Ronald Reagan was the President of my childhood. I was still quite young when he was President, but I fondly link him to those early, impressionable days. I didn't understand policy back then, but I could discern between authenticity and phoniness. Reagan passed the test. We had a picture of him in our home and I think I assumed that in some way he was a family member. I still kind of feel that way.
Perhaps my most poignant memory of Reagan was praying for him each night. My family prayed for him and I remember praying for him individually. I continued this practice through Bush I, but stopped in the Clinton years; partly because I was then a cynical teenager and partly because I didn't know if my prayers would matter on him. I admit; not a great attitude and now I encourage my children to pray for Obama and the Country as a whole. If nothing else, it teaches them about agency - one of God's greatest gifts.
My true appreciation for Reagan's policies has developed over the last decade. Most importantly, I relish his belief in the power of the individual! As I read and watch videos of speeches I am touched by his love for this Country and his distain for evil. He was a gentleman, but he wasn't timid. He had fight, but it didn't seem mean or malicious. He had a light-hearted manner that I find remarkable given the things he dealt with.
In the end, Ronald Reagan will always be the President of my childhood. And he will always feel like Grandpa Ronnie to me. I won't ever look for the "next" Ronald Reagan, because I don't believe there are men like him anymore, but I certainly hope there are many men & women who adopt his belief in the individual, his integrity and authenticity.
This is one of my favorite Reagan videos, which shows his great gift of humor: