Listeners Tell Stories Of Drug Use, Parenting

Tell Me More host Michel Martin and Lee Hill, the program's "digital media guy," comb through listener feedback and offer important news updates to recent conversations heard on the program. Hear one listener share a personal story about drug use in her family. And, the recent death of gospel music singer/songwriter Walter Hawkins inspires one listener to share how Hawkins music touched hearts all over the world, even in Paris.

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MICHEL MARTIN, host:

And now it's time for Backtalk where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you, our listeners. Lee Hill, our digital media guy is here with me as usual. Hey, Lee, what's up?

LEE HILL: Hey, Michel. Well, in our weekly parenting segment, we reported on research that says kids are bringing their parents down that personal happiness and satisfaction levels tend to drop with the arrival of children. And our panel of moms weighed in on and debated the research. Here's mom and author Leslie Morgan Steiner.

Ms. LESLIE MORGAN STEINER (Writer): You don't hear people talk at all, about that parenting is a really unselfish thing, that we wouldn't have a society and a culture if all of us didn't have kids.

HILL: After hearing that perspective from Leslie, blogger Maggie posted this to our Web site. She writes, quote, "Having children is not an unselfish act. People have children because they want children. How is that unselfish when the planet is drowning in humans who are overtaxing the planet's resources, destroying nature and knocking off other species at a head-spinning rate? It's much more altruistic to not have children. For myself, I decided adoption was the only non-selfish, not unselfish route."

MARTIN: Okay, thanks, Maggie. Maggie, you make kids sound like snakeheads. But - anyway.

Lee, this week we launched a series taking a closer look at the Obama administration's new drug policy and some of its treatment options. We've invited listeners to share their experience with drug treatment options that worked or failed. Here's a note we received from blogger Michael. He writes: I cannot think of a member of my family from my generation and younger that isn't now or hasn't at some point abused drugs. Treatment? Well, maybe for some people. I know that drug abuse is not a sickness, it's an absolute choice. The high is the goal. I know from experience, Americans love being high. Treat that.

HILL: Okay, Michael, thanks for that and we'll make a note of it.

Michel, we earlier reported on the death of gospel music hit-maker and pastor, Walter Hawkins. Now, he died of cancer Sunday at his home in California. Funeral services are scheduled for next week and include a star-studded memorial concert with some of the biggest names in gospel music. And no doubt one of the songs that will likely be played is "Oh, Happy Day."

(Soundbite of song, "Oh, Happy Day")

EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: (Singing) Oh, happy day. Oh, happy day, Oh, happy day. Oh, happy day. When Jesus walked. When Jesus walked. Oh, when he walked.

HILL: Now, although the song was written by Walter's older brother, Edwin, it was performed by the Edwin Hawkins Singers of which Walter was a member. Now, after hearing our report on Hawkins' death and life, Michel, we heard from a listener and a very familiar voice, your friend, Athelia Knight.

Ms. ATHELIA KNIGHT (Reporter): I had no idea how popular that song was in Paris until I lived there 13 years ago. Sometimes on Sunday I would go to a gospel brunch at the church, at the Chesterfield Cafe. A group of five or six blacks from the U.S. would sing to the more than 100 folks, mostly French and it never failed that when they concluded their performance with "Oh, Happy Day," just about everyone would join in singing, standing and clapping loudly and swaying to the music.

MARTIN: Well, thanks, Athelia, how come you didn't give us a couple bars, come on now. Thank you, Lee.

HILL: Next time. Thank you, Michel.

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE the conversation never ends. To tell us more you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave your name. You can also log onto our Web site. Go to NPR.org, click on Programs, then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

(Soundbite of song, "Oh, Happy Day")

EDWIN HAWKINS SINGERS: (Singing) Oh, happy day. Oh, happy day. Oh, happy day.

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