What I Learned From Art Linkletter's Visit

3/30/2009 09:15:00 AM / Posted by Mike Landry /

Art Linkletter visited our church this past weekend and left an indelible mark on me. I learned so much about what shapes a man’s character and how to LIVE until you die. He was so very personable, positive and likable. At breakfast, he was full of questions – wanting to know about me, my family, and the church where I serve. He was not only inquisitive but his follow up questions showed that he was processing everything he heard and still trying to learn. Wow! I want to be like that NOW, not just when I turn 97 years old.

What’s amazing is that here is a man who is about to turn 97 years old and just gave up snow skiing on black diamond slopes two years ago. He said he’d still be skiing but after a spill on the slope that hurt his knee 2 years ago, his wife gave away all his ski equipment. When he asked why, she replied, “I’d rather be your wife than your nurse.”

Dr. Linkletter spoke for about forty-five minutes and was entertaining, thoughtful, engaging, and focused. He talked about playing college basketball, swimming in the Olympics for the USA, hosting TV shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC, getting to know every president since Woodrow Wilson, as well as serving as a missionary for 20 years with World Vision Ministries. He was probably best known to most people for his TV shows, “House Party” and “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

He amazed us all with his ability to recall all kinds of statistics, dates, names and facts without notes. If you closed your eyes, you’d think you were listening to a 40 year old man who was in his prime. He told us he still lectures at UCLA as a professor of Gerontology.

His wisdom concerning aging was priceless. He was so positive and down to earth. His secret was to “live until you die” and don’t stop a moment earlier. One of his past books summed up this life message with the title, Old Age Is Not For Sissies.

His life has been a model of how pain and suffering mold the character of a person. He told us how he had been abandoned by his teenage parents at birth and adopted by a 50 year old Baptist minister and his wife. He shared, with teary eyes, the tragedy of losing a daughter by suicide, a son in a tragic car accident and then another son at the age of 70 from cancer. He was quick to share how his daughter’s death devastated him and ultimately led to his placing his faith in Jesus Christ.

When asked what he though attributed most to his longevity, he shared a story about a 30 minute meeting in the Oval Office in the White House with President George W. Bush. The president asked him the same question and he told him that he had put together the “OLD GEEZER TEST.” He shared he had devoted much time in the last years of his life to studying this very issue and that the test would reveal one’s odds in becoming an “OLD GEEZER.” The President asked Dr. Linkletter to give him the test while there.

I thought you’d be interested in the quiz, so I’m going to finish this article with the questions that were listed in Art Linkletter’s book, How To Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life (p. 23). The more yes answers you have the more apt you are to become an OLD GEEZER like Art.

1. Do you refrain from smoking?
2. Do you abstain from alcohol consumption? 3. Do you get eight hours of sleep a night? 4. Do you eat a low-fat diet? 5. Do you exercise every day? 6. Do you eat a good breakfast every day? 7. Do you have a sense of humor? 8. Do you have a sense of curiosity about the world? 9. Do you have a passion for what you do? 10. Do you have a happy marriage?

Moving Forward With You.
Pastor Mike

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Comment by RuthieLive on April 4, 2009 at 5:07 AM

I am a born again business woman I loved this!

Comment by Jody Moreen on September 28, 2009 at 9:17 AM

Like Art, I am an adoptee and a born again Christian. Art Linkletter is such a role-model for those who have felt abandoned, rejected and betrayed in life. His testimony articulates that it's not what life has dealt you, but how you ultimately chose to respond to it that determines one's character, attitude and inner peace and joy. Art Linkletter models the surrendered life and so keenly shines a light on the redemptive power of Jesus Christ. I would love to be present to help him celebrate his 100th and enjoy a piece of his birthday cake!
Jody Moreen, facilitator of Adoptees, Birth Parents & Adoptive Parents Together Encouragement Group, Naperville, IL.
Calvary Church

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