We received a nifty little book, called Papa's Pearls which we've been reading after lunch lately. The full title is Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom To His Children and Grandchildren. In the book, Diane Flynn Keith shares stories about her father, Carol J. Flynn, and words and examples of wisdom that he shared throughout his life.
As you would imagine, growing up with the name Carol shaped him into a tough guy. This led to some poor choices, but even what he thought was the worst that could happen to him became a lesson in his life. From that lesson, he went on to teach his children to "push through the fear and make the best of any situation or opportunity that comes along." That's good advice. Carol was a man who learned from his mistakes and kept on on plugging along. He was a man of character and I would like to have known him.
The book is a breath of fresh air, much different than the thin platitudes that have been so popular lately as Pinterest posters. It is full of real examples of real life and helps readers learn real lessons.
It is full of great parenting lessons as well. Diane wrote the book, hoping parents would glean wisdom from it to teach to their own children. I was impressed with a statement Diane's brother said when recalling the time he was caught smoking with friends near a gas meter. He said, "I never feared Papa's reprisal for bad behavior because I always knew the punishment would be fair." That's the kind of consistent parenting I want to impart to my kids. The punishment turned out to be working in the plumbing shop with dad. "If you're old enough to smoke, you're old enough to work." From that punishment, he "learned a lot about plumbing, as well as how to plan his time and activities and how to follow through."
Papa (Carol) left all of his children and grandchildren knowing they were loved, that they were valuable, and that they could do great things. He believed in them and he made sure they knew it. Story after story illustrates his encouragement and his care. He left indelible memories in the lives of his family. I've never met him, of course, but he's left quite an impression on me as well. I've been inspired to slow down and pay attention to the memories I'm leaving with my children. I am so proud of my children and I've worked hard to raise them well. In parenting, 'raising well' includes plenty of correction, done in love. I know my children realize that discipline is born of love, but I don't want them remembering the corrections more than the encouragements. I want to be sure they know that I believe in them. Papa's Pearls has encouraged me to make sure they are secure in that fact.
I've enjoyed Diane's writings for years, via e-newsletters. She is an alternative education specialist and you might want to consider subscribing to her newsletters.
Papa's Pearls is fairly short, just over 100 pages in 17 chapters. I recommend sharing it with the family, a chapter per day as a read-aloud. Skipping weekends, this takes 4 weeks...unless you give in when the kids ask for another chapter. And they will. There were a few small portions that might require some skimming, or some discussion. At one point, a white lie is told over a glass of wine. In another, some unsavory language is used during the collection of a debt. It wasn't intended to be a read-aloud for younger children, but with some supervision, it can be.
You can purchase a copy, autographed by the author for $14.97. Or you can purchase the book at a lower rate through amazon as a paperback or in Kindle format.