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Totally Together

Labor Day Weekend

September 4, 2010 by  

saturday & sunday

The kids and I have been discussing The Law of Attraction while walking to school the past few days, and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about it. I flip flop from thinking it’s a great thing to teach young kids to thinking it’s horrible and should completely disappear.

I like positive thinking, and believe it’s vital to teach kids the value in “staying on the sunny side” and that looking for the good in people/things/events is a very important skill to possess.

I have a problem with the “your thoughts become your reality” aspect of the Law of Attraction, specifically the way it’s portrayed in The Secret. I forgot how offensive I found that movie until I saw it at the library last week and brought it home. The insinuation that starving, impoverished people are just not wishing hard enough, or the right way is insulting, and I’d hate for ANY kids to think that if something bad happens to them or their family the people involved are somehow at fault for not having the right thoughts.

I also hate that The Secret is only focused on gaining material things, and no talk at ALL about helping people, providing service, sharing wealth/opportunity/skill, etc. It was so self-serving I felt dirty watching it. I always assumed the Law of Attraction was synonymous with karma or the golden rule. Not so much the way it was explained in this movie.

and I think we can all agree that the fastest way to “get rich quick” is to develop a program for people to “get rich quick”!!

I also brought home the book, The Sham, by Steve Salerno. Salerno argues that The Self Help and Actualization Movement (SHAM) creates more harm than good and that the only person helped is the guru writing the book (by getting a bigger bank account). He also says that the books are filled with fluff and no actual advice or practical solutions—they are instead usually thinly veiled ads for coaching services, mentoring, workshops, etc.

I agree with this to a certain extent. I once heard a radio interview with Robert Kiyosaki who wrote all of the Rich Dad Poor Dad books (I’ve read almost all). Kiyosaki says that he was once criticized by a student who said that he was a horrible writer. His retort was that he wasn’t trying to be a “best writer” but a “best seller.” Hmm. He also went on to say that he views his books as a business card for his Cash Flow games—and that is where he gets most of his fortune (ironic, for a man touting leveraging real estate deals!)

I feel conflicted because I get Salerno’s point, and while I did find myself agreeing with a lot of what he said, some of the authors he tore apart, I like. I like getting excited and feeling motivated. I like that “I can do anything!!” attitude, and do want the kids to grow up feeling that way. My stomach turned when he wrote that it’s a disservice to tell kids that they “could be president someday—-” since the likelihood of that happening was so terribly unlikely. It just seems harsh. Mean. I loved being a dreamer when I was little and feel lucky that no one squashed my bubble.

so that’s where my brain is at the moment. What are your thoughts? Did you like The Secret, or did it make you want to barf? If you didn’t see or read it, what made you stay away? Disinterest? Thinking it was/is phony baloney?

This weekend:

work on the daily 7

don’t fight with the kids. or with anyone.

if you’re going shopping, don’t bring home anything unless you know where it’s going!

Post a comment · 12 Comments »


12 Responses to “Labor Day Weekend”

  1. Sara Beth on September 4th, 2010 6:37 am

    I just want you to know that I really connected with your post today. I have not watched the Secret, and thanks to your review, I will save my time and money on it! We have a local church that preaches material things and monetary rewards and the church is very well attended. But I want a different message for my family. My roots are firmly established in our United Methodist church where I’ve attended since I was a year old. My kids will grow up there and learn traditional faith.

    I lost my job due to budget cuts 18 months ago and have undergone an intentional self improvement (I prefer self-discovery :o)) phase in which I have had several inspirational moments and mind shifts.

    I used to identify myself as my job, now I identify myself as a mother, wife, friend, Christian. I’m still a work-in-progress and am considering starting a new blog on my personal growth and encouraging others to intentionally take a path of self-discovery. In fact last night I realized I should stop operating out of fear (that I can’t maintain a blog, it won’t be inspiring, or it won’t be read…) and approach it with the thought of the opportunities it might create for me and inspiration it may provide others.

    I could go on and on, but I want to keep this short and tell you to keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to me!

    Sara Beth
    West Michigan

    • Stephanie on September 4th, 2010 7:00 am

      Hi Sara Beth,

      I’m so glad to have helped to get your juices flowing on a holiday weekend! :-) I just opened the email feed and was flabbergasted that the google ad attached at the very end of the email was for The Secret! LOL. Those folks are everywhere!!
      I’m sorry to hear about your job loss. I find self-discovery (I agree, that term is a good one!) fascinating. I do think we’re all works in progress, and everyone needs to find their own way–sure, we can be guided, but there isn’t an “only” way. Your kids are lucky they have such a grounded mom!

      Blogging is a great way to get the thoughts out, help others if you can, and meet new people. “if you build it, they will come” :-)
      xoox steph

  2. Debbi Does Dinner Healthy on September 4th, 2010 8:41 am

    I, too, am not a fan of The Secret. I haven’t seen it but i’ve heard about it and have heard other reviews that are similar to yours.

    There is nothing wrong with being postitive and always trying to see the good but you’re right, no amount of positive feelings is going to stop the tornado from hitting your house during the storm. It’s the choices that you made AFTER that will make a difference.

    I am super firm in my faith as well and they have provided sound Bible based knowledge about family happiness. THIS is what keeps me and my family completely secure about our future. And it has nothing to do with money. I have a book that I would LOVE to send you if you want? Just let me know!!

  3. EG on September 4th, 2010 6:20 pm

    Don’t fight with the kids. :( We struggle every day with our 3 1/2 year old.

    I don’t know what The Secret or The Law of Attraction are, so I think I’ll just skip the whole kit and caboodle!

  4. Jaime on September 4th, 2010 8:38 pm

    I LOATHE the idea that one can have a better life if only they think positively. For example, I am currently pregnant with my 2nd son – my 1st was born at 27 weeks due to severe, sudden-onset pre-e. If someone tells me ONE MORE TIME that I will carry this baby to term if only I “think positively” I will freak.out. Such a comment insinuates that my son was born prematurely because I just wasn’t thinking happy enough thoughts or that I didn’t put enough positive energy out there for my son to be carried to term. Basically, the idea that thoughts = success and good things in your life is total crap.

    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. :)

  5. Alexsandra on September 5th, 2010 11:32 pm

    You are right on target about the flip side of The Secret: blaming people for their own misfortune and suffering.
    It seems they (authors of that ilk) take a little bit of truth and twist it into something manipulative and self serving.
    I agree with you…I liked encouraging my daughter to dream big. There should be no limit on imagination and by that I mean imagining yourself into your future and how best you will serve this world with all your talent and gifts. And in doing so I believe we are all richly rewarded….with joy, integrity, compassion….and sometimes….even monetarily….but in the meantime we are learning to live the life we can love.

    Thanks for a great thought provoking post.

  6. jennibell on September 9th, 2010 4:36 am

    I just finished “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch. I *loved* it. . .worth your time to read (or, like me, get it at the library on CD!). He had a list of childhood dreams and because his parents didn’t squash those dreams (be in a weightless environment, be Captain Kirk, author an article in the World Book Encyclopedia) he was able to show us, in his book, how he achieved those dreams with lots of encouragement and hard work. A very inspiring person for sure. . .someone you want to “be around” verses those who say “you do not think positively enough”. I think The Secret hurts people more than helps. And no, I’ve never seen the movie. . .didn’t know there was one?!?
    Anyway, hope you’re feeling better and you didn’t waste any energy thinking “positively” about having those chores done around the house but rather smiled at the mess the next morning when you awoke and were grateful to have children who carried lunchboxes and a bed to sleep in to sleep off the sinus troubles :)
    Love “knowing” you through this blog!

  7. Shirley @ gfe on September 28th, 2010 11:27 am

    Belated comment, and I’ll be in the minority of the commenters, but I like The Secret and The Law of Attraction. That doesn’t mean I agree with all the thinking or that I think folks are to blame for all their health issues. I certainly don’t, but I’ve seen things turn around by folks believing that they will achieve their dreams and goals. And, I’ve even seen folks who were not supposed to heal, heal, when they took different approaches and were convinced they’d get well. I know on a daily level that when I start thinking gloom and doom, it sure seems to come my way. And, when I feel good, it just keeps going, too. Not everything can be faced or disspelled with a sunny disposition, but there is value there. And, The Secret is not all that different from The Power of Positive Thinking and other such classics that teach folks to focus on the good stuff.

    Hugs to you, Steph!

    • Stephanie on September 28th, 2010 6:02 pm

      Absolutely. I am a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, and I DO appreciate a lot of elements of the Law of Attraction. But The Secret comes across as smarmy and salesmany to me. I felt kind of dirty watching it!
      I stay on the sunny side practically always, and hunt out other positive people. Like you! :-)

      • Shirley @ gfe on September 29th, 2010 4:05 am

        Hey Steph–Yes, I can see that about The Secret coming off as smarmy and too salesman like. LOL on feeling dirty watching it though, but I think I know what you mean (especially with “The Secret” being said “strangely” in the background sometimes). Still I was going for the concepts shared like visualization and how athletes imagine themselves actually competing in events successfully long before (and many times before) the event actually happens and their brain and body responds during visualization and when the actual event occurs. I have a perpetual daily calendar from The Secret and it helps keep me on the sunny side. :-) I, and everyone else I’m sure, would totally agree that you are a sunny side gal! Thanks for the kind words, dear. :-)


  8. MemeGRL on October 2nd, 2010 3:41 pm

    I’m with you on this. I watched the Oprah show on The Secret and felt like I got the gist of it. And some of it is absolutely true. I forget if it was a psych or a business study, but goals that are written and displayed are achieved at a MUCH higher rate than those that are just written but not constantly displayed, but even the writing of the goals makes them more likely to reach fruition than those merely thought about, or assumed (“of course I want to be successful!”). So there is a certain amount of that. Coaches who say, “Don’t mess it up” have far less success overall than coaches who say “You know what to do. Go do it!”
    The commenter above who wrote about Randy Pauch is spot-on. “The Secret” works but not the way people think. And over and over again, I have seen karma or the golden rule or the law of attraction or whatever work, for good or for ill, in my life. Which is not to say I’ve been struck by lightning when I was unkind, or that big checks arrive in the mail as soon as I think, gee, I need X. That’s not it. But by saying, “I would love to find a part-time job that I can do mostly from home during the hours my kids are in school,” I did. Sometimes it’s a matter of putting it out there and seeing what comes back.
    Teach your kids to dream big. They don’t all want to be president. It’s what that represents–high aspirations.
    Thanks for this. I’m sorry it has taken me so long to catch up on my reader this month!

  9. Erica on August 20th, 2012 9:01 pm

    I read The Secret, and really enjoyed it. I think it’s important to “look for the good” or view the world in a positive way. I have a child who tends to see *everything* in a negative light and that’s SO challenging sometimes! What DC sees is what DC gets, in many, many ways.

    But, the flip side. Two of my children developed Type 1 diabetes. One of them was very, very, VERY sick before diagnosis. One of those diabetic children also has Celiac disease. I can’t, not for even ONE millisecond, believe that my dear children have to suffer because we somehow “attracted” that into our lives. No way. That’s just not how the world works.

    And the flip side of that coin is seeing the blessings in the midst of those challenges. We’re all eating better because I have to cook from scratch much more than I used to. We all take care of each other and are aware of each others’ needs in ways we probably wouldn’t be otherwise. We’ve been blessed by an amazing church community and neighborhood taking care of us. And those ties are strong. In spite of the unfairness of it all, we are truly blessed

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