The competition was intense, but here are my favorite quotes from the past year.
- “You should be able to express yourself however you want to express yourself—your feelings, your emotions. People get locked in and it just causes so much stress.”—Ron Attest, responding to criticism about his inappropriate behavior. This is yet another example of bad behavior masquerading as “self-expression.” We’ve focused too much attention on the importance of feelings rather than teaching our kids that the world doesn’t really care how you feel, only how you behave.
- “I’m not going to apologize for being true to myself.”—Ricky Gervais, in response to criticism about his jokes during the Golden Globes awards show. Being “true to yourself” is not a free ticket to saying and doing whatever you want.
- “It’s believable because great things only happen with hard work.”—Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin’s 2011 acceptance speech. Griffin then spoke about the “secret weapon” he had living with two military parents. “Being a military kid, discipline is huge” he remarked. Now there’s an athlete our kids can admire, talking about what really matters in life—discipline and hard work. It has become unfashionable to stress the importance of self-discipline with our kids. It is one of the most important psychological traits of successful people and yet so many parents worry about their child’s self-concept rather than emphasizing self-control.
- “You guys are evil,” said by 16-year-old Canadian pop star Justin Bieber in describing America’s health care system. “Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him….” This is yet another example of how popularity in one area doesn’t translate into competence in all areas.
- “It’s a hill….get over it,” written on a shirt of a high school cross country runner. At a time when so many people are claiming some type of post-traumatic stress disorder, we have to educate our kids to accept the reality that the world is tough and they will experience lots of bad things. The measure of who we are is how we come to understand, accept and deal with difficult times. This means not dwelling on past events but learning how to leave them in life’s rear view mirror.
- “You gotta be good or they won’t let you off the plane,” said by an exasperated dad to his five-year-old son during a long plane trip. Credibility is the currency of parents. Don’t threaten what you can’t deliver.
- “I’d take it all back in a second,” said by Billy Ray Cyrus in talking about the mistakes he made in trying to be his daughter’s best friend. “I should have said, enough is enough!” in his failure to discipline Miley’s inappropriate behavior.
- “The best things in life aren’t things…”, bumper sticker on an old Kia car.