Martha cornered her son in the laundry room to finally talk to him about his daughter – who is Martha’s granddaughter.
(Note, Martha is just a name I am using to give this great Vindicator reader some cover for this story.)
It was during the holidays, and her son’s family was visiting. This was the first time they were alone in a room without his wife and daughter around.
In Martha’s view, her granddaughter was being allowed to misbehave too much, and Martha felt she had to say something.
“He told me, ‘She’s only 4 – we can’t make her do anything,’” said Martha.
It’s for these such situations that Martha is a fan of family psychologist John Rosemond, whose writings appear in hundreds of newspapers each week around America.
They had appeared in The Vindicator until a few weeks ago, and today, we’re glad he’s back in the paper.
So are Martha and others. They called us many times over the past few weeks. It was a funny flow of calls to us after John disappeared just after the holidays. Many folks thought John was on vacation for a couple of weeks.
But as his absence continued, the calls started picking up.
“He’s just so common sense,” said Martha. “The younger generation might not totally agree with his ideas. But he speaks for the people who raise their children the way I did.”
She sees today’s children as more out of control than when she raised hers.
“When I talk to other grandparents – they are encountering the same issues. The child is not the center of the family. The parents are. That’s John’s key theme.”
This tone echoed over and over with the callers asking us to bring back Rosemond.
While I didn’t take an official tally of those to whom I spoke, the callers tended to be grandparents who attest to speaking the “Word of John” to their adult children.
“My kids are already raised,” said Cynthia. “I raised them in the same era John [raised his kids]. There was none of that baloney we have today.
“It’s sheer common sense. There’s no fluff – like these timeouts,” she said in a tone of disgust.
She questions today’s parents and today’s doctors.
“I tell my children to read him for his advice. Whether they do – I don’t know. And some of these doctors want the kids on too many meds. John’s on point that all of that is not necessary.”
Our calls weren’t just from moms.
They were guys such as Jim, too.
“I’m retired, and my kids are older, but my kids are good. I like how John advises the parents, and have never disagreed.”
What took John away from us for a couple of weeks was cost.
Most special features you see in the newspaper that are not from the Valley come to us at a hefty cost.
Comic strips, weather news, TV listings and opinion columnists are such examples.
The company that provided John’s work to us had costs that were just too exorbitant. So we stopped printing Rosemond in our Sunday paper.
We were able to arrange a deal with Rosemond for a lower cost.
Such a cost-study process is difficult for us and for readers.
Sadly – it won’t be our last. With other features, we won’t have the flexibility we had with Rosemond.
The costs for these items, coupled with their availability online, are causing many newspapers to drop these services as other costs rise and revenues shrink.
You know the newspaper is smaller than it was 10 or 20 years ago – and we in the newsroom live it every day before you do.
In the next 12 to 36 months, we will be facing many such spending decisions.
It’s a choice of local news and storytelling vs. these other items.
Some of the Rosemond callers said things such as “Rosemond is all I get the newspaper for.”
To those, I tried to explain the vitality of local journalism.
Using examples such as the recent USA gymnastics tragedy or the Flint water debacle – it’s journalism that brings those issues to light. The Flint and gymnastics events share a reality that trusted leadership failed and deceived thousands of people.
Local journalism is the chance for many things good or bad in a community to get the light they need.
It’s especially vital when you see how horribly Facebook is fumbling its role of content with conscience.
That’s what I try to explain.
But like Martha or Cynthia above sharing the reality of Rosemond, I’m not sure my reality resonated.
Todd Franko is editor of The Vindicator. He likes emails about stories and our newspaper. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He blogs, too, on Vindy.com. Tweet him, too, at @tfranko.