All Views Are Welcome…Except Ann Coulter’s

I believe so wholeheartedly in training young people to debate. Why? Because to be an effective debater, you must first be a critical thinker and a thoughtful listener.

That was not the case last week on The View.

Of all the women on the show, Ann Coulter is the only one who held her own. Questions were asked that weren’t allowed to be answered, and rebuttals were given that were not answered. Whoopi didn’t like any of Ann’s answers, so she ended up swearing at her guest. Watch Bahar: she is only smiling when Ann is being ganged up on. What a joke. Check it out:

I have to say something about Ann Coulter, though.

This Community Changes Lives

The last few days of discussion have been remarkable. A family life has changed, definitely for the better. Andrea and Adam – parents of six children on food stamps for 16 years – are running with a ton of new hope and optimism. There are several reasons why this story was remarkable.

Signed copies of books are coming your way, Andrea, but I suspect that is just the beginning of your blessings.

Keep in mind, these are heavy thoughts, but read every one of them. I believe you’ll want a piece of the action, so I have an action item at the end for you.

My Ideas for Andrea and Adam

Yesterday I shared Andrea and Adam’s story with you. Wow, I am so incredibly impressed with many of you who posted. Such great ideas and such great big hearts! This is a great group of people who have been following this discussion.

Picture of a mother from the Great Depression

This is a mother from the Great Depression. Today, opportunities to exit poverty abound.

In case you missed any of it, here are links to the development of this:

  1. My article Government Assistance Sucks where I ask for a personal story from someone who wants off of assistance.
  2. Here’s the comment.
  3. A breakdown of their situation, including the actual email sent to me from Andrea and Adam.

Other than the kind exchange of emails these past few days, I do not know Adam and Andrea from – er, Adam. I suspect we will become friends, but for now I want to make a very strong point to you – the reader – who perhaps doubt my ambition to free people from government assistance. With the will to get off government assistance, there is a way. And it’s easier than some may think. I’m sure when I got to know Adam and Andrea better, we’ll come up with more and better ideas. For now, I am going off a few emails, and the ingenuity should grow from there. 

Case Study: $918/mo. in Food Stamps

I gave a challenge last week to anyone on government assistance: send me your story, and I’ll see what entrepreneurial ideas I can come up with. One brave mom of six children, Andrea, took me up on my offer. We have exchanged only a couple emails, but from what little she shared, I can already see opportunities around her.

I do not believe this trend is healthy for individuals or our country.

Andrea and her husband, Adam, have been on food stamps since the birth of their first child 16 years ago. The best thing about this family is that they hate being on food stamps. Half the battle is coming to this realization. She let me know with this comment:

I believe beyond doubt that there are times when welfare is definitely needed, but as someone who is currently forced to accept it, I agree with Chris – IT SUCKS! I DREAM of being off it. Someone constantly treating you like you’re less of a person – or lazy. And it does become a crutch. So Chris, you said you would like to help someone get off it. I accept, can you show a wife whose husband only brings in $380 a week for a family with 6 kids (and said husband has become trapped to receiving it) how to get away from that crutch? I would give anything to be independent. Please help…

Self-reliance

My recent article Government Assistance Sucks was meant to make people think. I honestly believe a nation that values self-reliance is a nation where everyone prospers. The article’s thesis – though true – offended some. It struck home to others.

I love encouraging entrepreneurialism, so I make it a habit to never pass up a lemonade stand.

Government assistance drains them of their dignity, robs them of their self-worth, and traps them in dependency.

In other words, the conviction to get off it is shared by millions who are on it. Here’s a disturbing question that is largely unanswered: how do they get off?

It isn’t pride. I believe there is an insatiable hunger in every human being to be self-reliant, and by all means I want to encourage that. It isn’t cruel, either, to try to figure out a way to be free. Honestly, my heart goes out to families who struggle in this rotten economy. What is cruel is thinking it compassionate to cushion the dependency. Many of those caught up in the system know full well what a dead end it is. If they attempt to wean themselves off the flow of government funds, the government takes what is needed from them. I properly call it a trap, and either you cut yourself off cold-turkey or regrettably stay on the system.

There are over 100 million stories about this, and I bet (perhaps I hope?) that most want to get off it. It isn’t simple, but it is far from impossible.

So last week, I offered my help. I believe I have the track record and the experience. I’ve been self-employed since 2004 with a wavering income, so there have been countless times when I could have applied for aid. Add 16 children to the application, and I’d have funds rolling in like a bootlegger. I’ve refused the help because (I truly believe this) the help is really no help at all. My insistance to remain self-reliant has helped me, my children, and my businesses in the long run.

Someone took me up on my offer to help. She and her husband have been on food stamps for 16 years. We’ve exchanged a few emails, and I’ll share her story tomorrow. I’m pumped that she is taking her first steps toward self-reliance.

Question: What is your opinion about government assistance?

‘Fully Alive’ Lives Up to Its Subtitle: It Will Change You

A few times in the year I read a book aloud to my family. I choose wisely because I want them to be significant books for my kids, books that carry a big impact. This summer I read Fully Alive: A Journey That Will Change Your Life by Ken Davis. I believe Ken Davis’ book Fully Alive lives up to its subtitle: it will change your life. 

I read Ken Davis’ book to my family, even on vacation in Minnesota this summer. I can’t recommend it higher.

This is most fun: I’ve gotten to know Ken over the past couple years. After attending one of his professional conferences, I booked him to keynote at our Training Minds Camp in 2011. He was perfect because, like my campers, he was an academic speaker in high school – so he totally connected with my campers. Afterward, I got to know his team of fine people, and they hired me to help set up a comedy tour and develop some promotional campaigns for a feature movie. Ken is funny, adventurous, professional and clean. I’ve loved working alongside him and his team.

Comedy is no easy show, but for over 40 years Ken has built up one of the most successful careers in the genre. You’d think his book would be about how great his life has been, but it is a humble memoir. Ken starts the book off with admissions that most would hide, the most prominent being his struggle with obesity and depression. Ken experienced a low time in his life where he expected he would wither away and die.

Isn’t that refreshing? I enjoy self-help books, but Fully Alive hits a bullseye that few of them hit. The message is filled with honesty, hope, faith, and love. There were many times when reading it aloud that I was moved to tears – Wendy and the kids, too. Fully Alive carries an absolutely rivoting message that lives up to its subtitle: it truly changes you. Let me share three ways it does.

A Bit More About Paul Ryan

I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have an old friend be the vice presidential nominee for the United States. Two weeks ago Paul Ryan and I yucked it up at a campaign rally (read “Paul Ryan: Yep, He’s the Real Deal”), and I’m so proud of his and Mitt Romney’s focus on the campaign trail. I’ve fielded a ton of questions from friends who want to know more of our background, and this post attempts to fill in some gaps as well as give my wholehearted plug for the Congressman and Mitt Romney.

I’m still floating on my little reunion with Paul Ryan two weeks ago. But I’m even more thrilled over his vice presidential campaign.

I discovered Paul Ryan was a U.S. Congressman in about 2002. I had been on the phone with a customer from Wisconsin. She had mentioned “Paul Ryan” as a strong supporter in the debate club she was starting, and then she mentioned Ryan was from Janesville.

I was visualizing an old gruff Congressman, not my old classmate. Nawww…couldn’t be. “I’m from Janesville,” I said. “Does Paul go by P.D.?”

“Why, yes!” she said. “His close friends call him P.D.”

That’s when I started following Paul Ryan, from a distance anyway. I tried to get a hold of him once to have him write a foreword to one of my yearly debate sourcebooks, but I got this unusual – yet oddly refreshing – automated answer: “I’m sorry, but I was elected to represent the people in my district. If you do not live in my district, I am simply too busy to respond to your request.” I remember being (1) disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to connect, but (2) impressed that he took his job as representative so seriously.

Why We Knock Ourselves Out (and Pictures)

Wendy and I did it! We threw an awesome birthday party yesterday, one of our best. Approximately 150 guests showed up for an entire day of fun and games.

We do family portraits every year on the morning of the bash. See all of them on my Facebook page.

Yesterday I explained how the Jeub Birthday Bash started for economic reasons (we couldn’t afford a party for every single child; read the article here). That was the beginning, but we continue throwing parties like this for other great reasons. We knock ourselves out every year – and we never regret it – because…

  1. We enjoy hospitality. Little gives us more pleasure than seeing other enjoy our household. Not everyone enjoys this. Some have one or two parties like the Jeub Birthday Bash in their entire lifetime (weddings, graduations, etc.). We look forward to planning this party every year because we love filling our home with families.
  2. We appreciate our friends. Wendy and I know a lot of good people, and we enjoy celebrating whatever with them. Honestly, I believe we are privileged to be friends with the best people in the world. We love them dearly and enjoy having them hang with us.
  3. We celebrate life. We love our children and we love how they bless the world they’re in. Ever since each of them came into the world. we’ve been celebrating their contribution to it. Honestly, the birth of life is a great reason for a yearly celebration.

Here are some pictures, and more can be found on my Facebook Page

The Innovation of a Bash

Today’s a big day in my home. About 150 people will gather for our annual birthday party. See, we don’t have individual wing-dings for each and every kid through the year. We gave that up in 1998 and went with one big party every year: the Jeub Birthday Bash.

Today’s our yearly Jeub Birthday Bash. The pinata is one of the most anticipated events.

The kids look forward to the Jeub Birthday Bash like it’s Christmas. So do their friends. It’s like a yearly carnival every September. And my kids are intimately involved with the developments: they plan out a theme, make a pinata, cook the food, clean the house, map out the scavenger hunt, plan the games, etc. Our children feel most blessed to have this yearly party to prepare for.

You want to know something most interesting? The Jeub Birthday Bash started out as an economic alternative to a party for every child. Perhaps some think our children are deprived because they don’t get their own party. We’ve actually gotten hate mail on this (“Oh my, your kids are so poor and unfortunate, and you don’t even give them a party of their own…”). Whatever. Such comments fail to understand our children, our family, or the concept of the Jeub Birthday Bash. The Bash has become so much a part of our family tradition – much like a yearly holiday – that we wouldn’t trade it for anything.

There’s a life secret in this. I can point to so many examples of this in my life, and I bet you can, too. It’s this:

Plugging In With a Mentor

Personally, I never thought I would have said, “I need a mentor.” It fits the mold of other people, not me. Two reasons. First, I’m a go-getter, an entrepreneur, an out-of-the-box thinker. When an opportunity comes my way, I move on it. Sure, I seek counsel, but it is more of a necessary step to doing business right. The advice I seek isn’t “mentoring”; it is business advice, of which I sometimes take and sometimes leave.

We need a coach to train for speaking. Why not for life?

Second, when developing an idea, I’m more of an introvert. I’ll study and research, pray, maybe seek some advice from an acquaintance or a family member – then just do it. I’ve been this way for years. I’ve gotten a lot done – and made good money – on the ideas that I came up with on my own. I’m an innovative guy – a trait that many people admire me for – and I like to think that I don’t need anyone’s help.

“Help” is the wrong word. I have plenty of help from my network of friends, business partners and associates. And “help” sometimes goes unpaid, and I don’t like to take advantage of my friendships. Besides, some things I don’t need help in. What I need is a comrade, a confidant, and a co-pilot.