Thursday, February 28, 2013

Conspiracy Theories

I've found myself coming across various conspiracy theories in the last month.  One in particular involves the Sandy Hook School shooting, but a couple others involve old crimes or injustices that have dropped out of mind and into the history books.  Reading these accounts, these claims of government's crimes against their people, I have to wonder: why do these theories exist?

My answer in short is that people don't always agree.  When trying to place blame, someone always ends up with the majority vote.  Once that majority is established, the minority opinions start to get snuffed out.  The most outspoken of this minority community ends up labelled the conspiracy theorist, because the majority doesn't believe their opinion is valid.

But I think it goes deeper than this.

Have you ever noticed that "conspiracy theories" always involve a government, political group, or some otherwise infallibly good group of people?  Conspiracy theories seem to "reveal the true colors" of these groups.  They turn the system on its head.

There's just something dramatic about the stories that we call conspiracy theories.  There's a villain and a victim, and the storyteller becomes the hero by bringing the villain to light.  We write books about this, make movies about it, support a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry by taking interest in it.

This makes me think the conspiracy theorists, or at least the ones who set up blogs and youtube channels to advertise their theories, are basking in the heroic glow of outing a villain.  They probably believe the stories, at least to an extent, but their efforts become more about getting the word out than making sure the word is correct to begin with.

I don't want to bring too much attention to the conspiracy theorists in this story, but I was drawn into the theories about the Sandy Hook shooting a few weeks ago and need set out what I experienced.

There's a 30 minute video somewhere on Youtube with few million views detailing all the suspect conditions of the shooting, eventually setting it out as a government conspiracy to (1) fake the death of 1 or more children, and (2) develop a scapegoat for the gun rights battle.  Evidence to support their claims include a FEMA training on dealing with children in crisis held some 20 miles away from the school, misinformation from the forensic pathologist, nonsensical stories from a nearby resident, and details of the scene that just didn't look right.

Honestly, for almost 30 minutes I was riveted, waiting for the final nail in the coffin that the video promised.  A lot of things didn't make good sense, although I questioned how relevant those details were.  There was some clear misinformation in the original stories that was later corrected, but this can happen with any report that is released too soon, before facts are verified.

Some of the harder obstacles to overcome appeared as accurate facts, but they are easily explained.  The biggest was that some Facebook groups and posts were timestamped before the incident. True, incidents blatantly out of order bring question to the entire sequence of events.  But the storyteller forgot that we're talking about a website.  Not just any website, but one of the biggest websites in the world that has been known to have glitches.  We're also talking about timestamps that are seen differently in different time zones, so the captured images could have easily come from a different time zone that showed the timestamp a dozen hours or more prior to the actual posting.  The group that was shown as being created the night before the shooting received so much criticism that the creator had to close and re-form the group.  While the storyteller presented this as the correction of an error, I finally saw this as an unfortunate story of a grieving family member who had to take action to stop an overwhelming number of false accusations about his painful situation.

It took watching the entire 30 minute video, stewing on it for an hour or so, and talking through some details to fully convince myself that the evidence didn't support any kind of government conspiracy.  This bugs me, because I'm so critical of facts in a story and can usually separate relevant information from propaganda pretty easily.  The fact that it took 2 hours for me to notice the gaping holes in the story tells me this conspiracy theorist is too persuasive for his own good.

But, after 2 hours of getting over this exaggerated mess, I did find the real story.  As with any good lie, this story represented a partial truth.  The media immediately swept this into the primary news spot and looked for any other story to piggy back off of it.  Soon enough, the battle for gun rights started.  The headline policies revolved around assault rifles and large-capacity clips, and always pointed back to Sandy Hook for justification.  Our storyteller (correctly) pointed out that while 4 handguns were found to be used in the shooting, the assault rifle found in the shooter's trunk never even entered the school.  The inflation of the assault rifle and large-capacity clip issue was purely the result of media misinformation and political agendas.

I'm not saying these weapons aren't used in major crimes, but the media and political propaganda about these weapons was a bastardization of the Sandy Hook shooting.  They hold these children up on pedestals for something they don't represent.  They charge the country with protecting kids "just like them" from weapons that never darkened their doorstep in the first place.

Let me be clear.  The shooting was pure tragedy.  The families deserve all the sympathy this country can muster.  The innocent blood that was spilled was unjustified and terrible.  But by using their memory to twist into your own agenda is wrong.  You're not honoring the children or their families, you're insulting them.

What I learned from this, and other, conspiracy theories is that even though a story might not hold water, every good story starts with a grain of truth.  If we look hard enough, we can find this grain of truth in everything.

Always moving forward,


Monday, February 25, 2013


I was married to my best friend on May 27, 2006.

At the time, I was only 20 years old and she was 19.  Although we were young, our 6 year dating relationship felt like an eternity.  We spent years talking about marriage, and the months before the wedding included advice from friends and family as well as premarital counseling with our mentor who was to marry us.  We did a lot of planning, set out our expectations, and tried to figure out what marriage would be like.  Finally, I got to practice being a husband.

The first year wasn't all that difficult.  Yes, we had to learn to share a space, divvy out chores, and set boundaries in our new home, but none of that was too difficult.  We didn't agree on everything, but we hardly ever argued.  I was a little spoiled by that first year, because this made it easy to be a husband.

In years since, we've encountered challenges like finding a new church home, transitioning from college to a career lifestyle, and buying a home.  With big discussions comes the potential for big disagreement.  I've learned something through this, possibly more important than any other lesson I've learned as a husband.  I learned that relationships are made and broken in the midst of conflict.

Think about it.  When you get along with someone, share hobbies, and enjoy each other's company, the friendship/marriage/etc. feels easy.  You're both happy with the give and take, and you don't want to change a thing.  But throw a hot topic into the mix.  All of a sudden, there's potential for hurt feelings or worse.  You find yourself tip-toeing through a minefield, cautions of every word and gesture, hoping you don't cause offense.

Katie and I learned a lot about each other through these big decisions, because we both make these decisions differently.  We had to learn not only how to understand what the other wanted, but also how to speak their language.  Should I ask about her gut feeling, or should I bring up the pros and cons?  Are finances more important than benefits right now?  Do we want to live close to work or close to friends and family?

This was the second big lesson I learned about being a husband.  I learned that I always have to try to speak the language of my wife.  Sometimes this means I avoid a sticky subject when it doesn't need to be discussed.  Other times it means I should listen quietly and empathetically instead of trying to give advice.

Speaking her language is my best way of loving her.  It makes me think about her wants and needs, not just my own.  It helps me to communicate my thoughts and feelings more clearly.  It just plan helps us communicate better, and don't they say that communication is what a marriage is all about?

Whatever your methods, being a husband is all about trying to be a better husband today than you were yesterday.

Always moving forward,


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Give Me Your Tired...

I've never taken a huge interest in politics.  Around election time, when debates are in full swing, I'll take part in discussions about issues I feel are relevant, but I honestly don't care much about who is in charge for 2 main reasons.

First, by the time we get down to 2 leading candidates, I typically don't like either of them.  The leading candidates get to where they are because they follow party lines, not because they have particularly good ideas (which leads me to my second reason).

Second, I don't like party lines.  It seems that more and more the 2 major parties (and the candidates who best represent them) try to artificially differentiate themselves from one another.  Once you read between the lines, they agree on 90% of the issues, yet they focus on the other 10% by trying to downgrade the competitor's position and separate themselves from it as much as possible.  The result gives us the option to choose between 2 extremes, and personally, I think there are great solutions right down the middle of the road.

Today, I just want to focus on one political topic, which was inspired by this blog post:

Announcing Our New American Citizen

There's always talk about our borders, especially here in Texas.  The typical response is complaints about all the "illegals" who work under the table, so that they don't pay taxes yet still reap the benefits of living under our government.  Honestly, it's a real problem.  Especially when you look at the budget dollars spent to build our roads, police our streets, and defend our country, and compare it to the near-zero tax dollars paid by those with cash-only income and no social security number.

However, and I want to be very clear here, this is the ONLY problem with illegal immigration today.

When people get into rant mode over issues like this, they tend to get into all kinds of things that seem to rationalize their opinion.  But these are not problems on their own.  In fact, any one of us could find the holes in these theories that debunk the statements completely, we just get sucked in by the original argument and let ourselves assume that the additional points are true enough.

Rather than arguing over the problem, though, let's talk about the solutions.  The most often heard solution is closing our borders more tightly to new immigrants, usually coupled with deporting illegal immigrants.  This would clear out the "problem people" at a pretty high cost to the government, and we would get to pay the taxes to support their efforts until it finally paid off.

The other solution is one people don't seem to talk about: granting them citizenship (or at least the right to earn a paycheck).  Now I'm not saying we should ask the government to approach every illegal immigrant and hand them a free pass, but the system right now is more akin to defending yourself in court.  Think about it, it's easier to get your driver's license, a document that allows you to operate the type of vehicle that contributes to tens of thousands of deaths every year, than to move across the border!  All this does is deter people from pursuing legal immigration.

So, what if we make the path to citizenship a little easier?

First, if immigrants had the legal right to work, they would start paying taxes!  (honestly it wouldn't be 100%, but the percentage would increase drastically from the current 0%)  Suddenly, tax revenue would increase, spending would increase (with all the new jobs available to the newly-legal immigrants), and because legal immigration is easier, the government would have to put fewer resources to guard borders against illegal immigration.  Since the number of people earning unreported income would decline, it would even be easier for law enforcement to address the issue of wages paid under the table.

Second, we just have to look at our roots.  Very few of us are truly "native" Americans.  The ones who are native were mistreated for centuries before we tried to bring them into equality.  So, do you know what that makes the rest of us?  Immigrants!  Your ancestors earned the rights to citizenship by traveling here from somewhere else and asking for it.  There's even a big plaque under a huge statue in New York that reads "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," a longstanding call to people of oppressed nations to come find better life here.

If you haven't yet, I encourage you to read the post linked above, because this is the fuel for my fire today.  Here's the Cliff's Notes version.

The woman who writes this blog has 2 children who were adopted.  One of them is 6 years old and was adopted 3 years ago from another country (not sure which).  With his adoption finalized, their son Kembe has all the rights of their biological children, which includes US citizenship, since both parents are US citizens themselves.  However, with the adoption long-finalized, Kembe was only just granted citizenship.

This is a problem.  If someone like this easily and clearly meets the qualifications of citizenship, yet it takes 2-3 years to push the proper authorities to grant him this right, how much harder is it for someone to legally immigrate to the US to escape a life of poverty or oppression?

What I find is that the Land of Opportunity is severely lacking in opportunity.  We've gone from inviting people into our home to constructing barbed-wire fences around it.  We've stopped offering to help people find a better place, and instead we taunt them with our wealth and refuse to share, like a spoiled kid on the playground.  Honestly, when did we get the right to be such jerks??

Those of you with more insight into international law may have reasons not to pursue this path, but as a person who wants to follow the words of Jesus in Matthew 22:39, I think it's time we started loving our international neighbors as we love ourselves.

Always moving forward,


PS: Don't expect politically-inspired posts regularly.  Sorry about the rant, we'll be back to your regularly-scheduled broadcast shortly.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bridging Gaps

About 9 months ago, I took a new job that was a big change for me.  Before the move, I worked in an office where the lowest-paid employees were the admin assistants.  Even the entry-level employees made at least $35k a year plus benefits, wore slacks to work, and kept up the "corporate" feel.  The new job was a pay raise for me, but it brought me a new perspective to the workforce.

The biggest difference in my new work environment was having my floor full of mostly office workers, but the first floor full of mostly field workers.  Around me were engineers, CAD designers, managers and directors.  It felt very "corporate" like the old job.  But when you went downstairs, it was to visit the people who fix the water pipes, or the guys who maintain the parks, or the ones who fill potholes.  Excluding a few who bridged the gap, these were two separate worlds.

My job is one of the unique positions that naturally bridges this gap.  I work with several departments, so I'm in direct contact with several of the managers and supervisors, and in some departments have opportunities to built relationships with the front-line field workers.  And I enjoy this part, because I also see how people upstairs (sometimes very directly) demean these guys just because of what they do for a living.  Getting to know the field workers helps me to defend them.

It shows me not only that they deserve respect as much as any person, but I get to hear about the supervisor who dealt with his wife's recovery from surgery, the sewer worker who has 3 little girls at home who he would do anything for, and the guys who have hobbies just like mine.  I get to be reminded constantly that regardless of the car they drive, the clothes they wear, or the numbers on their paycheck, that they are just like everyone who works upstairs.  But they probably deserve more credit, because while they live the same lives as everyone else, they manage to make due with fewer resources.

Do you want to know the flip side?  There are "upstairs" workers who won't hear of equating the two groups.  This was a particular incident just before Christmas.

A group of water an sewer workers were sitting in a training room upstairs for most of a morning.  The training happened to coincide with a day that an upstairs employee brought doughnuts for the office, and one of the trainees found out.  He grabbed a couple pastries (after asking for permission), but one of the upstairs employees found out.  It wasn't 5 minutes before the sewer manager received a text message asking him to "tell his guys to keep their nasty hands off our food" (to the best of my memory, this is a direct quote).  This came from the same person who blocks downstairs workers from participating in any pot-luck lunches upstairs, but also the same person who is found downstairs every time the field workers provide lunch.

Is it me, or does this sound exactly like the radical racism this experienced not 50 years ago?  Has it somehow wrong to target someone because of their race, but OK to target them because of their profession?  If this is true, have we moved forward at all?  Even now we stand in the middle of a nation-wide push for social reform surrounding homosexuality, with outspoken, opinionated individuals on both sides.

Honestly, I think the above situation is rare.  People don't often say such direct, offensive things to people who haven't wronged them some way.  The real problem is the response to these offensive comments.  How often is the person left to defend themselves?  How often does everyone try to ignore it, leaving no opposition to what we all thing is wrong?  How often do we just avoid contact with a person because we "don't want to say the wrong thing," and leave them feeling alone and unsupported?

This is called Unconscious Racism (or Sexism, or Agism, etc.), and I know I carry some guilt from it.  But I've also learned a lot about prejudice in the last year.  From getting to know these field workers and the people who dislike them, to reading a book written by a single white woman who adopted a little black girl, I've been given a whole new perspective on prejudice.  Even moreso since Katie and I have realized how happy we would be to take home a baby whose skin tone doesn't match ours, or whose racial heritage is different from ours.  We've had long discussions about what we would do to make "our" birth mother comfortable in our home, even though society might expect her to feel inferior to us in some strange way.

It has become about bridging gaps, whether racial, financial, religious, or any other.  It has made me realize that everyone deserves love and respect.  It has driven me to make new friends and resurrect old friendships.  It has brought me back to the words of Jesus:

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)

Today, I choose to love.

Always moving forward,


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cancer Sucks - Part 2

Last time I wrote about this topic, I had some questions asking if everything was ok.  At the time, it was.  If you read the earlier post, you know that almost 4 years ago my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  At the time he was diagnosed (June 2009), they already called it Stage IV, which is the worst it gets.

If you're like me, you've probably heard "stage IV cancer" in a negative context and just assumed it was bad.  What it really means is that the cancer has spread.  Stage I is a minor occurrence of cancer in a specific part of the body.  For prostate cancer it's in the prostate, for breast cancer it's in the breast, etc.  Stage II is when it starts to advance within the localized area, and there's some distinction in the type of advancement that moves it into stage III.

By the time you get to stage IV, the cancer has spread outside of the original spot.  You'll hear these called "mets," because the cancer has "metastasized" to other parts of the body.  The bad part about this is you can't contain the disease anymore.  With stage I-III, you may have the option of surgically removing the affected part of the body, or directing radiation toward the small section of cancerous cells, but with stage IV those treatments almost entirely lose their effectiveness.

Once the cancer spreads, there's nothing holding it to one spot anymore.  With my dad (and I assume with most prostate cancer patients), the mets went to the bones.  CT scans (or bone scans) would find mets that showed up as dark spots on the bones, and the number and size of these spots would help the doctors gauge how well the treatments are working.

The treatments are the most difficult part, as I discussed in the earlier post.  With the cancer not contained, the strongest treatment option is some form of chemo.  In the first year they tried a hormone therapy, because prostate cancer is known to feed on testosterone.  Limit the testosterone, limit the amount of fuel the disease can build from.  It was great in that it had minimal side effects (at least compared to other cancer treatments), but it didn't work for long.

After about a year and a half of taking it slow, the chemo started.  First every 3 weeks for about 8 months.  Things got much better, and stayed that way for a good, long time.  We got to stop worrying as much about the disease, and the treatments turned to trying things like short bouts of radiation on the most symptomatic areas.  But this also came to an end.

In the fall, he went back to chemo.  Again, it was every 3 weeks.  This was a different formula that they hoped would make a more long-term impact on the disease, but after 8 treatments it had basically stopped working.

And this has been the last month of our lives.  The chemo has stopped working.  Radiation might give some symptom relief, but the likely side effects are just as bad as the symptoms they're trying to relieve.  There are other kinds of chemo, but after 2 long tries with chemo they need to try something else.  And that something else just isn't out there yet.  Last week, the tests came back that the cancer hasn't just stopped shrinking, it's still progressing.  Just weeks after ending chemo, it's hitting harder than ever.

Because of all of this, last weekend was one of the toughest my family has experienced.  What started with a trip back home to hear the full story quickly progressed into discussions to prepare for end-of-life care and making sure my mom will be taken care of when he's gone.  Our usual Sunday tradition of going to my parents' church (where I grew up) was filled with weepy hugs as the news spread.  Even a piece of amazing news on the adoption account (to be detailed in a later post) was tear-filled in light of the emotions of the weekend.

Now, I hardly know what to do with myself.  My brother and I agreed to do everything we can to help our mom be as ready as possible, and we both want to spend as much time with dad as we can.  But every discussion gets harder, not easier.  Even in sharing the news with a close friend, I could hardly get the words out.  When I talk to anyone about this I have this overwhelming urge to tell them how great a man he is, and how much I've appreciated the life he has lived.  Yet, every time those thoughts come out, I feel like I'm already attending his funeral.

The one thing I want to say about my dad today is how amazing he is through this process.  Since the diagnosis, he has always absorbed as much of the negative stuff as he can, and just showed love and respect to the family and friends who care about him.  Even now, he talks down his symptoms as if they're no big deal, all the while chatting with family and letting his grandkids play in his lap.  I know many people tend to shut down in his position, but I don't think he's ever going to stop treating us all with the love and respect that he has always shown.  That's the kind of strength I will always admire.

So, with regard to my work and day-to-day life in the next few weeks or months, I might be a little unavailable. I'm going to try not to be, but I already find myself drifting and losing focus, and I'm sorry about that.  Don't feel bad for talking to me about the responsibilities I'm ignoring, because I probably just need the reminder to get going again.  And if you don't know what to say to me, a hand on the shoulder says more than enough.

I know it's going to get harder before it gets easier, but maybe someday it won't hurt so much.

Always moving forward,


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Forgiveness - a response to Derek Sivers

Today's entry is a response to an article/blog post by Derek Sivers, an entrepreneur in the music industry and multiple-times Ted Talks presenter. If you would like, read his post before you continue.

I'm curious to hear others' responses to this, so comments are encouraged today.

As I read the first few paragraphs, I liked what this guy had to say.  Especially from an organizational management perspective, I agree that it's important to encourage those who work for you by edifying their successes and absorbing their failures.

I've heard a concept called "The 2-Way Mirror" that suggests that the best leaders look out on their company as if through a 2-way mirror.  When all is bright in the company, you acknowledge the successes of the department and respond as if this is the only thing you see.  When the other side of the mirror is dark, you see only your own reflection and respond by acknowledging your own faults that contributed to the company's failures.  (I believe this idea is credited to Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great")

So as far as this goes, I agree with Derek.  However, he lost me about half way through.  Here's what did it:

"This is way better than forgiving. When you forgive, you’re still playing the victim, and they’re still wrong, but you’re charitably pardoning their horrible deeds"

I actually understand where he's coming from, but he makes a pretty big assumption here and carries it to an extreme.  The part I agree with usually plays out in this way: a couple of people fight, or a mistake is made, and rather than saying "I'm sorry," the first response is "I forgive you."   Derek is right, this isn't nice.  It's judgmental, presumptuous, and plain rude.

But this isn't the spirit of forgiveness.  Christians are taught to forgive others multiple times in the teachings of Jesus, but even the apostles didn't get it right sometimes (see Matthew 18:21).  The definitions of "forgive" as it is used in scripture translates to anything from giving pardon to "changing the subject."

This my favorite definition, because "changing the subject" seems the most loving.  I consider myself hypothetically causing pain to a friend.  I come to them in apology, truly sorry for what I did.  Their response: "I forgive you.  Want to go get pizza?"  Forgiveness by changing the subject.

Notice there was no brushing it away, saying "it's ok," or "no problem," because someone really was hurt, and that's not ok.  But on the other side, there was no dwelling on the problem and causing more hurt to both sides.  The response is simple and meaningful. The person who was hurt has admitted that yes, he was hurt, but more importantly he has shown that he doesn't want to get revenge on his friend.  That his friend deserves second chances.  This is the true spirit of forgiveness.

Going back to Derek's thoughts, his post continues to suggest using the "it's my fault" response for every problem in life.  This is extreme that I can't get behind.  Partly because there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to life, but mostly because not everything in life is going to be your fault.  Sure, you contribute to every situation, but eating 2 cupcakes and 1 12oz sirloin last year isn't the reason you had a heart attack.  Hitting your breaks hard when a kid chased a ball into the street may have contributed to your getting rear-ended, but more likely it was the guy behind you who was checking his phone when that happened.

I think this warrants a "tell it like it is" mentality.  Sometimes problems are your fault, sometimes they're not.  Sometimes you have to ask forgiveness, and sometimes you have to give it, and sometimes you have to admit your 10% fault and keep your mouth shut about the other 90%.

For the readers: Do you think forgiveness is a necessary part of life?  Should you admit your fault in everything that goes wrong?  Post in the comments!

Always moving forward,


P.S.: I don't have any reason to launch a personal attack against Derek.  I appreciate his perspective, and I think it has great merit, but I don't get behind every word that was said.  I believe in healthy discussions even when they end in disagreement.  If this post came off as an attack, I encourage you to re-read with this perspective in mind.  If it still sounds like an attack the second time... well, I'm sorry.  To you and to Derek.  Will you please forgive me?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Discipline Part 2

Since my last post on discipline, I've picked up a couple of parenting books.  My favorite so far (out of my limited library) is Parenting with Love & Logic, by Foster Cline & Jim Fay.

As the title suggests, the authors believe that a parent should provide 2 important things to their children above all other: Love and Logic.  The Love part is about making your children feel loved unconditionally, and the Logic part is about helping them learn to be responsible and learn to make good choices.

One of my favorite sections so far discusses "praise" vs. "encouragement."  Like many topics within the book, Love and Logic are found to be closely related within this section.  When discussing praise vs. encouragement, you find that while praise can helpfully support good behavior and successes, it can also pigeon-hole the kid and communicate pseudo-harmful undertones.

For instance, let's say you want to recognize that your kid did his writing homework.  You could praise him by saying "you did a good job on your homework!"  Harmless at a glance, right?  Maybe, but there are a lot of scenarios in which this wouldn't help.  What if he didn't do a good job, but by your response makes him think it's good enough?  Overusing this could promote laziness.  What if he thinks he didn't do a good job?  You could sound patronizing and slowly lose his trust.  What if he knows he did great work?  You've communicated that maybe he can't judge good work for himself, so it encourages him to look to others for his value.

This is the nature of praise.  I don't think there's anything wrong with occasional praise, but by making a pattern of praise over encouragement you could unintentionally instill negative values when you only wanted to help.  And by voicing your positive judgements about him, you slowly take away his need to judge himself.

Encouragement is subtly different.  In the same scenario, you could say "I see you finished your writing assignment!"  By just saying you noticed, you've left your kid open to tell you about it.  Does he think a good job?  Does he need help?  Did he learn something interesting?  Opportunities like this allow him to make decisions and judgements about himself by himself.  Even more, it opens up opportunities to love, like reinforcing his positive view of himself, giving help when he asks for it, or even just having a conversation about something he cares about.

In the ongoing theme of Parenting with Love & Logic, the discussion of praise vs. encouragement is all about giving your kids opportunities to think and make choices for themselves (within reason), all the while showing them love in what they do and being prepared to help them navigate the consequences.

In the early years it could be letting them choose whether to put on their coat or carry it with them on a cold day (as the parent, you know they'll be ready to put it on well before their lips turn blue).  As they approach the teenage years, it could involve the kid managing his own homework schedule before the rigors of AP classes add to the difficulty (a couple of bad grades in 4th grade never hurt anyone).  By the time they're in high school, driving, and thinking about moving off to college, they've developed such a firm understanding of decisions and cosequences that you're comfortable letting them drive, go out with friends, and date.

Of course each of these choices has its own set of potential consequences.  The biggest difficulty in the Love & Logic method is hedging your protective instincts as a parent to help your child grow into a responsible adult.  You may already understand the consequences, but your kid has a lot to learn about them.

Always moving forward,