Former US Consul Gregory Slayton pens book on fatherhood
Bolstered by the success of a book he co-wrote about Bermuda, former United States Consul General to Bermuda, Gregory Slayton, has turned his pen to the subject of fatherhood.
Mr Slayton, who now lives with his family in Hanover, New Hampshire, is about to release a new book called ‘Be A Better Dad Today!’ published by Regal Publishing.
His publishers think he has a good chance of getting it on the New York Times best-seller list, an unusual feat for a self-published book.
“This book links back to Bermuda and directly to the success of the Bermuda book, my wife, Marina, and I wrote ‘Four Centuries of Friendship: America-Bermuda Relations 1609 — 2009’,” said Mr Slayton. “That was a big success in terms of how much money we raised for charity. We were gratified by that.”
Mr Slayton and his wife, Marina, have four children Sasha, Christian, Daniel and Nicholas. Sasha and Christian are now at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.
Daniel is in high school, and Nicholas is in the fifth grade in elementary school. Mr Slayton said when he was a young man he thought of fatherhood with trepidation because he did not have a real father when he was growing up.
“Unfortunately, my father had substance abuse issues and spent less and less time with us,” said Mr Slayton. “Eventually, he abandoned the family entirely.
“The last time I spoke to him was in my twenties when I was in a hospital intensive care unit. I was in the hospital with some severe complications from an illness I developed while serving with World Vision International in Africa for three years.
“I hadn’t spoken to him for a few years. He called and I said it was delightful to hear from him. After two minutes, he said something had come up and he had to go. I never heard from him again. Twenty-five years later he died.”
Mr Slayton said his outlook on fatherhood began to change for the better during his senior year in college when he became a Christian. Before that he wasn’t sure if he was interested in being a father.
“I realised I did want to be a husband and father but I had no clue how to do it, although I had some ideas how not to do it,” said Mr Slayton. “That is what started my whole interest in learning more about fatherhood.
“I studied effective fatherhood practices on five continents and found some things that worked and some things that really didn’t work.”
His book includes ten tools needed for effective fathering. Some of the tools include ‘Family First and Fun’, ‘How to Handle Life’s Beanballs’ and ‘All in Marriage’.
“The research is clear that the best gift we can give our children is a strong and stable marriage to their mother,” said Mr Slayton. “A lot of fatherhood books skip over this. That is a mistake.
“Some people say ‘we had a rocky marriage so we got a divorce. It is better for the children’.
“Unless we are talking about physical or drug abuse — it is much better for marriage to remain intact. It is very important that the children know that mom and dad love each other.”
But he said the book’s audience is not limited to happily married fathers.
A section in the book talks to fathers in special situations and has a section on single fatherhood.
“I don’t want to denigrate single dads, or blended families,” he said. “My book is a clarion call to dads everywhere, no matter what their situation is.
“It is vitally important for fathers and their children to be the best dads they can be. The book doesn’t just have theoretical information, but also lots of practical hands on advice.”
And he said fathers were just as important to the development of daughters as they were to sons.
He quoted one statistic that suggested that girls without an involved father were six times more likely to become pregnant out of wedlock before the age of 18, than girls whose fathers stuck around.
“I am the first to admit I have made many mistakes as a father,” he said. “Hopefully, younger dads can learn from some of those mistakes. I am not setting myself up as an uber dad.”
Mr Slayton described his years in Bermuda working as United States Consul General as “idyllic”.
Now that he is back in the United States he works as a venture capitalist, and is the managing director of Slayton Capital.
He is also a part-time professor at Dartmouth College, Harvard University and Stanford School of Business.
He has also been a distinguished visiting professor at the University of International Business and Economics, one of the top ten business schools in China.
“I am doing a lot of different things,” he said, “but I am still managing to spend quality time with the family. That is the goal. I love doing anything with my children.
“I love hanging out, playing basketball, watching spots on television. We emphasise the importance of getting together around the dinner table. I help my younger sons with their homework a lot. My older two are in college, so I don’t get to help them as much.
“Being a good dad goes back to family first and family fun,” he said. “It is not about quitting your job.
“It is about putting down the newspaper when we come home. It is about turning attention to our children. That is so important. We hope our book will be a blessing to those who read it.”
So far, Mr Slayton’s book has a forward written by the late Charles (Chuck) Colson who died last month.
Mr Colson was a special counsel to President Richard Nixon, a noted Evangelical Christian leader and cultural commentator, and also the author of more than 30 books.
Mr Slayton’s book has also been endorsed by a number of high profile people such as Governor Jeb Bush and Republican Senator John McCain.
“When John McCain read the book, he said he wanted to endorse the book but also said he wanted to work with me to put it into the hands of United States military fathers,” said Mr Slayton. “There are 250,000 military dads in the United States. At his suggestion — we have set up the Fellowship of Fathers Foundation making the book available to active military soldiers for free.
“There are a number of Bermudians serving in the United States armed forces, and they are also entitled to a free copy of the book.”
In conjunction with his publisher, Regal, the Slaytons will be giving 100 percent of the book’s royalties to Christian fatherhood charities.
The book is also being made available to churches and Christian charities for wholesale price if ordered in bulk.
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