I am thrilled to welcome Gerald Jackson, known as West Philly Author on social media, to share a guest post. I heard him read his book, “A Father’s Message,” on the Philadelphia Parks Alliance Readalong, and I wanted to know more about how he came to write the book. He tells the story best:
I never knew the title “author” would one day be a name associated with me. Little did I know my story would be able to connect to so many. It all started in a single-parent home, my mother, brother, and me. That’s right, someone was missing, and that person was my father.
My father was out of the house before I could remember. As the days went on, the void grew stronger. I struggled with knowing that my father knew I existed and knew where I lived, but still didn’t make it a priority to be there. I was crushed and did not know how to handle my emotions. For me, all I really wanted was for my father to play an active role in my life. I wanted a childhood filled with memories of my father to pass down. Instead, I was left with days feeling all alone praying one day my father would come around and knock on my door. The sad truth was days turned into months and months turned into years. What I became used to was times when my father would pop up out of the blue and before I knew it, he would again disappear.
I tried to keep myself busy playing sports to ease the pain. I played little league football in my community but felt like the only kid on the field without their father around to cheer their child on. So, I didn’t go back the next year. Next, I tried swimming my freshman year in high school and really enjoyed it. My neighbor, who was like a father figure to me, came to see me swim one day and I was smiling from ear to ear. I felt for once in my life somebody other than my mother cared. Unfortunately, the next year my swim team switched practice location, and it was too far for my mom to make the travel commitment. So, I decided to quit the team because I didn’t want to put a burden on my mother. My neighbor and uncle were the consistent men in my life, but still couldn’t replace the void I was feeling. I found myself putting barriers up to prevent getting let down. Honestly, what I was doing was making matters worse and harder to ignore the pain.
One day I had enough and could not handle the void I was feeling. I wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits. Yes, I was about to end my life. I thought if I committed suicide that would be a sure way to end the pain. In that moment I heard a voice saying, “all this time you are looking for a physical father, you have a spiritual father who has never left your side”.
Now, things didn’t change overnight but that night something did change. From that day forward I knew I was never alone and that was enough for me to keep going. I no longer looked at my situation as a failure. In fact, God has opened my eyes to see my situation as a blessing. I believe God gave me this test to share with the world. I wouldn’t even have a story to tell if my upbringing was different. I never had a vision of becoming an “Author” and reading or writing wasn’t my strength in school (that’s why we need editors in this world).
I started to look at things from this angle, my message wasn’t just for me, it’s bigger than me. So, it was imperative to share my message so every child who needs to hear it has the opportunity. I would have failed if I didn’t share the message given to me. Initially we don’t know what comes from sharing our story, but one thing for certain we all know what happens when we don’t.
Now, I stand before you as an independent author who wrote a children’s book titled “A Father’s Message” to encourage children to know they are never alone and to let them know their situation may start one way but it doesn’t have to end that way. “A Father’s Message” provides life lessons that give strength and encouragement throughout this journey called life.
Your favorite @WestPhillyAuthor,
Gerald L. Jackson
Here’s WestPhillyAuthor reading his book:
To get a copy of your own, visit this link.
And to learn more about WestPhillyAuthor, here are his links:
Thank you, WestPhillyAuthor, for sharing your story and your book!
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.