Last year a friend from college (Thee GREAT Morgan State University) published a book about the lessons he’s learned from his father throughout his life. I knew when it was released that I would be supporting simply because he was someone I knew from school, and he was doing something positive.
I was not disappointed with my purchase and support of author and self-development mentor, Carlos J. Avent.
About the Book: 10 Extraordinary Lessons from an Ordinary Dad is about Carlos’ experience growing up with his father in Baltimore City and the lessons he advertently and sometimes inadvertently taught him from childhood through adulthood. Carlos’ goes into lessons he’s learned about love and respect, the importance of discernment, self-control, and personal effort to name a few.
At the end of each chapter, there is a reflection question and space to reflect on the reading and the connections you as a reader made. The writer and reflector in me loves this!
What stood out most for me is Carlos’ openness and honesty about his experience with his relationship with his parents and peers growing up in a place like Baltimore City, especially in the eighties and nineties. He does not paint his father as a perfect human being without flaws but lets the reader know the struggles along with the lessons that he sometimes didn’t understand as a young man. You can feel the sincereness as you read, making the book that much more relatable.
I had a chance to ask Carlos a few questions about his writing, and here are his responses:
Chanee’ Robinson: The beginning of your book really struck me. You say that growing up with a father in the home was not the norm and people were shocked to find you lived with your Dad and that your mom would even get questions about it. When did it really hit you, the impact of growing up in a two-parent home in Baltimore City and just how different that was growing up? Was there a moment that stood out to you?
Carlos A: It was around my early teen years that I noticed that me being in a two-parent household impacted me differently than my friends who just had their mother or was living with their grandmother/grandfather or an aunt/uncle. I started to notice what I at that time, perceived as “freedom.” They didn’t have the same restrictions that I had. As a teen, I felt like I was missing out and couldn’t understand why my parents were so strict. As an adult now with a daughter, I see why. They were protecting me from what those same friends are struggling with in adulthood; Those that lived to see adulthood.
Chanee’ Robinson: How did your Dad react to the idea of the book? Reaction after reading and finding out the content and things shared about your life growing up?
Carlos A: I told him about my intention to write a book back in 2015. We were just having a conversation about his father and how he now sees himself doing some of the same things his father did. I never met my grandfather; he died before I was born. So, in that moment, I decided that I wanted to capture the relationship I had with my Dad. After three years of writing a little bit, brainstorming a little bit, secretly noting or recording conversations with my Dad to ensure accuracy, I finally published in June of 2018 and gave the book to him as a Father’s Day gift. Some things he said he didn’t remember but was amazed that I remembered and held on to it for so long. He did his best not to cry, but he cried at my book signing the following month.
Chanee’ Robinson: Did you reach out to your Dad for his input throughout the planning and writing process?
Carlos A: I definitely did, but I wouldn’t tell him why I was asking. He also never asked why we just both enjoyed having the convo and reminiscing. I would usually disguise the “interview” as just simple conversation over a game of chess. However, I managed to get the most intel when we took an eight-hour road trip to North Carolina for his brother’s funeral. You can uncover a lot in eight hours. But that was when I got a lot more of his “why” for being the Dad that he was and still is.
Chanee’ Robinson: How did you narrow down to just ten lessons?
Carlos A: I originally had 17 lessons. I’m holding on to the other seven for future blogs. But I narrowed it down to 10 by thinking what would be the most effective, necessary, and powerful lessons that a fatherless child would need today. I based that on the lessons that impacted me the most and had more of a lesson to be learned and less of “oh that’s a funny story” feel to it. Also, as you know, the writing process comes with marketing research and research tells us that readers love books that are “how-to,” “quick ways to,” or books that have a numerical list 10 or less. So, it was a win-win for me.
Chanee’ Robinson: Why is this book so needed at this time?
Carlos A: I think this book is needed at this time because somehow, we have to break the cycle. Fatherless homes damage is so much more than most actually know. Fatherless children are more likely to be violent, more likely to be incarcerated, more likely to live in poverty as a child and adult, and more likely to indulge in some sort of substance abuse. All of these are lifelong impacts on a child that didn’t ask to be here but did ask for a father’s love. So, I wrote this with them in mind and with the intent of sharing my father with them.
Contact Carlos directly for copies of his book and all his endeavors and work in the community: