It’s no surprise that my love of reading as a child has turned into a love of writing. My one regret is that I waited so long to become an author. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do.
Speaking of catching up, my wife and I had very little luck having children early in our marriage. We adopted after 15 years of marriage and then, in 2008, after 23 years of marriage, we welcomed our first infant into the world. My wife had a very healthy pregnancy for a woman in her mid-forties and we welcomed a 9-pound baby girl into the world. This event is one that has solidified our family and has been one of the best events of my life.
Our little girl is ten now and she is maturing in her reading very quickly. She has also caught onto the fact that I write books. She has been to author events with me and has been bitten by the writing bug. I couldn’t be happier.
I also have a two-year-old granddaughter that loves to be read to and loves to scribble in notebooks (fingers crossed).
A couple of years ago, my daughter came to an author event that I was participating in and brought one of my books with her and asked me to sign it. She wanted me to sign it with ‘Don Massenzio’ and then put ‘Daddy’ in parentheses. I nearly choked up when she came to me one morning and said she read one of my short stories and really liked it. The story was Lucy’s Christmas Miracle – a story about a dog named Lucy that protects a runaway child. I had a cover designed for this story and the graphic artist had never seen my daughter, but the cover he produced depicted a little girl that looked eerily like her.
Also, two years ago, we collaborated on her very first children’s book, The Scary Tower of Doom. I had to talk her out of her original title, The Evil Tower of Death, and we had to tone down the people getting eaten by dragons. She has participated at book signings and has successfully sold out her print inventory several times. She has another book in the works, but this one is a longer chapter book.
As she finishes up 5th grade and heads into 6th, I’m doing everything I can to encourage her writing. Just because I started late with my own writing ventures doesn’t mean that she can’t be an early starter. I always use the example of my niece who had a book published as a child and is now a well-respected high school English teacher.
In 2nd greade, we started integrating writing with her school work. Her teacher gives her spelling and vocabulary words each week. We’ve taken her list of words and I’ve asked her to write a story using the words she was assigned. She has enjoyed this and worte several little stories.
In school she has a writing notebook and she has been diligently writing stories all year. She approached me the other day and asked if we can turn her notebook into a real book of children’s stories over the summer. Of course, I was very enthusiastic about helping her do this. It should be fun and I can’t wait to see her face when she holds that first printed book in her hand with her name on it.
When you think of leaving your children a legacy, it doesn’t have to be financial. If you can inspire them to do something like reading or writing, you have succeeded as a parent. Studies have proven that avid readers are smarter and more successful. They also make better learners. The world is a competitive place and if I can instill these literary habits in my daughter, I will be more confident about her future.
So, my fellow authors with children, take the time to inspire them and lead by example. Your children will grow up to be better people and you could not ask for a better legacy.