Sarah at 13
"Hi, my name is Sarah Schriner. I'm 13 years old and I have spent a lot of time on the road with my family.
I have been in every state, except Alaska and Hawaii, at least three times.
My favorite places are the headwaters of the Mississippi at Lake Itasca in Minnesota, and Pacific Grove, California, where the monarch butterflies winter every year. I also like to visit various friends' places around the country, including anywhere there are horses. I love horses.
When we are on the road, apart from home school and doing lots of reading, I like to spend time playing with my little brother Jonathan, 3.
Dad also calls me his "First Assistant." This involves going with him to interviews and talks, taking notes sometimes, photocopying information and passing out flyers.
Back home in Cleveland, Ohio, I enjoy taking piano lessons, singing in the St. Patrick's Choir, playing soccer, and spending time with my relatives. I especially like working with my aunt Kathy in her bakery. And I like gardening in our backyard with Mum.
I also volunteer with my family at a drop-in center for the homeless a couple times a week. I serve food, hand out toothpaste or socks, and just hang out with people.
I think my father has good ideas for America and I hope he becomes president because he wants to end things like the death penalty, abortion, pollution and poverty." --Sarah
Sarah at 6
Sarah, 6, loves nature.
On the "big trip," as she likes to call it, through America, she has hiked part of the Appalachian Trail in Connecticut, walked the desert in New Mexico, swam in the ocean off of Florida...
When home, she particularly likes to work in the garden with Mom.
Her favorite plants are sun flowers. And this last year, she planted a number throughout the garden.
Now, when we're out traveling, Sarah passes some of the sun flower seeds on to those we meet along the way -- so they, too, can experience a little more of God's smile.
Sarah at 15
Our Sarah, 15, is the starting point guard for a basketball team, a staunch pro-life advocate, a Catholic Worker who regularly helps the poor and, well, a teenager who is helping accelerate her dad'’s balding process.
Sarah learned to play basketball with the guys on the courts of urban Cleveland. In all that, she developed quite a shot, is a great ball handler (although she still needs a little work going left) and she got tough, real tough.
So tough, in fact, that in her first game in a girl’s home schooling basketball league, she got three fouls called on her in the first two minutes of the game. By the third foul, Sarah looked at the ref as if: ‘What’s up? They’re not bleeding or anything.’
At the coach’s behest (he called time out and told her she wasn’t allowed to touch anyone, for the rest of the season), Sarah toned her aggressiveness down a notch and went on to have quite a year.
But she hasn’t toned her aggressiveness, or rather ‘passion,’ down when it comes to standing up for life. As we travel, we regularly stand in solidarity with people protesting in front of abortion clinics and Sarah is right there on the front line pleading with women not to go in. She has a real gift when it comes to connecting with these women, especially young women.
In a talk at St. Patrick’s School in Phenix City, Alabama, Sarah told the students that life is the most precious of things and we must be a voice for all the little ones who have no voice.
And as the unborn have no voice, the poor on the margins of society have little voice as well. Sarah has grown up around Catholic Workers who are continually trying to help those on the margins in the cities of our country.
Sarah has regularly served at the various outreaches we'’ve volunteered at. And more, she has befriended a good number of these people over the years. Her easy smile and sincerity go a long way in breaking down barriers.
And this concern for the poor started early on in her life. At a campaign stop in Savannah, Georgia, during Campaign 2000, Sarah and I were walking through the downtown area when we saw a man in disheveled clothes sleeping on some building steps.
Sarah, then three and a half, asked me what was wrong with the man. I told her he was homeless. Sarah then got almost frantic, tugging at my shirt and exclaiming: “Daddy, Daddy, we gotta find him a home!”
How do we end the homelessness in America? Everyone become three and a half years old again. And somehow, Sarah has, indeed, been able to stay three and a half in her heart.
Not necessarily in her body though, which brings us to my hair falling out.
Of late, Sarah has been talking (and talking, and talking…) about driving, pierced ears and, well, boys. I on the other hand, like with most other average Joe fathers with a special daughter like Sarah, am in denial about the whole thing. (Although the hair falling out would seem to indicate I’m not in total denial.)
One day, in a fit of exasperation about all this, Sarah not so much asked, as said: “You just don’t want to see me grow up, do you?”
“That’s so totally (That’s what the kids say these days: “so totally”) wrong Sarah,” I responded. “By the way, don’t you think your doll Katie could breathe better if she was on your bed and not in your dresser drawer?”
North Atlanta (GA) Christian Flight Basketball League highlights, Sarah Schriner #20
Sarah in Sarahsville, Ohio. We had to stop.
At yet another country store, at yet another small town stop. Sarah age 11.
"Daddy, Daddy, we got to..."