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Thursday, January 20, 2022
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The TLE Dinosaur with a Tiny Brain

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Generations have been taught that the spike-tailed Stegosaurs had a brain the size of a walnut, but I recently discovered that its brain was closer to the size of a tennis ball.  I also learned on the interweb that those iconic battle scenes between Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus from Land of the Lost never happened because they reportedly lived millions of years apart.  This fake news makes me question everything I learned from Saturday morning television.  Were the Sleestak lizard people really evil, or were they simply misunderstood by the unenlightened Pakuni?  Most importantly, does the fossil-record tell us if these ancient peoples went extinct because the maskless Marshall family infected them with the COVID?  Where are the fact-checkers when we need them! 

Nevertheless, Tyrannosaurus Rex was the Cretaceous classmate of a 15,000 pound sauropod with a brain the size of two walnuts. The 50-foot long Ampelosaurus lived about the same time as T-Rex, which we compared last week to the impractical federal testing system with high-stakes teeth that relies on the itty bitty arms of keyboarding 8-year-olds for survival. If T-Rex is “The Testing Dinosaur with Little Arms” (last week’s article), then the Ampelosaurus is the TLE Dinosaur with the Little Brain.

TLE is the Teacher-Leader Effectiveness model adopted by Oklahoma eons ago in 2010 as part of Oklahoma’s failed bid to receive Race to the Top funds that inadvertently hatched two voracious monsters: Common Core State Standards and Oklahoma’s TLE.  TLE was part of an ambitious federal plan to tie teacher performance to test scores and usher in a golden age of incentive pay, but just as the testing dinosaur struggles with little arms, the TLE Dinosaur wrestles with a brain too small.  Consequently, for over a decade, teachers and principals have wasted precious instructional time corralling the Ampelosaurus while simultaneously chasing pterodactyls away from children on the playground. (Disclaimer: state-mandated drills have virtually eliminated staff and student carry-offs by Pterosaurs.)    

While TLE may have begun with great intentions, it is now an outdated model tied to the federal testing dinosaur that compares groups of children to other groups of children. Although politically useful, this testing system is educationally worthless as a real-time guide for instruction.  In 2021, teachers now rely on short, age-appropriate diagnostic tools to monitor individual students’ growth during the school year. Unlike federally mandated tests, these tools impact a child’s day-to-day education.

Unfortunately, in over a decade we have not implemented the quantitative (measurable) portion of TLE with any fidelity.  To-date, we only use the qualitative (subjective) portion.  Since the TLE dinosaur has never tied the federal tests to teacher performance, we now have a giant, time-wasting, paperwork dinosaur that exhausts teachers and principals as it gobbles up learning time from students.  Like the Sleestak and Pakuni from Land of the Lost, however, educators have learned to survive these dinosaurs by employing technology and better practices from this century.  Unfortunately, this creates two testing systems in school – one that is helpful and one that is mandated.  

If we really want to tie teacher performance to tests, we should tie them to the classroom diagnostic tools that impact instruction, and these tests should be aligned to college-and-career readiness standards.  Restoring local and state control of teacher evaluations based on meaningful data would reduce time-wasting, create more robust evaluations, and make it possible to implement incentive pay based on measurable outcomes.  TLE needs to follow the federal testing dinosaur with little arms into extinction. If not extinction, we should send them to an island off Costa Rica where they can frolic with other dinosaurs like Stegosaurs, Common Core, PASS, and NCLB.  

If Land of the Lost perpetuated such fake news, then I am no longer convinced that the Pakuni or Sleestak lizard people are extinct, either.  Maybe Ancient Aliens is on to something, but that is a subject for a different time.  Meanwhile, please do not forget to pray for the safety of our schools this Second Sunday of the month.  Trust me, it works.  Not a pterodactyl in sight. 

Tom Deighan is currently the superintendent of Duncan Public Schools. Email him at deighantom@gmail.com  Read past articles at www.mostlyeducational.com

Cole Statement on Retirement of NIH Director Francis Collins

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Moore, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) issued the following statement after it was announced that Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will retire at the end of 2021 after a 12-year tenure under three consecutive presidential administrations. Cole is the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee that provides funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the NIH. 

“It is with very mixed emotions that I learned of the retirement at the end of this year of Dr. Francis Collins, long-time director of the National Institutes of Health,” said Cole. “Naturally, I am pleased that someone who has worked so long and hard for the American people and for all of humanity is going to have an opportunity to take some time and smell the roses along the way. However, as a strong supporter and advocate of the NIH, I know how much he will be missed at the Institute, by the biomedical community, in the halls of Congress and amongst his scientific peers around the world.

“Dr. Collins has served with exceptional distinction. The only person appointed by three different presidents to directorship of the NIH, I have often called him the ‘best politician in Washington, D.C.’ Who else could be appointed by President Barack Obama, President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden? The fact that Dr. Francis Collins holds this unique distinction is a testament to the high regard in which he is held across the political spectrum.

“A brilliant scientist in his own right, no one matches the ability of Dr. Collins to marshal and focus the scientific community. His concentrated attention to the well-being and health of people all over the world are literally unmatched. During his tenure, Dr. Collins advocated for greater federal investment in the NIH’s budget, and he worked to advance many biomedical research initiatives focused on such ailments as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Indeed, his crowning achievement was probably the critical role he played in coordinating private and public efforts to produce the coronavirus vaccines that were the product of Operation Warp Speed. That effort alone has already saved millions of lives in America and around the world. 

“I do not believe we have heard the last of Dr. Francis Collins. I have no doubt that future administrations of both parties will call upon him for his wise counsel, brilliant insights and exceptional public credibility. While I wish my good friend well in his retirement, I would suggest he not go far because I suspect his country will call upon his services again.”

Dave Says

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Hope is a good thing

Dear Dave,

What is the main difference between people who follow your plan, stick with it and succeed, and those who fall off along the way?

Damon

Dear Damon,

I’ve walked with thousands of families through financial problems. Some of them were speedbumps that just needed to be smoothed out, while others seemed like mountains. The biggest factor I’ve noticed separating those who stick with it and gain control of their finances, from those who give up and go back to their old ways, can be boiled down to one simple word—hope.

Hope is stolen when we misunderstand failure and believe lies. One of the biggest lies that robs people of hope is the one that says failure is permanent. The moment we start seeing failures of the past as predictors of our futures, it extinguishes that ember of hope. Failure happens to all of us at times. It’s natural, and it is normal. The way to reach your goals, though, is to keep failure in its cage. And failure is caged when we begin to understand it isn’t permanent. 

Winston Churchill once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” If we believe failure is here to stay, we lose enthusiasm. And that leads to an inability to re-focus on success. People often make dumb, short-term decisions when they’re in financial difficulty. If you talk yourself into believing you’ll never be able to save enough money to pay cash for a car, you’ll lose hope and borrow the money. Debt not only robs you of the ability to build wealth, but it’s also usually the result of losing hope. 

Have you done something stupid or wrong in the past that you are still reliving daily? Is that memory haunting you, and stealing your hope? Remember, the past only has power over you if you let it have that power. Don’t get me wrong. The past canhurt, and it can be disappointing. But you can either give in to it and let it control you, or you can learn from it and make a conscious decision to keep moving forward.

The choice is yours!

— Dave

* Dave Ramseyis a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. Hehas appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

The Federal Testing Dinosaur with Little Arms

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“I am never gonna defeat Zurg!” exclaims a frustrated Rex, the lovable cartoon Tyrannosaur as he plays a video game. “Look at my little arms!” In contrast to the terrifying dinosaur in Jurassic ParkToy Story pointed out the absurdity of tiny arms attached to such a deadly monster!  I suspect they went extinct out of sheer frustration.

Another deadly beast with little arms emerged about the same time as Jurassic Park and Toy Story: the federal testing monster.  And just as those franchises that have spanned over two decades, today’s millennial parents cannot imagine an educational system without federalized testing.  Many of our current parents attended school during No Child Left Behind, and many of them carried Toy Story or Jurassic Park lunchboxes.  As much as they like the movie Tyrannosaurs, I suspect parents no longer like the testing monster.  

Perhaps federalized testing started like the loveable Rex from the cartoon, but a T-Rex is a T-Rex, and it eventually needed to feed.  Twenty years into this adventure, little arms and hands may ultimately defeat the beast, however.  A Tyrannosaurus Rex cannot run a keyboard, but neither can our third-graders. Trust me, eight and nine-year-olds are just as frustrated as Rex trying to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg during marathon testing sessions. I cannot imagine how this is developmentally appropriate or valid, but third-graders often cry and/or vomit from the stress of taking their first high-stakes test under these conditions.  “Look at my little fingers!”    

As you can imagine, third-grade is when Toy Story’s loveable Rex turns into the terrifying monster from Jurassic Park. Those absurd little arms become less cute as children are chased relentlessly for the next decade.  Teachers and administrators fear its wrath.  Parents tremble at its roar.  It has even invaded cities with completely arbitrary A-F scores that disingenuously compare communities and impact everything from property values to economic development. Those little arms aren’t so funny now.

To make it worse, parents and students emerge from the jungle as juniors and seniors only to discover that none of these tests had any bearing on their college or career readiness.  The vomiting and crying begin again as they face ACT, SAT, ASVAB, and other vocational tests that employers, recruiters, and colleges actually value. We spend so much time running from the federal testing dinosaur that we never really prepare students with essential skills and assessments that impact adulthood.  

Perhaps we have given the big-headed, little-armed beast too much credit – like Tiny the dinosaur from Meet the Robinsons. “I have a big head and little arms,” Tiny says in frustration when he cannot reach a boy standing in a corner. “I am just not sure how well this plan was thought through,” he confesses.  

Next week, the Oklahoma State Testing Program results will be released statewide.  Schools will be bludgeoned for test scores that invalidly compare pre-pandemic 2019 students with 2021 students who were forced to stay home an entire spring and then endure an entire year of school disrupted by quarantines or worse, no school at all.  This is entirely fair, of course, because the pandemic has not had any significant impact on anything or anyone else.

By design, this system ensures public schools fall short, but dinosaurs are always destined to fail. I wonder what would happen if we focused on those essential skills for college and career readiness instead of big monsters with tiny arms that cannot grasp our future?  Just imagine a school system wholly invested in preparing adult-ready graduates with essential skills instead of running from dinosaurs.  Twenty years of this has proven that we can no longer do both, so maybe it’s time to ask what we really want for our children and grand-children.  Perhaps, parent and educator frustration will eventually kill this dinosaur, too, but please keep those cool lunch boxes.

Tom Deighan is currently the superintendent of Duncan Public Schools. He may be reached at deighantom@gmail.com  You may read past articles at www.mostlyeducational.com

Dave Says

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Think of an emergency fund as insurance

Dear Dave,

I have decided it’s time to get control of my money. Your plan sounds workable, but I talked to some friends about it, and they think I would be better off using a credit card for emergencies. Can you explain why you advise saving a separate emergency fund?

Leslee

Dear Leslee,

When bad, unexpected things happen, like a job layoff or a blown car engine, you shouldn’t depend on credit cards. If you use debt to cover emergencies, you’re digging a financial hole for yourself. My plan will walk you out of debt forever, and a strong foundation of any financial house includes an emergency fund.

Putting together a fully funded emergency fund is Baby Step 3 of my plan for getting out of debt and gaining control of your money. Before you reach thispoint, however, steps one and two should be completed first. Baby Step 1 is saving $1,000 for a starter emergency fund. Baby Step 2 is where you pay off all debt, except for your home, using the debt snowball method.

A fully-funded emergency fund should cover three to six months of expenses. You start the emergency fund with $1,000, but a full emergency fund can range from $5,000 to $25,000 or more. A family that can make it on $3,000 per month might have a $10,000 emergency fund as a minimum. 

What is an emergency? An emergency is something you had no way of knowing was coming—an event that has a major, negative financial impact if you can’t cover it. Emergencies include things like paying the deductible on medical, homeowners or car insurance after an accident, a job loss, a blown automobile transmission or your home’s heating and air unit suddenly biting the dust.

Something on sale you “need” is not an emergency. Fixing the boat, unless you live on it, is not an emergency. Want to buy a car, a leather couch or go to Cancun? Not emergencies. Prom dresses and college tuition are not emergencies, either. 

Never rationalize the use of your emergency fund for something you should save for. On the other hand, don’t make payments on medical bills after an accident while your emergency fund sits there fully loaded. If you’ve gone to the trouble of creating an emergency fund, make sure you are crystal clear on what is and isn’t an emergency.

Also, keep your emergency fund in something that is liquid. Liquid is a money term that basically means easy to access with no penalties. I use growth-stock mutual funds for long-term investing, but I would never put my emergency fund there. I suggest a money market account with no penalties and full check writing privileges for your emergency fund. 

Your emergency fund account is not for building wealth. It’s an insurance policy against rainy days!

* Dave Ramseyis a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. Hehas appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

Celebrating Hard-Working Teenagers This Labor Day

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I have observed literally thousands of teenagers during my career, especially as a high school teacher and principal, in addition to raising two of my own. I can generally spot kids who either have part-time jobs or who are constantly involved in activities like sports, Ag and Fine Arts. They often stand out in overall maturity, for they know the value of hard work, teamwork, and time-management. On the other hand, I have also noted that teenagers with too much time on their hands and/or too much easy money tend to get into mischief. My guide to raising teenagers, therefore, is relatively simple: Keep ‘Em Busy and Keep ‘Em Poor! 

I am not sure if you noticed, but the number of high schoolers working in part-time jobs jumped this past summer. I first noticed at local drive-thrus as students asked me questions about the start of school. Employers recruited a lot of teenage labor during the recent labor shortage. COVID benefits did not extend to teenagers, so many of them seized the opportunity for a higher-paying summer job. Who says our kids aren’t smart and entrepreneurial!

Teenagers with after-school or summer jobs are rarer than in previous generations for a variety of reasons, and that is unfortunate because nothing prepares a youngster for the real world like a real job. They learn about things like FICA, customer service, and work ethic at a formidable time. I have hired a lot of brand-new college graduates, and those who had part-time jobs were usually miles ahead of those who did not. Showing up on time, working a full shift, and smiling when you feel like cussing are all skills learned on the job. When someone’s first job is a full-time job, they usually struggle. 

After-school and summer jobs are not the only “labor” that counts, either. Many teenagers also work for family businesses or even start their own businesses. Teenagers that are busy in activities like sports and fine arts learn the same lessons. And nothing is more real-world than having an Ag animal project; those kids (and parents) work hard!  The skills of dependability, punctuality, and teamwork matter as much in these situations as they do in a job. I do not personally think teenagers should work a lot, but a few hours a week teaches them more about the real world than just about any other activity. The value of sweating for a buck cannot be underestimated. 

In this case, I would not use myself as a good example, for I probably worked too much as a teenager. My first job was at 12, washing dishes in Woodward, Oklahoma, and I have had a job ever since. By the end of high school, I was a master short-order cook, car-washer, and a decent construction worker. By the end of college, I added truck driver, farm laborer, and horseshoer to the list. Those jobs taught me common sense and work ethic. I am not bragging, however, for I have forgotten every one of those skills, especially horseshoeing and hay hauling, so if this superintendent gig ever dries up, I am in trouble. 

The remarkable thing about after-school and summer jobs is how much they truly give people an edge later in life. I know of people who landed corporate-level positions, not based on their degree but on the insight or experience gleaned from being a camp counselor or leading Vacation Bible School. We never know when past knowledge will come in handy. I read somewhere not to despise small beginnings. Curiously enough, that author was familiar with carpenters’ tools, too.

So, for this Labor Day, hats off to all the hard-working teenagers!  You have mad respect from me and other old folks, and you instantly give us hope. This Labor Day, be sure to pat your hard-working teenagers on the back. Of course, they are probably working or practicing this weekend, but they will surely appreciate being seen and welcomed into the fellowship of hard work.  

Tom Deighan is currently the superintendent of Duncan Public Schools. He may be reached at deighantom@gmail.com  You may read past articles at www.mostlyeducational.com

Cole Mourns the Passing of State Senator Charles Ford

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Moore, OK – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) today issued the following statement on the passing of the longest serving Republican state legislator in Oklahoma history, Charles Ford of Tulsa.

“I learned of Senator Ford’s passing with a heavy heart. He was a colleague, a personal friend and a great Oklahoman who served our state with great integrity, skill and decency over the course of a long and distinguished career in the Oklahoma Legislature.

“Both my late mother, Helen Cole, and I had the privilege of serving with Senator Charles Ford in the Oklahoma State Senate. And during my tenure as Secretary of State and Chief Legislative Liaison for Governor Frank Keating, Charlie Ford was an invaluable ally, wise counselor and critical voice in moving Oklahoma forward.

“Senator Ford was respected on both sides of the aisle and brokered many a deal between the two parties in the Oklahoma Legislature. Everyone who served with him respected his wisdom and wit. Charlie made his points with a home spun humor that made legislators laugh and pushed them toward making the deals necessary to move the state forward.

“No one loved and revered the Oklahoma Legislature as an institution and a fraternity more than my friend, Senator Ford. He founded and served as president of the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Fund, Inc. When my mother passed, Senator Ford helped me to secure the funding for an appropriate memorial — a portrait of my mother’s revered Aunt Te Ata, the famous Chickasaw artist and storyteller, painted in the 1920’s. It now is permanently displayed at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

“Charles Ford was a visionary Oklahoma leader who served our state and his party with distinction, honor, integrity and great professionalism. He was the greatest Republican legislator of his era and probably in the history of Oklahoma. 

“We have lost a great Oklahoman and I have lost a wonderful mentor, trusted advisor and dear friend. I will miss Charlie Ford. Oklahoma will miss him even more.”

High Noon Strangers and Local Battles

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The shadowy silhouette of a vulture drifts across Main Street under the hot sun. Saloon doors from opposite sides of the town square swing shut behind two strangers as the church bell tolls high noon. Children crook their necks, hoping to see some action, as their parents pull them away. Then, the slow walk begins. Tiny billows of fine dust swirl around the strangers’ boots with every deliberate step. As if on cue, both stop and slowly lift the hammer loops from their pistols. Now it’s just a matter of who blinks first . . .

But it’s Oklahoma, and the swirling wind at the center of town kicks up so much darn dust that they can hardly see. Soon, both are blinking uncontrollably and begin firing their irons indiscriminately through watery eyes. Townspeople dive behind water troughs, but soon emerge to realize that the strangers are shooting government-issue blanks.  “Who are they, Mommy?” asks one child, but no one knows. They truly are strangers, sent from Capitol City to save the locals from themselves. 

If you are true Okie, then you know if someone is “from around here” very quickly by a few signs. First off, they know how to pronounce the name of towns like Lookeba, Durant, and Miami. Secondly, they know not to stir up dust on a hot August day. And finally, they know that Okies don’t like to be told what to do, even if we agree. When strangers from capitol city ride into save the day in towns they cannot pronounce or have never visited before, we tend to give ‘em the old stink eye. 

For better or worse, the concepts of rugged individualism and local control are ingrained in Oklahoma. We bristle at top-down solutions from Capitol City (or even Washington D.C.). For the last two years, however, our state has reverted to central planning on issues both critical and trivial. I am certain that everyone involved has the best of intentions, but I wonder if they can pronounce the name of the communities such edicts impact. 

If we thought last year was difficult for schools, this year is the Wild West!  Schools are currently being expected to act well beyond our scope of authority regarding public health, HIPAA, and other privacy issues while simultaneously having fewer options as gunfights erupt all around. Educators do not have the authority or expertise to diagnose or prescribe courses of action related to public or personal health issues, but we are being asked to carry the burden, nonetheless. Our local health departments are in just as tough a spot, however. Parents and staff are frustrated or downright angry. School principals and superintendents are ready to stroke out. (Honestly, I am not giving you the stink eye; it’s just a twitch.)

Perhaps the gun fights on mispronounced Main Streets in our state will continue to utilize government-issued blanks. And perhaps, like last year, townsfolk may once again get comfortable with the dust and din of dueling state agendas, but we are still too early in the school year to know for sure. Ultimately, parents and educators will continue to do what we have always done – we will figure it out and make it work, locally. We will navigate impossible and conflicting mandates to safely serve our children. We will cuss and discuss, and we may even have a few bruises, but they will be our bruises.   

High-noon strangers are welcomed to help when they show up, but it’s only help if it helps, and they’d better be wary of getting between two fighting locals. I do not intend to make light of the situation, but right now, it’s either laugh or cry. Our ears are hurting, and people are a little panicked, but if last year is our guide, we will get used to the dust in our eyes and the sounds of blanks. We will figure out how to serve our children and staff safely, once again, Oklahoma, with or without the help of strangers that mispronounce places like Lake Fuqua. Be watchful, however, for a dark stranger stepping off the train from Washington . . . 

Tom Deighan is currently the superintendent of Duncan Public Schools. He may be reached at deighantom@gmail.com  You may read past articles at www.mostlyeducational.com

Dave Ramsey Says

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Honesty matters

Dear Dave,

My wife and I are in our late 20s, and we’re on Baby Step 6. Recently, my mom reached out to me for help. She has a car lease that ends next month, and she asked to borrow $2,000 so she can pay it off. It’s a weird situation, because my parents keep separate accounts and don’t combine their finances. My mom also asked me not to tell my wife about all this. What’s your advice?

Daniel

Dear Daniel,

I don’t do anything I can’t tell my wife about—ever. If I’m in a meeting, and someone tells me what’s said in that room has to stay in that room, that I can’t talk to anyone else about it under any circumstances, I’ll get up and leave. In my mind, keeping things from my wife is against the law.

Your mom is out of control to even think about asking you to do this, and you need to have a serious talk with her. Let her know you love her, but she has no right to ask this of you, and it’s not something you’d do. Let her know, too, that she’s never to ask for anything like this again.

If she needs $2,000, she should be talking to her husband about the idea. They should be living with combined finances anyway. So, it sounds like they’ve got issues to straighten out between themselves.

It’s time folks started laying their cards on the table and stopped sneaking around. That’s no way for a husband and wife to live, and your mom has no business trying to drag you into all of it behind everyone’s back!

—Dave

They’ll play on your emotions

Dear Dave,

I’m on Baby Step 2. I’ve paid off almost all my debt, and I’m living on a monthly budget. Recently, I got a call from a debt collection company about an old medical bill. They threatened to garnish my wages, and from the way they talked I’m afraid they may actually do it. How should I handle this situation?

Gwen

Dear Gwen,

First of all, they won’t garnish your wages. They can’t. For that to happen, they would have to go through all the formal, legal steps of suing you, and then they’d have to win the case. Debt collectors like to play with people’s emotions because, many times, folks will give in and do whatever they want—whether they can afford it or not.

The worst thing you can do in these situations is react with panic or fear. Talk to them calmly and rationally, and explain your financial situation. You may be able to reach a compromise that works for both of you. If they get nasty, or continue to lie to you, let them know you’ll file a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). Pushy debt collectors have a habit of getting polite and reasonable in a hurry when faced with the possibility of the federal government stepping in.

Do everything you reasonably can to pay your debts, Gwen. You owe the money, and that means you have a legal and moral obligation to pay them. But you don’t have to put up with a collector’s lies and harassment!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. Hehas appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

Dave Says

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Bless them, don’t enable them

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are both teachers, and we’re on Baby Step 7. We’re struggling with things where our wills are concerned. Three of our four adult children aren’t being wise with their money, and my husband and I disagree on how to talk to them about it and how it may affect us re-structuring our wills. We don’t want to be judgmental, but at the same time we agree something needs to be said or done.

Danielle

Dear Danielle,

Let’s say someone is working at my company, and taking my money in the form of a paycheck. Let’s also say this person isn’t doing a good job. If I don’t talk to them about their performance because I don’t want to be seen as judgmental, I’m not doing my job. I owe them the feedback necessary for them to become a good team member. Otherwise, they could just get fired one day without really knowing what happened because I refused to “judge” them.

You’re supposed to judge people. The idea that you’re not supposed to is ridiculous. But you don’t have to be a jerk about it. There’s a big difference betweenjudging people and being judgmental. But it’s unkind not to share insights or suggestions for a better way of life with those you love most. Holding back and telling yourself the way someone behaves is just the way they’re made is wrong in most instances. Overspending and not saving money aren’t character traits—they’re decisions. 

They’re adults now, and they’re going to do what they want. They don’t have to understand or support your ways of handling money, but you and your husband have every right to tell them they have to start behaving in certain ways if they expect to receive your money when the time comes. If they’re misbehaving, and you give them money, you’re funding that bad behavior. That’s not love, that’s enabling. And a big pile of money isn’t going to heal the bad things—it’s only going to magnify them.

Sit down with your kids, and have a loving, clear discussion about the situation. Remind them that they’re adults, and you and your husband are no longer able to tell them how they have to live. But let them know in no uncertain terms, gently but firmly, they will not receive your money if they continue to behave in ways you both consider foolish or unreasonable. Let them know they’ll always have your love, just not your money, unless they begin behaving more intelligently and maturely with their finances.

You can’t make them do anything, Danielle. But you can ensure they understand you two won’t be sharing your wealth with people who can’t handle it and use it wisely.

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. Hehas appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.