Mama used to fry biscuits. If you knew Mama, that doesn't surprise you because she fried every food possible. In the course of her life, I knew her to fry green beans, corn, grits and cornmeal mush.
Q: Since our daughter, now 2 years old, was born we have lived with my parents. Being the first and only grandchild, she has been the center of attention. Several months ago, our son was born and we moved into our own home. Almost immediately, our daughter began pulling her hair out, sometimes in handfuls. Doctors have said she does it for attention and we should just ignore it. That's what we've done but it has not stopped. It's now gotten so bad that I've cut her hair because the side she pulls has gotten so ...
There are many things I love about the South. We're fiercely patriotic. We're neighborly. We're storytellers without equal. We're unabashedly and unapologetically faithful. We're proudly hospitable. But here's what I love just a little bit better than all the rest: We believe mightily in courtesy and manners.
Q: The "sassiness" that I have heard so much about from my friends started a few months ago with my 5-year-old daughter. She will say things to me that I actually find myself tongue-tied on how or what to say to correct her. Sometimes, she apologizes, which tells me she knows she's talking disrespectfully to me. What do you think about 10 minutes of time out for this sort of thing?
Georgia Tourism, a division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, announced the launch of the state's newly redesigned tourism Web site. ExploreGeorgia.org offers visitors custom features, including the new Georgia Trip Planner, shareable trip ideas, interactive maps and more.
In the tiny country church where I spent most of the first 22 years of my life, where I found the Lord at the age of 11, where, without fail, I had the leading part in every Christmas pageant and where my daddy laid down the law in more ways than one, we sang hymns from a brown songbook and a green one that were filled with the haunting melodies that have penetrated the Appalachians for many decades.
Q: When he throws a tantrum, which happens several times a day, my 20-month-old often gets down on the floor and starts banging his head. Worried that he may hurt himself, I pick him up and comfort him. I know that reinforces head-banging, but I don't know what else to do.
Not long ago, a friend of mine was huffing, puffing and carrying on something awful about an injustice she had recently suffered. She had dealt with someone rather devious and the result was, well, rather devious.
Q: My 26-month-old daughter will go on the potty happily every hour when told (we're using your "potty bell" and it's working extremely well) and produces every time. As a result, she's having very few if any wee incidents.
It was a couple of years before Mama just up and died without warning and when we least expected it, that I was visiting her one day.
Q: We are very concerned about our 8-year-old grandson's lying. He always pleads innocence and wonders plaintively why no one ever believes him. When someone confronts him with some misdeed they saw him do (example: poking holes in the back door screen), he merely shrugs his shoulders and grins. His parents have punished him repeatedly by taking away screen privileges, but to no avail. They've also told him the story of the boy who cried wolf to explain why no one believes him. This has been going on since he was a small child. We are all concerned ...
Somewhere along the line, it seems, people have stopped talking about the American Dream. I can't recall the last time I heard anyone, in person or through the media, remind folks that we live in the greatest country on earth and that here in this land of profound freedom, opportunities abound and no one, regardless of race or level of economic upbringing, is held back from grand and lofty aspirations.
Thousands of days, all those filled with clouds, rain, snow or sunshine, have passed since that time, yet the lesson sticks stubbornly to my heart.
It happened recently. The 20th anniversary of the death of stock car racer Davey Allison. Maybe you remember him. Maybe you don't.
Tink had been in Los Angeles for a week, so that morning before his plane left LAX, it occurred to me that a good wifely thing to do would be to welcome him back to the Rondarosa with a home-cooked meal.
This happened years ago. Mama was alive then, so it's been seven or eight years. I hadn't thought about in almost that many years but when it came to mind the other day, I took to studying on it and how the circumstances and opportunities of life's journey can be so fascinating.
Q: My 23-month-old son does well with potty training when we're at home. We use a "potty bell" and he goes every 90 minutes or so. When we're away from home, however, he seems clueless. He pees in his car seat about five minutes into a trip and simply will not use a potty anywhere but at our home or at my mother's (she watches him one day a week at her place). Would pull-ups be a bad thing to use when we leave the house?
Yes, I know that I am, occasionally, prone to embellishment. But trust me when I say this is the law and the gospel: I have a long-time friend who only calls me when someone dies. Most times, I know the person but sometimes I don't have a clue the person ever existed.
Q: I homeschooled my oldest, an 8-year-old boy, until this year. He started third grade in public school in August. As a homeschooling mom, I was not a micromanager and don't want to become one now, but the school virtually insists that parents help with homework. I want him to be independent. What are your thoughts on this?
A friend of mine, long embroiled in upsets, distractions, problems and tribulations, called one day to announce happily that she was learning to "let things roll right off my back."
It's a fact that a good night's sleep is essential to optimal performance, no matter the task. It is also a fact that America's teens, generally speaking, don't get enough sleep. Ergo, American teens, as a group, underperform in school.
As the old parenting point of view fell out of fashion beginning in the late 1960s, the vernacular that accompanied it all but completely disappeared. Today's parents don't say to their children the sorts of things parents said to children in the 1950s and before, things like, "You're acting too big for your britches again, young man."
It's a funny thing. That's what Mama used to say when something baffled her. Like Mama, I prefer that things make common sense. Otherwise, I'll ponder, figure, study, and try to decipher that funny thing until it's somewhat sensible.
One Sunday while sitting around the dinner table, Louise and I began to tell Daddy stories, the ones that stretched back to the early days of his preaching life. Since I was born 12 years after he "made a preacher," as our folks said back then, I could only contribute what he had told me about those days, not what I had seen.
Q: Our 5-year-old grandson sees his 5-year-old female first cousin from time to time. After they play for a while, he tells her he wants to "touch" her. This has happened twice in recent months. Her parents are very upset, but our grandson's parents read lots of parenting books and seem to think it's no big deal. Your thoughts on this matter?
To this conclusion I have come: the most deadly years of our lives are the ages 16 to 21. Those years give us a headiness that comes from new freedom - a driver's license - and the passing of the torch from strict childhood rules to more trust, different restraints and relaxed curfews.
On one of my Web sites I, along with a team of certified parent coaches, answer questions submitted by parents. In the last two days, 67 percent of the questions have concerned toilet training. A 3-year-old is afraid of the potty. A 26-month-old will only use the potty independently if he's not wearing clothes. A 23-month-old seems oblivious to mom's expectations. And so on.
The YMCA of Coastal Georgia will become a provider of the nationally recognized LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program, thanks to an implementation grant from YMCA of the USA, the Y's national resource office, in partnership with the LIVESTRONG Foundation.
Their histories, accurate and complete, are lost to time and buried with them and those who knew them. I wish I knew more, for their stories would read like a page-turning novel.
A mom recently asked me what I would say to my son if he was 12 years old and wanted a mohawk haircut for the summer. I told her I'd say no.