Longtime pro-am player writes prescription to heal children killing children

dlauderdale@islandpacket.comApril 16, 2014 

Dr. Bob Saul had a lot on his heart as he played Wednesday in his 22nd pro-am at the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

He's worried about children.

Specifically, he's worried about children killing children.

Since last year's event, the Upstate pediatrician has translated his concern into a book he hopes can help parents nurture better citizens.

The tipping point for Saul came 15 years ago this Sunday when the nation was rocked by the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado.

In far away Greenwood, Saul wondered: "How could I possibly make a difference?"

He was already trying. He was a Rotarian, head of the chamber of commerce and a faculty member at the Greenwood Genetic Center.

There, he worked on the cutting edge of mankind grasping the causes, treatment, and prevention of birth defects. And there he lived out the dream of the late James C. Self Jr., who supported the genetics research center personally and through the Self Family Foundation.

Oddly enough, as the doctor moves around Harbour Town Golf Links, he is living out another dream of Jim Self. Self also was ahead of the curve in bringing golf to Hilton Head Island. He convinced Sea Pines founder Charles E. Fraser that his first golf course should be a high quality course of 18 holes. Self sent his Greenwood Mills employees down to help build it. And a Self family company remains heavily involved in the community as owner of Palmetto Dunes Resort and other properties.

But Saul's quandary of how to stop children from killing children was harder to solve than a slice off the tee.

As he wrestled with it, he was moved by 12 key words from futurist Leland Kaiser. He quotes Kaiser as saying: "For anything that happens in our community, each of us as individuals needs to say, 'I am the problem, I am the solution, I am the resource.' "

Saul's solution resulted in columns for the Greenwood newspaper. They now have been massaged into a book called "My Children's Children: Raising Young Citizens in the Age of Columbine."

And although Saul is a pediatrician -- now medical director of general pediatrics at Children's Hospital and the Greenville Health System -- he says his book is not meant to preach at parents. It is more like his diary.

His thoughts have evolved into five steps to community improvement: Learn to be the best parent you can be, get involved, stay involved, love others and forgive others.

"Healthy children (physically, mentally, educationally, financially and socially) are good citizens," Saul writes. "Good citizens care for one another and their community -- the hallmark of a democratic society.

"Healthy children are our future, and our way to honor our fallen children everywhere."

Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.

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