In the recent days. We have learned a lot about the NRA. We are learning for one. That's one of the most effective ways that the NRA has been able to expand its membership is through bribery. And that's exactly what we're talking about, ladies and gentlemen. Because when you have children and you dangle a present in front of that child and promised to give that child all sorts of fancy toys if they do something that's bribery. Because you are not teaching that child and he values you're simply teaching that child that if they do what they are told they will get lots of toys and lots of free stuff.
So let me ask you. Is that how you raise your child? Because it's not how I raised mine. And I was a big brother twice in my life and I never used bribery to get a child to do anything.
So that's the kind of bastardization of values that you want to support no problem. Because you are the ones who are going to have to deal with the effects of teaching children that bribery is the way to get something done because that is how the NRA operates there have been a number of stories talking about how the NRA expands its membership by promising all sorts of three things like fancy new rifles and shooting ranges just to get children to love of guns.
So how is that different than a terrorist group to another country teaching a child to take a gun and to feel really good about using that gun?
And the other thing that I find really remarkable is that this stupid absolute, asinine, the leader of the NRA has the audacity to say that background checks would be a nightmare. When in reality that is not the case when it comes to driver registration. It would not be a nightmare. It would actually eliminate most of the problem, but it would also take control away from the NRA and they don't want that. Because they want everyone in United States to know that the NRA hates everyone in this country they hate Americans because if they had any respect for Americans they would not be making themselves out to be a legislative entity in this country when they are not legally defined as one.
Furthermore, it's also really remarkable that most of the members of the NRA actually agree with me. That there would be no problem having background checks and it would actually make it safer. But that is the NRA is just as ugly and is mean-spirited and as hateful as any of the parent I have ever known.
As tough as my relationship with my daughter has been over the years she is always known one thing. She is known for a fact she will not pull that kind of crap with me. She knows I will never use anything to bribe her. Because she knows as far as I'm concerned she is that child. I am the adult she does what I tell her to do. Because what I tell her to do will teach her to be a good adults the adults run things. Not the children. If we turn around and start giving our children bribes just to get them to do things that we don't have control of our children. We are the adults they are our children. It is our job to put up and shut up and be role models for our children and if the best we can do is try not being drug addicts and alcoholics using bribes to get our children to do things that we are going to wind up with lots of crappy kids. Oh, excuse me. We already have almost an entire population of children a lot of them, which are extremely selfish and self oriented and bratty. Of course we have a segment of children in this country who are really absolutely amazing. Because we have adults in this country who feel exactly like me. We are the adults we set the rules we teach our children what to do. We are their role models. And if we can't do that. We don't deserve to have those children.
It we're going to reduce our culture to bribery then we're going to follow the Pied Piper who is the leader of the NRA who is nothing more than an absolute asinine ugly kind of human being I would never want my child to be around. My daughter, Leah, has always known, no matter what. If she wants honesty all she has to do is talk to me. Regardless of whether that honesty is tough or not she knows if she does to me. She will get a straight shot. It's not my job to be glamorous. It's not my job to emulate children's fantasies. It's my job to teach them the skills they need, psychologically and emotionally to be able to survive in this world. And if we teach them bribery we are teaching them crap.
Good God. How can we turn our back on our duty? It is our job as adults to put up and shut up and be the role models for these kids. And we are not doing our job because we have children are acting out so badly that if we don't put up and shut up and start being the adults we need to be these children are going to grow up horribly. And they already are and it's time we learn as adults to put up and shut up and do the job. We are supposed to to be the role models for our children.
I went through a lot of dark years in my life. After my operation but none of those dark years took place after my child was born none of them took place. Because when my child was born. My responsibility was clear and it still is. I don't drink. I don't take drugs and I him a role model. I don't lie. I don't cheat. I don't make bets. My mother and father were millionaires. And they were alcoholics and they bet on everything. They were gamblers out of control. Consequently I grew up hating betting. The only thing I make a bet on is my life. Because it is the only wager I know I have any chance of winning.
And I'm no saint. People tell me I am a good man. Regardless of the fact that I live as a woman that doesn't matter. But when people tell me that I tell them that I'm not. I'm not a good man. I'm just another human being in this world but I am one who respects children more than most people can even imagine and to introduce bribery into a child's life is to pollute that child. It is to denigrate that child. It is to disrespect that child.
All my childhood life. That's what my parents did with me. Whenever they wanted something done. They gave me a toy or they gave me a present. But did they give me hugs? No. They did not. Did they teach me by example how to be a good adults? No. They did not. The way my parents lived their lives was abysmal. They were greedy, selfish, self involved and I did not learn how to be the kind of human. I am from them. I learned how to be a good human being from adults all over this country. Some who had no money at all. Some who were living under bridges. Some who were living in cars. Some who were brilliant Native Americans who didn't want anything to do with the white man and his gluttony.
So I became the kind of adult I am not because of my parents. I became the kind of adult I am because I looked at my parents and I wanted something different. I knew there was something different I wanted something better. I knew there were different values that I really wanted to have and I didn't want to become like my parents. I didn't want to become an alcoholic and selfish and self involved I didn't want any part of that.
If we as parents are not taking the actions of the NRA is a wake-up call to what a crappy job we are doing as parents then I don't know what is. To allow the NRA to bribe our children into loving guns is one of the most disgusting things I have seen adults do in recent memory.
It is no hidden thing in any way that I don't like guns. Even though I am a sharpshooter. I don't like guns. Because guns don't do anything except kill. That's all guns do. And I am not about to teach a child the value of killing. I'm not ever going to do that. I've lived in some of the toughest environments in this country environments that most of you would never think imaginable. And I did so without a gun. I never had a gun with me. Even when I woke up within 500 yards of a grizzly bear. I did not need a gun.
I didn't need a gun. When I walked into a canyon with a mountain lion and her cub. I didn't need a gun. When I was being chased by wolves. When I was running my training sessions for my long-distance running when I was in school. Because I was being chased by wolves and coyotes when I was running at 3 AM in the morning because I had to run at that early time so that I would be able to be ready for classes when they started after breakfast at school. I never needed a gun. You don't need guns in order to get along with animals. You don't need a gun to survive against some of the most ferocious creatures in this world. There are times when you need. Perhaps a knife. There are times when you are confronted with an animal, where the best thing you can do is get the hell out of the way as quickly as you can. But those animals don't exist in this country. Not in the United States. They don't. They may in other countries but they don't exist here and I have been confronted with tarantulas and rattlesnakes and Gila monsters and scorpions black widow spiders brown bears, black bears, grizzly bears, wolves mountain lions, coyotes. I've been confronted with all of them in the time I have lived in the wilderness. Because I actually began hiking in the wilderness when I was eight years old.
And when I was eight years old. I didn't just go hiking I went on to week camping trips where I was carrying a 50 pound pack on my back. And when I was eight or nine years old. We used to run through the woods in order to make our legs stronger while carrying that 50 pound pack. I didn't learn to be the kind of human being. I am from my parents who were alcoholics and wealthy and had to much money and who were selfish and greedy and self involved. I learned how to be the human being. I am from really brilliant adults. Adults who didn't have lots of money adults who had to go through things in life that most of us never have to confront.
The United States thinks it is a Christian nation. And yet you forget one of the most important lines that your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said. With but a mustard seed of faith. All that I have done and greater shall you do. Now maybe you just think that's just nothing but mumbo-jumbo. But as a Jew. I never did. And while I never embraced Jesus as my personal Savior. I can tell you what I always admired him because I always felt in my heart. If there was ever a really cool adults. It was Jesus.
If this is not a wake-up call that I don't know what is. Because if you want to teach your children how to use guns and celebrate killing then you are going to get right behind the NRA and their use of bribery. To teach children how to kill. And yet that's the kind of case you want. No problem if the best you can do is an adult is to be so lazy and irresponsible about your own identity and your own role as a role model to go ahead and be an alcoholic or drug addict or become addicted to painkillers or some other crap. Then don't be surprised if your kids turn out to be crap as well. Kids will in fact imitate their parents. Whether you like it or not children have two choices when they are growing up. They will either get behind the behavior of their parents or they will turn away and walk away. And that is exactly what I did.
We are parents all of us. Even if you don't have any children you are in fact a parent. Because when you are out in the world children are watching you. They are watching your behavior. They are emulating what you do and if you don't take personal responsibility over your own behavior. You are not being a good role model for them. And that is where we are having a real problem. Why are we forgetting that every 20 min. in the United States. Another child is sexually assaulted or abused?
I am not wealthy. And I'm not very important in this country and I am really a very strange kind of human being. I'm very strange. I'm so strange that most people don't even know how to relate to me but so what. I don't lie. I don't cheat. I don't drink. I don't take drugs. I am addicted to nothing. I don't let anything run my life. Because I run my life. Nothing runs me. Nothing. I run me. And that is what I teach my children that is what I teach my daughter nothing runs me nothing should run her because God gave her life so she should run her life. Because that is what God wanted her to do that is what I want her to do. And that is how she will get her respect not from others but from herself.
Aileen's sister and brother have somewhat of a problem with me because I'm trying to teach them a little bit about how to make better choices, financially with their lives. And what is sort of hard for people to understand is that when I was eight or nine years old. I wasn't sitting on my rear watching cartoons I was being taught financial analysis and I was being taught law. I was being taught the Constitution by my father. And when I was a child we didn't celebrate killing and guns. We played games like hide and seek and kick the can. Those were the kind the games we played. We didn't have video games. And even if we did we weren't interested in that. We enjoyed life. Because when I was growing up, we understood life to be something different than what people think of life is today.
Life is meant to be lived. Life is meant to be used. Life is not meant to be wasted or abused. That is the key. If you waste your life or if you abuse your life. You get nothing. If you live your life and you use your life. You get everything. I may have no money but there are people in this world who would tell you right from the first line that I am probably one of the wealthiest people in this world. Not because I have lots of money. Because I don't. I live in one of the poorest sections in the city of Cleveland. I live in a section that is so poor that within five blocks of where I am living. There are 50 girls 16 years and younger who have two children. In my neighborhood most of the people are either drug addicts or alcoholics or racists.
I live in an area in Cleveland where a lot of the children are becoming adults and they don't even know how to read. They don't know how to read. God gives us a brain. We created language and if you don't know how to read and how the hell do you know how to think? If you can't decipher the language you are talking about that. How the hell are you going to ever be able to understand how to communicate. And I am not making small of people who don't know how to read. Because some of the most brilliant adults I've ever known in this country were never able to read a single word. I've known people that had no education whatsoever, and knew better just by instinct. How to raise their children that people with lots of money.
I've stayed with people who are parents who actually lived in mud huts. Parents you had no money and basically were able to eat whatever they could catch. You don't even know how horribly. It breaks my heart to think that we as parents are going to celebrate bribery in order to get our children to do things. If that's the best you can do is apparent give your children to someone else. Because you are destroying their lives. You're not teaching them anything.
My daughter called me one time when she was 16 years old and she asked me what she should do about this one boy who wanted to be intimate with her. And I have to are how she felt about her own body. I asked her if she liked her body. And she of course said yes. And I said is your body important to you and she again said yes and I said make sure you remember that. Because if someone wants to get close to your body. Make sure you understand one thing that person is asking to get close to something that should be the most important part of what you are. Because it's all you have. And she asked me if I ever slept around and I said no never. And she said well so-and-so said their father did or their mother did. And I said I don't give a damn what other parents do Leah. Were talking about you and me. My job is to get you ready for what's coming. And I'm not going to do a good job. If I teach you not to respect your body not to respect your life and not to be honest it's my job.
If we can take our roles as parents seriously. Then we are going to allow ugly asinine behavior. Like the NRA to bribe our children and teach them about things that maybe we don't want them to learn the way they are learning them. There's nothing wrong with the father taking his son or daughter or mother taking their son or daughter hunting. There's nothing wrong with that at all. In fact is probably a fairly damn good idea. It's a hell of a lot better idea than allowing the NRA dubbed by the school all sorts of fancy toys and guns. Just to get children to like killing.
If you want your children to respect you then start respecting yourself. Start respecting your job as a parent and respect that child and respect the duty. You would have to be a role model. Because you are a role model. We are all role models for each other. Everyone of us and were not doing a good job when not taking it seriously and our children are growing up like garbage. As a result.
Every time I see a baby when I'm out shopping or something. I always take a moment to congratulate the parents and then I look right into the child's eyes and I always say the same thing. It's all new isn't it? And their eyes get large because whether they understand the language they know exactly what I'm talking about because it is everything is new their world is full of discovery every second. I've always said. All my life that our greatest resource in this country is our children beyond any of the dumbest stuff we make out his resources. Our children are our greatest resources. It's the only one we produce. It's the only one we are put in charge of actually taking care of that comes from us.
You can't see my face. So you can't see the tears streaming down my cheeks when I think of all the different funerals. I've been to for children were murdered or beaten to death with the parents standing there wondering why and all the times I had to bite my tongue because it was real clear why those children died. Those parents didn't do their job. We are their role models. They depend on us to protect them they depend on us to teach them. They depend on us to be strong. They depend on us to give them the tough love and tell them the truth. And if the best we can do is waste our lives and become drug addicts and alcoholics and squander our money and behave like pigs that we are giving our children nothing.
Dear God, what are we doing. What the hell are we doing. When I was a big brother many many years ago. It seems like ancient history. And when I went to pick up my charge. He had just been arrested for breaking into an ice cream parlor. So I picked him up and he got in the car with me and we started driving to the zoo. I already knew everything that happened, but all I said was, so how was your weekend?
He looked at me and he said, I don't think it went very well. And I said, really? Why not? He said will don't you know? I got arrested. He was only 10. And I said all yes. I think I did hear something about that. So how was it? He said how is what. I said I was being arrested? He said. I didn't like it. I said no kidding. Well, that's interesting. What did you like about it. He said well I did like the jail. It smelled bad. I said well. Jill is usually do. He said the police officer said I did something wrong. I said, did he? He said yes the police other says I broke the law.
I said he told you broke the law. One. Now that's really interesting. What did you do. He said well I broke into this ice cream parlor. I said all you wanted money right? He said no. I I just wanted some ice cream. I said all. You wanted some ice cream, so breaking into an ice cream parlor probably made a lot of sense right? He said well I don't know. It seemed to. I said okay. It seemed to make sense right? He said well, yeah. But I don't think it was maybe the right choice. I said the right choice. He said well, yeah. I said why do you think it wasn't the right choice? He said well I got arrested. I said well that sort of makes sense doesn't it? He said well I just wanted some ice cream. I said it's always that way isn't it. And he said well I don't know. And I said, it is really it is always that way.
And he said well, my mom got mad and I said well that's understandable. He said are you mad I said no. Why would I be mad you made a choice and then you saw what happened when you made that choice he said well yeah. So it probably wasn't a good choice. And I said well that's up to you. But the choice you made. Had you around inside the jail which you said smelled bad. So I don't know if that was really the best choice. And then he said maybe I shouldn't have wanted the ice cream so much.
And I pulled the car over and I said, now all you begin to understand. He said but there's so much stuff I said. So what does always good to be stuff is always good to be something you want he said. But I was supposed to get stuff I said not all the time. He said don't you want. Thanks. I said sure I said but it doesn't matter if I want something and if I can't get what I want I just shake my head and keep going. And I figure maybe you get the chance later on. He said well I don't think I'll make that choice anymore. I said then it really wasn't a bad choice. Was it he said what you mean. I said we made this really lousy choice. Were you broke into this ice cream parlor just have some ice cream. Then you got arrested. Then you are in jail and it smelled bad. And then your mom got mad and you didn't get your ice cream and then you realized it was a really crummy choice. So in reality maybe it really wasn't a really crummy choice. Because look what you learned.
I remember that conversation like it was yesterday.
My daughter asked me one time when she was nine years old he said to me, daddy the other kids at school say that you don't love me. And I said Leah why would they ever say that? And she said well, daddy it's because they say you don't yell at me. And I said Leah let me ask you a question and she said okay I said Leah have you ever noticed how people's faces look when they are angry and yelling? And she said well I don't know I said we'll think about it how to their faces look when they are angry and yelling do they look smooth what do they look all twisted and wrinkled.
And she said well yeah they do their faces look all twisted and wrinkled I said with that's right we I said Sweetheart. Remember this when people get angry it's because they're scared. They're scared of not getting what they want. He said really I said absolutely. And I said Leah let me ask you something. Are you afraid of me. She said no, daddy never. And I said absolutely. And my afraid of you. She said I don't think so. I said that we have no problem doing she said no. I guess we don't I said that's the rule Sweetheart people only get angry when they're scared. I'm not scared of you my darling and you're not scared of me. So why would we ever need to get angry. Why would we ever need to yell. We don't have to.
There is no sense in my trying to explain how many different child psychology books I've read. Because unlike any of you one. I knew I was having a daughter. I wanted to learn everything I could, but everything I learned didn't come close to telling me what I really needed to know. So I put down all the books and I said back then I thought. I thought about the hundreds and thousands of people I've known all over this country. I thought about some of the most amazing parents. I ever saw in my life parents would never read any of those books. To actually did things where their children. Parents who didn't try to make their children be adults. But parents who knew how to get down on the level of their child's thinking to celebrate the discovery their child was going through with their brain. And with all of their emotions. Parents who knew how to tell stories. Parents who knew how to hold a child and simply ask that child questions in order to help the child to discover on its own what the parents wanted the child to find.
So it came time for me to have the chance to be a dad for Leah. I didn't care about any of those books. Because all I wanted to do was simply show her. I knew that if I simply showed her. By the way I acted. And if I asked her questions that she would find her way and she did today. She's remarkable. She's 35 years old has a wonderful son doesn't have much money, but she's creative. She's brilliant. He's no rocket scientist. But she has a really good brains. But most of all she has meet inside of her. He doesn't drink to excess. She doesn't do drugs. She doesn't gamble or squander her money. She loves life. She loves animals loves everyone.
It's not hard to raise a child in fact it's really sort of like taking care of the garden. All you have to have is love God and nature does the rest. That's all you need. If we love our children then why are we allowing them to be taught that giving them things will get them to do something, why should we have them emulating that? Show me a mother or father who teaches their child. By example, and I will show you a child who will grow up to be a brilliant light in our world.
If we can't respect our children the greatest resource that we have in this world. And it we denigrate them to bribery or teach them how to kill. Then what kind of respect we have for ourselves?
Like I said I'm not special. Not by any means. I've made a lot of bad choices in my life, but never around children never. You don't walk into a forest and start dropping lighted matches or throw trash everywhere. Not unless you hate the earth or you hate the forest just like you don't have a child and behave like a pig unless you want your child to be one to.
Why is it that when it comes to education. We spent so much more money on all of the crap. Then we do on the teachers who actually teach our children and shape their minds? Why do we spend so much more money on all of the physical crap. Then on those aspects of our child's lives that will teach them how to make better choices. Like libraries? What the hell have we done? Every time I hear about parents at some sporting events coming to blows. I usually end up in tears. Maybe that's just because I'm a softy but I end up in tears. Not because of the violence that the parents are getting into. I end up in tears because we do something like that were basically throwing garbage. All through the forest making it nothing but trash were not teaching our children by example would not being that stalwart character for them. We aren't being that rocked they can cling to. We aren't being that sold they can come to for honesty we aren't being their role model. We aren't being that safe sure or their friend and they need that they need for us to be their friend. They need for us to be their teacher they need for us to be tough they need for us to be fair they need for us to be honest. They need for us to be responsible they need for us to be smart they need for us to always ask hard questions of ourselves so that they will learn to how to ask those questions of themselves. They need for us always to aspire to the greater good. So that they will learn how to do the same.
Leah is in her 30s. We don't talk very much. But when we do it's always special. At least it is for me. It always has been. I love children so much and we are destroying our greatest resource. When I was in the hospital for those eight months I saw nine children die in front of me. Some who were horribly abused and I could do nothing I couldn't do anything to save them.
But for the time they were left in the world. They always knew the matter what they could come up to me and if I didn't have money. I always had hugs. If all they heard was baloney coming from everywhere else. They knew that it came to me did always get the truth. Even if it wasn't warm and fuzzy they would always get the truth. Because if we live to a child. We pollute that child. If you have a child and the best you can do is rush to fight for that child. Then you have to ask yourself a question. Why are you more willing to fight for that child than to die for that child because there's two sides of that equation. My parents gambled on everything. And I have hardly ever gambled on anything in my entire life. Because I don't believe in doing so if I want to make a wager. The only thing I wager on is my life because it's the only wager I know I have a chance of winning.
There's a reason why that one song at the end of the movie busting loose brings me to tears. It always does. Every time I hear that song, I can't help but because it's children being children. Children celebrating and what they are the greatest resource that we humans have if we can't take this responsibility that God gives us more seriously than what the hell have we learned in our own lives.
I'm not a good man. Not because I live as a woman. But I never really thought I was anything special because I don't think I am I'm really strange. I'm very different I guess I'm an intellectual whatever that means. I've made a lot of really crummy choices in my life. But nothing anywhere near as bad as what others have done. And I've always said. Just like I told my daughter I am never better than the worst man at his best moment. And I'm never worse than the best man at his worst moment. Because that's all I ever want to be.
Show me a child from any country in this world. And I'll show you a gift that has been given to us by something absolutely remarkable is the best we can do is use bribery or to teach them how to kill that we are teaching them nothing don't use me is any kind of expert. Because I'm not. I just really love children. I love them. Just so much. Everything is new that's exactly what it is for them. Everything is new and it remains that way and told her almost in their 20s. Everything is new. We are their guide. We are their role models if we can't take our jobs seriously than what the hell are we here for?
I hope those of you reading my Journal really know how much I love all of you. I don't know any of you. But that never seems to matter. Because when I write in my journal like I am now. I always feel that all of you reading my Journal. And I simply sitting down having a cup of coffee friend to friend. That's the miracle friend to friend
We can do better. We have to do better. We are all role models to each other. Whether we like it or not. Everything we do is seen by hundreds and thousands of people, most of whom we will never even be aware of everything we do is seen we need to give our children more than just toys. We need to give them everything we have everything we have learned because it's going to be there world. Soon. And if we don't prepare them. Then we have failed.
Thank you very much for listening.