I am excited to welcome my friend Tez Brooks to my blog today. He is a fun guy who loves the Lord and has a passion to help single dads navigate life after divorce. He shares from his own experience in his book The Single Dad Detour.
Each chapter is filled with practical advice and travel analogies as an aid to helping divorced father’s pick up the pieces of their lives. There are lots of scriptures, personal examples and other guys’ stories to make each point he shares come to life for the reader.
Thanks for taking time out of your very busy life to make an appearance my friend. Take a seat on my comfy couch and let’s get started. Tez, share with my readers about yourself. You know, the usual stuff, where you live, job, marital status and other things you think my readers should know about you.
My wife and I live in Orlando. I remarried 13 years ago and we have two little girls as well as two grown kids from my first marriage. Christine and I are full-time missionaries with The Jesus Film Project (a ministry of CRU). I write films that help introduce unreached people groups to Christ and disciple them.
Why did you feel the need to write this book?
I really struggled for several years wondering if I should write this book. I didn’t want to go there again, but the Lord started working in my heart and I remembered how there just wasn’t anything out there for me when I was going through my own divorce—especially with a Christian worldview. What was available was too preachy for me.
What do you hope is the take-away for readers?
I’d like them to walk away encouraged to keep going strong. To understand the Lord is on their side. I want to challenge them to step up as a man, yet still offer hope and the grace to be able to laugh at themselves when they aren’t perfect. There’s too much pressure as it is. If dads can celebrate what they’re doing right, while still leaning desperately on the Savior for hope, it will make the road they’re navigating much easier.
How is The Single Dad Detour different than any other books out there for single fathers?
I tried to write something that would encourage guys with a little humor and offer some practical advice. There are way too many books for dads written by someone with a PhD. I really wanted something for the Joe Blows out there. Blue collar guys, who aren’t crazy about reading but need some hope.
I tried to add a lot of humor by laughing at myself. I made some pretty dumb decisions as I raised my kids through those single years.
Finally, I think the action points and the suggested prayers at the end of each chapter help dads have something to think about. I even included a few QR codes for younger dads who like to absorb content from several avenues outside the book itself.
What kind of research did you do to sharpen the content?
In addition to hours of internet research on single parenting, I interviewed a lot of single dads from around the world. Not just divorced men, but widowers and never married dads too. I felt it was important to give readers a well-rounded view, rather than just a book full of my own experiences. Although, there’s a lot of my own story in there.
I appreciated this book so much and I am neither male nor divorced. What value do you feel women or married men might get from reading your book?
Well I’m sure more women are picking up this book than men. They are buying it for a guy they know (maybe their son, brother or nephew who is a single dad). Maybe even a few girlfriends are finding it helpful as they begin dating a single dad.
But yes you’re right about married men too. I think any dad will find it useful as they try to navigate through parenting. These issues I address are not exclusive to single fathers. These are common issues that every single dad (no pun intended) will find useful. These things like our health, self-worth, our identity in Christ, how to shepherd our kids, even cooking and house-keeping issues—all are topics we struggle with as parents—married or not.
What makes you the best person to write about this subject?
You know, I’m not. There are guys sitting next to me at traffic lights that I’m sure are more qualified. I could say it’s my experience with being both a custodial and non-custodial dad. I could say it’s because I was a single dad for 7 years or that I survived blending a family when I re-married. While it’s true I have 4 kids and almost 30 years of parenting under my belt. I didn’t approach the book with that in mind. I’m just a regular dad who screws up even today, who wants dads to be encouraged and filled with hope to press on. They need to laugh at themselves and not be scared of failing from time to time. Single dads are under incredible scrutiny and pressure to perform better than the average single mom. The world doesn’t have much grace for guys going it alone, but God does. Dads, he’s in your corner and he’s cheering you on.
Writer’s Patchwork focuses on helping other writers. So I want to ask in your opinion when is the best time for someone to write something of a personal nature? I know you didn’t write this while you were going through the process.
That’s a great question and I think it’s different for everyone. I waited 17 years. Honestly I would not write from anything painful for at least 5 years after the event is resolved. That being said sometimes that resolution takes decades. You need time to process and to see what God’s bigger plan was. You need that bird’s eye view. I’ve read a few books where it was obvious the author had not given himself or herself time to heal. When you’re writing from pain it’s vital to get your work critiqued by other writers who can be honest with you and point out places that may appear too raw. That may mean re-visiting some of those memories and working through some things you thought you’d resolved already. But that’s the great thing about trusting God. He is bigger than all that and he knows often times, our greatest healing comes from writing about and struggling with our past.
I always ask my guests to share the most important thing or two they have learned on their writing journey.
Surround yourself with successful writers and avoid the naysayers. I once spoke to a group of writers about the importance of choosing your friends carefully and being cautious about who they share their dreams with. Joseph, in the Old Testament told the wrong people his dreams and he ended up in some very difficult places. Not everyone is excited or happy about the dreams God places in our hearts. Writing can be a lonely place if you don’t find a community of like-minded creatives who desire to cheer you on and love to see you succeed. Ask the Lord to bring those people into your life while intentionally seeking out those circles.
Here’s some additional help from Tez for single dads
If you’re a single dad who would appreciate helpful tips, encouragement and few laughs, sign-up for Tez’s monthly emails at EverySingleDad.com and he’ll send you the FREE article, “Five Ways Your Church Can Minister to Single Dads.”
Before Tez and I part company here is my last comment on my friend.
Like many authors, writing is not Tez’s career. He and his wife are actually Christian workers. As full-time missionaries with The Jesus Film, Tez and Christine rely on the generous and faithful giving of financial supporters. Cru holds no central funds to pay their missionaries. If you’d like to learn more about how you can help the Brooks’ to continue creating and using films to share the message of Jesus to millions around the world, log onto www.BrooksCru.com or email Tez at tezwritesgmail.com
If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Single Dad Detour leave a comment with your email address. This is a great gift for the single dad in your life.
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