No. 1026



The American poet and editor James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) once said of children, they are “God’s apostles, day by day sent forth to preach of love and hope and peace.” This seemed like an appropriate way to begin to share something with you that has been a tremendous blessing in my life, but more importantly contains the seeds for a beautiful flower that can forever bloom in your life.
Over the past several months I have developed a wonderful friendship with a couple here in my community whose names are Dwight and Caryn Southerland. They are such a sweet, precious couple and the great thing about them is that they have adopted me.
A mutual friend introduced me to Caryn, who has written a first-class book titled, “Ozark Christmas.” The book is really a take-off on the now famous story of “The Night Before Christmas,” but Caryn and a high-school artist replaced the reindeer with, you guessed it, hogs. In your mind, you can probably see this sleigh making the rounds on Christmas Eve and being pulled by hogs that look a lot like Razorbacks. Anyway, this friend knew that I had written several books and felt I might be able to help Caryn in the publishing process. This began our friendship, and I soon got to know Dwight, who is also a very fine person. They have invited me to dinner several times and I have reciprocated.
Caryn has a son who, along with his wife and two beautiful little girls, lives in Northwest Arkansas. This past Thanksgiving the family invited me to have Thanksgiving dinner with them. It is their custom before they pray and serve the meal to go around the table and each one tell something for which they are thankful. One of the great blessings of my life came when little 5-year-old Barrett’s time came and she said she was thankful for me. What a blessing! I felt so deeply honored and this began a friendship that has lasted to this very minute. Caryn and I have a wonderful relationship, and she told me that she wanted to cultivate this same kind of Godly relationship between Barrett and I.
Then a few weeks ago I had a phone call to let me know that Barrett and another little girl friend, not her sister, were coming for a visit and they wanted to fix dinner for me. It turned out to be spaghetti, carrots, salad and French bread, and it was very good. While I am sure Barrett and Madelyn had a little help from Grandma, I am also sure the girls were really involved in preparing the meal. When I thought about sharing this with you, the title came to me almost immediately: “They Are People, Too.”
There was a day and time in our country when small children were to be seen and not heard. Thankfully this has changed, and while I believe in discipline there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. When you discipline without love you get resentment and the loss of a close family relationship like the one I am blessed to have with the Southerland family. Should this be a situation that you can benefit from, I have a suggestion to make to you. Dorothy Law Nolte has written a wonderful little piece titled “Children Learn What They Live” that points out what happens in the lives of small children who are not made to feel like they are “People, Too.”
While I can’t share this article because it is copyrighted, go to Google and just type in the title and read it. I can promise you it will be well worth your time. We should always remember that as the twig is bent, so grows the tree. Caryn is doing a wonderful thing for her grand-girls.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)