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Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett
A Grandfather's Thoughts on Faith, Family, and the Things That Matter Most
By Mike Huckabee
Sentinel HC
HC, 240 pgs. $24.95
ISBN: 1-5952-3093-9

Letters to the future

By Steven Martinovich
web posted January 7, 2013

Dear Chandler, Dear ScarlettIt probably won't come as a revelation to many that becoming a grandparent offers a second chance. Gifts can be purchased that couldn't be afforded when they were parents with a mortgage, advice offered that can be done with the wisdom of increased age and past mistakes made can be avoided with the experience of having already raised children. All this and you know the grandkids will have to go back Sunday night to their exasperated parents. All in all, a pretty sweet deal.

It is perhaps with that in mind that former governor, presidential candidate and current TV pundit Mike Huckabee offers Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett: A Grandfather's Thoughts on Faith, Family, and the Things That Matter Most, written as a series of eleven letters to his two grandchildren. The letters cover a variety of topics – most obvious though some are a bit of an interesting choice – and are written with a heavy dose of Huckabee's own life experiences, advice gleaned from them and founts of wisdom.

Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett's more obvious prescriptions include missives touting the importance of work and education, why God and America are important and why parents tend to act the way they do. Readers will be unsurprised to learn that love and marriage are really keen experiences when they work out and that good in theory, not so much in practice idea of loving thy neighbour and treating them as you would be treated is a noble truth we should all aspire to.

Despite an endorsement by Chuck Norris, many conservatives viewed Huckabee with some distrust during his 2008 run for the Republican nomination. Those suspicions may be renewed when they see one of the letters is devoted to the environment. A reading of it, however, shows Huckabee hasn't gone off the reservation into the nonsensical environmentalist movement, but rather he preaches an old-fashioned conservationist message. As an avid hunter and angler, Huckabee only asks his grandchildren to try and leave things the way they found them, have some respect for the grandeur of nature and that there's nothing wrong with balancing various concerns.

Huckabee wraps up Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett with a meditation on pain – both physical and spiritual. While we all want to protect children from the reality of the world, it has moved past our capability to shield them from some truths. Despite the sombre subject, Huckabee manages put an affirmative spin on the fact that we are born and will one day die, and in between we will enjoy ecstasy and agony. As Huckabee tells his grandchildren, it is not the fact that we must endure life, but what we choose to focus on.

Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett may be one of those obvious exercises but it remains a necessary one. And thanks to tone that ranges from light-hearted to serious, it offers a both entertaining and teachable experience. Regardless of what one thought of Huckabee as a potential president, it is clear that he's one fantastic grandparent who clearly cares about the things that matter most in life. His grandchildren might count themselves lucky he didn't win the Republican nomination, if only for the privilege of the time he spends with them. ESR

Steven Martinovich is the founder and editor of Enter Stage Right.

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