For years, Gregory M. Slayton, a former ambassador to Bermuda under President George W. Bush, has had a fascination with fatherhood -- one that has led him across to globe to intensely study the ways in which fathers from different cultures interact with their children and families.
In his new book, "Be a Better Dad Today," Slayton provides tools, tips and plenty more -- all gathered from the author's exploration of fatherhood on five continents over a span of 25 years.
Slayton's reasons for focusing on the subject are best described through an official summary of the book, which reads, in part:
[The author] grew up in a difficult family environment even before his father abandoned his family. The last time he spoke with his father, Gregory was in the hospital and close to death. His dad cut short the conversation, promising to call back shortly. For 25 years, he never did. His father died in 2007, alone and in great pain. As Professor Slayton writes “he was the saddest man I have ever known.” This book seeks to help each of its readers to be the best Fathers they can be…and overcome whatever issues they may have inherited or grown up with.
He expounded upon his motivation for writing the book in an exclusive interview with The Blaze. His father, as stated, inadvertently fueled his passion for the subject. In addition to his dad's role, he also mentioned his faith as a guiding factor. After becoming a Christian in college, Slayton realized that he wanted to build a family, but that his past examples didn't offer him a viable blueprint to follow.
"I realized I wanted to try and have a family myself. I knew little about being a good dad," Slayton said, going on to explain his foray into the academic examination of fatherhood. "I [then] studied fatherhood around the world on five continents."
Years later, Slayton, with four kids of his own, has answered many of the questions he once had through "Be a Better Dad Today." The book offers up lessons that anyone -- a father to be or a parent with adult children -- can use to better fulfill his role. With the current state of affairs concerning fatherhood in America, the book couldn't come at a more perfect time.
"American Fathers the best and the worst in the world. There is a higher percentage of U.S. fathers who are more uninvolved with children than ever before," Stayton contends.
While he explained that about a quarter of American dads are either absent or ineffective in their children's lives, the majority of fathers are actively involved with their children. Either way, Slayton believes that everyone can benefit from reading the book.
"Good dads are made, not born," he told The Blaze, as he encouraged each and every father to examine their placement, leadership and effectiveness in their family structures.
One of the most fascinating elements of Slayton's research is the continuity that exists among dads, regardless of culture and geographic location. It was on his international exploration that the author first starting thinking about 10 universal tools (called the "Ten Basic Fatherhood Tools" in his book) that can be used to help fathers improve.
"Everything wasn't the same in every culture, but there were similarities between effective dads and ineffective dads," he explained. "Similarities of ineffective dads were they were disconnected from their families either physically or emotionally or both...They weren't close to them in any spiritual or emotional sense."
Watch Slayton discuss the "tools of fatherhood":
Slayton, a Christian, believes that faith is an important element in fatherhood -- one that helps to sustain and guide men in the role. Since fatherhood is "the most important thing" one will ever do, the author says it is paramount men take the time to understand the role.
"Fatherhood is the only job that you have for your whole life -- the only job that will impact people in the second and third generations," Slayton said.
Slayton must be onto something, because he has captured some pretty impressive endorsements for the book. Here are just two of the many:
“Be a Better Dad Today is perhaps the most practical and down-to-earth manual you will find on how to be an effective father. No one will be able to read it without being both spiritually convicted and personally equipped.“ - Tim Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City
“Having been raised by a man that exemplified what it means to be a great father, I am blessed to have learned from one of the greatest. In ‘Be A Better Dad Today’, Gregory explains how to navigate the most important job in the world. This book is a great resource for today’s dads or those who plan to be a dad in the future.” - Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida from 1999-2007
Read more about Slayton's book, "Be a Better Dad Today," here.