Todd Starnes

My dear friend Michelle Cox has written a novel that every parent in America needs to read. It’s called, “Just 18 Summers.” She reminds us that we have just 18 summers before our children leave home. Just 18 summers.

“I hope parents will realize how quickly those summers will fly by,” she told me. “Take it from a mama whose sons are all grown now, someday you’d give a million dollars to walk down the hall one more time and tuck your children into bed, to kneel down and pray with them, to hear their footsteps and the sound of their laughter filling the house.”

In addition to being a delightful author, Michelle is a fabulous Southern cook. She shares her weekly recipes on my website – and has written several amazing cookbooks!

Here’s my interview with Michelle:

Tell us about the event that inspired you to write Just 18 Summers.

My pastor dedicated a baby at church one Sunday morning, and as the parents turned to leave the platform, Rev. Sexton said, “Don’t forget you have just 18 summers. Go make some memories.” The poignancy of that slammed into me—particularly since my youngest son was getting married a few weeks later.

I came up with the idea to do a gift book based on the thought, but God had much bigger plans. I’m now developing a complete brand based on the concept—and the release of my Just 18 Summers novel (co-authored with Rene Gutteridge) is an exciting component of that.

Aside from the novel, what else are you doing to encourage parents to make the most of the time they have with their children?

The first thing I thought of that day when I heard my pastor say those words was that I was glad we’d spent as much time as we did with our boys, but I wish there had been more. The second thought that hit me was to wonder if I had taught my son the important things he needed to know before he left home. I’m sure other parents can relate to that.

I want to remind parents to enjoy the 18 summers before their children leave home, and I want to equip them with the tools and encouragement they need for the parenting journey, so on January 1, I launched the Just 18 Summers® parenting blog.


Todd Starnes

Todd Starnes is the host of Fox News & Commentary – heard daily on 250+ radio stations. He’s also the author of “Dispatches From Bitter America.” To check out all of his work you can visit his website or follow him on Twitter @toddstarnes. In his spare time, Todd is active in his church, plays golf, follows SEC football, and eats barbecue. He lives in New York City.