Opinion: 5 ways to raise thankful children
November 21st, 2012
05:10 PM ET

Opinion: 5 ways to raise thankful children

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.

Read the full post on CNN's Schools of Thought blog
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Filed under: Age • Family • How we live • Relationships • What we think
November 21st, 2012
11:45 AM ET

Black advertising executives pay it forward

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.

Opinion: 10 reasons a woman should head the CIA
A man crosses the CIA logo in the lobby of the agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
November 21st, 2012
09:45 AM ET

Opinion: 10 reasons a woman should head the CIA

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.

Filed under: Gender • Politics • What we think • Women
What it takes to be a one percenter
To get into the Top 1%, you needed $370,000 in 2010.
November 20th, 2012
03:01 PM ET

What it takes to be a one percenter

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - It doesn't take a million bucks to get into the top 1%.

In fact, it took a little less than $370,000 in adjusted gross income in 2010 to make it into this elite group, according to newly released data from the Internal Revenue Service. That's up slightly from the $352,000 the year before.

But on average, the top 1% earned $1.12 million, up from $980,000 the year before.

The top 1% have been in the spotlight since Occupy Wall Street protesters first began camping out in cities across the U.S. last fall. The presidential campaign also centered on the haves and have nots, with President Obama calling for tax increases on the rich and challenger Mitt Romney arguing that taxing the wealthy would hurt the economy.

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Filed under: Economy • History • How we live
Opinion: In Mexico, racism hides in plain view
Ruben Navarrette says life in Mexico comes with more challenges for darker-skinned people.
November 20th, 2012
11:53 AM ET

Opinion: In Mexico, racism hides in plain view

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group. Follow him on Twitter: @rubennavarrette.

By Ruben Navarrette, Jr., CNN Contributor

(CNN) - Mexico City, home to 20 million people, represents the paradox of the modern Mexico, the side-by-side juxtaposition - in everything from politics to architecture - of old and new.

Turn a corner, and you'll see a church that is 300 years old. Turn another, and you can get Wi-Fi in a Starbucks.

The Distrito Federal, also known as Mexico City, serves as a constant reminder that Mexicans are about maintaining tradition, except when they're sidestepping it. They're about moving forward, except when they are unable to let go of the past. They're about preserving memory, except when they have amnesia.

For example, when it comes to forgiving the corrupt Institutional Revolutionary Party (also known by its initials, PRI), whose leaders brutalized the Mexican people and plundered the country for much of the 20th century, they have short memories; they recently returned the PRI to power by electing Enrique Pena Nieto to the presidency. He takes office December 1.

But when it comes to the aftermath of the U.S.-Mexican war, which lasted from 1846 to 1848 and resulted in the United States seizing half of Mexico's territory - the modern-day U.S. Southwest - Mexicans' memories are long, and forgiveness isn't easy to find. Even after all these years, in diplomatic circles, you still hear talk of the "sovereignty" issue - which, loosely defined, means the constant effort by Mexico to keep the United States from meddling in its domestic affairs and the need for the U.S. to tread lightly.

Read Ruben Navarrette's full column
Opinion: Latino voting power can create better education reform
Residents vote on election day in Los Angeles County, on November 6, 2012 in California.
November 20th, 2012
09:00 AM ET

Opinion: Latino voting power can create better education reform

Editor's note: Editor’s Note: Ray Salazar is a National Board Certified English teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. He writes about education and Latino issues on the White Rhino Blog. Follow him on Twitter @whiterhinoray.

By Ray Salazar, Special to CNN

(CNN) - Finally, Republicans and Democrats know that they need more than mariachis playing behind them to win the Latino vote. By now, almost everyone heard about the Latino influence this presidential election.

The signs were everywhere. Maybe this is the 2012 cosmic event predicted by the Mayan calendar. Now, President Obama must recognize Latino views as he moves forward with economic recovery and immigration policy and farther with education reform.

None of the parties should have been surprised by the Latino vote. On October 7, CNN’s “Latino in America: Courting the Latino Vote” reported that more than 60,000 Latinos turn 18 each month across the country, and we care about more than immigration. When Latinos were given a choice between what’s more important, immigration or the economy, 74% chose the economy.

Obama’s modified DREAM Act did, though, help secure 71% of the Latino vote. Romney’s unclear view of immigration reform contributed to only 27% of his Latino vote.

More notably, the Latino vote for Obama exceeded the national Latino average in some battleground states: 87% in Colorado, 80% in Nevada and 82% in Ohio.

These votes indicate that the conversations need to change. For too long, education reform remained a black and white issue, racially and politically. Our educational system as is does not work, especially not for Latinos. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the Latino dropout rate is almost double that of African-Americans and about three times higher than that of whites.

Read Ray Salazar's full column
November 19th, 2012
04:01 PM ET

Opinion: Blame affairs on evolution of sex roles

Editor's note: Stephanie Coontz is Director of Research at the Council on Contemporary Families and teaches history at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. Her most recent book is "A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s."

By Stephanie Coontz, Special to CNN

(CNN) - How could they not have known they were asking for trouble? In the past few years, Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana had an affair with the staff member who had helped him produce a video promoting sexual abstinence. South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford flew to Argentina for an extramarital tryst, instructing his staff to tell the press he was hiking the Appalachian Trail. Sen. John Edwards tried to pass off the daughter he fathered as the love child of one of his aides.

And now a stockpile of sexy e-mails has simultaneously brought down the head of the CIA and delayed the nomination of the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan to head NATO.

Many Americans believe these scandals reflect a precipitous decline in respect for marital fidelity. If anything, however, such respect has never been higher. In a 2006 poll by the Pew Research Center, 88% of Americans said adultery was immoral - a higher number than for any other of 10 unsavory behaviors they were asked about. According to a 2009 Gallup Poll, only 6% of Americans believe extramarital sex is morally acceptable.

Tolerance for male adultery is certainly at a new low. In letters and diaries written during the Colonial and Revolutionary eras, men routinely bragged about their extramarital conquests - even to the brothers and fathers of their own wives! In the 1850s, it is estimated that New York City had one prostitute for every 64 men, while the mayors of Savannah, Georgia, and Norfolk, Virginia, put the numbers of prostitutes in their cities at one for every 39 and 26 men, respectively.

As late as 1930, Somserset Maugham's play, "The Constant Wife," was considered shocking because the heroine confronted her husband about his affair instead of simply ignoring it, as most women in polite circles did.

Read Stephanie Coontz's full column
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Filed under: Gender • History • What we think • Women
November 19th, 2012
11:28 AM ET

A preacher, a teacher, a soldier's parents, a GOP leader: Allies in marriage votes

By Wayne Drash, CNN

(CNN) - After their son was killed in battle in Afghanistan, Lori and Jeff Wilfahrt crisscrossed their home state of Minnesota. They spoke at churches, schools, book clubs. They spoke of Cpl. Andrew Wilfahrt's love of country and the Constitution.

They spoke, too, of grief. They are a mother and father who utterly miss their son, a soldier who was openly gay.

On Tuesday, November 6, the Wilfahrts entered their polling station in Rosemount to vote against a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and woman. Both parents wondered: Had their boy died protecting homophobes who would deny him rights back home?
In Frederick, Maryland, the Rev. Barbara Kershner Daniel had lived with guilt for nearly 25 years. A fellow preacher who was gay had asked her to officiate his wedding with his partner. She told him no.

"Why did I do that?" she has asked herself ever since.

Mark Ellis, the former GOP state chairman in Maine, knew where he stood on the issue of same-sex marriage. Yet he struggled with whether it would hurt him professionally to break from his party.
In the northern suburbs of Seattle, middle school band and orchestra teacher Michael Clark had always spoken of dignity and respect for all. He and his partner of 18 years sat together at their dining table to vote early this year.

Their ballots weren't just votes. They were an affirmation of their love.

From Minnesota to Maryland, from Maine to Washington, this mixed coalition of voters - grieving parents, a preacher, a lifelong Republican and a gay couple - joined forces to push for historic change on same-sex marriage.

Never before had a state rejected a constitutional amendment to prevent gays from marrying. Minnesota did just that, in part spurred by the Wilfahrts' activism.

Never before had voters approved laws allowing same-sex marriage. Maryland, Maine and Washington did just that. Those states may not have garnered enough votes if ordinary citizens like Daniel, Ellis and
Clark had remained quiet.

Each took up the cause for personal reasons shaped by life experiences. Together, they surprised America; their voices emerged as a sign of a more progressive electorate that's grown tired of arguments that say marriage between two men or two women undermines the institution and the very fabric of society.

Opinion: Why Jeremy Lin's race matters
Jeremy Lin tosses a basketball during a promotional event in Hong Kong.
November 19th, 2012
08:36 AM ET

Opinion: Why Jeremy Lin's race matters

Editor's Note: Jeff Yang writes the column Tao Jones for The Wall Street Journal Online. He is a regular contributor to WNYC radio, blogging for "The Brian Lehrer Show," and appears weekly on "The Takeaway." He previously wrote the Asian Pop column for the San Francisco Chronicle and was founder and publisher of A magazine. He tweets @originalspin.

by Jeff Yang, Special to CNN

(CNN) - February seems so long ago, and the breathless, ecstatic adrenaline rush of the phenomenon we called Linsanity feels remote and surreal, like a half-remembered dream.

But here we are, with Lin, now a member of an exciting but inconsistent young Houston Rockets squad, back in the headlines again. Unfortunately, it’s not for dropping three-pointers on the Lakers but for dropping quotes in an interview — quotes that in just about any other context, from just about any other player, would have gone virtually unnoticed.

Last week, Lin gave a rare, candid interview to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, in which he admitted that he’d been unprepared for the backlash that he received after the Rockets gave him a lucrative contract - $25 million over three years - based on his lockout- and injury-shortened breakout season.

Referring to vicious talk about whether he was worth the coin in locker rooms across the league — much of which bubbled up into the blogs and back pages, and some of which came from his own former teammates on the Knicks  — Lin said this: “I was a little surprised, but I wasn't shocked. I honestly feel it’s part of the underlying issue of race in American society… of being an Asian-American. I haven’t figured it out. I haven't wrapped my head around it. But it’s something I’m thinking about.”  FULL POST

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Filed under: Asian in America • How we look • Race • Sports • What we think
Immigrant job creator faces deportation
Asaf Darash, an Israeli entrepreneur, has created 15 jobs in San Francisco, yet the U.S. immigration system still places high hurdles for him to stay.
November 16th, 2012
03:30 PM ET

Immigrant job creator faces deportation

By Jose Pagliery @CNNMoney

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - It doesn't matter that Asaf Darash started a U.S. company and created 15 jobs here. Federal immigration officials might kick him out anyway.

It's not that he did anything wrong. Rather, he's tangled in a web of immigration policies that are tough on entrepreneurs.

Darash, 38, originally came here from Israel for college and returned in 2010 to launch Regpack, a software company in San Francisco. It's growing so fast, the company already needs to add another 10 workers.

But instead of focusing on expanding his company, Darash has been fighting to stay in the country.

To fulfill requests by immigration officials, he's spent half of every day since August searching for bank statements, invoices, payroll, board meeting records and more.

"I'm in bureaucratic hell," he said. "All I do is find documents all day and deal with lawyers and accountants."

That's because he is caught in the immigrant entrepreneur trap. There's no such thing as a U.S. entrepreneur visa, so immigrants are forced to find other solutions.

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Filed under: Immigration • Where we live
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