By Michael J. Brooks
Former Miss Alabama Amie Beth Dickinson Shaver said recently on “Priority Talk” that children need to know they’re heard and adults will walk with them wherever God leads.
“It is our obligation, our job, to help our kids serve God,” she told host Greg Davis during a Nov. 18 broadcast on WXJC radio. “We tell them, as my husband says, ‘Give God your yes, then He will fill in the blanks.’”
Shaver became Miss Alabama in 1994 after being named Miss Samford University, and she said loving parents inspired her to seek the Lord in her life.
“I was born in Hershey, Pennsylvania, but I was brought to Birmingham as an infant,” she related. “My 17-year-old birth mother made a decision, and I was adopted by a great Christian family who raised me to love God. My mom taught me the promise of Jeremiah 29:11, that God had a good plan for my life.”
The pageant years
Shaver said she prayed to receive Christ at age four.
“I knew exactly what I was doing,” she declared, “but I grew more committed in my faith at age 21 or 22 during the Miss Alabama pageant years, when I had to stand before school groups to talk about adoption, my platform, and about character and hope. I had to depend on God.”
Shaver noted she was never a “pageant girl,” but grew interested in the Miss Alabama organization when she was young.
“This program will surprise people,” she said. “The young women are motivated, and high caliber. They’re sharp, grounded and have testimonies of faith. Many go on to be doctors and dentists and to enter other professions like this.”
Shaver continues her work as special events chair for the Miss Alabama organization.
Noting God provides mentors to help parents in their task of formative leadership, Shaver said, “I had pastors and a group of godly women who helped me learn to trust God more. We really mess up when we try to do it our way.”
She illustrated her commitment to inspiring children with a story about her son, Will.
“We were walking through his school and Will, only four at the time, told me he wanted to play basketball one day,” she recalled. “A lady overheard and told me, ‘You can’t let him think that way.’ I disagreed. I think we must help our kids fulfill their dreams.”
Will visited the University of North Carolina June 1 and signed with the school basketball program on June 2. The family made plans to put him in prep school this year but UNC asked him to come early, so the 6’ 11’’ Will moves to the school next month.
“He’s taller than his dad who’s six-feet-nine,” Shaver said with a laugh. “Chris played for Birmingham Southern in his college days.
“We’re excited about Coach Hubert Davis, who’s the ‘real deal.’ He’s a believer and has an incredible wife. So how can we ever doubt the Lord?”
Shaver talked about a new writing assignment with the Alabama Policy Institute’s “1819 News” where her column is published every Wednesday.
“I knew I wanted to be in communication,” she explained. “I interned for [API] after college and was happy to help them with this new endeavor. It’s humbling when God allows you to do something like this and gives you the opportunity.”
Davis referenced Shaver’s Nov. 17 column entitled, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” about school administrators and parents.
“Parents in many places have been disrespected by school officials,” she said. “I think this accelerated during the COVID-19 quarantine when parents saw Zoom sessions and textbooks and heard teacher comments. They came to school board meetings to be heard, and sometimes the mics were turned off.
“We fund our children’s education, and we have the right to be heard. I think we need to stand there and talk even when they cut off the mics!”
Shaver noted that homeschooling has been on the increase, which she believes is an indication of more parental involvement in education.
“In the spring of 2020, about 6% of students were homeschooled, but by the fall, it was 11.5%,” she said. “And it’s been even more dramatic in the African-American family where the numbers grew from 3.5% to 16%.”
Shaver was one of seven candidates for the Alabama House of Representatives District 43 in 2014 and placed second in a primary run-off election.
“Our churches and Christians need to know the issues and get involved for liberty and life,” Shaver urged. “I’d like to see church groups travel to Montgomery and observe our legislature. We need to be heard by those who represent us.”