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Tender moments between father and sonIn the United States, 24 million children, one out of three, grow up in homes without their biological father. 

One of the best ways to strengthen society is to keep fathers in the lives of their children. 

When you diminish the role of a father in any way, you diminish a child. I encourage everyone to re-establish the role of fathers in the home as equal to the role of mothers.

You don’t have to be perfect to be a family; you just have to be willing to never give up.

Here is an infographic, based in part on data from the US Census Bureau, illustrating the impact of children growing up without a father in the home. 

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Hearsay

In every town, in every street,
In nearly every house, you meet
A little imp, who wriggles in
With half a sneer and half a grin,
And climbs upon your rocking chair,
Or creeps upon you anywhere;
And when he gets you very near,
Just whispers something in your ear-
Some rumor of another’s shame-
And “Little Hearsay” is his name.
He never really claims to know-
He’s only heard that it is so;
And then he whispers it to you,
So you will go and whisper too.
For if enough is passed along
The rumor, even though it’s wrong-
If John tells Henry, Henry-Joe,
And Joe tells Mary, Mary-Flo,
And Flo tells Mildred, Mildred-Ruth-
It very soon may pass for truth.
You understand, this little elf
He doesn’t say he knows himself,
He doesn’t claim it’s really true-
He only whispers it to you,
Because he knows you’ll go and tell
Some other whisperer as well.
And so before the setting sun
He gets the devil’s mischief done,
And there is less of joy and good
Around your little neighborhood.
Look out for “Hearsay!” when he sneaks
Inside the house-when slander speaks
Just ask the proof in every case;
Just ask the name and date and place;
And if he says he’s only heard,
Declare you don’t believe a word,
And tell him you will not repeat
The silly chatter of the street.
However gossips smile and smirk,
Refuse to do their devil’s work.

Author unknown, circa 1929.

This is worth your time.

This is a few years old, but still impressive.

 

The need to be both vulnerable and authentic has been on my mind for months. Choosing to experience vulnerability, or having “the courage to be imperfect” as Brené Brown describes, is empowering. It’s a necessity not a flaw.

Resisting vulnerability weakens rather than strengthens. It takes honesty and self-awareness not to recoil in uncomfortable moments.

Brené wisely states that we cannot numb emotion selectively.

It’s not easy but it appears to be essential for personal growth and lasting relationships. We can never truly connect with others without a willingness to be vulnerable. There is more to it than I’ve explained. It takes repeated  experience to ‘get it.’

Brené gets it. Do we get it? More importantly, do I get it? 

 

Charles Arthur Shannon 1913 – 1945

My great uncle, Arthur Shannon, was an aerial photographer in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. On April 14, 1945 his plane crashed in the sea near Formosa (Taiwan). He was picked up by the United States Navy but died shortly thereafter as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. He was thirty-two.

A collection of his papers and his Purple Heart sit on a shelf in my office. A few dozen letters to his sisters, mother, a nephew, and his wife Regina; college admission letters, telegrams, clipped newspaper articles; a large scrapbook typical of the 1930s and 1940s, and a few photographs are all that remain to tell the story of his life. 

He grew up with his parents and six siblings in a house near the corner of North Avenue and North Highland in Atlanta, Georgia. The family attended Druid Hills Baptist Church and Regina lived near by. According to one of his report cards, in 1928 he only missed one day of school at Bass Junior High School in Little Five Points.

A letter dated May 8, 1945, from the United States Secretary of War, addressed to Regina, reads as follows:

My dear Mrs. Shannon:

At the request of the President, I write to inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to your husband, Sergeant Charles A. Shannon, Air Corps, who sacrificed his life in the defense of his country.

Little that we can do or say will console you for the death of your loved one. We profoundly appreciate the greatness of your loss, for in a very real sense the loss is a loss shared by all of us. When the medal, which you will shortly receive, reaches you, I want you to know that with it goes my sincerest sympathy, and the hope that time and victory of our cause will finally lighten the burden of your grief.

Sincerely yours,

Henry L. Stimson

Arthur’s marriage to Regina was short. They had known each other for years but didn’t marry until Arthur’s enlistment in the Army. They never lived together due to the war and had no children. Regina died in a car accident just a few months after Arthur’s military death benefits began to arrive. It’s ironic that they both died in a crash on opposite sides of the earth.

There is no heroic story to tell about his wartime experience. Just a citizen doing his duty. A son, brother, uncle, and husband whose life was cut short in defense of the republic. There was no ram in the thicket that day. No one to step in and take his place.

The cost of war is high. Did he die in vain? What would he say if he could answer the question? His voice has been silenced yet in my mind the gentle and clear answer is, no. The cost of tyranny is much higher.

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