My name is, Louis H. Kraus. I am a second-generation American. I grew up in a traditional Jewish home and was introduced to what we now call Civil Discourse in an early age. When I said something nasty about someone, I was quickly reprimanded and told that what I had said was “Evil Speech.” We have adopted this term for the derogatory, belittling, damaging speech we hear so often these days
Very little of what has gone into Better Outcomes is original. Acutally almost all of it came as a gift from someone much smarter and accomplished than I am. My background includes a newspaper route, working in my junior high school cafeteria and teaching Bar Mitzvah classes. I graduated from Cleveland Heights High and Miami U with a BA, in psychology and sociology. I spent 10 years with the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, and got my a Master’s Degree in Social Work Administration, from what is now called MSASS, while employed. The year after I got my Master’s degree, I left the parole authority and went to work in the family nursing home business. In 2005, shortly before I retired, I had the opportunity to formally test my mediation skills, as the moderator/mediator for the Maple Heights Chamber of Commerce’s Candidates Night. It worked, and I managed to keep things in order, much to everybody’s amazement.
The first gift was the “Chofetz Chaim” a treatise which explains Lashon Hora, “evil speech”, and how we should speak to each other. As soon as I started reading Rabbi Yisroel Meyer Kagan’s work, I understood the value of his writings.
I incorporated Better Outcomes in the State of Ohio on July 16, 2013. It is a nonprofit designated as a 501(C)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service. Its NTEE Classification is R63: Censorship, Freedom of Speech & Press. Contributions to it are tax-deductible.
10 years after the event in Maple Heights, I polished the model “Candidate Conversations” and demonstrated it in the Ohio Senate race of 2015. The incumbent Frank Larose and his opponent George Rusiska assisted me. Senator Larose recently reflected, “far too often our conversation surrounding election season are characterized by talking points and insults. None of which helps voters make a better informed decision. This forum provided a rare opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and debate.”
Personal experience with verbal abuse has given me a gut level understanding of evil speech. Recently, I received the next gift, when I rediscovered a book on nonviolent communication, a process created by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. This process, which adjusts the way we speak to each other, may very well be the answer to the argumentative culture and verbal abuse that we struggle with today.
We are nonprofit, non-partisan and neutral. We intend to make Better Outcomes the role model for and champion of open, honest, civil communication.
Our goal is to spread peace everywhere and give the victims of Evil Speech a voice. By doing this we can raise people's awareness of the dangers of using words carelessly and bring people together so we can all get better outcomes.