Can there be a world like this in our lifetime? Is this just some utopian point of view? I believe that there is a simple solution to most of life's problems. It would certainly be easier to create a better solution over the existing one, but unfortunately, there have never been action plans or solutions similar to those that are found in A BOLT FROM THE BLUE. There are plenty of books that contain "mights," "maybes," "what ifs," and "could haves." But, A BOLT FROM THE BLUE goes well beyond that. It cuts through the red tape of government. It cuts through the "it's too difficult to make effective changes."
So what is this vision? To understand it, and to see it with clarity, we first need to look at how we as a society actually distinguish between problems and causes. Unfortunately, we've been looking only at the causes of the problems. The causes of these social issues, (or what happens because of just a few real problems), include poverty, single parenting, AIDS, homelessness, alcoholism, smoking, drug abuse, child abuse, divorce, crime, deadbeat parents, poor education, unemployable people, a lack of fatherhood, teenage pregnancy, welfare, mental illnesses, and hunger, to name just a few. These issues become more and more prevalent every day and dramatically decrease our quality of life. The actual problems costs Americans trillions of dollars and tens of millions of lives each year.
Secondly, when we analyze these issues, we will see that the way we parent, why we parent, pre-parent education, and taking responsibility as adults in all facets of life, are the real problems. When we concentrate on solutions for these problems, we will make incredible changes in our every day lives.
A BOLT FROM THE BLUE is simple to understand, logical, fair, moral and just, and does not violate any of our constitutional rights. Is it controversial? You bet. But, only because it requires us to think and act very differently for the first time in our lives. It will require us to reexamine many current laws and to establish new ideas that will change everything. It is a revolutionary new book about the value and theory of personal responsibility and parenting like never written before. It will also make us see that with a new course, we will build a better tomorrow for ourselves, our children and for every future generation.
will want to make changes in their lives if those changes don't
take a lot of time and effort on their part. This was a consideration
in how I created certain solutions. In developing new thoughts,
Americans will need to see ideas that are not only practical and
logical, but moral and effective too. Most people desire a higher
quality of life for themselves and for others. So, how is this possible?
Some of the solutions may sound too easy and vague, but the ideas
of A BOLT FROM THE BLUE don't settle for just simple. Rather,
these solutions are just the stepping stones for us to all unite,
make our lives better, and accomplish realistic goals without sacrificing
any of our freedoms or liberties. A BOLT FROM THE BLUE examines
the carelessness of relationships; the lack of long term family
planning; the lack of family direction and goals; the misunderstanding
of family finances; the inabilities of parenting; and the lack of
responsibility. All of these continue to add up to a prescription
The A BOLT FROM THE BLUE American Vision
The timing of A BOLT FROM THE BLUE could not be more ideal. America has spent trillions of dollars and 50 years trying to understand and create better social programs, and all of which have done nothing to improve our lives, and all of which have failed miserably. America is looking for answers to the most difficult social issues and A BOLT FROM THE BLUE is a dynamic way to get to the heart of the problem. Tens of millions of people who may not be avid book readers currently are trying to cope with life, are seeking ways to help their children, and make their communities better places to live and work. On a larger scale, with the movement that will be based on the principals of A BOLT FROM THE BLUE, today is the perfect time to get this vastly important message to America
The mood of the country has certainly changed since the events of September 11, 2001. America for the most part has united together and many previous differences have been temporarily put aside. Many people believe that we are all better for it. We have come together as a community to stand for the beliefs of our democratic society. But, our social issues continue, and as resources get redirected to national security, the social challenges will become greater. These add up to incredibly real financial challenges for the country and every individual state. "Homeland Security" and peace of mind will come at a large cost, which will directly affect every American. And, as the country moves into a short recession, the need to find solutions on how we can increase our quality of life even further.
Everywhere you turn, life is full of simplistic, reactive ideas that describe a future full of uncertainty and influx. So-called experts preach about relationships or parenting but nothing really happens in the long term. Their scope and mission is limited as they rely on people trying to take steps on their own to make substantial changes without providing any success formulas. A BOLT FROM THE BLUE offers real action plans that will lead to dramatic results
I envision A BOLT FROM THE BLUE to fully become
part of the American culture. It will have people asking new questions
and creating new ideas about the issues that really matter. These
thoughts will be discussed from water coolers and bar rooms, to
radio talk shows and living rooms. It will get America working on
how to make life more enjoyable for all.
Ever since I was a young boy, I have made observations, which I felt were beyond my years in maturity. I have had a sense of clarity on how and why people chose, or become, either responsible or irresponsible. I have been able to uniquely identify the challenges we all face in life and create action plans and solutions that have been, and will continue to be, very successful. This awakening has taken place over 30 years, and little by little has grown into what I believe are some of the most unique thoughts of our generation.
I have a deeply rooted love for my family and community along with an overall love for children. This has made me keenly aware that most people have never focused their attention in solving the real problems in life. Being around as many children as I have in my life, I have come to understand the value of parenting and why excellent parenting is the driving force to every aspect of life. When it comes down to it, how we parent, our understanding of our children, and our desire to be responsible, will be the biggest influences in mankind's success or failure.
A BOLT FROM THE BLUE is a breakthrough. A breakthrough can only start when you look at issues differently. A BOLT FROM THE BLUE provides us with the new tools to proactively make improvements in our lives. It provides us with a new understanding of why things won't work the same way anymore. Most of us except life without questioning standards of practice. But, until we desire to make progress, nothing will ever change. A BOLT FROM THE BLUE, guaranteed, will make us look at issues very differently, and in a very different light.
The dream is that each of us keeps an open mind. I am presenting a tremendous amount of hard reality statistics on a wide range of issues. Once the reader takes a closer look at the vast damage that these issues are causing, only then will they sit up and take action. The percentage of people committing a crime may change slightly from one year to the next but there is no possible way to really change things dramatically until we first dream and then create real solutions. If laws are not fair and moral, than why do we just keep living by them? Readers will need to choose whether they believe if it is wrong for a 13 year old to have a baby, or a 9 year old to smoke, or a 14 year old to marry. These issues will determine the direction for the future.
IV. Life Before A BOLT FROM THE BLUE
To understand how we will create solutions, we need to see where we have been and where we stand now. We read a report, for example, that 20% of children are homeless. Rather than just saying that we should just chalk it up because that's the way it always will be, my hope is that we start to care more.
are the issues and their sources? A list of the 25 most prevalent
issues facing the country today is statistical reviewed. These issues
include AIDS; accidents; alcoholism; child abuse; child care; crime;
deadbeat dads; divorce; drug abuse; education; employment; fatherhood;
gambling; homelessness; hunger; immigration; mental health; obesity;
over population; poverty; single parenting; smoking; technology
entertainment; teen pregnancy and welfare. What are the current
viewpoints? Are things getting worse? Does each of these issues
have any similarities in their root problem?
V. Confident? Final Answer?
Since we have identified the major issues from chapter four, how does one solve a problem? The chapter opens with this question and an opportunity for the reader to write their answers and compare. This is a critical and logical step in understanding the meaning of problems, issues and solutions. Essentially, it is the difference in understanding how causes and problems are different. Do you solve problems differently if for example you have lost your dog, as compared to disciplining your children? Is every problem solved the same way? What do elimination, reduction and prevention mean with regards to problem solving?
There are a series of critical steps that should be followed to solve almost every problem whether you have just one minute in time, or over an entire day you are discussing the problem with a group of 50 executives. The understanding of these steps, which include identifying the problem; determining the causes; outlining the options; and creating action plans for a solution are the key elements. Unfortunately, the majority of adults don't know how to follow these steps. When people see issues as problems it is easy to see why they can't solve anything. You can't solve a cause, only the underlying problem.
VI. Thou Shall be Responsible
At what point should we all become responsible in our lives? Should everyone have the right to be irresponsible, or, for 40 or 50 or 60 years live off the kindness of everyone else without care? Shouldn't there be a mentality of "enough is enough?" When do we start looking at the cycle of victimization?
Solutions can't come true until we take responsibility. This is key in understanding the dynamics of responsible living. How does intent factor into responsibility? Even if there is no intent, shouldn't you still be seen as irresponsible?
The word "accident" has become confused with the word irresponsible behavior. One of the new unspoken Constitutional rights seems to be that each of us is in some way, victims. We couldn't help it because it was an accident. I killed him with my car because of my drinking disease. We need to see people as either responsible or irresponsible. How many strikes should they get? How many years in a lifetime should we get to be responsible?
There are several short stories that the readers try to determine if the characters in the stories are acting responsibly. In further review and analysis, the characters aren't. We need to completely change our way of thinking in almost every way that requires some form of adult responsibility. We have all sat in traffic for 2 hours waiting for police to clear up an accident. All 10,000 of us motorists drive by and see what the damage looks like. The following day the paper reports that one of the drivers had lost control because they were eating lunch in the car. We never get a report on the $100,000 collectively that was lost by the stranded people in traffic. But, isn't that the bigger and more important story?
VII. The Land of Misfit Children
Unless you have adopted or fostered children before, you may not know the many challenges in the process. Adoption and foster care can be excellent alternatives for families. This alternative can soon become a wonderful family situation and can increase the happiness and quality of life for everyone involved. But, it can take up to 2 years to adopt a child along with tens of thousands of dollars in cost. Plus, the government's system of who can parent and the regulations that are required, make it a difficult task. Everything can be easily simplified. But, we need to ask this question first - Why do we actually care about who adopts children when we as a society don't care or do anything about the 50,000 thirteen year old girls who have given birth to babies? We need to look at why and who can parent if we are going to make huge social changes.
VIII. A Permit To Fish
If Americans didn't get local permits to fish, would there be a huge run on fishing, which in turn would impact life itself? No, of course not. The chapter starts off with a short quiz for readers to determine similarities in several short stories. Once readers really understand the stories, they will think twice about what activities should require permits or licenses.
In every state there are hundreds of different occupations that need licenses or permits to legally practice that occupation or profession. These include painter, massage therapist, Realtor, etc. Besides these professions, there are hundreds of simple activities, like fishing, in each state that require a license or permit. Think about this: as just part of the legal requirement to become a hairdresser in Colorado, we require 135 hours of "application of artificial nails." And, what do we require of potential parents? You already know the answer. How can this be possible?
IX. The New Math
I have met thousands of children that don't have the same last name as their mother. I have met thousands of children that come from single-family homes. I have met many children that live with two homosexual parents. I have met several children that have 4 last names (both hyphenated names from both parents). I have met many children that have no idea who there father is or what he looks like. I have met hundreds of children that after an 8-week soccer season, I have not seen their parents. I have met hundreds of parents that not only won't play with their kids, but also become mad that their kids would even think that they would want to play with them. I have not met thousands of dads who didn't feel like coming to their child's birthday party.
Not enough time, not enough love, not enough commitment, not enough compassion, and no sense of how to spend quality or quantity time with children. It certainly is a new math with a lot of division and subtraction, and very little addition for time, energy and love. The late Albert Einstein wouldn't have been able to figure this math out because it just doesn't make sense. Many people today only care about themselves and not on how their actions will affect or influence their children. As long as it doesn't make a parent's schedule more difficult, or their status change, adults without care will continue to have children.
It's a math where biological clocks keep ticking without any logic to what might really matter. In the eyes of many people, divorce doesn't matter, childcare doesn't matter, time and love don't matter, and, creating lives through donated sperm doesn't matter. It's all apart of the new "Me Generation." There is a discussion in the book of how the women's movement has influenced parenting forever and how those changes 30 years later are still making responsibility and parenting more and more difficult.
X. The Money Pit
The two critical outcomes of poor parenting and a lack of responsibility are a lack of money and communication. Ask any young parent, teenager, or even any older American how much it costs to raise a child from birth to age 18. The answers are scary. The typical response is $50,000- $75,000, but the correct answer is very different. So, if people are off a huge amount of money for each child, and don't plan for the future, and have little insurance protection, and can't comprehend financial situations, and have no backup for loss of employment or divorce, how are they possibly going to have enough money for their family? The answer is, they won't. Do they have a big picture of life? Do they know the separate costs for the stages of prenatal, birth, the baby and toddler years, the school years, and then finally the costs after college? What about premature death of a spouse, divorce, illness, loss of job, etc.?
And, so, what happens is that they follow the same negative blueprint that the other 50% of divorced or abusive adults follow, and in the end, their children, and society, are always the ones to suffer.
XI. The Giving Tree
Americans give hundreds of billions of dollars away to charities. But, do we really know the mission statements, financial statements, types of programs, and spending habits of these organizations? Are they serving themselves, the common good, their membership, the community, or society in general like they should? Do we just keep open a blind eye and just hope they are doing what they intend to do? This chapter asks these and other questions pertaining to why some charities may not be in our best interest, or be responsible. For example, should we donate our hard earned money to those charities that offer programs to those people that are irresponsible? Do we continue to spend billions of dollars on certain charities that just continue to keep victimization in business?
XII. Parenting By Objective
The chapter starts off by asking the reader to complete a few very pointed questions. Are you an excellent manager of people? Can you effectively and successfully build a team of people capable of reaching goals? If someone says no to either question, can they be a great parent? There are many successful qualities of a great manager/parent and we list many of them for readers to compare with their own styles. There are no available courses, no responsibilities, no concrete ideas or solutions for parenting. But, for the workplace, we have hundreds of books in the market about how to get your company working more effectively with management by objective strategies. We have dozens of parenting gurus whose ideas seem interesting on the surface but really don't hold any water in the long term.
The simple premise is that if you don't think you can manage a team of people, then how will you possibly build, grow and successfully manage a team called the family? There are no differences between the two. It doesn't matter if you are at a large company selling computers or a mom at home. Without objectives, without goals, without action plans, how can any team of people be successful? Why should everyone be able to just shoot thousands of arrows in the sky and see if just a few of them hit the bull's eye over 18 years?
Do you have the skills to parent? Do you have the skills to manage a team? For the most part, the majority of parents have never thought in these terms. Another key section is our survey. Over 6,000 people responded to an online survey in 2004 that really helped me focus in on key parenting trends and understandings. Another section describes the family as team and what it takes to have a loving, successful and happy team. This section identifies ways for adults to show children that they care, to understanding team learning styles, team communication, family connections and team problem solving analysis.
XIII. A BOLT FROM THE BLUE
In this chapter, each of the 25 major issues of society is completely solved. This is the key section of the entire book.
A BOLT FROM THE BLUE is a multifaceted program that revolves around the new ability to parent and be responsible. Most of the issues are broken down and analyzed with their possible variables. The first overriding fact is that we should allow children to be children for a few years longer. It is important to recognize that most children that turn 18 years of age are not ready for the very demanding responsibilities of adulthood. What is actually the rush anyway? The identification of things we now know from the highlights of chapter four should really drive home the importance and seriousness of increasing the quality of life. Some of the ideas are created/changed through new laws such as a minimum age for smoking to a new minimum age for marriage, divorce and military service. Other ideas are based on our own Constitution, and because of ethical and moral and logical reasoning. We will not create any type of totalitarian society, or society that violates certain freedoms. But, we do need to have better standards and benchmarks and more clarity on the important role of parenthood and responsible living.
XIV. Willie Mays is At the Plate
This is the action plan section, which empowers readers to make new decisions about their lives. People are going to have to want to make changes without government intervention. I show how to write new laws, work with representatives, build successful grass root campaigns, write initiatives, and understanding the legislative process. The value of A BOLT FROM THE BLUE, will challenge everything that we may have taken for granted in previous times. These will need to be identified and changed. We list web sites for people to gather and research more information on marriages, divorces, adoptions and other government laws. We will be updating this web site to get America going again and provide the resources and tools for anyone to be successful in life.
About The Author
Michael Carlisle is one of America's leading educators, motivators and speakers. He has worked hands-on with over 1million children and parents over the past 21 years and thousands more as a sports coach. Mr. Carlisle is the director of an international education consulting organization. He is a published author, has three children, and lives in New England.