Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has written books on a variety of topics, particularly politics and faith.
Recently, the preacher, politician, author, TV show host and proud grandfather wrote a book intended as a guide for his grandchildren. “Dear Chandler, Dear Scarlett: A Grandfather’s Thoughts on Faith, Family and The Things That Matter Most” was released Nov. 12 and Huckabee said his children told him it is his best yet.
He will sign copies of the book at 2 p.m. Sunday at Best of Books in Edmond. Huckabee also will be guest speaker at the 8:30 and 10 a.m. worship services at Victory Church, 4300 N MacArthur.
In a recent telephone interview, Huckabee shared insights about his latest release:
Q: Why did you write this particular book at this particular time?
A: I think as I got to thinking about having grandchildren, the fact that when I look at them, I realize that when they’re really old enough for me to tell them things that they’ll understand, I may be too old to tell them. So I think we forget that the most important thing we can leave for the generations that follow us is not some antique furniture and it’s not a piece of a 401(k) plan. Those are nice things and they can be an important part of what we leave behind, but leaving something of ourselves, the more intangible things, have the sentimental connection.
In this case, I want to encourage people to tell their stories so their kids and grandkids will know who their ancestors were, so they’ll know who they are. The fact is, most of us haven’t thought about that because we’re so busy when we’re parents getting them raised and when we’re grandparents, spoiling them rotten.
Q: You talk about marriage, coping with tragedy, love. How did you come up with these topics?
A: I sat down and I said what are the big things in life? Not the little things, but the big things. I just took a legal pad and I started writing and I had a page full. I started to condense them down to a more manageable number for a book that would be easy to read. I didn’t want this to be something that would require weeks of reading.
Q: Was there a topic that you felt you must include in the book?
A: For me, the topic of faith was very important because we’re living in a society that’s increasingly secular. Even though my children are raising our grandkids in a Christian discipline and they’re very committed Christian parents and I’m grateful for that more than I can begin to say, that aside, there’s no guarantee that somewhere down the line that might not always be the case. I don’t want to somehow have my descendants not understand what their spiritual roots are, not just their biological roots.
Q: What do your children think about this book?
A: I think they are thrilled to death. I guess what made me the happiest was when they read it and they told me how it impacted them emotionally. This is my 10th book and all of them said this is by far my best book. Maybe it’s because it’s about their kids, I don’t know (laughs). I’m sure they’re not totally objective in that.
Q: Does this book fit in with how you perceive the role of grandparents?
A: It really does. It used to be that grandparents lived near their grandkids and had almost a daily contact. My paternal grandparents lived literally across the street from me growing up. My maternal grandmother lived a bicycle ride away. Today, it’s very rare that kids will grow up that close geographically and physically to their grandparents. So I think it’s more important than it’s ever been before. You know, if they (grandparents) were closer maybe they would share these stories, maybe they would pass them on. Maybe they wouldn’t. So it’s very critical that they do in fact have these stories to tell and make sure that they leave something about themselves.
Q: Do you have any other projects coming up, aside from your book tour?
A: This is going to keep me busy! In reality, I didn’t expect to write the book for grandkids. I don’t think an 8-year-old is going to pick this up on Christmas morning and say “Wow, this is what I wanted.” That’s not its intention. But I think when that kid who is eight now or maybe eight months old, when he’s 40, then he’s going to start thinking about this stuff and the thing is, will it be too late to talk to his grandfather? That’s one of things that I had to come to grips with. I’d like to think I’ll be around for all these great events in my grandkids’ lives. Biology tells me I’m not and there’s going to come a time and it could be much sooner than I hope, I pray not, but that’s what prompted me to say don’t put some things off. We don’t know when we’re going to have the opportunity to say to someone “here’s what’s important. Here’s who we are.”