Dad turns daily tips for his daughter into a book for all graduates

GROVE COLLEGE, Tenn. (WTVF) — When Jeff Atwood’s daughter started her senior year of high school, he began texting her life advice every morning, a daily ritual that years later became a book.

“When he came to the start of his senior year of high school, he caught me off guard and said, ‘Oh my God, this is our last lap. Do you know what you need to know?’ I mean, it really was one of those things, where as a parent, you’re like, I mean, ‘This is, she’s going to go out into the world here and I’ve done my job as, me and my wife, have we done our job helping her?’ said father of three daughters Jeff Atwood.

A very practical father, he decided that he would meet his 17-year-old daughter where she was.

“I decided, you know, for his senior year of high school. I’d just text him every morning with something I thought he needed to know,” Atwood explained. “Some of them are sweet and some of them I thought were pretty strong. And then, you know, some of them are goofy and that sort of thing. I’m your dad, you know, these are things that mom and I have been talking to you about for 17 years, and I literally just have to put them in writing or in a text for you to know. These things are very important to us. , and we hope they are very important to you.'”

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claire kopsky

Father of three, Jeff Atwood, is building on the life advice he sent his daughters, one in a text message every day their senior year, to write a book, Need to know for graduates.

Atwood said that during her daughter’s senior year she traveled a lot for her job.

“I thought, ‘God, I have to get up. You know, if I’m on the West Coast, I have to get up really early to send it to him before he goes to school,’ because it became part of the rhythm of his senior year,” Atwood explained. .

Throughout that year, friends and family began to hear that he was texting his daughter.

“I would talk to my friends about it, ‘You know what, guys, this is it? This is our last round. You know, it doesn’t matter if you go to school in a city or if you’re going to stay here and work or go to trade school or whatever. This, you know, even if they’re still here, once they get that diploma, it changes and your role changes. So, you know, I want to do everything I can to make sure those things stay in their hearts and minds.

He said other dads and parents kept asking him what he was sending in those messages, and before long, he decided to write a book.

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claire kopsky

A father of three, Jeff Atwood said he wrote down some advice in a journal he carried with him while traveling for work.

Your book, “Need to Know for Graduates” which came out in the spring of 2022 compiles their texts and even includes a page for the donor to include their own words of wisdom for their graduate.

His daughter, McKenzie, who received all of her father’s text messages her senior year, said she remembers thinking, “It’s a very Jeff thing. You know, it’s a very branded thing.”

She said that they always had a close relationship and that year of messages was really just another confirmation of that special bond.

“It made me really happy to hear all these different tips and wonder if the next one was going to be, you know? Some of it was serious pro advice, or one of the fun ones that’s like, ‘You can’t go wrong with a chocolate chip cookie.’ ‘ and I said, ‘Yes!’ You never know what you’re going to get,” McKenzie said with a laugh. “My number one though, and this is one that a lot of my friends know is ‘just shows up.’ And ‘opportunity follows availability’.”

However, he said that the first page is the most important.

“‘You are loved always forever, no matter what. Anything else you need to know is secondary to knowing that you are loved.’ Because it’s like a great, like an important place to start,” McKenzie explained. “All the advice and all of that comes from love. So I think I’ve always enjoyed that that’s the first one. It sets the tone and explains why the rest of the book exists.”

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claire kopsky

The father of three draws on the life advice he sent to his daughters, one in a text message every day of their senior year, to write a book, Need to know for graduates.

Atwood, now the father of girls ages 25, 24 and 23, said he hopes other parents don’t feel the need to text daily, but he encouraged them to think about how they talk to their kids in their youth and in Adulthood.

“You have to communicate with people the way they’re used to being communicated with,” he explained. “So whatever the rhythm is and your family… if the rhythm in your family is texting, do it. If the rhythm and your family is writing something on a whiteboard, if it’s calling, if it’s like that, don’t I do”. You know, carrier pigeons or hieroglyphs or whatever your family does to communicate, do it and you have to do it often.”

He explained that through his experience as a father of three children and his professional work, he has learned that it is not so much about how you do it, but about reaching out to each child and knowing that it is never too late.

“They have to know that you love them unconditionally. So be so intentional about it. Sit down with them, look them in the eye and say, ‘I love you.’ And it’s not because of what you do, or your grades, or whatever.” you do in sports. Love you. I’m your dad and I love you.’ And be that intentional about it,” Atwood said.

To read more or buy Atwood’s book, you’ll find details on their website.

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claire kopsky

After questions kept coming in about what he was texting his daughter, Jeff Atwood decided to share his parentage with others in a book, Need to know for graduates.

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