By Todd Franko
I remember plenty of things about my first newspaper job.
One of them is John Rosemond.
I’ve worked at several newspapers since, and each one featured that familiar face staring back at me.
Rosemond is a rock star of sorts in the world of parenting and child- rearing. His weekly column appears in more than 200 newspapers, including The Vindicator (See today’s Life section). A family psychologist with a degree from Western Illinois University, he has books, CDs, TV appearances — and of course, the newspaper column.
The media end of his job is now his full-time job, hence, his rock-star-like status.
There are two truths about rock stars:
And people love them or hate them.
The Vindicator is pleased to partner with Rosemond’s team to have him come to the Valley on Saturday, Jan. 9, for two presentations at Boardman High School.
Rosemond is tough in his columns — skewering the last three decades of parenting and encouraging a tougher, more disciplined upbringing for children.
I called him to talk about his visit, and I expected a Marine-like bark of “What do you mean you say ‘Dude!’ to your boys? Are you kidding me??!!”
But what I got was his easy North Carolinian way. He was quick and colorful, like a lead singer of a band — which he actually was in his younger days. (Yes, he actually was a “rock star,” and opened for REO Speedwagon — twice!)
He now sings of better parenting.
“Psychologists have done more harm than good to American families,” said the, um, psychologist. “Please, start throwing things at me if I start sounding like a psychologist.”
Rosemond said when his parents needed advice on parenting, they reached back to their parents and grandparents.
“My generation [he’s 62], went to a book written by an expert.”
The result, he said, is a generation or two of kids whose self-esteem was important, as was their need for self-respect and self-confidence.
“We now have the ‘No Fear’ generation,” he said. “We used to have teens who were mischievous but had respect for authority. We now have a large number of teens who have no respect for legitimate authority.”
And he says this with a John Denver ease.
And he takes this on the road — 120 nights at a Marriott and counting.
“I feel I’m making a difference. No one has ever accused me of doing harm.
“I’ve never had someone say, ‘I’ve followed your advice, and my kid’s now a mental case.”
But he has his detractors.
You don’t have to search Google long to find them.
One of his favorite heated exchanges came with talk-show host Bill Maher on his HBO television show.
“I just said, ‘Look Bill, I’m not going to say what you want me to say,’” Rosemond said.
Rosemond does enjoy a good, spirited debate, and the speaking events can bring that out.
Though he calls his actual speeches just spontaneous conversations, what he also enjoys about his events is being out in the lobby an hour before and just talking to whoever walks by.
“Often, stories from the lobby become part of my speech. So be careful what you say to me,” he said with a chuckle.
This will be his first visit to Youngstown.
The Vindicator, in prepping for the Jan. 9 talks (10 a.m. and 1 p.m.), will have several contests for tickets to see Rosemond. Watch the paper for them.
If you want to guarantee a seat though, get the $15 tickets now by going to www.castingnewlives.com.
I called him a rock star.
But Rosemond likens his talks to another music form.
“I call it jazz public speaking. Like a musician, I’m never sure where the talk will go. It just goes. I have a lot of fun, and it’s very satisfying.”