Napkin notes become lessons for life

(WBIR-West Knoxville) Written messages from a father to a daughter evolved into a book.

An East Tennessee family is now sharing their personal story with others.

The pages of Randy Carpenter's book started out as notes on napkins to his daughter, Cathryn.

While he prepared her lunch each morning to take to school he would think of what to write.

"It would just come to me while I was standing there and it would usually be something a about self esteem or self confidence or dealing with friendships or being careful in what you say or how you act and those kinds of things," Randy Carpenter said. "I would write it on a napkin. I would put it in a plastic bag then I would put it in her lunch for her to read sometime during the day."

At the time, Cathryn was a junior in high school, experiencing all of its angst and clich├ęs and emotion.

"I knew I could tell them anything that was going on whether it was good or bad," Cathryn Carpenter said.

She shared her concerns and he shared a father's wisdom. Then she shared his notes about lessons for life with her friends at school.

"I know people who don't have fathers or don't have the relationship with their father close enough like I do so I think it can help them just as much as it helped me," she said.

Randy wanted to compile the messages to make a book called "Lessons for Life."

Cathryn said, "He asked me if it would be ok and I said of course because I want it to change other girls' lives like it changed mine."

When he decided to write the book he had a lot of source material: those napkins.

Randy said, "She was very good about bringing them back. They were in the plastic bag. The plastic bag would be crumpled pretty good but the writing inside was pristine. No one ever took it out."

The book is a father speaking to his child. And it can be a resource for other parents speaking to their children sharing lessons for life.

"Lessons for Life" is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.


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