Father pens book for daughter

Published 9:26 pm Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Suffolk man set out to write down all the lessons he wanted to impart to his daughter and ended up writing a book.

Air Force Lt. Col. Eric Strumpf said the book began when he was holding his newborn daughter and “thinking about all the things you want to pass on and the responsibility you have to do everything you can.”

He initially looked for a book of fatherly advice to a daughter. When he couldn’t find one, he decided to write “For My Daughter: Lessons for Life’s Journey.”

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“I didn’t, at first, envision it being a published book,” he said. “I envisioned it being a very long letter, something I could print and bind at Kinko’s and save for my daughter.”

As he wrote, the number of lessons grew and the organization of them became more refined.

“The writing process kind of took on a life of its own,” he said.

Published just in time for Father’s Day, the book contains 21 chapters, each with a difference piece of advice — words of wisdom such as “Distrust urges,” “Become a master of words” and “Choose opportunity.”

Strumpf’s daughter, Lily, is almost 4 years old now. Even though she can’t read, she can find her name in several places in the book and often chooses the book as a bedtime story.

“She’s a good listener,” he said. “I refer to it as ‘Lily and Daddy’s book.’”

The book is for sale at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble online, but Strumpf has given away far more copies than he’s sold. He has handed out copies to girls at the Boys and Girls Club in Newport News.

“That’s one of my goals — that this book doesn’t just benefit girls whose parents are on Amazon and buying it for them, but girls who are much less likely to receive it,” he said.

He also gave away books to New York City firefighters on a recent book-promotion trip to the Big Apple, where he even had the experience of putting the book into the hands of actress Molly Ringwald and Olympic gold medalist in figure skating, Kristi Yamaguchi. Both women have young daughters.

“I’m trying to find opportunities to spread (the books) in meaningful directions,” he said, adding that he believes the lessons in the book can inspire not just young girls, but people of all ages.

Though Lily is his only daughter, Strumpf has two older stepsons that he also plans to use as the focus of a “For My Sons” book, he said.

“This isn’t a book that’s trying to push a child to blind achievement,” he said. “I’m inspiring young women to personal greatness. It’s intended to be a guidebook for life.”