It's About Them

Young People … Our Greatest Resource

The Shoes

BTLifesMoments1-300x76Sometimes a small, a very small, gesture on our part can be perceived as a gift of great proportion to the one receiving it. As this short and simple story shows, a moment in time and a gesture of concern and kindness can offer encouragement and hope, often when it is most needed.



The Scene:

Early 1900s

It’s a cold and blustery December day in New York City


coldA young boy was standing in front of a shoe store, barefooted, peering into the window. He was shivering with cold as a lady approached him from the street.

“Young man, what are looking at so intently in that store window?”

“I was just asking God for a pair of shoes,” the lad replied.

She smiled and reached for his hand. As she led him into the store, she asked the clerk for several pairs of socks for the boy. Then she requested a basin of water and a towel.

shoesThe lady took the boy to the back of the store, and, removing her gloves, knelt down and washed his feet, then dried them with the towel. She then put some new woolen socks on the boy’s feet and purchased for him a new pair of shoes.

As a finishing gesture, the lady tied up the remaining pairs of socks and handed the bundle to the youngster.

Gently touching him on the head, she exclaimed, “No doubt, my little fellow, you are more comfortable now.”

As she turned to leave the boy reached for her hand. As tears filled his eyes, he gazed into her face and asked a question that tugged on her heart:



January 11, 2018 Posted by | adversity, courage, Educators, family, Healthy living, Human Interest, Inspirational, Resilience, Special Occasions, Stress | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gift of Love

Jim Gentil, my very talented friend in Austin, Texas, sent this piece in a recent newsletter. It’s a great example of just how much we should love and care for our children. I reprint it here with Jim’s permission, and encourage you to visit his website:



“Can I see my baby?” the happy new mother asked.

When the bundle was nestled in her arms and she moved the fold of cloth to look upon his tiny face, she gasped. The doctor turned quickly and looked out the tall hospital window. The baby had been born without ears.

Time proved that the baby’s hearing was perfect. It was only his appearance that was marred. When he rushed home from school one day and flung himself into his mother’s arms, she sighed, knowing that his life was to be a succession of heartbreaks.

He blurted out the tragedy. “A boy, a big boy . . . called me a freak.”

He grew up, handsome for his misfortune. A favorite with his fellow students, he might have been class president, but for that. He developed a gift, a talent for literature and music. “But you might mingle with other young people,” his mother reproved him, but felt a kindness in her heart.
The boy’s father had a session with the family physician. Could nothing be done?  “I believe I could graft on a pair of outer ears, if they could be procured” the doctor decided. Whereupon the search began for a person who would make such a sacrifice for a young man. Two years went by. Then, “You are going to the hospital, son. Mother and I have someone who will donate the ears you need. But it’s a secret” said the father.
The operation was a brilliant success, and a new person emerged. His talents blossomed into genius, and school and college became a series of triumphs. Later he married and entered the diplomatic service. “But I must know!” He urged his father. “Who gave so much for me?  I could never do enough for him.”
“I do not believe you could,” said the father, “but the agreement was that you are not to know . . . not yet.”

The years kept their profound secret, but the day did come . . . one of the darkest days that ever pass through a son. He stood with his father over his mother’s casket. Slowly, tenderly, the father stretched forth a hand and raised the thick, reddish-brown hair to reveal . . . that the mother had no outer ears.
“Mother said she was glad she never let her hair be cut,” he whispered gently, “and nobody ever thought mother less beautiful, did they”?
Real beauty lies not in the physical appearance, but in the heart. Real treasure lies not in what that can be seen, but what that cannot be seen. Real love lies not in what is done and known, but in what that is done but not known. 


Author Unknown


James Sutton, Psychologist

May 12, 2008 Posted by | adversity, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , | 1 Comment

The Two-duck Thanksgiving

I don’t recall eating turkey for Thanksgiving as a kid. Our family was pretty small: just Mom, Dad, Sis and me. Mom would always buy a large chicken hen, then she would prepare it like a turkey.

It was always like that for as long as I could remember because we had that meal to ourselves. Dad would be off for the day, of course, and it was family time–very precious family time.

(Christmas was much different. We’d pile in the old Chevy and go to Grandma’s in Oklahoma, where there was always PLENTY of family. Grandma lived in a small duplex, so there were kids sleeping on the floor all over the place. One bathroom, too; I don’t know how we survived the holidays. But we did.) 

One Thanksgiving stands out in my mind. It was the time Dad brought home two ducks for Thanskgiving dinner. Someone at work had gone duck hunting and shared the bounty.

These weren’t dressed ducks; they arrived feathers and all, wrapped up in newspaper. I was spellbound watching my father remove the feathers and prepare the ducks for the stuffing and roasting.

My sister and I EACH had a wishbone that year. Pretty cool.

The most important thing about those small Thanksgiving gatherings was the coming together of our family with love and gratitude in our thoughts and hearts. Obviously, that kind of family tradition and closeness is still around, but there also seems to be so much so much more around to distract us from both family and thankfulness.

Our children need generous helpings of both. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

PS: My blog, “Five Kernels of Corn-The Thanksgiving Story,” has received a ton of hits, and I’m at a loss as to why. But it was neat to see it. It would make a great story to read before you dive into the turkey on Thursday. Blessings.

 James Sutton, Psychologist   www.docspeak

November 16, 2007 Posted by | family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Dose of Reality in the Vegas Airport

I recently spoke at an association conference in British Columbia (Canada), and was coming back home through Vancouver. We boarded the connecting flight to Las Vegas right on time, only to sit in the airplane as a mechanic worked on one of the engines.

We sat there for over two and a half hours. When we finally took off and made the flight to Vegas, I missed my connection. I gave the ticket agent at US Airways my story, but there was nothing they could do except book me with another carrier early the next morning. (But I did get two meal vouchers in the deal.)

I was stuck in the Las Vegas airport from 1:00am until my flight at 6:45am. It wasn’t much fun.

So there I was, trying to sleep with my head resting on my luggage. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw what was obviously a homeless person. She was dressed in several layers of clothes, and she shuffled along carrying two good-sized plastic bags.

She took a seat and reached into one of the bags for a large envelope. As I watched her out of the corner of a half-closed eye, she opened the envelope and looked through the contents. She then replaced the envelope into one of the bags.

I was snoozing lightly at this point. I was awakened by what seemed to be the sound of soft chuckling, laughter. I searched for the sound. It was the homeless lady, only she wasn’t chuckling; she was sobbing. She wiped at her eyes, grabbed her bags, and slowly walked off.

“If you’re homeless, there’s no place to go,” I whispered to no one in particular. I felt a sense of sorrow for her and her plight. But it also caused me to realize how minor my overnight residence at this airport really was.

She returned and again sat down. Again she took out the envelope, and again she sobbed softly. In fact, she sobbed herself to sleep.

I’ve spent time away from loved ones, once for two whole years, but I always knew there were a number of folks who loved me and cared about me and how I was doing. I cannot begin to fathom what it would be like to be completely alone, destitute, aged and probably sick.

And I don’t care to ever find out. Maybe, just maybe, this whole existential “detour” was intended to wake me up to smell the “coffee” of God, family, love and purpose.

It’s gotta be the best smell goin’.  Oh, I also learned something else.

Luggage makes a lousy pillow.

James Sutton, Psychologist

November 7, 2007 Posted by | adversity, Counselors, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment