CYMA CHATS WITH: Frank McKinney, Best-Selling Author
Q: You recently made headlines celebrating the tenth year of walking your daughter to school. So that the readers better understand this, you’ve walked seven blocks more than 1,650 times together; in an unbroken streak; during rain, stifling heat and hurricanes (much of the time hand-in-hand). This not only created an unbreakable father-daughter bond, but provided fodder for your bestselling young reader fantasy book Dead Fred, Flying Lunchboxes and the Good Luck Circle (www.Dead-Fred.com). Please explain the interest in doing so and what the experience has taught you.
A. Yes, what started as our first walk together in August of 2002, when my daughter Laura was four years-old and in pre-kindergarten, sadly just came to an end with her graduation from 8th grade. When we decided to walk together for the first time 10 years ago we simply wanted to start her first day of schooling off by spending what was 20 minutes together on that first, scary day (her little legs were shorter back then, so it took us much longer to walk the seven blocks!). When we arrived at school she asked, “Daddy, can we do it again tomorrow, please?” I couldn’t wait for that next day. Well, that next day turned into the next week, weeks into months and months into those 10 years and 1,650 consecutive walks. It has taught me that I (and all those who read this) are certainly very busy, and we often use that business as an excuse to cut short our time with our children. If you have children, you know that there is often no choice but to hurry them off to school. By spending that uninterrupted time walking with Laura for all those miles and years, I know we have strengthened a bond and built a mutual character that will last for generations.
Q: Has this changed your perspective on the role of a father?
A. It certainly has. I wouldn’t trade those morning walks for anything. A reporter asked, “Frank, did you have to sacrifice to be present at all those walks together?” Far from it, had I missed or made excuses it would have been a lost opportunity for an expression of daily love between father and daughter. If you want to see some heartwarming media coverage of our very last walk, visit: http://www.frank-mckinney.com/blog.asp?article=274.
Q: In reading about your (many) accomplishments, you seem to be “in touch” with your feelings – most evident in your passions and the books you create. Where did this originate and what helps you foster this?
A. I began by doing my best to live by a great life mantra that also happens to be a passage from the Gospel of Luke, 12:48: “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more demanded of the person entrusted with more.” True joy is found in the dovetailing of one’s professional highest calling with one’s spiritual highest calling. What we do through our Caring House Project Foundation (www.chpf.org) for the most desperately poor and homeless and what we do in the creation of some of the most magnificent oceanfront homes in the world (http://www.frank-mckinney.com/about_estates.aspx) allows me to do just that. In the writing of my 5 bestselling books in three genres (http://www.frank-mckinney.com/books.asp), I am able to share that passion in the hope that I can somehow move my readers from desperation to aspiration.
Q: Would “Renaissance Man” be an appropriate definition for you?
A. I don’t really know what that means as it relates to me. But I do believe a PHD in “paradoxicology” is required to succeed in the business we are all in, the business of life. It’s one’s creativity and innovation that are rewarded today.
Q: I constantly write about how midlife mothering is a genre unto itself – women not only dealing with the stresses of home and family life, but often aging parents, perimenopause/menopause and a host of other external factors. And, yet, the prevalence of this keeps increasing. How do you see these trends and do you either feel impacted by them and/or called to support them? Has this affected your role as a father?
A. My wife Nilsa had Laura when she was 37 (yes, she married a younger man!). She is dealing with her aging parents and their related health issues. Fortunately her doctor informed her she could bear children after 50, so the menopause issues have not descended upon the McKinney household yet. You see, women who address these issues head-on are the only living super heroes I know. I know my wife has a glittering silver cape that she dons on a regular basis. As her husband and a father I offer my love and support in an area where I am clearly deficient.
Q: What single most important lesson would you like to impart to other dads?
A. Exercise your risk tolerance like a muscle. Eventually it will become stronger and able to withstand greater pressure. Risk. Risk. Risk. Remember, in life you will have regrets. Regret what you did, not what you didn’t do.
Q: What single trait do you most hope to impart to your daughter, as you raise her?
A. See Luke 12:48 above.
Q: What sentiments would you like to convey to our readers for Father’s Day?
A. Each of us has been blessed with the ability to succeed at some level. The sooner we realize that those blessings were not meant for our sole benefit, but were meant to be shared with those less fortunate, I think you may experience true joy. Remember, compassion without action is a waste of emotion. (www.The-Tap.com)
Q: One final question: What do you hope to get for Father’s Day? J
- Just one more walk to school with Laura.
Frank McKinney is a Real Estate Artist, 5-time International Bestselling Author in three different genres – super hero meets Robin Hood, philanthro-capitalist and risk-taker – ultramarathoner and a visionary who sees opportunities and creates markets where none existed before. Frank was recently featured on ABC’s 20/20 with Martin Bashir, the cover of USA Today, the Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS’ The Early Show, CNN, Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, HGTV, The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Fortune, Barrons, and in over 1,550 additional TV and print stories. You can view a “greatest hits” compilation video of some of his media appearances here: http://www.frank-mckinney.com/franks_greatest_hits.html.