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Young People … Our Greatest Resource

“How Long?” (John Wooden)

There’s no question that the late John Wooden remains a legend in college men’s basketball. From 1964 to 1975, he coached the UCLA Bruins to 10 National Championships, seven of them consecutive. But many folks agree (and I’m one of them) that Coach Wooden was even more a legend as a human being, which may be one reason why he was graced to live just a few months short of age 100 years.
Coach always shared it was his aim to teach what his father had taught him: “Be true to yourself; help others; make each day your masterpiece; make friendships a fine art; drink deeply from good books (especially the Bible); build a shelter against a rainy day; give thanks for your blessings; and pray for guidance every day.”
I had the pleasure and opportunity to work with Coach Wooden on a book project in the late 90s. It was a collection of stories about grandparents. (Grand-Stories was compiled and edited by Ernie Wendell of Durham, North Carolina; I was the publisher). Coach Wooden was one of the first to send in a story; he submitted it in his own handwriting. —JDS


When I took my great-granddaughter, Lori Nicholson, shopping on her 11th birthday, the following conversation ensued as we reached the Northridge Mall:

“PaPa, I know it is hard for you to walk, and it’s not fun to watch me shop, so please sit here on this bench and wait for me.”

“That will be fine, honey.”

“Good. Now don’t worry about me. I can run, and I can yell, and I won’t talk to strangers.”

“Fine, honey. I’ll wait for you right here. Don’t rush; I will enjoy watching the people.”

She returned after a while with some packages and said, “There are some other stores at the other end, and there are benches there where you can rest and wait.”

We moved slowly down the mall until we reached the area where she wished to go. Then she said, “Sit here, PaPa. I won’t be gone very long. Don’t worry about me. I can run, and I can yell, and I won’t talk to strangers. However, PaPa, I do need some more money.

Some time after we had left the mall and were driving home, she said, “PaPa, how long are you going to live?”

“That’s an odd question, honey,” I replied. “I can’t really answer that. People are living longer today, and I’ve already outlived my parents by over 20 years. Why would you ask?”
“I hope you live a long, long time, PaPa, but at least for 5 more years.”

“Why 5 years, Lori?” I questioned.

“Because I’m 11 today, and in 5 years I’ll be 16. I want you to take me to get my driver’s permit!” ###


Permission was granted by Friendly Oaks Publications to post this story and the illustration. The artist is Tim Wiegenstein.

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Affirmation and Recognition, Communication, Educators, family, Healthy living, Human Interest, Inspirational, Integrity, Parents, patriotism, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There’s No Repairing Some Folks’ Misery

The greatest joy of being a person is the unselfish capacity to interact with others. Still, there are some who seem to want no part of it.

A friend’s newsletter got me to thinking. He told a brief story of a man who complained to his doctor that he was so unhappy. (Interesting, huh, how doctors are supposed to have a pill that will fix ANYTHING.)

“Go out and make three new friends, then come back and tell me about it” the doctor advised. The man left the doctor’s office not too pleased with the “prescription.”

He was back in a couple of weeks.

“Did you go out and make three new friends,” the doctor asked?

“I did,” the man replied. “But it didn’t help. Now I’m STUCK with these three new friends!”

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how folks who are depressed and down often get that way when they shut themselves off from others. They “sour” and soak in self-pity until they are all but paralyzed. At that point, any action at all is a major effort.  

You can see it in children as well as adults. They might not be content in their misery, but they are COMFORTABLE with it. 

It’s not the making of friends that brings the most joy in one’s life. It’s the BEING a friend, the magical capacity to make another person (or even an animal), not myself, the object of my kindness and effort. It’s the stepping down from center stage and putting someone else up there for awhile. And it’s getting BEHIND the spotlight instead of in front of it.

Kids today are no better or worse than they were a century ago. They are simply the results of the cultures that rear them. The day they truly learn the world doesn’t revolve around them is the day the best of life gets going.

James Sutton, Psychologist 

October 27, 2007 Posted by | Counselors, Difficult Child, Educators, family, Inspirational, Parents, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment