Saturday, 23 January 2021

Originally broadcast on CHED radio - Wednesday, November 4th, 1964

We sat down Sunday dinner recently and I requested of my six-year-old son that he say grace before we continued with the meal. With head down he prayed;

God is great, God is good, 

And we thank him for this food, 

By his hand we must be fed, 

And we thank him for this bread.

He paused a moment, and then without raising his head, "Oh yes, and thank you God for our daily cookies, too."  For a moment I wanted to laugh, but then I began to ponder in all seriousness. Is it not true that life provides for us in this wonderful country so many luxuries above and beyond "our daily bread?”  Is it not true also that most of us take these "cookies" very much for granted? The food on our table, the warmth and comfort of our homes, the love and companionship of our friends and loved ones, the security of our society, the freedom of our democratic way of life;  these are the luxuries we so often except and enjoy without so much as a simple prayer of thank you. Think about it a little. Compare your lot in life with people in some of the far reaches of the world, and when next you borrow your head to pray, thank God not only for your daily bread but also for the "cookies".

Originally broadcast on CHED radio - Thursday, April 8th, 1964

For me to knock the Little League would be a disservice to the dedicated men who coach and operate these teams. I submit however that many of these coaches teach the kids everything but the most important thing, and that is how to lose.  This was brought home to me after a Little League game recently in which my son played first base. His team had enjoyed a spectacular series of wins. In 8 games they have not lost one. His team was not only winning, but winning by margins of ten to twelve points. Naturally I was proud of the lad and his team.  However, I had to entertain the fact that his team like any other team must lose the odd game. One Friday evening he came home with his head hung low. His glove hung from his arm and his eyes said only one thing. Defeat. I asked him if his team had been beaten and he snapped back "no, we were robbed!”  That night as I tucked him into bed I explained that no team which played as well and as hard as his had and dropped at 3 to 2 decision had been "robbed". His team had been beaten. I thought it a real pity that every coach doesn't teach the child it's great to play the game, it's great to win, but it's the greatest to graciously except a loss. We all have our setbacks in life. We can moan and cry that we've been robbed or we can dust ourselves off and go back to the fight proud of the effort we have given to the task. I repeat what I said at the outset. I do not wish to malign a little league coaches for they are wonderful people. I would only ask of them that they remember to teach the boy not only how to win; but how to lose.

Originally broadcast on CHED radio - Tuesday June 9th, 1964

I did a lot of suffering one evening recently. I watched my 13-year-old son prepare for his first date. What a terrible time for a boy; and his father. Do you remember your first date? Do you recall the concern you felt about your clothes? How you labored to get a shine on the same shoes you used to kick the football all afternoon.  How you'd run your finger and thumb over the press in your trousers to sharpen the crease a bit. Can you recall the endless time you spent in front of the bathroom mirror brushing and combing your straight hair and pressing a little artificial wave in the front. Sister stopped at the door to give you advice and your little brother giggled and made rude remarks about “going out with a girl”.  Dad would take a little of his shaving lotion and dab it on your face and you'd be delighted with the sweet smell all the time you were remonstrating about "not wanting any sexy perfume" on your face. And then there was that long terrible walk to the girls home, where are you had to pass the sandlot were friends would all join in a chorus to see how much they could embarrass you. The trip to "her" house seem to take days instead of moments, and then finally, you were on the doorstep, shaking like a leaf. The girlfriend always had two younger sisters who hid behind doors and giggled when you were ushered into the sitting room. Then you'd have to meet her parents, and although you did your best to act like a gentleman, you'd feel very young and insecure and you'd be concerned because your hands were damp with nervousness when you shook their hands. Yes…that first date was murder. Like the song says, I'm so glad I'm not young anymore.

Originally broadcast on CHED radio - Date unknown

There were three young men who lived in our neighborhood. They came from similar backgrounds. They were all part of the same group. Two were from homes little more elaborate than the other. They played together as children and went to the same high school.  After leaving school, two of them ended up in trouble. One was involved in a series of break-ins and the other drifted from job to job, rootless, disinterested, without ambition.  The third lad opened up an insurance business and now runs a thriving organization that permits he and his family to enjoy a good living. I asked this last boy's mother what she thought made the difference in the three lads. "I am not sure," she said, "unless it was the way we lived at home." She went on to say that her son, from the day he could understand, was taught to honor his father and mother. These were the only words she had to explain why her son did not go the way of the two failures. Yet isn't that enough? A father and mother must deserve a child's honor and respect.  They must be an example after which he can pattern himself. It is a fairly simple matter to gain a child's love, but only by living up to a high Christian standard can we earn his honor and respect. This is something you should never forget if you are raising a child. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

Originally broadcast on CHED radio - Date unknown

When I was a kid it used to be a big thing when we had an eclipse. There was a great deal of planning, and anyone with any sense started making preparations a week in advance of the phenomenon. First you got a piece of glass. If you couldn't find a piece big enough it was perfectly OK to get one of the kids to “accidentally" kick in the basement window somewhere from which we’d get the required glass.  Then from someone’s mother we got a candle, (whatever became of them?) and we smoked the glass until it was black and even.  Time was always taken out to write a few silly things in the soot before we came up with the finished job. Then on the day of the eclipse we all sat on the front porch and watched the whole wonderful show. We had an eclipse last summer and once again we watched the whole wonderful show, but this time it was all on television.  I know it is much better this way because I read in the paper about the possibility of eye injury from looking at the sun during an eclipse. I am not saying this is not possible, but I can never remember even one boy going blind from looking through a hunk of smoky basement window. I tell you the story to point out that we should really not be too hard on kids who get into trouble, as they often do.  Really now, is there any fun left in the world for them? Is there anything in nature that Walt Disney hasn't shown them on the wide screen? Is there anything in science that hasn't been laid out 1 - 2 - 3 on TV? Is there even one little mystery left for a kid today? Shucks with coffee coming in airtight bags, there's not even a can around to catch tadpoles. But then, where would they find tadpoles?