The Wisdom of Midland

March, 2, 2009
3/02/09
4:56
PM ET

Norm Van Lier died last week.

In 1994, Ben Joravsky published a tremendous Chicago Reader profile of Van Lier.

For instance:

Van Lier was born in Midland, Pennsylvania, in that working-class steel-mill and coal-mine section of eastern America that produced such sports legends as George Blanda, Mike Ditka, Dick Allen, Doug Buffone, and Joe Namath.

It's important to mention all of this, as stereotypical as it sounds, because Van Lier mentions it so much himself. "It was the upbringing that made me who I am," he says. "I take crap from no one. Yet I respect you. I respect tradition. I was raised in the kind of family where they expected us to come home from school on time and eat dinner together, respect your elders and don't talk back. No matter what kind of foolishness I did, I told my father the truth. I've never run from what I've done. That's a code I live by and I learned it in Midland."

Parents everywhere are thinking: I would buy a parenting guide written by Norm Van Lier's parents.

Well worth reading the whole story.

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