Editor’s note: Vincent DiCaro is vice president of development and communication for the National Fatherhood Initiative, where he has worked for more than 10 years to promote involved, responsible and committed fatherhood. He lives in Maryland with his wife and toddler-age son.
By Vincent DiCaro, Special to CNN
(CNN) – I’ll always remember the first time my son spontaneously said, “Thank you,” to me. It was only a few months ago. He has Type 1 diabetes and was having a low blood sugar episode. I brought him his favorite juice to get his blood sugar up, and when I handed him the juice he said, “Thank you, daddy” in his adorable toddler voice.
I melted of course, but I was also grateful that my son was picking up one of the most important character traits he will need as he grows up: thankfulness. But as the father of a 2½-year-old, I can say with confidence that thankfulness does not come naturally to children, mine included.
While my son is starting to say “thank you” on his own, it was only after making him say it over and over again; the first few hundred times he said those magical words, he didn’t even know what they meant. But somehow, he knew what “no” and “mine” meant right away – funny how that works.
So raising thankful children is an uphill battle against the generally selfish tendencies of children. But not all hope is lost. Parenting, like having a good jump shot, is a skill that can be learned through the right techniques and practice.
To get you started, here are five things you can start to do right away that will build a character of thankfulness in your children.
1. Model thankfulness. It is difficult for children to be what they don’t see. Therefore it is critical that you live out thankfulness in your own life.
by Haley Draznin, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Brian Lee is a rare face in the advertising industry.
The 27-year-old assistant account executive at Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Oregon, is one of the 7% of managers (PDF) in advertising and marketing who are black.
When Lee was looking for a way into advertising after graduating from college, he didn’t know how to get his foot in the door.
Enter Lincoln Stephens.
Stephens' passion to expose young black students to media led to the creation of the Marcus Graham Project, which mentors and trains youth in the skills they need to get a job at an ad agency.
"I started the Marcus Graham Project really out of a need to increase diversity in the advertising and marketing industry," he said.
The project, named after Eddie Murphy's advertising executive character in the movie "Boomerang," began in 2007.
Stephens encouraged Lee to apply for the program’s 10-week intensive summer boot camp, where participants develop campaigns for real clients.
“He really set me up in a way that allowed me to get the foundation that I need to even be successful at Wieden+Kennedy," Lee said. "And so if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here.”
This year, Lee was a mentor and judge, joining his own mentor, Stephens, along with executives from advertising firms Publicis Kaplan Thaler and JWT at the One Club Creative Boot Camp. In the four-day competition at Morehouse College in Atlanta, students were challenged to create an ad campaign. Winners earned a summer internship at Publicis or an invite to the Marcus Graham Project summer boot camp, where Lee got his start.
It allows Lee to pay it forward, just like Stephens did for him.
Soledad O'Brien's documentary "Who is Black in America?" airs at 8 p.m. ET/PT on December 9 on CNN.
Editor's note: Tara Maller is a research fellow at the New America Foundation and a former CIA military analyst.
By Tara Maller, Special to CNN
(CNN) - One of the most high-profile appointments President Obama will make in his second term is the director of the CIA. Here's a tip for the president: The time is ripe for the first woman to head the agency.
Choosing a woman isn't just about narrowing the intelligence community gender gap. It's also about drawing from the whole pool of talent to ensure the best national security apparatus and responding to Americans' apparent desire for more women in government. Here are the Top 10 reasons President Obama should name a woman as the next CIA director.
1) It would inspire more women to enter the fields of foreign policy and intelligence. The intelligence and foreign policy community is predominantly male. According to a 2009 report published by Women in International Security, women comprise about 13% of the Senior Intelligence Service, and between 21% and 29% of key agencies that grapple with national security matters, like the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Defense. That should be rectified.
2) The November 6 elections showed Americans want to see more women in senior government positions. Women make up 20% of the Senate, a historic high. Overall, the next Congress will have almost 100 women.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at email@example.com.
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