As I looked out the window into the Spring morning sun light, all I could do was hope that the call I was on would be over soon. It was around 10:00 am on a beautiful morning and I was on another conference call to put out another fire. As I watched the children play a little while on the call I started wondering just what I was doing always on the phone and busy. This was not the first call of the weekend and I knew as an Incident Manager "as ITIL would coldly label me", it would not be my last. Then my daughter came and asked me to go outside and blow a dandelion with her, and I knew I could not, and I said what any father in my position would, "In a little bit dear, when I'm off the phone". She smiled and went away, while I stayed and worked in what would become an all day affair of calls and problems that was "just part of the job I do.."
So during my child's next birthday I reached back to what had happened and actually wrote about a little girl who comes and asks a father to spend some time with her on a perfect spring day, and as you can guess, in the story the dad who is cutting the grass stops and takes the time from what he is doing and goes and picks flowers with his daughter.
And in this story, the little girl does not know all about dandelions and their wish power, so the father takes the time to explain to her. When the little girl tries for the first time, she takes a large gasp of air and blows and all the petals fly off into the air except for one, then as the story goes, a magical wind helps blow the final petal off and this of course enables the girl to make a wish. As the petals float out over a green field with back drops of a mountain valley, "which was very nicely illustrated and one of my favorite pages", the father asks the little girl what she wished for? The little girl then whispers in his ear and tell him that she wished that they would do it all again the next day. The father does not say yes for she is not asking him, but humbly letting him know the answer to his question. The father then smiles in foreshadowing and the very next day the little girls wish comes true.
During the illustration of the first book, we also wanted to put in some Christian values in and do so softly so if you look closely at the illustrations you will notice that in the opening pages the house that the little girl lives in address is John's Place and the number on the mailbox is 316. So there you have JOHN 3:16 which for if the reader needs a refresher it states "For GOD so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.". I could not think of anything more special than to say this child's house is his house in a greater way. Then as I was looking for something else that was just right, I asked Nadine my publisher for a verse and she suggested Ecclesiastes 3 and it was perfect! If you are needing a refresh or don't know what the meaning is, its passage states that "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens"
The next question now was, "where to put it.." So after seeing some of the illustrations it became obvious that a great place for the short abbreviation of the passage, which is ECC 1, could be unassumingly placed on the licence plate of the car parked in the house! We all had a little fun with this idea and I plan on doing it again in our follow-up "A Dandelion Girl At The Beach" if I can work it in, if I can't we had some other fun ideas to put items in and do so in the same fun manner. The last item we added was in the illustration that I spoke of before in the scene when the child and father are calmly watching the petals float away. During the scene you can see the small petals float in the blue sky, and if you look with an open mind you can make out clearly a cross constellation in the sky, which really make this peaceful image more special. All these things once the are noticed are fun to share, as other children who have seen the hints, can and will ask friend to find them and talk more about them which is also of course very gratifying to our family.
So after writing the story though,I have made it a point to spend more important time with my daughter, and her younger sister, and my son and wife. It is hard, but it really boils down with the desire to do so and be there more. It is not easy being good Mom or Dad, and sometimes if your own parents did not share a lot of "camera moments" with you, you might not think of them, and appreciate the importance until it's too late, something this story can share. I know the Moms out there are a little better at this than us guys, but that is why I believe the book is important.
I hope this book and my others are shared with young fathers who maybe are looking or not looking for a some advice on fatherhood from one who has already lived through the issue. It is not to say that Moms and Dads don't have a wonderful start of the important things to do. Its a nice reminder of whether at home, at work or at home doing work, it notes the importance of a father or mother to stop and take the time with a child to do some of the small things, and they will be amazed and surprised what they will get back. The gift one gets back is of a child's love and it is truly one of the most important gifts that can be offered! In fact, a child wanting to share their love with you is just that much more special and should "of coarse" not be taken for granted and always appreciated as much and as often as possible!
Christopher Jude is a children's book writer and blogger, husband and father living in Atlanta, Georgia