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by Nancy Thomas, Tapestry Communications
How authors come to write their books is always a curiosity to me. Is it a lifelong quest, something they knew they wanted to do since they were teens? Or was it a lightbulb idea to write some stuff down and all of a sudden it looked like a book? Or somewhere in between?
For Dr. Michael Battey, of East Greenwich, it started when he read something in his local newspaper and felt compelled to write the editor. He wanted to “speak his mind” and so he did. Then the editor called and asked if he’d like to write more regularly. He said yes. Then, “more regularly” became a bi-monthly column. And it took a specific bent – parenting. And it would go on for eight years, not only in the local paper, but in others, and even one in Missouri.
Anecdotal and humorous, with passing commentary on what life was dishing up at the moment – and even some wisdom to pass along – and always including fatherly reflection. Soon neighbors and friends would tell him what they thought and sometimes he would incorporate those tidbits into his column. It was called, THE PARENT TRAP.
The column included running commentary about the East Greenwich school system, as school is so much a part of children’s and family’s lives. And occasionally, the political scene locally and nationally would weave its way into his columns – but always as it impacted the family growing up in East Greenwich. After the passage of time, and the growing up of his children, Dr. Battey had accumulated well over 200 articles. He always thought he’d put them into a collection, primarily for family and others who had an interest. Then, one day, he thought he’d edit them, compile them, find some photos, and write a book. Self-publishing makes that venue open to all now. And, in 2017 he published The Parent Trap Columns, Volume 1. And early in 2020, he published The Parent Trap Columns, Volume 2, complete with photos through the years.
Battey’s friend, the Providence Journal’s columnist, Mark Patinkin, wrote about Dr. Battey’s writing, “My favorite kind of writing is like a friend talking to you. That’s not easy to do, but Mike Battey has a gift for it, and on a subject you’ll relate to – a dad navigating teens, family, and life.
Audrey McClelland, founder of MomGenerations.com, of Barrington, wrote in the Vol. II forward, “I’ve read dozens and dozens of parenting books throughout my 15 years of being a mom, not to mention working online as a parenting blogger. I’ve always gravitated towards books that are truth-tellers and ones devoted to sharing the real and the raw when it comes to parenting. These are the books that truly share and teach and help other parents out there looking for guidance. Michael A. Battey’s “The Parent Trap Columns” Vol. 1 is an exceptional and extraordinary release of his columns that make you laugh, make you have “ah-ha” moments and serve as a wonderful and powerful lessons for parents. I appreciate his honesty and his wit throughout all of his columns! A true must read!”
The books’ subtitle is “Humorous Child-Raising (and Teen-Raising for Vol. II) Advice in a Baby Boomer World. Starting out on this parenthood career? Vol. I is for you! A little more along as middle school and high school surround your daily lives? Vol. II! The books are well chaptered and while they make a great beginning-to-end read, you can also pick it up and find a chapter just on your interest. A few: “Texting with Dad” – “School’s Out” – “Same Mistakes” – and “Dirty Clothes”.
Incorporating humor is essential for success in parenting, and a dad’s unique perspective while in the midst of it – and also in reflecting back – really drives home the importance of that – and of taking the time to enjoy the whole adventure together.
When I read the books as part of my job to promote them for Dr. Battey, I read them from the perspective of a mom listening to a dad and his perspective on parenting. Yes, it’s different, and in many ways, even more personal. Women share what it’s like to be a mom quite easily in so many ways – on social media, in essays, in song, in books, as guests on television and radio – but dads? Not so much. So these books are a delight.
Not only do I recommend them as hearty, easy reads, but as encouragement for men to tell their story – to write down all those anecdotal things that happen in the years of child rearing – and for children (that’s all of us) to ask our parents just what it was like.
I always tell writers, business owners, and others to “share your story…share your success…” – these books are perfect examples, and I wish Dr. Battey and his family (who I feel I know so well now, and you will, too) a very Happy Father’s Day! You did good, dad!
Michael A. Battey, D.P.M. was born and raised in Rhode Island. He received degrees from the University of Rhode Island, and the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine. He maintains a private practice in foot and ankle care with a specialty in hospital based residency training, and is a faculty member at the Brown University Alpert Medical School. He has offices in several communities, including North Providence and Johnston, and also at the VA Hospital, in Providence.
The Parent Trap Columns Vol. I & II are available at most local bookstores and at Amazon.
Nancy Thomas, a lifelong Rhode Islander, is a marketing and public relations consultant, and a recognized writer, with an active social media presence. Her passion for all kinds of news – and all things Rhode Island – inspires her to help others “tell their story”. She is the founder and publisher of RINewsToday.com