LOPEZ: “The days are flying by,” you write in your chapter on parenthood. Is that among the most important points to consider every day, when looking at every person and every gift you can give them?
HEWITT: Absolutely. I quote David Mamet from my interview with him when his The Secret Knowledge came out: “The afternoons are endless, and the years fly by.” No one believes this in their 20s. Everyone does in their 50s.
LOPEZ: If you could only have one of the seven gifts, which would it be?
HEWITT: Genuine gratitude is the sweetest thing to receive.
LOPEZ: Friendship if one of your treasured gifts in life. How does one develop a “capacity for friendship”?
HEWITT: Awareness of and anticipation of the needs of your friends, from the very basic simple things like some shared time to being there in moments of terrible grief and loss. The capacity for friendship develops by being available for people in your orbit to actually get to know you and for you to get to know them. It takes time. The opportunities for such friendships are declining as the devices in our lives eat up more and more of the time that was even only ten years ago devoted to conversation.
LOPEZ: What’s a “particular friend”? How do you acquire one?
HEWITT: One has to read Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin novels to get the full import of that term, but it is the closest of friends with whom many different and important experiences have been lived, sometimes dangerous, sometimes impulsive, but always memorable.
LOPEZ: As a radio host, what’s your philosophy on cutting off guests?
HEWITT: I have only cut off one guest in 24 years of broadcasting on radio and television, and have only been hung up on four times. All guests are worth the time, because all people deserve respect, even when the debate is heated. Dumping a guest who has made a commitment to call into a show just isn’t gracious. Cutting off crazy callers, well, that is a service to the audience.
LOPEZ: Why did you feel the need to point out that you “know powerful women”?
HEWITT: I think I point out that I have worked for strong women and believe very much that gender is no bar to leadership of any sort.
LOPEZ: What is it that fascinates you about politics and religion?
HEWITT: Charles Krauthammer writes in his new book Things That Matter that “politics are sovereign” in our lives, and he is both right and wrong. Politics is the most important subject for how we live with each other in the here and now, but relationship with God is the most important relationship, given its eternal nature.
LOPEZ: If there were only one thing people walked away from your book considering, what would it be?
HEWITT: That the day they finished it they began a practice of casual encouragement of every person they meet, but especially of their families and closest friends.
— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online.