A year ago, I wrote a two-part series titled "My Mom's Advice for America." Those columns became two of my most read pieces. With both my mother's 93rd birthday (May 4) and Mother's Day (May 11) on the horizon, I decided to write a two-part series this year on her mother's advice for America.
Grandmother Scarberry, whom I affectionately always called "Granny" until the day she died, was an inspirational matriarch in the family, especially in my life. Outside of God and my wife, Gena, my mom and Granny were the two bedrocks and influences in my life. There are no greater or more passionate culture warriors that I know of than these three ladies. Their advice for America is the stuff our republic was founded upon and needs today.
I can think of nothing better during this time when we honor motherhood than to echo Granny's advice, which she lived by example -- not just preaching -- and my mother, Wilma Norris Knight, recorded in her autobiography, "Acts of Kindness: My Story."
I was rereading her life story and gleaning the wisdom that was so prevalent in my upbringing in rural Wilson, Oklahoma, particularly how my mom and Granny survived and thrived through the Great Depression. As part of the builder generation and greatest generation, respectively, Granny and Mom were tough as nails (even at their roughly 5-foot statures).
Here is the type of legacy and grit my mom inherited from Granny (from the preface of my mom's autobiography):
"I am ninety-one years old and the only surviving member of a family of eleven.
"I was raised in poverty in rural Oklahoma. We even lost our home once to a tornado.
"I was supposed to die from a rare illness at eight years of age, which landed me in a hospital in which I lived for two years, hours away from my family.
"At sixteen, I married a man who struggled being a husband and eventually abandoned me to raise our three boys alone. At the same age, I also nearly lost all my sight, and did lose my father (through his sudden passing to heaven).
"I've been present to help at the deaths of my father, mother, and all my siblings.
"I've also endured the deaths of my two husbands, a stepson, two grandchildren, and my middle son in the Vietnam War.
"Yet my youngest son, Aaron, has become a prolific director, in whose movies and television shows my eldest son, Carlos, has often starred. You might know him better by his stage name, Chuck Norris.
"I have twenty-one grandchildren, twenty-three great-grandchildren, and six great-great-grandchildren, so far.
"I've had over twenty surgeries, including one for breast cancer.