Thursday, April 30, 2009
Dr. Phil: "dump your dreams" and family responsibility -- is it just a matter of choice and consequences?
Today, April 30, Dr. Phil hosted a segment called “Dump Your Dreams?”. It is show number 1250.
Dr. Phil introduced two married men with wives and families who were pursuing their dreams in music (with non-paying avocations) instead of supporting families that they had sired.
The second man had a circular rationalization. He said he was pursuing his dream so that he wouldn’t resent his family. He made the amazing statement, “I cannot get my outlet through my wife.”
He had run up debts, jeopardizing the family. (I can just see a Suze Orman smackdown here!) He had switched to hardware for his music because he couldn’t afford a better software package. (I didn’t get the sense of that.) A rapper evaluated his work and said that it looked simple, but that he should continue networking with other musicians if he could take care of his family first.
Dr. Phil also interviewed Kimberly Caldwell, who made it on American Idol. She had been a day care “teacher”. Dr. Phil mentioned that Harrison Ford had worked as a carpenter and Rodney Dangerfield had sold aluminum siding, and Danny De Vtio had worked as a hairdresser.
Dr. Phil lectured the first man on the need for him to be willing to see his value first in being a provider for his family. The audience applauded.
But there is a bit of a moral twist that needs to be delved into here. Dr. Phil later stressed that the two men had made choices to get married and have children, and had to own up to the consequences of their choices. I think he needs to go into a more subtle area. Sometimes people have family responsibilities that they don’t choose – for elderly parents, sometimes siblings. It seems to misrepresent the issue to put it in “transactional” terms of choice and consequences. Some people have to provide for others regardless of choices. Then we get into “community” or “social justice” issues as well, as I have covered on other blogs.
I wonder how other viewers felt about this program today. I'd like to see Dr. Phil and Oprah read up on Phillip Longman's views of birthrates and family responsibility, and see Mr. Longman invited to at least one of their shows.
I’ll add that I worked 31 years as an “individual contributor” in information technology, and sought no “fame” until toward the end, with a somewhat forced “retirement” and buyout. I do miss the “richness” of the career that I did have.
Picture: slave quarters, Gunston Hall, George Mason's home, Virginia.