Wednesday, October 09, 2013

El Camino For Diabetes

In September of 2014 I will be making a pilgrimage on the El Camino de Santiago de Compostella in northwestern Spain for a 500 mile / 800km journey, not only for my own spiritual and personal growth, but also to do fundraising for diabetes research to find better treatments for this insidious disease, and better yet, a cure for it.

I have had several relatives expire from diabetes over the years and my children are vulnerable to diabetes later in life, but personal concerns aside, as of 2011 28.6 million Americans have been diagnosed with this disease.

More research, especially more promising stem cell research, is needed to combat diabetes and only our efforts in raising additional funds to enhance this research will accomplish our goals.

I am looking for a number of individuals who have a heart for this endeavor to serve on my Advisory Board to help me with prayer, encouragement, and to be responsible for, not only guiding me in this journey of training, preparation and the actual pilgrimage on the El Camino [Camino Frances], but to also handle the donations that are made as a result of my 500 mile walk on this historic path to Santiago de Compostela.

I am in need of an attorney and/or certified public account who knows about fundraising and setting up an account that these donations can be deposited for distribution to researchers to use to further our knowledge of combating diabetes. He/she would be the trustee of the funds.

I, personally, do not / can not handle such donations because I am too busy training and preparing for the pilgrimage itself.

I also would like help from my Advisory Board on suggestions about how to reach potential donors who would pledge anywhere from ten cents, twenty cents and up per mile that I walk on the Camino for a total of 500 miles.

Corporate donations could be higher if they wish and certainly five dollars per mile would go a long way in helping us raise money for the research. This incredible journey will take all of six weeks to complete if I am fortunate enough to not sustain an injury during my training, riding my motorcycle, or during the pilgrimage itself in September-October of 2014.

Any church individual, or civic organization who would also like to donate funds for my equipment [ backpack, hiking shoes, sleeping bag, etc ], airfare overseas, as well as lodging in alberques (hostels) and for food, would be very much appreciated because it will be difficult for me to do this completely on my own, but I will, even if I have to sell blood to get the funds for the trip.

This is my resolve to accomplish such a worthy goal.

If you would like to follow me on this journey of preparation and training as well as "like" the page, you can go to El Camino for Diabetes Research on Facebook to keep up with my progress.

Thank you!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Noah Rode Out Storm To Thrive

by Tim Swarens

Courtesy of The Indianapolis Star (Friday, NOVEMBER 27, 1998)

Noah was 9 when his father left him alongside a Georgia highway. The child waited alone for a bus to come. It was to take him back to Florida, to home and his mother. But Noah’s mother was living with a new boyfriend. Little boys were no longer welcome. Noah was left to survive on the streets of Tampa. Eventually picked up and sent to an orphanage, he never saw his mother or father again. An abandoned boy might be expected to grow into a bitter man. But Noah Kersey has often exceeded expectations. At a time of year when we give thanks for the good in life, Kersey also is thankful for the bad. "God has been looking over me, protecting me and providing me with opportunities that I never would have had if I had stayed with my parents," Kersey says.

Helping Patients

Today, he is a psychologist in Carmel, helping patients overcome their own disappointments. He’s also a husband and father, providing for his three children with the stability he never knew. For nine years, Kersey lived in the orphanage. He learned to drive a car and to play a trumpet there. It was, he says, the first place he ever felt secure. By their late teens, boys at the orphanage were expected to leave. Most joined the military. Kersey wanted to go to college. The parents of two friends opened their homes to Kersey, providing the opportunity to finish high school. It was while living with one of his new families that he met the man who would become his mentor. Sherwin Broersma, pastor of a Dutch Reform church in Tampa, took an interest in an orphan kid who needed a father figure. "He became a very strong model, a guiding force in my life," Kersey says. "I still use a lot of the advice he’s given me over the years in therapy with my patients." After high school, Kersey made his way to Florida State University, changing majors four times before settling on psychology. He found he enjoyed helping others work on their problems. He also was working on himself. "I washed pots and pans at a Red Lobster during summer break. I’d stand in the back, scrubbing and telling myself, ‘I’m a good person and God loves me.’"

Transcending Adversity

Kersey was a transcender, the rare child who can be hit with life’s worst and still thrive. We don’t fully understand why one child when faced with abuse and neglect soars while most around him sink. But Kersey was blessed by three positives in an otherwise negative childhood. He lived in a well-run institution, where staff members took an interest in him. He found a mentor. And he developed a strong personal faith that gave him hope. "A milestone for me was the ability to forgive my parents for doing the best they knew how," he says. In his Carmel practice, Kersey teaches principles that are common to people who overcome adversity. One is to be committed to change. Another is to have faith in the process, to wait patiently while transformation takes place. He also stresses that anger and fear can be used as motivators for success. Yet success has not erased Kersey’s memories of a painful childhood. His biggest struggle, he says, is to give his children the freedom to fail, to not become overly protective because of his own experiences. One of those painful experiences motivated Kersey to complete his education. As a young man, he visited a woman he knew to ask for help in securing a job. The woman, who a few years earlier had nearly adopted Kersey, coldly rebuffed him. "I left her house, stood in the driveway and said, ‘I’ll show her,’" he says. Years later, after completing his doctorate, he sent the woman a message of thanks. "The best revenge is to be successful despite the people who let you down," he says.

Swarens is a Star editorial writer. His email address is:

Copyright (c) 2002 The Indianapolis Star - Reprinted by permission of Tim Swarens

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Lost In America

A Spiritual Journey


Dr. Noah H. Kersey, Ph.D.

It was late summer of 1976 and my girlfriend of two years had just broken off our relationship. We had been together for a couple of years and had talked about marriage after college. I did not realize that her influential parents had different ideas for their daughter, a beautiful strawberry blond with more freckles than I could count.

I was heart-broken and felt very alone. I knew that I would not find peace about this breakup until I felt fully connected with God.

Growing up in an orphanage, I had no family to turn to for emotional support, so I decided the best way to reestablish the foundation of my faith was to fully place myself in His hands. I decided I needed to take a break from college and go on a spiritual journey which could also lead me to finding myself again.

I purchased a small backpack, a yellow poster board that I could fold into three sections, a package of eight-inch stencils for lettering my “destination signs” and started hitch-hiking across America.

I had two hundred and fifty dollars in my pocket and was armed with a wobbly faith that the Lord would provide any and all of my needs for food and lodging along the way. I also realized that this could be a dangerous journey but felt somewhat reassured that God would be there, keeping me safe.

After using the stencils I had purchased to make my destination signs indicating each major city I was heading towards, I began walking to the interstate somewhere in central Florida. When I arrived at the top of the entrance ramp I held up my sign while keeping my weight evenly distributed on both feet and smiled without grimacing from the sun shining in my face.

I had seen many hitch-hikers over the years and most of them slouched, held up a thumb, and did not appear like the type of person I would want to pick up so I maintained the image of a clean-cut, nicely dressed college student with a neatly printed bright yellow sign that motorists could read from nearly a quarter of a mile away.

It worked.

A business man, who was traveling to a business meeting, stopped and gave me a ride. He said, “Nice sign. I could see you long before I got to where you were standing. Since you looked like a nice person, I did not mind picking you up to help me drive.”

So, this is how I started my ten-thousand mile, six-months long trek across America, stopping in cities only for a few days to make money for food, and then onto the interstate again to my next destination.

Each ride I received I always thanked the person for stopping. Most were families, or business people that wanted someone to help them drive, or to converse with to pass the time. Some were truck drivers who were impressed that someone would go to all the trouble to make such a neatly printed sign.

It was impressive how nice the people were. The “scary or creepy people” would just look at me and keep on going. When this happened, I would utter under my smile, “Thank you Lord for encouraging that person to keep going”.

In each U.S. city, my excursion to Mexico, and the long trek from British Columbia all the way to Quebec and then back through Ontario, Canada, I could feel God’s presence. I knew that He placed me in other people’s path for them to help me in my journey of self-discovery and spiritual healing.

He provided resources for me to have work in Denver, Colorado where I was able to visit such beautiful places as Boulder, and Estes Park, a little tourist town built into the side of the mountain like a Swiss village in the Alps.

I found work in Los Angeles where I lived in a garage of a church that Debbie Boone attended and the church group helped me find employment delivering Indian rugs around the city. While there, I had the opportunity to collect autographs from a number of movie stars such as Cybil Shepard, Clu Gulager, and Tommy Smothers.

I experience miracles, large and small, on this trip.

While working in Denver, painting houses, I took a trip up to Golden, Colorado. It was still very dark and I was sitting on a mountain road side high above the Denver skyline enjoying the distant city lights. I stood up, and just as I was about to take another step, a car passed by and illuminated the place where I was about to place my foot. What I saw was approximately a 500 foot drop to the rocks below. I gave thanks to God and for the angel He sent to make me hesitate in taking that step.

Before going down into Tijuana, Mexico I was warned by the church group to be careful about young Mexican children who would try to pick your pocket and, if you grabbed them, you would be arrested until you posted bail. Supposedly, this was another way to separate the Gringo from his money.

God was again watching over me and I did not have any trouble while in Tijuana, but I was cautious and did not stay long.

Throughout my trip across Canada, it was forty degrees below zero.

I had purchased a goose-down nylon covered jacket with a hood along with heavy gloves and boots. It seemed like the time period between rides took much longer in Canada and I could often see forty-feet high snow drifts as I awaited my next ‘guardian angel’ to pick me up.

Suddenly it occurred to me that, if God had not been watching over me, I could have frozen to death.

After six months, and ten thousand miles of traveling, I finally found my way back down to Florida, relieved that I did not need that goose-down jacket any longer.

In the beginning of my journey I felt lost but, as I continued my travels, my faith and sense of connection with God continued to grow. So much did I feel this that, when I returned to college, I was full of enthusiasm and hope for the future knowing, if the Lord could place so many wonderful people in my path to help me in my trip around the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that I could accomplish just about anything.

Over the years, as I graduated from college, two graduate programs, and establishing my own family, I knew that God was with me, and would never leave me lost in America.

Copyrighted 2006. All Rights Reserved.

Visit our website for seminars on Marriage, Anger Management, and Divorce Recovery.

To contact Dr. Kersey, please visit

Monday, December 05, 2005

Citizens of Another Universe


Dr. Noah H. Kersey, Ph.D.

Over the years, a large volume of literature has been devoted to the structure of the family in America and, prior to the sexual revolution of the late 1960’s, the traditional family unit was comprised of a mother, a father, and children.

However, as the divorce rate has climbed to over fifty-percent, so has the structure of the family evolved into a myriad of single parent families and blended families. Things are not quite so simple as in the days of “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver“.

There is a growing body of work describing the psychological and sociological adjustments of the adoptive family, the adoptee, and to a lesser extent, the birth parents who relinquished their child for adoption either by choice or by unavoidable circumstances.

Interestingly, there has been very little attention paid to orphans who were never adopted.

In the movie "Good Will Hunting", a troubled young man named Will Hunting was an orphan and a genius. From being abused and tortured as a child in various foster homes, he trusted no one.

Will had a tendency to be physically violent and held people at a distance with his biting words and hostile attitude. It was only after he insulted and repelled five prospective therapists that he found his equal and mentor in Sean Maguire, a fellow "Southie" from South Boston. Sean was able to break through Will's psychological defenses because they both had suffered loss and lived with emotional pain.

In the film, “The Cider House Rules”, the lead character Homer was adopted several times only to be returned because he was either too “quiet” for one couple or abused by another.

Therefore, Homer grew up in the orphanage never again to be adopted. Instead, he was trained by the physician who operated the ’home” to be an ’unofficial doctor’ who either provided abortions or helped babies into the world to be adopted.

At one point in the film Homer was trying to provide comfort to another orphan named Curly. It seemed Curly could not understand why prospective adoptive parents who came to ‘look at’ the children in the orphanage never chose him.

Homer explained to Curly that he was “much too special to be adopted by just anyone”. Only a very special family could have Curly. It was never made apparent if Curly ever believed Homer’s attempt to ameliorate the little boy’s pain.

What happens to orphans who are not chosen for adoption? Where do they go? What do they do?

Back in the late 1960’s a considerable number of orphans, upon reaching their late teens, were asked to drop out of school and join the military. It was easier to supervise smaller kids than it was older kids with raging hormones.

Some orphans did drop out of school and worked full-time jobs. Most were drafted and sent off to Vietnam.

Maybe an unknown number of orphans were able to struggle long enough to finish high school. Possibly, there was a smaller group who applied to colleges. Perhaps an infinitesimal number even graduated from college and went on to successful jobs or careers.

The difficulty is the dearth of documentation in regards to how many kids left orphanages without being adopted and were able to lead a productive life. Did they manage to finish their formal education? Did they develop an entrepreneurial acumen to become successful business people? Were they prosperous at love, marriage and parenting?

So very little is known about these individuals and even less is understood about what life was like for them that they might as well have been from another universe.

Would most people who had parents, either by birth or adoption, understand these individuals?

When asked, most cannot imagine life without a family. They have never thought about how it would feel to be alone on Thanksgiving or Christmas, or worse, to be alone on their birthday.

There needs to be more anecdotal research on young men and women who leave orphanages without benefit of a family or a parent to guide them on their pathway to adulthood. Did any succeed, or did most fail? Did they perpetuate the circle of life and create kids only to abandon them to grow up in orphanages themselves?

Maybe they continued in their quest for ‘belonging’ by working their way through college and possibly graduate school. It is possible that some of them could have waited for the right marriage partner to come along and found fulfillment in being a life-long loving spouse as well as a devoted mother or father determined to be all they could imagine, or what God wanted them to be.

It could be enlightening to many to know what it would be like to be a citizen of another universe.

Dr. Kersey has been practicing in the field of mental health since 1977 and has resided in Indiana since 1987. He can be reached through his website at

Visit our Website for seminars for Marriage, Anger Management, and Divorce Recovery.

All Rights Reserved 2005

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Art of CinemaTherapy

What I’ve Learned From The Movies
Dr. Noah H. Kersey, Ph.D.

Growing up in the fifties and sixties, my two favorite things to do were to read comic books and go to the movies at a downtown theatre, which was long before we had video games, personal computers, or DVDs.

I learned from comics that I wanted to be like the superheroes, especially ‘Superman’, because they always helped people who were in trouble. At the theatre, it was like magic, the smell of popcorn and the thrill of escape from the doldrums of reality and into the world of adventure.

Reaching adulthood, I became a Christian and reading my Bible became a high priority. I gained a great deal of comfort reading Proverbs and Psalms. It soothed my fears and helped me feel closer to God, which is something I always wanted. I had my favorite Bible verses, like Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing……” and Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God….”.

However, I still have a fervent passion for movies and I find that when I can’t get someone to read a book for their own personal growth and development, I can always get them to watch a good movie.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from great movies I have seen and what I learned from them:

“It is only at the end of a man’s life when he realizes how important his decisions were at the beginning”.
-The King of Denmark from “The Prince & Me”

The wisdom of this statement hit me squarely between the eyes.

In our youth, we make decisions all the time not giving much thought as to how it will affect us later in life. When we, as elders, try to share some of our hard earned wisdom with our children, they look at us as if we were from another planet.

“Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he’s alive, not after he’s dead”.
-Meyer Wolfsheim from “The Great Gatsby”

This conveys to me that we should not take our friendships for granted. We should honor a friend while they are alive and do things for them now. It is too late, once they have passed away, to show them how much we cared about them in this lifetime.

“Life changes because it has to.”
-from “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”

This is a great reminder for those of us who stay stuck in our ways, or worse, stuck in the past. I have always promoted that we should “learn from the past, live in the present, and hope for the future”. This can be much harder to do than it sounds but, nevertheless, its good advice.

“And don’t forget….. don’t ever forget. You’ve promised to become a new man, Jean Valjean, my brother. You no longer belong to evil. With this silver, I’ve bought your soul. I’ve ransomed you from fear and hatred. Now I give you back to God.”
-Monsignor from “Les Miserables”

When I heard this passage it gave me ‘goose bumps’ because it was so powerful.

I learned that incredible kindness can win over evil and a hardened heart. Jean Valjean spent the rest of his life making sacrifices for others, showing great kindness for his fellow man (and woman). This movie was very inspiring about demonstrating the extreme contrast between human cruelty and human kindness. Ultimately, kindness trumps cruelty in the end.

“You can’t have living without dying. Don’t be afraid of death…… be afraid of the ‘unlived life’”
-Angus Tuck from “Tuck Everlasting”

I found these to be powerful words since so many of us fear death. We can be so overwhelmed with this fear that we forget to enjoy the life that we have. Life is so very short and too precious to waste.

“You got to get busy living or get busy dying”
-Andy Dufresne from “The Shawshank Redemption”

It is easy to allow life’s hardships to paralyze us into immobility where we do nothing and accomplish nothing. In a sense, if we are not busy with life, then spiritually and emotionally, we are dying. Andy chose to get busy living.

“Never wrestle with a pig…… you both get dirty, only the pig likes it”
-from “Good Advice”

From this statement, we learn that we have to be careful with whom we do battle. Some folks thrive on conflict and very little peace can be found in their relationships. We must “avoid loud and aggressive persons, for they are vexations to the spirit” [from the poem, Desiderata].

“I would rather have thirty minutes of ‘wonderful’ than a lifetime of ‘nothing special’.”
-Shelby from “Steel Magnolias”

Even though Shelby was putting her health at risk to have a baby, she still wanted the experience and joy of having a child even if it meant she would not live as long. The desire to procreate and to parent is a very powerful one. I think she made a very profound and cogent argument for having children, or doing something great for a moment rather than to “live the unlived life”.

“My momma always said, ‘you got to put the past behind you before you can move on’.”
-Forrest from “Forrest Gump”

Sometimes we are bogged down by events from our past and it can be difficult to move on with our lives because we can not escape it. Often we do have to deal with our apperceptions, that is, the way we perceive ourselves, the world, and others, based on our earlier emotional experiences.

“Its not who you are underneath, its what you do that defines you.”
-Rachel Dawes from “Batman Begins”

This statement reminds me of the old adage, “you have to be careful about your thoughts because your thoughts become your words. You have to be careful about what you say, because your words become your actions. You have to be careful about what you do, because your actions become your habits, and you have to be careful about your habits because, collectively, your habits become your character.” Your thoughts, words, actions, and habits are behaviors that define who you are and what your ‘character’ will be.

“Now I have no choice….. God put you in my way.”
-Harry from “The Four Feathers”

Often times, God will place people in our path, either to help them, or to have them help us. It is a responsibility that the Lord gives us when someone comes into our lives. We cannot shun that duty.

“You haven’t really lived unless you have something to regret.”
-Dr. Blalock from “Something The Lord Has Made”

We all make mistakes and a part of living is doing things that we regret. I heard this as a strong statement about the human condition of sin. Not that we should set out to do wrong, but that because we are imperfect, we are bound to make mistakes and, hopefully, we will regret those mistakes and ask for forgiveness.

“Every man is going to die……. Its what you do before dying that’s important.”
-from “Vertical Limit”

Another interesting statement about how we live our life that defines us. The message is, don’t waste what time you have. Make the most of living and do things to help other people. This, and God, is what gives our lives meaning.

“Nothing wrong with old age…….. as long as you get there.”
-Julia Sullivan from “Frequency”

Entering into the final stages of our lives is not easy. Aging can be difficult as our bodies begin to breakdown and we cannot do the things that we once did. People who age gracefully with a positive attitude tend to live longer than folks who wallow in self-pity, and negative thinking.

A friend of mine once said that she did not mind growing older, because the “alternative was much worse.” She was right.

So, I have gained much from watching movies. As many people are, I know I am a visual learner.

After twenty-four years of reading books for public school and four colleges, sometimes it’s just nice to lean back and watch a good movie, especially those that will illustrate one of life’s many lessons.

Finally, another of my favorite Bible verses is one that I instructed my wife to someday place on my headstone, at the time of my death. The verse reads:

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
- 1 Timothy 4:7

From movies, or from scripture, there is a great deal about life to learn from watching and reading.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Conquering the Dragon

Controlling the Fear That Controls Your Life
Dr. Noah H. Kersey, Ph.D.

Fear can be a paralyzing force in our lives, but it can also be an invigorating power that drives us to overcome adversity and tragedy that is thrown into our paths.

On March 4, 1933 in his first presidential inaugural speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt asserted his firm belief that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself". Years later, on December 7, 1941 in his "this day in infamy" speech resulting from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he withheld his comments about fear, indirectly admitting that there was much more to fear in life than fear itself.

There are basically two types of fear:

Godly fear is that which protects us from real danger. The fear of standing in front of a speeding bus, or the fear of falling from the tenth floor of a building is an example of God protecting us from real, not imaginary, danger. A healthy respect for this kind of fear is what will keep us alive in a life-threatening situation.

Worldly fear, or neurotic fear, is the powerful apprehension or anxiety about things or events that cannot really hurt us but paralyzes us from being able to function properly in life and separates us from God.

Satan thrives on and delights in our fears, just as he does on other negative emotions such as anger, despair and greed. The forces of evil know that it is difficult for Christians to be able to trust God and be afraid at the same time. Faith in God and fear are negatively correlated in that when one increases, the other decreases.

Imaginary danger is being afraid of something that cannot, in fact, really hurt you. It is what could be referred to as a 'puppy dog' because it poses no threat to your life or health. The fear of darkness, being alone, failure, rejection, are all 'puppy dogs'. They may be unpleasant just as house-breaking a new dog might be, but it will not create any lasting damage in your life, just discomfort.

Real danger can result in very serious emotional, psychological or physical damage to you or your life. Stepping into the path of a speeding car, or falling off a precipitous mountain are very dangerous situations and God programmed us to experience fear of these situations to keep us alive and well.

When we respond to innocuous situations as though they were dangerous or lethal events, then we are responding to the puppy dog as though it were a 'dragon'. This paralyzes us from being all that God wants us to be.

Worldly fear not only separates us from a close relationship with the Lord, but it damages our mental and physical health. Dr. Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic states that fear affects our hearts, circulation, and various glands of our bodies. It can result in our immune system turning on us and doing harm when it should be protecting us from external infections.

The Bible teaches us "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard [or protect] your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" [Philippians 4:6-7]. This scripture is a direct declaration that we are not to be afraid of that which cannot hurt us. According to 1 Peter 5:6-7, we are to humble ourselves under God's protection and He will lift us at the correct time, to cast all our fears on the Lord because he cares for us.

When faced with a troublesome situation, ask, is this a puppy dog, or is it a dragon?

If it is a puppy dog do not overreact and be paralyzed by the situation as if it were a real dragon. Be calm and think through the event and "be anxious for nothing". Face the fear directly and use it as a motivating force to help you strive for success. Pray and ask the Lord for courage.

Courage and faith are what conquers the dragons in our lives.

Courage is the willingness to do something even though we are afraid, and faith is having confidence in the Lord even when you cannot always feel His presence.

Psalm 34:4 states "I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears".

Conquering the dragon is controlling the fear that controls your life.

Dr. Kersey is a licensed psychologist and has been practicing in Indiana since 1987. He can be reached at or through his website

Visit our WEBSITE for seminars on Marriage, Anger Management, and Divorce Recovery.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Where Have All The Families Gone?

Dr. Noah H. Kersey, Ph.D.

My profession allows me the opportunity to interview many individuals, couples and families in the span of a year and, for the past 27 years I have been amazed by the number of people who do not live near their parents or siblings.

There are parents who have moved away from their adult children to take a new job.

There are also the kids who grow up to attend a university, hundreds, if not thousands of miles from home.

Many of these students when they graduate from college tend to go where the new job takes them, even if it means not being near their families or childhood friends.

They may meet and get married to someone who grew up in a completely different part of the country, or someone from another country altogether. They raise their kids in a new location far from their original families and, twenty years later, the cycle begins again.

What happened to the families who stayed together?

In 1919, Dwight D. Eisenhower, then a young Army Colonel, traveled from Washington, D.C. across country to San Francisco over dirt roads and across crumbling bridges in support of a national highway system. It took him two months to accomplish this journey.

Today, you can drive it in three to four days, depending on who is driving.

With the advent of modern commercial aviation, a traveler can board an aircraft and make that same trip in three to four hours depending on which direction the wind is blowing. A good tail-wind will certainly shorten the time to your destination.

We also have electronic mail, or email, to convey our thoughts and pictures of our kids to their grandparents and other family members. Even cell phones allow us to keep in touch from great distances.

We live in a different age and families now have the opportunity to spread around the country, if not the world, due to the advanced technology that we now possess.

But, it has distanced us from our families in geographical terms.

For some this may be a blessing. For the rest of us, it creates a sense of sadness and a feeling of alienation from those with whom we shared our lives.

I believe it is most unfortunate for aging parents.

Those parents who devoted twenty or more years to lovingly raising their progeny, only to lose them to vast distances can experience a lonely stage of life.

I recently met a couple in a small group at my church. The wife was lamenting, rightfully so, about her daughter moving to Florida after marrying a young man she had met at a conference in Virginia. Now, her grandkids were being partly raised by her son-in-laws' parents. This is very painful for her knowing that she will never have the opportunity to see her daughter or grandchildren as often as her son-in-laws' parents do.

I also had the opportunity to interview a couple who had four children. When the oldest two were nearing adulthood, the couple decided to move to Indiana from Ohio, taking the younger two and leaving the elder children behind to start their own families.

Now the two youngest of their children are settled into their lives and families in Indiana and this aging couple have two sets of grandkids, one in Ohio and one in Indiana.

Except in very rural areas there is the impression that most parents have great difficulty keeping the family nearby once the kids reach young adulthood. The very time in their lives they could most enjoy the friendship of their off-spring and the pleasures of helping with their grandkids are missing.

As a Christian and a social scientist, I am not sure if there is a remedy to this problem.

Certainly, inculcating the children with family values and the joys of being close to family might help. It could depend on the individual and how important it is to be near family as an intricate part of their social support network.

I believe that many churches are dedicated to the unification and cohesiveness of the family. Church leaders make a great effort to keep families together, thus the proverbial "family which prays together stays together".

Many churches strive to provide marriage enrichment seminars to ward off the ungodliness of divorce.

However, God also gave us the assignment to go out and multiply, to fill the earth with ourselves.

Today, young adults are very much into independence and this will always be a phenomena to be studied by theologians and sociologists.

For aging parents, it sometimes can be a source of sadness and loneliness.

For Seminars to help families, click on Interpersonal Training Institute of Indiana.

Dr. Kersey is a licensed psychologist who has been practicing in Indiana since 1987 and can be reached by email at Or, visit his website at

The Sons of Noah

A Personal Revelation About Father-Son Relationships
Dr. Noah H. Kersey, Ph.D.

My father was a restless, illiterate, hard drinking man who was the third youngest of fourteen children.

As the story goes, his parents were running out of names when he was born so one of his oldest sisters decided to name him Noah. Probably because of this shortage he did not have a middle name.

I never had the chance to know my father very well. He was never around, but I heard stories of him wandering from job to job and from one town to another finding work on farms, driving trucks, or whatever menial job he could find. With a third grade education, the jobs were usually manual labor and he never stayed long.

As a result of this wanderlust, my father was not present for my birth and therefore my maternal grandmother named me after my absent father along with her maiden name. However, to avoid confusion during the rare moments that my father’s name was ever mentioned, I was called by my middle name. It was only when I became a Christian at the age of twenty-one that all my friends decided to call me by my first name and I have now been called Noah for the past thirty-three years. Since I never liked my middle name anyway, I was quite happy to be called by my first name. It means comfort and rest. Something my father never gave to me.

As I was entering into my ninth year of life, my mother decided that I was too much of a burden for her and sent me to live with my wandering father, who at the time was living with one of his oldest sisters in Swainsboro, Georgia. I never held it against my mother. With her poor education, she couldn’t even take care of herself. How could she take care of a small son?

After a few months of living with my father, he also decided that I was too much of a burden as well. However, the real reason for this decision was that he was having an affair with a one-arm married woman and did not have time for the responsibility of raising a son, so he took me out to a highway one night and left me there on the side of the road with a one-way bus ticket to Tampa, Florida. I guess he was hoping that my mother would accept the responsibility of caring for me.

By the time I made it back to Florida, my mother was living with a man who did not want a little boy hanging around so, she turned me away saying she had no means of taking care of me.

I had no place to go so I spent the next six months living in a dumpster, eating out of garbage cans, stealing bread and milk from porches of nearby homes, and begging for handouts on the streets of a Cuban neighborhood known as Ybor City.

Thankfully, God was watching over me. I was eventually found by a social worker who placed me in an orphanage and I was provided an opportunity that I would never have received had my father kept me. I would have been a restless, illiterate, and hard drinking man just like him, instead of having four college degrees and a profession of helping others deal with suffering in their lives.

It was by the grace of God that I not only survived, but thrived in spite of my parent’s neglect.

Now I have three children who are almost grown. One of them is a son who just finished his first year at his university.

When he was born, his mother gave me the privilege of naming him, so I named him Noah Scott. As he was growing up, we always referred to him as Scott or “Scotty” to avoid confusion.

Since high school he has been going by his first name and now everyone calls him “Noah”. Thus the three generations of men named Noah in our family.

As my kids were growing up, I had no clue what a father was suppose to do or be. The only guidelines I had was what I wanted in a father as a little boy and young man. I so badly craved having a father I would gladly given anything just to have an older man take an interest in me.

Being a movie buff, I was also strongly influenced by the “father-figures” in such classic movies as “Les Miserables”, like the Bishop who saved Jean Valjean from a life of harshness and cruelty by his incredible act of kindness.

I was an attentive father. When I was not in classes working on my graduate degrees or, later, helping people in my practice, I was home playing with my kids, or making things for them.

We had joyous times, especially Scott and I. It wasn’t that I loved him more, it’s just that he and I shared more things in common. He was very bright and liked doing some of the same things I enjoyed. But, more importantly, he favored me over anyone else. He was definitely a “daddy’s boy” and wanted to be with me all the time. However, since I loved all three of my kids equally, I tried very hard to not show any favoritism. I played with my oldest son as well as my daughter and provided all three with my time, attention and affection. In my heart, I knew I was born to be their father.

However, Scott spoiled me. He always chose to be with me. He made me feel like a “hero” because he shared my hobbies as he was growing up and we made special trips together even though I tried to make the same efforts with my other kids. I knew they enjoyed me being their father but they did not have an exhuberance for me the way Scott did.

Scott and I had many wonderful adventures together and, he always seemed grateful to have a devoted father who was typically at his disposal, a buddy, an affectionate, playful father who taught him many things as he was growing up. We even traveled to Spain for an international karate tournament where he earned a silver medal and assisted the U.S. team to an overall championship. There are too many adventures and fun things that Noah Scott and I did to mention here but, they were the greatest years of my life.

However, there is an interesting ending to this story.

A couple of years ago I heard that my father was dying of emphysema and lung cancer which was spreading throughout his chest. He was within weeks or days of dying in a hospital somewhere in South Georgia.

Even though I did not feel any obligation to my father after a lifetime of neglect, I still felt something. I wasn’t sure what it was until I realized that he might not accept Christ as his Savior and I would never see him in heaven.

I quickly started doing research on the internet to find a minister nearby to go to my father’s bedside to witness to him and to urge him to accept Christ before he died. However, before I could find someone, I heard silent words in my head “Do not send a stranger to do what a son can do”. Needless to say, this rattled me to “hear” these words.

I immediately discussed it with my wife, but no conclusion came from this conversation because she knew it would be hard for me to call him and try to witness to a man who never cared enough to be my father.

Again, as I walked down the hall to my office I heard the words “Do not send a stranger to do what a son can do”.

Suddenly I realized that God was trying to tell me that my father may not respond to a stranger, even though a minister, to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ which would save him from eternal separation from God.

Nervously, I picked up the phone and dialed the number I had already found from my internet search. I called the cancer unit and asked for my father explaining that I was his son. They connected me and he answered, sounding weak but fairly alert.

We spoke for a while and when I mentioned that I wanted to thank him for leaving me on the side of that highway so many years before, he did not believe me. I told him that I really meant it from the bottom of my heart and went on to explain that, had he or my mother kept me, I would never have finished elementary school. Because of their selfish act of abandoning their son, they allowed God to provide for me so that I could go on to become a Christian, earn four college degrees, and to become a professional psychologist to help others who were struggling in their lives, relationships and spirituality.

He finally accepted this and I think it even made him realize that maybe he really did do something right even though by societal standards, he was a neglectful, absent father.

Next, I mentioned to him that I had never asked anything of him in my entire life. He agreed. I told him I had a request of him now that he was facing his death in a matter of days.

I could sense from his voice that he was a bit hesitant, not sure of what I would be asking of him. Nevertheless, he said “okay”.

What I said next was that I wanted to be able to see him again someday. I conveyed that the only way I would be able to do this is for him to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. I doubted that he had never heard the gospel before, but I still asked him if he knew what this meant. I went on to review the steps it took for him to be able to have eternal life.

When I stopped, he was silent. Those few moments seemed like hours, but he finally said “yes”. I felt relieved and asked if I could pray for him at that very moment. Again, he said “yes”.

I prayed with him for several minutes asking that he would truly, from the heart, accept Christ as his Lord and Savior. At the end of the prayer, I asked if he would, and he said “yes”. Still a bit skeptical about a man who never could be trusted to be a father to me, I asked him again just to make sure. He responded, “I do”.

I told him “thank you” and we talked a bit longer and then I said my final goodbye.

A few days later, I received word that he passed away in his sleep. I felt sad and grieved for a short while but also felt better knowing that I had given up my quest to ask a stranger to do what God had intended only for me to do. He knew that my father might never listen to someone he did not know, but a son he had abandoned so long ago might be able to reach him.

It was a relief to know I had done the right thing and, it felt good to have forgiven my father.

I am glad I listened to that silent voice.

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