Be honorable, regardless of your past

ABC News reports that for 42 years, Ronald Bridgeforth lived under an alias and settled into a comfortable existence in Michigan, where he raised his family, earned a Master’s degree and worked as a college guidance counselor. Nobody but his wife knew he was a fugitive, living as Cole Lee Jordan, hiding since getting into a shootout with police at a San Francisco discount store 42 years ago.

His years of hiding were over in 2012.  A  judge sentenced Bridgeworth, 67, to one year in a county jail, followed by probation for that 1968 shootout.  Bridgeforth, who will likely only serve half of his sentence, told judge Lisa Novak his actions were “misguided” and “reckless.”

“I am called to teach and I am called to heal, and I am asking you this morning to give me the opportunity to continue this work in my community,” he said in court.

Police did not catch up with Bridgeforth. His conscience did.

On Nov. 5, 1968, the 23-year-old Bridgeforth opened fire on San Francisco police after he was confronted for allegedly using a stolen credit card to buy $29 worth of clothes and toys. No one was injured.

After calling ahead on Nov. 10, 2011, Bridgeforth arrived at the Hall of Justice in Redwood City, Calif., and surrendered to police.

“He said it was the right thing to do and it’s all about family,” Bridgeforth’s attorney Paul Harris told after his client surrendered. “He wanted his sons to grow up to be the man he was today, not the young man he was on Nov. 5, 1968.”

Bridgeforth’s sons are blessed.  They have an honorable father, even with a stained past.  Whether you have always done everything right or really screwed things up, your life is a narrative beautifully designed to teach and inspire your children.  Don’t shortchange them by not sharing from your past experiences.


Ask about their school day

If you want to properly connect with your school-age children, you have to know what is going on in your child’s school.  And there’s no better way to do that than by asking insightful questions.  Here are 3 to help get you started:

1. What should you do when school seems boring?

2. What subject or topic really excites you?

3. Does how you do in school really impact your future?

What is one of the best gifts you can give to your children?

It’s not some high-tech gadget you can pick up at a store… it’s a sense of belonging. So how can you instill that in your kids? At home, let your kids know they’re important to you, and to your family. Affirm their positive character traits, encourage their unique gifts, and let them know their thoughts and opinions matter. Then, when you’re out in public, praise them to others – and proudly claim your children by saying, “This is my daughter, Kelsey… she’s an amazing young lady”… “This is my son, David… I’m so proud of him.” Or, “Let me introduce you to Ryan, He is a man of integrity”. Give your kids a sense of belonging and they’ll never have to look for it elsewhere.

The truth about some of our entrepreneurs

The Economist reports thirty-five percent of American entrepreneurs suffer from dyslexia.  That’s an amazing statistic.  How on earth is that possible?  Well, when some students who struggle with reading don’t give up no matter how hard it is, they learn to overcome and persevere.  And that kind of determination translates well in the business world.  So if your children have a hard time academically, realize that by encouraging them to never give up, you’re equipping them for success.

The effects of living together

The marriage rate has been on a steady decline over the past five decades.  Why this disturbing trend?  It’s because some people think that living together rather than getting married is the way to go.  The number of unmarried couples living with each other jumped from 1.6 million in 1980 to 13.6 million in 2008.  Are there consequences for co-habitation?  Well, findings from Pennsylvania State University indicate that couples who move in together before marriage have an increased risk of divorce.  Studies also show that your marriage will be happier and healthier if you put off living together until you say “I do.”  Teach your kids to be successful in their marriage.

Divorce and teens

Divorce is never easy on anyone, but teens often channel their emotions into destructive behaviors. A recent survey from Pediatrics journal shows that teens of divorcing families are twice as likely to use drugs or alcohol. They are also more likely to act out through physical fighting, property damage, and stealing. Others may experience depression and anxiety. But the good news is that parental support can help alleviate some of these risks. Help your kids handle divorce by making sure you keep the lines of communication open with your teen. Agree with your spouse to put aside your differences in front of the children and work together to do what’s best for them.

Don’t over-coach

If you’ve spent any time on the field with your children, you know it’s sometimes tough to figure out when to be coach and when to be parent. Well, here’s an idea…let the coach be the person to push them and you, the parent, be the person to praise them. The car ride home from practice or games should not be a time to nitpick at their performance; it should be a sanctuary of praise filled with accolades to your child like “you looked great out there,”  “you’re a real pro,” and “you’re a real natural.” Lift your child up with praise