By Rhonda L. Rudd, freelance writer
Fayetteville, NC (BlackNews.com) – As the nation paces itself to pay tribute to and honor father’s for the unconditional love and devotion they’ve extended to their families over the years, Larry C. Harris, MD, a pediatrician who resides in Fayetteville, N.C. has penned the classic parenting book, It All Starts at Home, that would be a fitting gift for any dad on Father’s Day.
As a boy growing up in the south Harris tells a heart-wrenching story about a family enduring the trials of life with a father and his unflinching dedication to his nine children. The book’s foreword is by Harris’ college buddy, Dr. Ben Carson, the renowned surgeon.
In 1951, Fred Harris II, Dr. Harris’ father, was a platoon sergeant at Fort Bragg, N.C. For most dads one job would seemingly be enough. But Sergeant had to provide for his family. So he also earned extra money sewing chevrons on his troops fatigues.
Sergeant Harris was also a barber, a cab driver, a bouncer at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Club, and he worked at the bowling alley. And in doing all these things he always made time for his family, spending quality-time with his children.
"What I remember about my upbringing is that my mom and my dad didn’t just talk to us about life, they lived the life they talked about," Dr. Harris said.
Dr. Harris recounts his dad’s explanation of all the hard work: "Any honest job is a good one, if you do it right. Son, no matter what the task is, we Harrises do the best we can. Nobody does it better than we do."
Harris also remembers talking with his dad about a family that was on welfare: "We all have bad times, I guess. But this is one family that won’t have to go on welfare. We take care of our own," Sergeant Harris spoke to his son Larry while sewing chevrons on for a nominal fee of 25 cents each.
Sergeant Harris never compromised his principles and morals and made sure that he didn’t put his family at any disadvantage. When he was stationed in Germany he told the Harris clan: "We’re all going. We’re family, we stand together and we do things together."
After taking up residency in Germany in 1959, the Harris children had to endure peer pressure and an array of trials, but Sergeant Harris didn’t fail to set an example while stationed there. Everyday he would come home and engage in some form of leisurely activity with the children including playing basketball with the boys. The neighbors didn’t hesitate in sharing the respect and admiration they had for Ruth Harris’ husband making reference to the fine example he set for other fathers.
Whether the father in your 21st century family is present or absent, stateside or abroad; busy, busy playing or playing busy, It All Starts At Home will be a gift that will celebrate, renew and refresh the mind of any father.
The book entitled It All Starts At Home: 15 Ways to Put Family First, By Dr. Larry C. Harris with Cecil Murphey, retails for $12.99, and is available in Borders and Barnes and Nobles bookstores nationwide, and at Amazon.com. It is published and distributed by Grand Rapids-based, Revell, a division of Baker Publishing. For more information or an interview with Dr. Harris, go to: www.itallstartsathome.com or contact Ministry Marketing Solutions at 248-426-2300.
Rhonda Rudd is a Detroit-based free lance writer; her name is written in the history of Detroit’s Wayne County as "The Most Influential African American Woman in Journalism, Year 2000." She is a 17-year veteran-newsprint feature-writer and business news columnist. You may email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.