This year has been one for the books…
We’ve had a global pandemic, a health crisis, an economic lockdown, the biggest economic contraction since the Great Depression, and the fastest bear market in U.S. history followed by the fastest bull market.
Yet the thing that had the biggest impact on me personally in 2020 occurred one morning in January…
That was the day my wife, Karen, came into my office, took me by the hand and led me to the TV in our family room.
“Please sit down and watch this,” she said, without further explanation.
It was a six-minute clip from the Today show, one that I have since watched at least a dozen times.
The piece was about how the opioid crisis has led to a child welfare crisis.
And it showed what some people – particularly Monica and Robert Kinder – are doing about it.
I invite you to watch it now…
When I was a kid, I idolized professional athletes. As a teenager, it tended to be singers and musicians.
But Monica and Robert Kinder – featured in that Today show episode – are my new rock stars.
Try to imagine adopting five children and fostering two babies, while retaining your sanity.
I don’t have that much imagination… or nearly that big a heart.
Yet there is Monica saying, “I wish I could take more kids, but I know I can’t save ’em all.”
I also enjoyed Robert’s pithy advice on how to manage on a tight budget.
“You get what you need. And do without.”
Thousands of Americans have bought bestsellers about Stoic philosophy in recent years.
Robert Kinder embodies it.
After watching the clip a third time, I was determined to fix the Kinders’ roof and get Robert something safe to drive.
I contacted the Today show. They connected me to Mission West Virginia, a nonprofit organization that specializes in foster family recruitment and had worked with the Kinders.
They couldn’t give me Monica and Robert’s personal contact information but promised to pass along my offer of help.
To my surprise, I didn’t hear back.
But I persisted. Finally, Monica emailed me, but mainly just to thank me for offering support.
She explained that she and Robert weren’t comfortable accepting help. So I pleaded with her to accept it for my sake.
Yet I didn’t hear from her again for several weeks. (Clearly, this is a woman with a lot going on.)
I kept in touch and, eventually, we exchanged phone numbers.
In speaking with Monica, I learned that – through a foundation – Lowe’s had fixed their roof.
I also discovered that Robert had lost his job and had taken a new one working six days a week at a coal mine two hours away, a four-hour daily commute – in that same old truck.
I sent them a check so that Robert could drive something safer.
I also asked our publisher Julia Guth if we might invite readers to get involved as well. She happily agreed.
The Kinders still need urgent home repairs. So I asked Monica to have a contractor determine what they would cost.
That total is the goal for a GoFundMe account we just set up to benefit the Kinder family.
Some readers will rightly note that there are thousands of other great foster parents out there.
Moreover, a donation to Robert and Monica Kinder is not tax-deductible.
(And if you really want to be tax-smart about it, donate appreciated securities rather than cash.)
But this is the time of year when folks give with their hearts as well as their heads.
Personally, I don’t know anyone more deserving of a little holiday cheer than Monica and Robert Kinder.
P.S. If you’d like to send the Kinders words of appreciation or encouragement – or anything else that suits the season – you can also reach them at P.O. Box 13301, Charleston, WV 25320.