When Brad Meltzer's first son was born, Meltzer asked himself what kind of man he wanted his son to become.
To help his son along, he wrote "Heroes for My Son," a collection of short vignettes about great men and women in history who inspire courage and character -- traits Meltzer hoped to pass along to his son.
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Read an excerpt of the book below, and then head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.
I was stuck at a red light. It wasn't a particularly long light. But I remember the moment because it was dark and it was quiet?the first moment of quiet on the day my son, Jonas, was born.
And there I was, stuck at this red light.
It was one of those moments where you sit outside your body -- like your first kiss, or that first time someone in your family dies -- and you're looking down, knowing that the moment is so personally vital, the only way to comprehend it is to witness it from somewhere else.
So as I sat there, gripping the steering wheel of our little banged-up car, I remember looking up at the crisp black sky and thinking of this baby boy we were just blessed with. That's when it hit me -- and when I asked myself the question for the very first time: What kind of man did I want my son to be?
I have three children now. I've long ago realized I have little say in the matter.
But I still love that moment. That pure, beautiful moment where you get to think of your newborn child, and every door and every possibility is just waiting there, perfectly open. You can dream as big as you want in that moment. That baby of yours may be the future President of the United States, or a creative genius, or a big thinker, or best yet, the kind of person who leaves the world better than he found it.
It's a moment where there are no limits or detours or any of the restrictions that reality eventually brings. And it was in that moment of unbridled love and pure naïveté that this book was born.
I decided right there that I'd write this book over the course of my son's life -- that I'd fill it with advice and good ideas. I started that very night, writing the instructions that he needed to be a good man:
1. Love God.
2. Be nice to the fat kid in class.
The plan was that I'd add more ideas throughout his lifetime, and then one day when he was older, he'd thank me, realizing what a brilliant father I was (I'd assumed Cat Stevens would be playing in the background. Norman Rockwell would of course be resurrected to paint the moment).
It was the day my son was born. I'm allowed mushy.
And so, on that day, I began this book.
Of course, it was crap.
Sure, there was some good advice in there. But most of it was just sentimental manure -- the ramblings of someone who clearly had never been a parent. I mean, did I really think that if I said, "Be good," my son would be good?
So I started thinking of my own life: Where did I learn kindness? Who taught me about the benefits of patience? I didn't have to look far. Sure, my Mom and Dad laid the foundation. But when I thought of my first real hero, it was my grandfather, Ben Rubin.