Tri-City Ledger -

By Lou Vickery
Guest Writer 

The Sunshine Report


November 21, 2019

Recently, I was in Oklahoma visiting with the grand kids. It brings to mind the thoughts of raising children. Talking about raising them now is easy. Doing it fifty years ago, was anything but easy. Many of you know what I mean.

Let’s just say, I have turned out to be a much better grandfather, than I was a father. The truth be known, there are a lot of others burning rubber right behind me. And they certainly not all males, either.

May I begin by reminding those who have young children, they grow up only once. I have younger friends who still work 350 days a year, 12 to 15 hours per day, ignoring their family, making more money than they ever can spend, not physically taking care of themselves.


Everybody can see their material success, but beneath it, and behind it, are the ashes created by the chasing of false dreams. “I’m doing it for my family’s future,” is the war cry.

Eventually the truth is there for all to see, when the family doesn’t work out the way one wants. I was lucky. Things turned out well, thanks in great part to the mother of my two sons.

There is a story I want to share with you, that to this day still tugs at my heart. The name is not important, but for our story we will call our main character, Richard Ludlow. At the time I met Richard he was a highly successful businessman, principal owner of a big manufacturing plant.

One Saturday afternoon a month, I would spend time at our church to talk with anyone who needed a willing ear and caring heart. It was a chance for me to put my psychological studies to good use.

It was mid-afternoon one Saturday in April when I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door and there stood a man with a desperate look on his face.

The man virtually crawled through the door. His body was wrenching from pain, tears flowed down his cheeks. It was evident by his appearance that his desperation was in his soul.

I was able to get his name and soon I discovered his problem. Richard’s twenty-year-old son, Josh, had committed suicide, the week before. He left a suicide note. The words that stood out to Richard were these: “I had a father, but I didn’t have a dad!”

All I did with Richard was listen. Words were not going to change anything at that stage. Richard was going to have to forgive himself…and that would take time.

I stayed in touch with Richard. Josh was gone. But Richard would get another chance with his two younger children. He had to be willing to live differently…and he did.

Those of you who still have children at home, how many weekends in a year do you devote solely to your family? From the time a child is born, until the time that child leaves home at around eighteen years of age, there are less than a thousand weekends available for you to be a parent.

How many of your weekend activities include your children? The statistics are not good for the average parent. Less than fifty percent devote at least one weekend a month for family activities.

“C’mon Lou, kids today are wrapped up in their electronic devices, and don’t have time for their parents.” Is that a reason, or an excuse?

Through persistence and parental persuasion, I believe families can begin to enjoy some time together away from all the electronic devices. And the more time they spent together, the more time they will find to spend together.

Rosie is one of the characters in a previous book (and my first novel), “A Touch of Gray.” She talks in the book about the four stages of a child’s development.

Rosie said, “First, they be lap young’uns. Then they be rug young’uns, playing all o’er the house. Next thing ya knows, they be out the door and become yard young’uns. And ‘fore you realize it, they be road young’uns, going heah and there.”

Rosie hit the nail on the head. At what stage are your young’uns?

Now for some thoughts to keep in mind as your young’uns develop. May I suggest that you read the following words with your eyes, but listen to them with your heart:


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