I know that life isn't perfect. Most of the time, I am a realist. But, every now and then, I also have high hopes and an optimistic attitude. That is, until a disappointment occurs. In an effort to de-clutter my mind and wash out some negativity, I'll tell you what I mean.

I am disappointed about-

Ÿ Our elected officials. Perhaps they are nice people before they decide to run for office, but the minute they get in there, they change. One of my favorite DVD's that we own is "The Story of a Patriot" from Colonial Williamsburg. It tells the story of a farmer in 1775 who is chosen to represent his area of Virginia in the legislature. When he goes to Williamsburg, he finds other men with similar backgrounds and beliefs. They form the basis of a group of patriots who vote to declare independence from Great Britain. They don't take bribes, they don't have special interest representatives knocking at their doors, and they stay true to their ideals. That's the way government is supposed to work.

Ÿ The entitled attitude of today's youth. A lot of young people have been raised to think that the world revolves around them. I think part of the problem stems from grown-ups' desire to raise a child's self-esteem. Also, parents want a better world for their children than they had for themselves. This plan has run amok. Enough, already. Start teaching the kids that they might be special in their homes, but they are not that special in the outside world. A sense of humility will set a child above others faster than an entitled attitude will.

Ÿ Elderly care. When I was young, the elders in our family were treated with love and respect. We never would have thought to ask our older relatives to give up their money or their belongings to us. As a matter of fact, we took care of them. Nowadays, I see some of my neighbors who are struggling because their children "need" them so much. I believe that a parent or grandparent's duty to their offspring stops when they reach adulthood. Of course, spending time, reading books, watching events, and being a part of family gatherings are all expected and understandable duties of the family elders. But, putting an elderly relative in jeopardy financially is just wrong. Also, talking to your elderly relative with hatred or jealousy or judgment in your heart makes you a moron.

Ÿ The media. It boggles my mind that our professional media people can twist topics to fit their station's philosophy. It's hard to find anyone to trust on TV nowadays. Everyone has an agenda. When we watch the news, we are required to be doubters. Did the announcer say that because it's true or because the owner of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or MSNBC or FOX wanted it said that way? Sometimes I get aggravated when kooks get airtime. Why on earth would any self-respecting station put on Rosie O'Donnell and let her say that 9/11 was orchestrated by America? Giving her a platform is nuts.

Ÿ Self-discipline. I am disappointed in myself. I am smart enough to know how to lose weight, how to care for my health, how to write a book, and how to mediate family problems. However, I seem to be able to do none of those things well. It's all because I don't have enough self-discipline. I live in a development that has a great gym. Do I use it? Not often enough. I am fully aware of the fact that my old knees require extra care. Do I use my leg weights at least 3 times a week as recommended by the physical therapist? If I get it done twice a week, I feel good. Inside a folder right by the computer is the rough draft of a book about my Dad. It has been sitting by my computer for about 5 years now. I can't seem to get it done. I can blame that on my emotions or on my "writer's block" only so long. Now it has reached the point of ridiculousness. If I don't get to work on it soon, I'll be dead and no one else will bother with it.

And, finally, through my life I have been able to help families with their problems. Many parents came to me for suggestions on how to deal with family issues. Even to this day, I get letters from my readers asking me questions. I hope that I help them.

But, I can't help my own family with their issues. I guess I'm too close to the problem. Or, perhaps my family members don't think I'm capable. You can't be a prophet in your own home.

So, dear reader, there are just a few of my disappointments. There are more, but this column is too long now. Maybe I'll just have to write a sequel.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM [1] OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.