* Dr. Robert A. "Bob" Saul was a senior clinical geneticist and training program director at Greenwood Genetic Center where he worked from 1979 to 2013.
Saul now serves as medical director, General Pediatric at Children's Hospital in Greenville Health System.
Dr. Robert A. "Bob" Saul felt that same tugging in his
heart and mind.
What could he
do to make a difference, to possibly prevent another Columbine?
As a pediatrician and a parent himself, Saul knows by the time someone reaches the age of the Columbine shooters (and older, of course), it is too late to effect change in that person's heart and mind.
Prevention, like child-rearing, starts at the very beginning.
It must be in an individual's root system, not when he
has long since branched out and sprouted mature leaves.
SAUL DISCERNED "community improvement efforts needed to be re-doubled.
That alone was not enough, however, and Saul
became determined to add a component - promote good citizenship.
And so, in 1999, Saul
embarked on a mission of sorts.
While working at Greenwood Genetic Center
developed what he
calls the Five Steps and began producing guest columns for the Index-Journal
In short, those steps are: learn to be the best parent you can be, get involved, stay involved, have love for others and forgiveness.
From those Five Steps, Saul
produced about 165 columns that were published in this newspaper.
did not envision producing that many columns.
In fact, Saul
did not even initially envision writing any column after Columbine.
"Kids killing kids didn't make sense," he
said during a recent interview.
The Five Steps, as outlined in those columns, is what sprang forth, what made sense as he
struggled with making a difference in his
community, in children's lives, in parents' lives.
Late last year, those columns came to be the foundation and structure for a book Saul
published through Amazon's self-publishing arm.
gave birth to "My Children's Children: Raising Young Citizens in the Age of Columbine" late last year.
"Probably when I got around 100-plus columns, I thought I should put it in a book," Saul
"Len Bornemann (former Greenwood Chamber director and this year's inductee into the Chamber's Hall of Fame) suggested a book - like a devotional."
THAT WAS SEVERAL YEARS back, but in 2012 Saul
began the journey of giving his
vast material an overview and of deciding not only the content of the book, but also how to construct it.
It became a parenting book, Saul
said, but "not a typical parenting book.
The book takes readers beyond the realm of being good parents and into the larger, more comprehensive world of "wanting our children to be good citizens," he
"I wanted it to be conversational, so it would make sense with folks with varying degrees of literacy," Saul
"I didn't want something that looked like a master's thesis."
Readers who are familiar with Saul's many guest columns in this newspaper no doubt recall how he
always summarized what he
called those "the take-home message."
True to form, each chapter has a "take-home message.
Saul said those summaries stem from his physician side as he always wants to ensure the discussion between the doctor and patient is clear and understood.
is pleased with how the book finally came together, too.
"My goal was to get on Oprah's (Winfrey) couch," he
joked, "but she
took it away" when she
network show and launched her
cable channel, OWN.