Tyler is often asked, “Where did the idea for the Message in a Bottle book series come from?”It was a particularly difficult time in my life because there were so many moving parts. I had just become a dad to a beautiful little girl named Tait (and since then have been blessed again with Breton). It was a challenging time because, as any first-time father can attest, there is so much going on in your mind like: will I be a good dad, what do I need to impart to my children, how do I remain approachable to my children, and of course how do I change a diaper.
And that was just part of the story.
The other part was at that very time I was dealing with the care of my father. My own dad and I never saw eye-to-eye very often growing up. He was always really busy with work and then when I was in grade two he became permanently disabled with a rare form of arthritis. A long while after his diagnosis he and my mom divorced, she moved west, and my brother and his wife decided to move further east leaving my young family to become the go-to caregivers for my dad.
I really didn’t want how I felt about my dad to be my children’s legacy from me. So I was struggling and trying to make choices that always put them first.
Then one special day — that’s what my daughters and I call the one day a week I would skip off work to dedicate to them — the most simple idea hit me. I should write a letter to my children. In it I’ll tell them all the things I think I’d want to share with them, tell them how much I love them, tell them how much I believe in them, and tell them how excited I am for what their future has in store for them. And above all I will let them know that I always hope to be a valuable and important part of their lives.
My thought was if I was feeling this way, there must be other dads out there feeling the same way. So why not put together a Father’s book. When I told my wife, Laurie, what I was thinking of doing she thought it was a great idea and that I should somehow make it so other dads could write their own letter in the book. And that’s the source of the idea to leave priority seating for the person giving the book to write a letter — of course, thanks to my beautiful wife, Laurie.
From there the ball just kept rolling with ideas for follow-up books . . . my speaking colleagues, writing colleagues, and other people who just heard about the project started sending in letters upon letters. And the first book was born.
Now we have our sights set on so many more versions of the book to help connect more people through love, leadership, and legacy — from soldiers and new moms to mentors and children. This journey in publishing has been very exciting and from what we can tell it will only continue to grow.
When we published the first book for dads we knew the book itself needed to be a legacy. So we dreamed up giving back annually a portion of what is sold from each title to worthwhile charities working to improve the connections between people by living the idea of sharing love, leadership, and legacy with its membership.
So now we donate a portion of our book sales in hopes that our humble efforts can help to build better lives and more connections throughout the communities in which we serve, in just our first year we gave over 100 teddy bears to a children’s hospital and thousands of dollars to muscular dystrophy. With the pleasure of giving as part of our culture we are excited to offer more as we continue to share and build this beautiful series.
We hope you will join us by either submitting a letter for an upcoming title or purchasing a book, or a whole bunch, to give to loved one(s) and share your legacy.