Fresno Bee Newsroom Blog

At age 85, former Fresno Co. Supervisor Stan Oken pens parenting book

Clovis resident Stan Oken has accomplished quite a bit in his 85 years of life.

A nine-year Fresno County supervisor. Co-founder of Domus Mitis, a foundation set up to assist in the care of abused and dependent women and children. Longtime chair of the Oken family-owned Wonder Valley Ranch Resort and Conference Center. Past chair of the Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau. Teacher. Coach.

Stan Oken

Now, add author to that sterling résumé.

Oken has penned a book titled “Raising the Whole Child: Gardens of Destiny,” which talks about raising children and urges adults — be their children natural or adopted, or if they are foster parents — to step up and start parenting.

Using gardening as a metaphor, Oken writes that good gardeners raise whole children, while the seeds of the bad gardeners never bloom.

He even offers up a checklist that any couple should meeting before deciding to have a baby: be at least 21 years old, married, have at least a high school diploma, be free of drugs and alcohol, be prepared both socially and financially, have positive self-esteem, be educated about pre-natal care for the mother and health care for the child, and have both mother and father take parenting classes.

For anyone who knows Oken, the book may be a surprise, but certainly not the subject matter.

During his time as a county supervisor, children’s and juvenile justice issues were top priorities. And Oken has been a foster parent himself and founded the River Way Ranch Camp, a summer camp for youth.

Activist author stops in Fresno on book tour

Author Bill McKibben, who is an award-winning journalist and a climate activist, will speak Saturday at Fresno City College as part of his latest book tour.

The free event starts at 7 p.m. in the Old Administration Building Auditorium, and it is part of the Beth Ann Harnish Memorial Lecture Series. The new book, titled “Oil and Honey,” focuses on the personal and global fight for sustainability on the planet.

McKibben is the author of more than a dozen books about the environment. He won the 2013 Sophie Prize in Norway and the 2013 Gandhi Peace Prize.