How Love Changes Lives: Raising a Princess

Phyllis Lifestyle, People 8 Comments

My friend John Croyle is the founder of the Big Oak Ranch. Rising to recognition as an All-American defensive end at the University of Alabama during head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s tenure, John had to decide whether to play professional football or to start a children’s home. In August 2014, John and Tee Croyle will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Big Oak Ranch and celebrate the lives of 1,900 children who have come to know faith, family, and love as a result of the works God started in John.

Raising a PrincessJohn and Tee were not yet married when he first opened the ranch, and Tee recounts with a smile that three or four of the young boys who lived at the ranch would accompany them on dates. Tee married John with a ready-made family in many ways. She and John have two children, Brodie Croyle and Reagan Croyle Phillips, who have taken leadership roles at the Big Oak Ranch in the later years.

Based on his life and experiences parenting more than 1,900 abused and neglected children after founding Big Oak Ranch, John’s book Raising a Princess: Eight Essential Virtues to Teach Your Daughter begins with the end in mind. The end is the Proverbs 31 woman. John shares parenting techniques to help the reader raise a princess who will someday be a queen.

Raising a Princess is a fabulous book. I know many of the beautiful young ladies who have lived at the ranch, and it is amazing how love changes lives.

I began the Auxiliary of the Big Oak Ranch several years ago along with several women. I just knew that this wonderful organization needed an auxiliary to help provide clothes and perks for the kids. We also provide support to the dedicated house parents that are working there as well. I could write pages about the wonderful things we have experienced at the ranch. One of my favorite memories was taking Paula Deen there to see the ranch. She was kind enough to speak at a fund-raiser for the Auxiliary, and she fell in love with these wonderful children.

I am sure you have already discovered that my heart is for children. This book would make a great gift for anyone raising a young lady today. John has committed all the book proceeds to the ranch.

If you would like a copy of this book or the book on raising boys, please visit their website:

Comments 8

  1. Phyllis, you continue to inspire me by being involved in so many good things. I can only imagine the good work that the Big Oak Auxiliary does! I guess the old saying is true; when you want something done, ask a busy person.

  2. Thank you for sharing this with me…I have a “Princess Granddaughter!!” and will be ordering this book for all of us (mom,dad and of course me!!! In today’s world it can be very scary for young adults and for the parents raising them..So thank you again for helping us to help our “Princess”..

  3. Thanks, Phyllis, for sharing this. Also, many thanks for having the vision of an Auxiliary for Big Oak. It has provided an avenue for so many of us to be able to have a small part in loving the wonderful kids that call Big Oak home. If any of your readers would like to join with us, we would love to have them. They can see what we are all about and join by going to

  4. I have worked in the office of Big Oak Ranch in recent years & I felt blessed being able to work in this wonderful place. I was in a store in Spanish Fort AL yesterday and looked down by the register to see a display of John’s books. Made me smile to remember all that is being done to help innocent children.

  5. This true story is so uplifting and fills me with gratitude for what John (and Tee) have and still continue to do for young people. God bless them always!
    I will be ordering this book today.

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