(Gary Hopper is a father who placed his son in a program that is part of the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs (WWASP).)
The author had been successful in his career, steadily moving up the corporate ladder. Along with that, he believed success as a father and husband was measured in income and being the supreme breadwinner. He was very successful in managing, negotiating and utilizing leadership skills at work, but admits, he wore blinders that prevented him from applying those same skills at home.
Now, he recognizes that one result of his blinders was the necessity of placing his son in a behavioral modification program. He now realizes that if he knew then what he knows now, things might not have become so desperate where residential placement was almost the only option. However, at the time, he thought it was just a process of sending his son off to a residential program to be “fixed.” This small book is his story of what he learned through his encounter with an important part of their program, the active parent education seminars.
Starting with reluctance, passive resistance to the seminar material, and denial as to his part in his son’s attitude, this book explains his stumbling growth through those parent education seminars. In the acknowledgments, he recognizes how these seminars developed by David Gilcrease, President of Resource Realization, “were the best overall learning experience I have ever had.”
This small book, only 83 pages in length, combines what he learned in the seminars, with the knowledge he had gained in his management responsibilities in the work place. The author directs his comments to husbands and fathers, while trying to present the values from the seminars in the format of those business principles he knew so well. He hopes that by expressing a husband’s and father’s responsibilities in the forms used in business, he can speak to the linear thinking common among men.
For example, just as any successful business will have a mission statement, families need a mission statement to reflect the needs and desires of all members of the family. The next step emanating from this mission statement is a general agreement of family values. He asserts it is just as important for a family to go through this process as it is for a business.
He discusses how adopting a form of Management By Objectives can help a family, as well as what accountability really means in a family environment. One important lesson he learned was that in a family, “the apple never falls far from the tree.” By this, one thing the author had in mind is that he learned his son’s resistance to the program was reflected in the father’s resistance to the parent program. Once the father accepted his own accountability, and recognized the powerful impact he had on his son, he realized that both broke through the obstacles and both made progress almost in parallel.
There is a chapter on Leadership, something that is a very high priority in business. In a family context, “Leadership means you are willing to accept your human frailties and are committed to overcome them for the goal of creating a whole and healthy family.” This is very much a parallel to discussions in business seminars.
All this comes down to the question of, “What Will Be Your Legacy?” The bottom line for the author is how will your family remember you? To the author, that far outweighs everything else.