Ron Fournier, author of “Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent's Expectations,” paid a virtual visit to King School Monday, December 5, for what was an especially significant occasion: His was the first book selected for the first-ever division-head book club, and this was the group’s first meeting.
The book club was created by Head of Lower School Sandy Lizaire-Duff, in partnership with the Parents’ Association. The initiative is open to all families and is aimed at community building through thought-provoking conversations.
“Building a support network and finding ways to strengthen our approaches to parenting is what the book club is all about,” said Lizaire-Duff. “Through our conversations, we realize we are not alone, that other parents are also grappling with similar issues. The book club, engaging in conversations about our children, that’s where we find common ground, even when we share different perspectives,” she added.
Using his personal story of raising a son with Asperger's Syndrome, Fournier explores how reality impacts what parents expect of their children and the need for acceptance in the parenting journey.
A native of Detroit, Fournier began his career as a journalist covering Bill Clinton, then governor of Arkansas, for the Associated Press. During his time with the Associated Press, Fournier followed Clinton to Washington, where he stayed through the administrations of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
In a recent interview with NPR, Fournier told the story behind the book’s title. He was visiting the White House with his son, whose atypical behavior was worrying Fournier. As he was leaving, President Bush took Fournier’s hand and said, “love that boy.”
“He was telling me to love my son despite the fact he's a little quirky,” Fournier said, adding that it would take years, many parental experts, and writing a book for him to fully understand and accept Bush’s directive. “The message here isn't to love him despite his idiosyncrasies. It's to love him because of his idiosyncrasies. What makes him different, what makes all of our kids different, is what makes them special.”
The book club conversation centered on parenting and celebrating the uniqueness of our children.
The next book club meeting will be in April of 2023. All are invited to join. Dr. Duff will announce the book title prior to spring break!