When I was young, my dad left for a while. He didn’t want to go, and I didn’t want him to go either, but it was out of our control. My father and I spent nearly a year apart. As a child, that felt like a lifetime.
Before he left, my dad selected a few of my favorite storybooks, and took them to a park. He sat beneath a tree and filmed himself reading the books aloud to me. As he read, you could see sorrow so clearly in his eyes. Reading those books was a painful admission that he would have to leave.
I watched that video countless times while he was away, and continued to watch it for years after he returned. It connected us when no other connection could be made. It helped him continue to be my loving dad, even though he wasn’t physically there with me.
Unfortunately, my story isn’t unique. Across our country, there are dads separated from their families. Whether they’re serving courageously in our military, or perhaps facing different obstacles, nothing can replace the presence of these men in their families’ lives.
I want to help.
Daddy Read a Book connects families faced with separation, just like my dad connected with me. We meet with dads prior to their departure, and spend time filming them while they read their children’s favorite books aloud. Beautiful, high-definition video and sound quality enhance the experience. The DVD and digital video file that we provide the family allows them to watch as many times as they want, wherever they want.
I envision siblings gathered before bedtime, watching their father read, just as if he’s right there with them. I envision a little girl watching on an iPad, returning a good-night kiss to her daddy on the screen. I envision a little boy smiling at his dad on a smart phone as his mom navigates traffic.
Let us be heroes for children who are separated from their dads. For those dads who have sacrificed precious years to serve, let us give them a way to be home.
Chris Cottrell – Summer, 2012