I recently heard Rosanne Cash say in an interview that the greatest gift her father (Johnny Cash) gave her was his list of 100 essential country music songs. This got me thinking, what would be on my list of essential books that I’d give to my kids?
Please welcome my guest, Eli Pacheco, loving father, passionate soccer coach, and hilarious writer. I met Eli through his Coach Daddy Blog; every one of his posts not only makes me laugh, but also gets me thinking. Visit him often for a refreshing dose of wit and a little bit of junk food. I’m thrilled he’s here today to share his “essentials” for his three girls. Get ready to smile.
My dad and I didn’t spend a lot of time talking books.
Football, yes. Life, sure. Women … let’s just say dad was a Mary Ann guy.
One book my dad did tell me about was Catcher in the Rye. The angst-driven teen antagonist Holden Caulfield struck a chord somewhere in my father. And I felt it too, on some level. I always remembered that. Even as we rooted for rival football teams and drifted to opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Julia Tomiak has given me a unique opportunity today.
I’ve collected three books, three CDs and three quotes to lock into a time capsule for my three daughters. Some choices were easy; others took some digging. Which books, CDs and quotes would you wrap up for your kids?
Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
I first read this book as a high school senior. I’ve taken it on every trip I’ve taken since. Each time I read it, it says to me something different. I still can’t, after more than 20 years reading it, describe just how the characters have helped to shape me. But they have.
They Call Me Coach, John Wooden
I wish I could have spoken with the late great coach once, just once. He definitely spoke to me. His emphasis on the individual’s role on the team inspires me as a coach and dad. Humility, hard work, and faith fueled a man far greater than the national championship banners he helped to win.
Call of the Wild, Jack London
This was my first real book – that didn’t have pictures or a choose-your-own-adventure ending. I still have the copy I scribbled my name in as a kid. This book made me feel grown up; I had to read about a harsh reality, but also love and loyalty. I might not have recognized it, but it was there.
I found this as a teenager, too, and the messages and voices I heard weren’t always understood. But they were always pondered. To me, the album took bits of time and place and strung them together in this brilliant parade of words. All with a tribal, earth-bound drumbeat.
Listen Without Prejudice, George Michael
Thoughtful, and moody. I found this album during college. My friends went to fight in the first Gulf War, and I stayed behind to flounder as an English major at UNC Charlotte. “Freedom” stirred me (still does). “Praying for Time” didn’t give me the answers I sought, but it shaped my search.
Blue Light, Harry Connick Jr.
I used to go to the Cone Center at UNCC and rent this CD while I studied. It was the counterbalance to the heavy feel of George Michael’s album, perhaps. Here’s what’s cool: “He Is, They Are” is about a dad and his kids. I was years from kids … but these words planted the seeds for me.
The Emerson quote is often said to be credited wrongly; it doesn’t matter to me. It’s the message of finding fulfillment in improving the conditions around you. Phillip Putnam put just the right weight on stories. What are we without them? Blogs would be nothing more than pumpkin recipes without stories.
And lastly – Elvis. I still believe in what The King says. No, I didn’t end up being even Elvis the Pelvis, but I continue to dream like I did as a kid. I’m the quarterback. The humble star. The superhero.
I’d love for my kids to find a little of that in their capsule, too.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
When I was a boy, I always saw myself as a hero in comic books and in movies. I grew up believing this dream.
Now it’s your turn. Eli and I want to know: what “essentials” would you like to share with your kids?