Where did you get the idea to write a book?
I have long wanted to share some of the great lessons I have learned from teenagers during my years of pediatric practice, so I put some of them together and published it as a parenting book.
What kind of lessons can you learn from teens?
All kinds; Olivia told me, “Mothers save more lives than doctors.” Emily said, “Having a dog is like always having a best friend.” Patrick taught me, “The best way to make money is to save money.” Jacob’s lesson was, “Every time I get mad things get worse!” Eric observed, “You will become the man you pretend to be.” Claire said, “Going to church helps you stay healthy.” And Nicole said, “Most of the things churches say we shouldn’t do aren’t good for us anyhow.” There are many, many more.
Is that it, just a list of lessons?
No, there is much more. Each chapter begins with a description of a teen who tells his or her story, we all have stories, you know. And his/her lesson is followed by social and medical data to prove its veracity. Messengers reads like a novel, or a collection of short stories as each chapter stands on its own. At the end of each section there is a list of parenting tips for parents with kids of any age. Teachers, coaches, and counselors find it helpful, too.
Where did you get its title?
Messengers in Denim comes from my belief that all babies are born with a message from their Creator. It is our responsibility, as parents, to decipher that message and teach them to be men and women of character by giving them the lessons which we carry. You will remember that in both the Old and New Testaments God uses angels as messengers. So you could say that kids, and all of us, really are angels.
But aren’t there already hundreds of parenting books? What’s different about this one?
Yes, there are thousands of parenting books and if you Google parenting you will come up with more than 211,000,000 sites. But, I guarantee this one is different in several ways. Most parenting books are written by academics. These men and women have a depth of knowledge, and usually much experience, but their experiences usually involve kids who are sick, or in trouble. (Families don’t take normal kids to see a psychologist or to an academic institution.) Messengers is written from the perspective of healthy ordinary kids. Only one other book, just published, Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded, takes this perspective. Many parenting books use a negative situational approach; they state a problem a parent or child may have, and then work to find a solution; no book can contain even most of the situations a family may have. I use an approach based on the fundamental principles ordinary teens have learned and taught. Finally,Messengers in Denim, is not a how to parent book, but rather a how to be a parent book. There is a difference.
What kind of things do you discuss?
The kids in Messengers bring up things they have encountered that make their life better or worse, or that they are concerned about: family meals, pets, TV, ADHD, peer pressure and changing attitudes and habits, sex, porn, religion, trust, and role-modeling and much more. The scientific community and I take it from there.
What have critics said about Messengers in Denim?
I have been amazed by the reviews and endorsements. Let me quote just one: Of the many talents that Dr. Donahue displays in writing this most engaging and useful book, the two most important are story-telling and listening. He tells entertaining tales that highlight the wisdom that can come from the mouths of teens. He manages to do so in a way that also includes a wide range of references to medical studies and both classical and popular sources, as well as references to his own experiences and insights gained through his years of practicing pediatrics. It is a book about sound medical advice — but even more so, in the biggest of pictures, it’s about how to live a healthy life. The good doctor proves time and again that the deepest wisdom and the most practical common sense often go hand-in-hand. Dennis M. Doyle, Ph.D. Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton.
To see more endorsement and reviews go to: amazon: www.amazon.com .
Has Messengers in Denim received any awards?
The nation’s governors’ spouse’s, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation, has selected it for their book club as the first read in their Leadership Reads Initiative. Read about this initiative at:www.alcoholfreechildren.org
Dr. Donahue was named the Senior Pediatrician of the Year, 2014, by the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics for his work with teenagers and for Messengers in Denim.
Where can I find this book?
Messengers in Denim is available from Amazon, Barnes and Nobel on line, my web site, (use the link above), and can be ordered from any book store. Some stores that I know carry it on their shelves are: St. Mary’s Book Store in Nashville, Landmark Books in Franklin Tn, Books and Company in Dayton, Ohio; Fireside Books in West Bend, Wisconsin.