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Mr. Crews concludes with a challenge to his children: Don’t get in touch until you have turned your lives around.

The email was released (with permission) by one of Mr. Crews‘ daughters. She thought it would help publicize a book on which she is working, so hey, maybe all his children aren’t complete losers. At least one of them knows the art of exploitation.

But the sordid saga of the email and the aftermath of family turmoil it has revealed is apparently uncomfortably familiar to older parents around the world.

Mr. Crews has questioned, in media interviews, whether his parenting is to blame for the lack of industriousness and fidelity he perceives in his children. He said the permissiveness he showed was the trend when they were young.

Yes, he was away on a naval vessel for much of the time, but he thinks perhaps when he was home he should not have been so indulgent.

I have the span of only a column, so I’ll take Mr. Crews at his word. He could have done better, and he should have.

For the sake of his grandchildren, Mr. Crews decided “better late than never” and raised the bar of expectations for his adult children in an effort to stop the cycle of underachievement and immaturity.

His strategy may not work on his own children, but just imagine how many other families his viral message is reaching.

Someone just might listen.

Marybeth Hicks is the author of “Don’t Let the Kids Drink the Kool-Aid: Confronting the Left’s Assault on Our Families, Faith and Freedom.” Find her on the Web at http://marybethhicks.com.