November 23, 2018

Happy Black Friday, America! Although thanks to the Internet and early Black Friday deals, Black Friday is no longer stirring as much controversy as it did when it first started encroaching on Thursday night and pulling people away from their family Thanksgiving celebrations.  Merchants have now pushed it so far forward that in some cases, it’s crept past Thanksgiving.  All their Black Fridays deals are sold out by Wednesday.  Well, at least it’s no longer interfering so much with Thanksgiving, although at this rate, it might soon be encroaching on Halloween.


Like many Americans, I’m making sure I enjoy this holiday with my family and friends by not talking about politics or the recent election.  Instead, I'd like to talk about something that doesn't change with the passing headlines.  It's the greatest gift that a parent can give to a child: the gift of character.  This is the time of year when people go out shopping for holiday bargains, and it’s easy to let the thrill of the hunt and the lure of saving a few bucks on the latest gadgets override our good manners and consideration for others.  But if you have character, that’s not a problem. 


Where does character come from?  It’s rooted in parents teaching their kids integrity and respect for others.  And it may not be politically correct to say so, but kids need to be disciplined according to traditional, agreed-upon standards. 

Commentary continues below advertisement

A few years ago, a Black Friday crowd in New York became so crazed to get at bargains that they trampled a Walmart worker to death, and trampled other workers who tried to help him.  When told the store was being closed because of the death, they shouted curses and just kept shopping. 


If you could turn back the clock a decade or two, I'll bet you would see most of those shoppers as kids, running wild, bullying other kids, sassing their other words, having no boundaries and being taught no consideration for others.  If you'd said anything to their parents then, they might've replied, "We don't want to stifle their creativity."  Or "We don't want to impose our standards on our kids.  Let them figure out for themselves what feels right to them."  Instead of admitting that their kids’ behavior was objectively wrong, they might've tried to rationalize it as a disease or a disorder or as being “free-spirited.” Or maybe they would've just cursed and punched you for daring to question their parenting. 


Children may act as if they resent discipline, but they not only need it, they secretly crave it.  They need parents to instill the Golden Rule, and to teach them that there are certain lines we all must stay within, or else society falls apart. That’s a lesson we’re seeing with frightening clarity recently, with the rise of such groups as Antifa, who think that laws don’t apply to them and that the First Amendment gives them the right to bully and intimidate others into silence. They think there are all sorts of boundaries that apply to other people, but none to them. Whatever feels right to them, they just do.


There are thousands of strips of concrete in every city.  Imagine what would happen if every airline pilot made a personal decision on land on whatever patch of concrete “feels right” to land on.


We live in a time when mass media and social media cause shifts in standards for language or behavior to spread almost instantly.  Suddenly, both living and historic figures are being condemned for not measuring up to standards that didn’t even exist before last Tuesday (are you old enough to remember ‘way back to when it wasn’t considered hateful, bigoted, intolerant transphobia to object to a middle-aged man walking into the ladies’ bathroom when your 13-year-old daughter was in there?)


But we can’t be constantly judging the past by ever-shifting standards of the moment.  As British author L.P. Hartley said, “The past is a foreign country.  They do things differently there.”  The only fair way to judge anyone, past or present, is by an immovable moral standard that’s not subject to the whims of changing fads and opinions.  To do that, children have to be taught such standards.  Standards such as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Take responsibility for your own actions.  Try to keep your head even when everyone around you is losing theirs.  These are things that were centuries ago, they’re true today, and they’ll be true centuries from now.


I once had the importance of such solid guideposts brought to my attention in a way I will never forget. In 1997, Arkansas was struck by a devastating tornado.  As Governor, I was visiting one of the worst-hit towns when State Rep. Martha Shoffner said she had to show me something.  She took me to a courthouse whose roof was completely gone.  Inside was a museum in which everything had been blown away or destroyed…except for one thing.  Still hanging on the wall was my official Governor's photo.  It hadn’t broken or fallen off.  It wasn't even askew.  I took it as a sobering reminder that no matter what disaster might befall our state, it was the Governor’s responsibility to remain steady as a rock and see everyone through. 


The thought occurred to me then that we can't keep storms out of our kids' lives, and we can't teach them to hide from storms. We also can’t let them go on believing that if they scream loudly enough, the storms will give in and go away. All we can do is give them a strong enough foundation so that when life’s storms inevitably come, they'll be prepared to ride them out with a level head and a steady hand. 


Here’s wishing you a safe and courteous shopping day and a happy Thanksgiving weekend! 





Leave a Comment

Note: Fields marked with an * are required.

Your Information
Your Comment
BBML accepted!

More Stories

House Narrowly Passes "Equality Act"

COVID Stimulus Bill Passes

Durham Resigns

Comments 1-22 of 22

  • Benjamin 'Benj' Stoick

    11/24/2018 07:03 AM

    Governor, I am writing from South Dakota, where I am retired from the grocery business in a two-stoplight town of 3,400. Our three sons grew up here, as did our daughter, Marisa, a girl about Sarah's age who's raising her family in Rapid City with her military husband, which is where we are now, celebrating and giving thanks. A friend forwarded me the Thanksgiving piece you wrote about instilling 'character' in our children, and I was grateful that he did so. At 67, I've spent a lifetime knowing and loving those who came through my door and being grateful for them, people from all walks of life. Farmers, ranchers, mechanics, teachers, doctors, and clerks...people I point to as 'examples' when giving commencement addresses to high school seniors in our area. You see, Governor, I know tens of thousands of people--from the fry cook at the café next door who gave half of her paycheck to a little girl she didn't even know who was dying of cancer, to the former Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, who I put to work bagging groceries one day when he stopped by, finding me short-handed. As a lifelong Republican once heavily-involved in my state, working closely with the late Governor Bill Janklow, I supported Mike Huckabee in 2008 and again in 2016, and would again should you run for President some day down the road, but on one condition. From time-to-time, I get to consult on your media--time [and I like to think 'talent'] I would gladly provide pro bono, asking for only one thing in return. Some day, Sheila and I get to meet Sarah, for we think she's the best thing to happen to the Office of White House Press Secretary since that position was created. Thanks, Governor, for being the good man you are, and for the example you are for millions of Americans. All the best, Benj Stoick out in South Dakota

  • Lyn Adams

    11/24/2018 01:10 AM

    Wow! A close friend and I were just talking about how we were raised to respect our elders especially but to respect ourselves and those around us.

    My friend had heard some psychiatrist saying that under no circumstance should any parent ever spank a child and asked what I thought about that. I said, "He who withholds his rod hates his son; but, he who loves him disciplines him diligently." Prov 13:24
    Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. Prov 19:18

    Galatians 6
    7Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

    We talked about how letting children have their way all the time, living a self-centered life, is to let them go down the path to destruction.

    I used to do home studies for people who wanted to become foster/adoptive parents. A major part was to discuss how they had been disciplined as a child, how they disciplined children if they had any, and how they planned to discipline foster/adopted children. I also had to ask them what they understood Texas Child Protective Services quidelines about discipline. I took issue with the concept of defining discipline as punishment. I directed my prospective foster/adoptive parents to talk about each facet of this area in terms of how a coach gives well-defined guidelines of what is expected of athletes and that telling them how to eat, have bedtimes, stretch before physical activity, run laps, do drills, and use good sportsmanship are all positives. Things like extra laps and drills or sitting out games on the bench may be used as punishment. But, the total picture is the discipline of the sport. I asked about when and where they had meals, what was expected about homework and grades, chores, and how siblings were to address each other and their possessions, even their own things. All of that tells a lot about how their character and values were formed in ways that show up in daily life activities and relationships.

    We live in an area where there is a big hospital that trains medical students. We have noted that there is a high % of the medical students of Asian ethnicity. We talked about how we don't see Asians in our news rioting or looting. We also don't see Hispanics doing those things in our national news. (We do see Hispanic gang activity in the news unfortunately.) But, we talked about cultures where respect is of utmost importance in everyday living. And if children are left to their fleshy tendencies, it's all downhill.

    We talked about how we were raised by parents who grew up in the Depression. My father served in WWII while my mother and her family were POWs in a Japanese prison camp in China. My friend's mother was forced to pick up body parts after battles and bomb raids in Germany as only a child. My friend and I grew up with firm boundaries of behavior with respect for our parents and other authority figures. We also have a keen understanding about the price paid for our freedom that dates back to those who left so much behind to come to "the new world" and what becoming US citizens meant to his mother and my mother. We are appalled that most of our colleges are propaganda machines to brainwash our next generation against our Christian values and against the sanity of a good work ethic. Socialism isn't the utopia of taking from the rich what liberals think is their due to provide "everything for everyone!" If socialism never worked anywhere on the globe, why do they think it will work here?! I guess the closest to socialism working might be the combination of democracy, capitalism, and life on a kibbutz in Israel, where all children coming of age are to serve in the Israeli military. But, that is nowhere near the entitlement and lawlessness that is being brainwashed by the liberals.

    Lord Jesus, please restore our nation to godly values. Father, draw our nation to You, one heart at a time! May your people, called by Your Name humble ourselves and pray, seeking You with all our hearts and pray and turn from our wicked ways that You will hear, forgive our sins, and heal our land!

  • Jonathan Andrew

    11/23/2018 09:39 PM

    Dear Governor/Pastor/Christian/All Round Good Guy

    Thank-you so much for your Christian testimony in your column. Yes there are many believers that are praying for our country. I have been under conviction lately that I have not been praying for a revival in our country. I think there is a complacency on the part of born again believers that we cannot change our course. We are in "the end times" this is just the way it is going to go. Why vote? I sir, am not in that group. I believe that irregardless of our actions, we are not going to change our Lord's time table for the rapture or the second coming but we may be able to effect the state of our nation (economically, invironmentally, & spiritually)in the time prior to our Lord's return. Thank-you again for your steadfastness! I am from a small rural town in Colorado ( the conservative half of the state) and attend a non-denominational church in a town of 132 people that has an attendance of approximately 200 each week. If you are EVER in eastern Colorado, I invite you and whom ever you are with to stay with my wife and I and attend our service. Thank-you again. Habakkuk 3:18

  • Diane Wilson

    11/23/2018 09:18 PM

    You are simply the best! I had so hoped you would get the nomination but when you didn’t I then supported our current president.
    I too, like another commenter would love to be able to post some of your comments on Facebook. Please let us know if there is a way to do it.
    I’m very thankful for this post. You said everything I’ve been thinking so eloquently. Keep up your good work!

  • Elaine Liming

    11/23/2018 07:08 PM

    As a parent and former teacher, I agree with you 100%. As adults we need to model character for our children. They accept discipline when they see we accept it from others who are in authority and model it for them, in the way we speak and act. Children do need and want discipline but they will let you know when you the adult doesn't walk the talk.

    When I started teaching in the early 60"s parents were still parenting and using the common sense received from their own parents' modeling. However in each year I taught I saw a decline in parenting skills and lack of time spent with their children. When I went to High School teaching I was shocked to hear from my students that some never had a story read to them and words like they never have time to talk to me. I remember one teacher mocking and saying they are expecting us to parent their children, what is happening in our country. It is worst today because the family itself is being attacked, they has been role reversals; families move away from the grandparents (extended family) and children need the wisdom the old can give them and many children in single parent homes are learning about life in difficult ways.
    I feel taking prayer out of our classrooms and trying to push Him out of our lives has contributed to the lack of standards, love, and civility necessary to live a life that is meaningful and producing good fruits. Thanks for having the courage Mike to remind Parents of the importance of discipline and good character in order for Democracy to flourish.

  • Gary Schmidt

    11/23/2018 05:03 PM

    Governor I admire your inspiration and totally agree with it. These were the values taught by my parents and I passed them on to my own children. Please continue to listen to the one who will guide us if we will allow Him to. God bless

  • Yvette Sabin

    11/23/2018 04:21 PM

    Please explain the meaning of this so-called Black Friday. What makes this particular day of the week "Black," and on whose authority?
    Every color is subtly suggestive of a mood. Moods are strong behavior modifiers. Blue Monday connotes sadness. We recall a Black Monday back in 1987 whereon our stock market crashed big time - a day of loss and deep sorrow.
    A White Friday might suggest a day of buoyant happiness and promising new opportunities.

  • Jeff & Carolyn Felter

    11/23/2018 03:45 PM

    Thanks for this piece on raising kids. Much appreciated. You might also have mentioned that doing what feels right at the time can get someone seriously hurt or killed.

  • Patsy Martin

    11/23/2018 03:38 PM

    Very well versed. I fully agree that if the young adults of today had received some form of discipline, we wpuld not have this group of terrorist threatening people on every corner of the USA. God bless you, sir and your family.

  • Maia Crawley

    11/23/2018 03:21 PM

    Beautifully said. Thank you for keeping the right perspective.

  • Dot Whitley

    11/23/2018 03:20 PM

    Amen to everything you said. I was brought up by strict parents, and it was passed on to my kids. All good thngs come from God, so I praise him for this blessing.

  • Ken Pearce

    11/23/2018 02:54 PM

    I always enjoy reading your Posts, but today's really hit home. Thanks for all the time,thoughts and energy you put into them. It's nice to read some common sense when the rest of world seems to have lost it! Thanks again!


    11/23/2018 02:39 PM

    Kipling's poem was on our son's wall when he was a lad. Candace Owens also used it when Kanye left her in the lurch. It's a fine one for all of us to remember except for the part about gambling. Why did Arkansas get stuck with that "amendment", Preacher Mike?

  • Kathy Hunt

    11/23/2018 02:29 PM

    Thank you Mike, I'm 69 years old. And I thank God every day that my Kids and Grandkids have the Moral Capability of making pretty good Decisions. I worked hard as a Mom to instill that. And yes they got a spanking once in a while and grounded and had favorite things taken away. They were taught if you do somthing wrong you own it. If you get arrested for doung what you know is wrong, don't ask me to bail you out. I love all 4 of my Kid's and they Respect me and I them, but they had to earn it. So I know what your talking about. Im thankful for my Church and that was one thing that help me rais my kids. My Commitment to God.

  • Beatrice Vajgart

    11/23/2018 02:08 PM

    Gov. Huckabee, Enjoy and appreciate the bits of wise advice you give us from time to time. It's when you are at your best.
    Warm regards,
    Beatrice Vajgart

  • Elizabeth crouse

    11/23/2018 01:52 PM

    I am so thankful for parents that taught me respect and responsibility. Yes, they spanked me. I cannot believe all I see and hear. God is still in control and I am thankful. Blessings to you and what you do.

  • Marie DeKnikker

    11/23/2018 01:51 PM

    God love you, Mike!
    Love and hugs,

  • Lynne Russell

    11/23/2018 01:49 PM

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciated this article. I am of the age when I remember when "no" meant "no" and there were rules and guidelines in place that were not to be broken. The 10 commandments were not suggestions! No matter what your faith background, they were acknowledged and considered as valuable and stable guides for life. Oh, to get back to those days. I pray daily for my precious kids and grandkids. They will not have the life that we had "back in the day". Thank you for reminding and bringing this to light. Hope it is read by many who did not have the privilege of living "way back then". Thank you for your voice and what you do. Love your show to by the way!

  • Darlene Morris

    11/23/2018 01:47 PM

    Is there any way that I can forward your commentary to Facebook or Twitter? I think that everyone would benefit from your comments. Or is there a way to forward a link to your newsletter so that I could share it with my friends?

  • Larry Wolfe

    11/23/2018 01:39 PM

    The message you talk about, and the lessons we kids learned in the past, are almost gone . I've read this 2 or 3 times and each time I read it, my thoughts of the past and present jump out at me. In 30 to 40 years, I can't help to think of what kind of country my grand kids will be living in. So many bad things to come in their future, and so many good things they will leave behind. I've always been one to think positive, but the last few years has sure made it hard to stay that way. In place of making life better for our kids in the future, our government is making it worse.

  • Gary M Pilotte

    11/23/2018 01:15 PM

    Mike, you hit the nail on the head. Im afraid for the next generation. You keep up the great work that you do. Happy 2 see you back on FOX. Happy Holidays to you and your family...

  • Nancy Allenbrand

    11/23/2018 01:14 PM

    Thank you Mike for this timely and vital article. God bless you and yours.