Discovering Family

Discovering Family by Jim Stovall

The Gift of Family

Our families help to make us what we are just as we help to define and shape our families.  They can create the backdrop of our lives and define what we believe to be normal, and then sometimes, they can create a turning point to help us move in new and better directions.

When the best medical minds we could consult collectively determined and shared the diagnosis that I was going to lose my sight, I remember the feeling of loss and disconnection from all my hopes and dreams.  Then, there was the day that my grandmother came to me and explained that she had made a decision that once her spring flowers had bloomed again and she had a chance to look at them for the last time, she and I would go to one of the specialists at one of the hospitals, and she would have them take out her eyes and give them to me.

My grandmother had no way of knowing that, medically, that was impossible; but even if it had been feasible, it would have not meant as much to me to have her eyes as it meant at that moment to know that I had someone in my life that cared that much about me.

Joye Kanelakos shares a view of her two granddaughters climbing in the redbud trees in her back yard in the following poem.

Looking out my kitchen window

What do you suppose I see?

If I think hard, I can remember

Roses climbing in my red-bud tree.


One is a rose in sunshine bloom

With two dew drops of sparkling blue,

Lips pink-tipped like the talisman

That smiles and lets the sunshine through.


The other rose is a velvet flame

And glows in smiles as warm as light

That twinkles on in her evening hair

Like dazzling sparklers in the night.

What is Normal?

Our families are the measuring stick by which we judge the rest of the world.  The concept of a “normal” family does not exist.

I have always been committed to making as many of my books as possible available as audio books.  I’m a huge fan of audio books as they have changed my life.  The esteemed actor, Tom Bosley, of Happy Days and Father Dowling fame honored me when he agreed to be the voice on the audio book of my novel The Ultimate Gift.

The year after he recorded that amazing rendition of my book, he was touring the country in the Broadway play On Golden Pond costarring with Michael Learned who generations will know as Olivia Walton, the mother on the classic television series.

When the show came to my hometown, Tom Bosley and Michael Learned came to meet with me in my office, and I also spent some time with them backstage after the performance.  We had many discussions of their lives and careers, but then I laughingly told them, “You two have probably done more to confuse generations of people who are in search of the elusive normal family.”

They both agreed with me and admitted neither of their own families looked anything like the Cunninghams or the Waltons.  Families are precious and beautiful, but they are never perfect.  They create the routine and heartbeat of our lives.

What about you?

What “imperfections” make your family precious and beautiful? Let me know in the comments below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Want to learn more about Discovery Family? Start reading a preview of Jim Stovall’s inspirational new book, Discovering Joye here: Discovering Joye Free Preview

Jim Stovall About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall has been a national champion Olympic weightlifter, the President of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network, and a highly sought after author and platform speaker. He is the author of the best selling book, The Ultimate Gift, which is now a major motion picture starring James Garner and Abigail Breslin. For his work in making television accessible to our nation’s 13 million blind and visually impaired people, The President’s Committee on Equal Opportunity selected Jim Stovall as the Entrepreneur of the Year. He was also chosen as the International Humanitarian of the Year, joining Jimmy Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Mother Teresa as recipients of this honor. You can find out more about Jim Stovall and his amazing work at: