Sharon Scott, LPC, LMFT - I was saddened to hear of the death of Art Linkletter in May.
He was 97. Talk about a person who had a way with children! He was so skilled at putting young children at ease which he did regularly on a segment of the long-running (17 years) TV show “House Party.” He would sit at eye-level with the children (ages 5 – 10), interview them and get them to say the most outrageous things. This led to him writing a best-seller “Kids Say the Darndest Things!” which was illustrated by Charles Schultz (of later Peanuts fame). I loved that program and I loved him.
Books That Work!
By Sharon Scott, LPC LMFT
Sharon is the author of eight award-winning books including four on the topic of peer pressure.
The guide for parents/educators on how to peer-proof children and teens is Peer Pressure Reversal: An Adult Guide to Developing a Responsible Child, 2nd Ed.
Her best-selling book for teens, How to Say No and Keep Your Friends, 2nd Ed., empowers kids to stand out—not just fit in!
A follow-up book for teens, When to Say Yes! And Make More Friends, shows adolescents how to select and meet quality friends and, in general, feel good for doing and being good.
Sharon also has a charming series of five books for elementary-age children each teaching an important living skill and “co-authored” with her savvy cocker spaniel Nicholas who makes the learning fun. Their book on managing elementary-age peer pressure is titled Too Smart for Trouble.
I have a personally autographed copy of that book by Mr. Linkletter. I met him at a large drug prevention conference in Dallas many years ago where we were both scheduled to keynote. I also remember him telling me he hated following me as I did such an excellent presentation—wow! Did that make me feel good! He always seemed so positive, upbeat and caring!
His life started tough though—do you know his story? According to the New York Times, Gordon Arthur Kelly was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Before he was a month old he was abandoned by his parents and adopted by Fulton John and Mary Metzler Linkletter, a middle-age couple whose two children had died. It was not until he was 12, while rummaging through his father’s desk, that he discovered he was adopted.
In his autobiography, Mr. Linkletter recalled his adoptive father, a one-legged cobbler and itinerant evangelist, as “a strange, uncompromising man whose main interest in life was the Bible.” The family prayed and performed on street corners, with Art playing the triangle.
By the time Art was 5 the family had moved to an unpaved adobe section of San Diego. As a child he took on any job he could find. At one point he sorted through lemons left abandoned in piles outside a packing plant, cleaned them off and sold them for 6 cents a dozen.
After graduating from high school at 16, Mr. Linkletter decided to see the world. With $10 in his pocket, he rode freight trains and hitchhiked around the country, working here and there. A fast typist, he found work in a Wall Street bank just in time to watch the stock market crash in 1929. He also shipped out to Hawaii and Rio de Janeiro as a merchant seaman.
After returning to California, he entered San Diego State Teachers College (now San Diego State University) with plans of becoming an English teacher. He earned a bachelor’s degree in 1934, but in his last year he was hired to do spot announcements by a local radio station, KGB, a job that led to radio work and eventually TV fame.
I’m not sure what he had that made him so likeable—and so good with children—but it may have been how he got down on their level to talk, smiled, seemed down-to-earth and, most importantly, really seemed interested in others. Something we all could learn from…
(Editor’s Note: Sharon Scott has written numerous award-winning, fabulous books for children and teens that would make great summer reading. Check them out on www.hrdpress.com/sharonscott.)
Copyright © 2010, Sharon Scott. No reproduction without written permission from author.
P. S. Please see her other column, “The Counselor’s Corner,” about Bullying—Within the Family
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