Rep. Bill Johnson writes about poor father-children relationships in his first book
By David Skolnick
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s first book, “Raising Fathers,” addresses problematic or nonexistent father-children relationships.
The self-published book will be available Friday on Amazon.com.
Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, started writing the book four years ago.
While Johnson said his relationship with his four children is strong, that wasn’t the case with his father.
“‘Raising Fathers’ stems from my life experiences growing up in a dysfunctional family without a good father and those who filled in that gap for me as father figures,” Johnson, 62, said. “I had an alcoholic father who was very troubled. My mother spent more time running from my father than being with him. I was in 13 schools in 12 years. After I joined the Air Force out of high school, people became father figures to me.”
Johnson said the nation is experiencing an “epidemic of children growing up in fatherless homes. Today, it’s 1 in 4 children.”
The book is an offshoot of Johnson’s Raising Fathers movement, which highlights the role fathers play in the lives of their children and how fathers can share their experiences, good and bad, to help each other learn to be better parents. The movement’s website is RaisingFathers.org.
“We need a national conversation to raise young men to be participating fathers,” he said. “The book talks about the problems of absentee fathers. It’s a call to action. I provide tips on where solutions may lie, but it’s going to have to be a concerted effort to resolve the problems.”
In the book, Johnson writes about the societal impacts of generations of fatherless children.
Johnson said he plans to get word out about the book through media interviews, Facebook ads and talking about the subject during some public appearances.
“It will be a pretty low-key marketing strategy,” he said. “But writing the book was very exciting. It’s a topical conversation we need to have as a nation. That’s why I did it.”
Johnson’s 18-county district includes all Columbiana County and southern Mahoning County. He is serving his fourth two-year term in Congress.