"If we cling only to that which we know, then we'll only know that to which we cling."  

We hear the media and politicians speak of family values almost ad nauseam. Unfortunately, it is all-too-frequent in human nature to witness that the greater the value something has, the more rare it is. We are constantly bombarded with "family values, this" and "family values, that" consequently reducing its perceived value. Perhaps it's a tactic of the adversary.

Kristy and I have five really great children. They are honest and polite. They work hard at their interests and passions. They bring to us joy -- joy is what children bring into a home. I can't imagine that any amount of money can compare to the richness one feels living in a home where happiness is! After my family would visit me at the office, my secretary would always say, "No wonder you're so happy, look at your family!"

It is among my greatest assets that I come from a long line of good stock. I was surrounded by wonderful examples of how a man should treat his wife and children. Many lessons, however, came slowly and painfully as my parents divorced when I was seven. I experienced betrayal, fear, and, worst of all, self-doubt. There were those who would try to comfort me, to express their love more emphatically than they might have otherwise. I had a difficult time handling such affection, not knowing how to act. I resented, to a large extent, such demonstrations. But most of all, I resented, even hated, the pity.

It is not my intention to illustrate or to expound upon the evils and the horrors of divorce. Many of you (statistically half of you) have experienced it first-hand. My intention here is to express the joys and security of family life. I do not dwell upon the negatives of my life, I had little or no power as a youth to control my familial circumstances. I believe that I am a better person than I might have been having experienced the divorce of my parents. I do not condone it, nor am I glad it happened, but I am glad for the person I have become, knowing that I am the sum total of all I have ever been.

I am in love with my wife, she is in love with me. My children, while they see my weaknesses (not all of them, hopefully), also see and know that I love their mother. I have learned, and some of those lesson were costly, not only how to treat my wife, but how not to treat her. Some of the men in my life were not always the best examples to me, but there were many others who were indeed great!

My father treated his wife, my step-mother, well. I never saw him raise his voice to either my mother or my step-mother -- not ever! Both of my grandfathers were excellent role models. My maternal grandfather had nearly the single greatest influence in my life, and is a man of impeccable quality... still going strong as a centenarian! (he turned 100 in Oct, 2007) One uncle in particular was foremost in my mind during many of the difficult decisions I encountered later in life. Each of my sisters married excellent men who taught me by their actions life's valuable lessons. I was still young and impressionable when my oldest three sisters were married (all of whom were married within an 18 month period). I idolized these men and began immediately to adopt their worthy traits. Remarkably, and so very improbably, not one of them ever showed anything less than real devotion! Truly, what are the odds?!

Kristy's parents, Don and Shirley Kleven, are two of the greatest people I've ever known. I am fortunate to be married to their daughter and to have their influence in my life.

I am eternally grateful for my strong, loving, and committed mother who never failed me. Her steadfastness and spirituality are such that I am who I am today because of her.

My road to manhood, though perhaps at times poorly paved, was nevertheless marked by the most unambiguous road signs and easy-to-follow directions.

As a man with his own family, I am buoyed up by my wife's love and devotion to me. Though the transition into husband/fatherhood is difficult, I am made truly great by my wife. In a very real sense, I will owe her my eternity.

Throughout my entire life, I was surrounded by true greatness, as a youth, on my mission, and now as a husband and a father.