Mr. Rooney lived a long and colorful life before passing away at the age of 92 last month. Many of his newspaper columns were compiled into various books. The following essay that I’m going to excerpt, “What Every Kid Should Have Growing Up,” comes from one of his best-selling works titled Sweet and Sour.
Reading over this list, I have to admit that I wish I had all these things growing up. I didn’t – but I did have my Savior by my side, which made all the difference – and continues to make the difference for me, my wife, Jean, and our boys.
I’m struck by how down-to-earth this perspective is – and how closely it resembles many of the priorities of the team here at Focus. Take a read and I hope you’ll let us know what you think.
I know what I think every child should have growing up to become a responsible, honest, productive member of our society instead of a sad welfare case or a prison inmate.
He or she should have:
A home with one mother and one father.
At least one brother and one sister. A boy should have a sister and a girl should have a brother. The girl’s brother should be older if that can be arranged. As a matter of fact, every kid should have an older brother, which, unfortunately, is impossible.
A family that eats dinner together.
A room of his or her own, even if it’s tiny. The room should have the things the child wants, not what the parents want, in it. The room need not be neat.
A good night kiss until it becomes apparent to both the parents and the child that the child is too old to be kissed good night.
A warm bed with a blanket or a quilt that has its own character, under which the kid can hide from the world and worry about his or her problems in cozy privacy.
A young girl should have a doll and roller skates. A boy should have a bike and a baseball bat.
A costume at Halloween and a cake with candles to blow out with a wish on every birthday.
A child should have a sweet, motherly kindergarten teacher to help make the transition between home and the cold, cruel outside world.
A friend to whom he or she can tell secrets.
Some minor illnesses to let the child know that life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. The flu or a broken arm is okay for this purpose.
A rich kid on the block who has everything the child would like to have.
Discipline. Along with love and enough to eat, every child should have plenty of it.
Someone to read aloud to him or her when the kid is too young to read himself.
A mother and father who let the child get into bed with them when there’s a thunderstorm.
If every child had these things while he or she was growing up, there would be nothing to worry about regarding the future of the world.
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About Jim Daly
Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. He is husband to Jean and father to Trent and Troy.
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