I recently had the opportunity to review a book called Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren written by Diane Flynn Keith, for the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
I thought, when I first expressed interest in this review, that the author’s name sounded very familiar. Well, it WAS familiar, and if you are a home-school parent, her name may well be familiar to you as well . . .
Diane Flynn Keith is pretty well-known in home-school circles. She is the author of the popular book “Carschooling: Over 350 Entertaining Games & Activities To Turn Travel Time Into Learning Time” (the main reason she was familiar to me, as I have long wanted to buy this particular book!), is the co-author of “Learning With Little Lulu Lemon” and “Home Preschool Curriculum”. She has also contributed to four books on the topic of homeschooling: “The Homeschooling Almanac”, “The California Homeschool Guide”, “The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas”, and “Homeschooling Styles”. Mrs. Keith publishes three different e-newsletters: ” Clickschooling”, “Carschooling”, and “Universal Preschool”, and coaches thousands of home-school parents via her writing, private consultations, speaking engagements, and websites, including:
Papa’s Pearls is a fairly short read, at just 109 pages, but it is just jam-packed with “pearls of wisdom” from Mrs. Keith’s father, Carol Joseph Flynn, whose mother named him after King Carol 1 of Romania. Carol Joseph Flynn was simply called “Papa” by his children and grandchildren, and he left them a legacy of guiding principles, which they continue to use in their own lives even today.
Papa came up from a tough life during the depression era, and having a “girl’s name” made him the target of bullies from early on. He learned to “give as good as he got”, and gained respect as a result. Papa sold papers as a young boy, and by doing so was able to help his family. Often, the papers he sold for half a penny each, were what enabled his own father to have lunch money for the next day.
Papa misbehaved in school quite often, and as a result, spent much time visiting the principal’s office. He also, during his teen years, got involved with criminal elements of the day, and not just hanging around with the delinquents of the day, but according to his daughter (Diane Flynn Keith), was likely involved in real crime, as well. Finally, after a particularly bad incident in high school, the principle asked him which would be the worst possible punishment for him, to be suspended for two weeks, or to be sent to “Continuation School”, which was an alternative school for delinquents and “really bad boys”. Because he felt it would bring shame and humiliation onto himself and his family to go to Continuation School, he told the principal that this would be the worst thing possible. The principal did, indeed, choose to transfer papa to the alternative school as his punishment. Rather than be the worst thing that ever happened to him, however, this actually ended up being the thing that turned Papa’s life around for good. Mrs. Flynn says in her book Papa’s Pearls that it is perhaps because of this punishment that one of Papa’s pearls came to be . . . “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
This book reads like a story, with many of Papa’s pearls woven into it. Pearls such as:
Everyone deserves a second chance.
You gotta use your street smarts.
When you fall down–Get back up, brush yourself off, and try again!
Tell yourself you like it.
Take a hike–Just walk away from it!
Where’s the money?
Get it in writing!
Life is too short. Relax. Take a little time off.
. . . and many more!
Mrs. Keith writes in an engaging way, and her book caught me immediately. I wanted to find out what would happen next, even as I would need to put the book down to go do some task that needed to be done.
This story takes us from the time Papa was born, on January 19th, 1922, right up to the time he died, at age 89, on his 66th wedding anniversary. In between those dates, he was a wealth of wisdom and love to his children and grandchildren. He made certain that they always knew he was there for them no matter what, and he taught them many life lessons along the way. Papa went from a poor depression era kid with a penchant for trouble, to becoming a successful business owner. He gave support to his children and grandchildren all along the way. When Mrs. Flynn decided she was going to homeschool her children, and was threatened with legal repercussions (this was at a time when homeschooling was not as accepted as it is now) , Papa was right behind her, and used his contacts to help her with the authorities.
I read this book myself, because I prefer to preview some things before letting my kids have them, or using them as read alouds. Although I might eventually have my kids read it themselves, there are some expletives in it, along with some topics that I don’t really want to my kids to be exposed to as of yet.
I found this to be an excellent book for parents to read, it has a great deal in it to help us all along this parenting journey.
You can purchase an autographed copy of Papa’s Pearls: A Father’s Gift of Love and Wisdom to His Children and Grandchildren here for $21.97, which includes shipping and handling. I definitely recommend purchasing this book and reading it yourself!
To read what other crew members thought of Papa’s Pearls, please click below . . .