In just five years since it began, the Novitas Foundation and its team have provided aid and humanitarian relief in a number of third-world countries, most recently providing over 500,000 meals to children’s hospitals in three northern provinces of North Korea following a devastating typhoon.
And while some charities spend a significant amount of money on overhead, Novitas’ financials are easier to reconcile since 100% of the public donations it receives goes directly to project expenses to serve people in need. So as its founder and International Executive Director, Shad Arnold releases his first book entitled “Claire’s Dad: How I Earned the Title”, it was a natural choice for him to commit a portion of the book sales as well as his speaking engagements towards on-going projects for Novitas. But the book itself was never really planned in the first place. It was just the musings of a dad reminiscing 20 years of life with his only daughter.
“After moving Claire into the dorm at college and attending orientation, all of the emotions, thoughts, dreams and more of our life together just landed on my heart,” says Arnold, “so I decided to record them by writing a few things down. One thought became a chapter, then another, and another. A few days later, my wife Janelle said ‘Maybe this is a book.’”
“Claire’s Dad” was written in a short period of time, but Arnold says the seeds of the idea had been planted over the course of his daughter’s upbringing. “Over the years, a number of friends, family, and colleagues have commented on certain aspects of the relationship that exists between Claire and I, and have stated ‘You should write that down,’ ‘You should create a Father-Daughter Blog,’ or ‘You should write a book about how you’ve raised Claire.’ Funny, because although I have many other books I plan to write, I didn’t really consider this one of them.”
Through personal stories and anecdotes, Arnold offers fathers some practical and helpful advice on developing a lifetime connection with their daughters, including a checklist for dads at the conclusion of each chapter. Arnold says the role of fathers has been discounted over the years, and it’s time to reverse that trend.
“In the post-women’s liberation of America, society has been sold the success story of the split-family dynamic through all forms of media – telling men specifically – that in our ‘modern and enlightened age’ girls will grow up just fine in a single-parent home,” says Arnold. “We are told that mom is exceptional and fully capable of caring, providing, and growing a daughter on her own, and dad is not a necessity. It is very true that women are exceptional, capable, caring, and will continue to provide for their children as they have since the beginning of time, but doing so without dad is like baking bread without yeast, or trying to play golf without clubs. Girls need dad to invest time, demonstrate love, stand strong, impart wisdom, and so much more into their lives. Along the way, they will learn to respect themselves and others – and not look for approval, love, or respect from other people or places that may be unhealthy.”
While Arnold hopes the book helps men become better fathers, he ultimately wants it to be successful so that Novitas Foundation can advance further in their work to aid children around the world.
“We set up Novitas on a strictly volunteer basis,” says Arnold, “no one gets a dime of salary so that 100% of every dollar received goes to relief, innovation, and sustainable development projects and expenses to help people and communities worldwide build a better future. This book is just a simple expression of the love I have for my daughter, but if it can be a catalyst to help children who live in desperate circumstances around the world, that would be an enormous blessing. And I know Claire would love that.”