unexpected impact on the emerging black middle class. According to the black-equals-poor logic, when the black middle class achieved more opportunity and became more educated and affluent, it essentially became less “black.” This perhaps explains the black establishment’s attitude toward Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. Essentially, black identity was hijacked and frozen during the 1960s.

“Unfortunately, the image of poverty-stricken blacks in need of government handouts to get by is still perpetuated by race demagogues like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who stand to gain politically by fostering that stereotype. It is a truism of politics that charlatans in search of political power will always benefit from having a constituency with a chip on its shoulder.

“Is there a legacy from slavery that has hindered the economic progress of blacks today? Let’s consider the numbers. Major marketers have long constructed a black “gross national product” (GNP) from government statistics to gauge the financial power of black Americans. This is actually a misnomer since it tries to measure the total products and services consumed, not produced, by the black community. This statistic is often cited by black political leaders to persuade corporate America to produce more goods suited to the preferences of blacks. It turns out that if black Americans constituted their own country, they would have the 11th largest economy in the world.

“In addition to being a wealthy demographic group (richer than 90 percent of the people in the world), blacks in America have a longer life expectancy than African and Caribbean blacks, as well as whites in many parts of Eastern Europe and Latin America. Black Americans have higher rates of literacy and achieve more postsecondary degrees as a percentage of the population than blacks in Africa.

Who Gets What?

“If the proponents of reparations take to the courts, it will be interesting to see their principle for determining who is entitled to what. For many reasons that will be a Herculean task.

“Because of centuries of migration, conquests, and intermixing, racial purity is more of a social construct than a biological fact. Intermarriage between whites and blacks in America over the past two centuries has produced a large population of individuals who defy the stark dichotomy.

“With so much racial intermixture, will those who dole out the potential reparations demand certificates of racial purity? The thought is preposterous. Another quagmire in paying reparations is that a small percentage of blacks were free before slavery ended, having bought their freedom or having had it bequeathed to them by sympathetic slave owners. Are their descendants eligible for reparations?

“In antebellum New Orleans it wasn’t uncommon for freemen of color to own slaves. That blacks owned slaves has been a hotly debated point. It is true that a vast majority of blacks who bought slaves did so to emancipate relatives and friends. However, there are several well-documented cases of black slave owners in Louisiana who kept their slaves in servitude for life.

“Black slave ownership poses a serious conundrum in the equitable distribution of reparations. Few Americans, white or black, are familiar enough with their genealogies to know, with any certainty, significant details about what their ancestors were doing almost two centuries ago.

“Then there is the case of African and Caribbean emigres from the post-Civil ware era. It is estimated that this subgroup of the black community comprises between 3 to 5 percent of the total black population in the United States. Will they pay or receive reparations?

More Reparations?

“In some respects one could argue that reparations for slavery have already been paid. These implicit reparations, the argument goes, have taken the form of direct monetary transfers such as welfare payments or nonmonetary benefits such as hiring and admission quotas. Indeed, policies based on racial preferences such as affirmative action have allowed hundreds of thousands of blacks to enter universities and obtain employment based on criteria different from those applied to other groups of people.

“It should not be overlooked that the greatest irony of American slavery is that the descendants of those brought across the Atlantic from Africa are demonstrably better off than the descendants of those who remained. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the poorest countries with some of the most appalling living conditions in the world. Disease, war, and famine are commonplace, and corrupt governments led by military dictators and kleptocrats ensure that economic growth and development for the masses is a low priority. In this book Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa, American reporter Keith Richburg concludes that black Americans should consider themselves lucky to have escaped the squalor of what is contemporary Africa.

Are Current Taxpayers Culpable?

“Of the three primary arguments for reparations, the argument for damages is the most irrational. Though slavery was widespread in the southern United States, slave ownership was not. It is estimated that less than 10 percent of whites owned slaves. The vast majority did not; thy had neither financial nor agricultural resources to warrant slave labor. Slave ownership was restricted to a highly concentrated group of wealthy southern elites—the landed aristocracy.

“Today we live in a country with a population of 285 million people. Because of immigration, it is safe to argue that the majority of white people in this country are descended from post-Civil War immigrants who had nothing to do with slavery.

“Many ethnic groups that arrived on American shores in the early twentieth century, including the Irish, European Jews, and Chinese, were subject to severe discrimination. However, with every passing generation, ethnic groups developed the occupational skills, knowledge, and cultural norms necessary to fully assimilate and rise to higher socioeconomic levels within the mainstream American culture.

“Our Constitution provided the framework for legal equality for all individuals, and later legislation eliminated remaining race-based government barriers to freedom, assuring that blacks, like whites, can be beneficiaries of this great system.”

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