“This book is for every parent who has ever anguished about being a parent. Read this and grow in wisdom and love.”
Author of “The Case for Heaven”
“May Hollister’s soul-searching serve as a cautionary tale for every reader.”
“I was skeptical that this would be too depressing. It wasn’t. This is an insightful and inspiring story about the choices we make as parents.”
Amazon Customer Review
HIS FATHER STILL
A Parenting Memoir
Reid Hollister was a rambunctious, handsome, and sometime rebellious teenager. While he delighted many friends with humor and antics, he struggled as a student, regularly tested is parents’ patience, and chafed at efforts to guide and discipline him. As he began his senior year at a private high school, Reid suddenly found himself accused of misconduct, which he vehemently denied. Several days later, driving on a highway, Reid died in a one-car crash.
His Father Still: A Parenting Memoir is, first, Reid’s father’s disarmingly candid account of the tumult of parenting Reid through his teenage years, and then confronting the unthinkable obligations of a father to a son after a sudden tragedy. But this book is about much more than parenting and grief. In the months following Reid’s crash, as Tim Hollister worked to steady himself and his family, he found himself consumed by an accelerated need to answer two questions: Had he been a good father? And in raising his son, had he struck the right balance between exposing him to life’s risks while protecting him from life’s dangers?
Answers came in large part from a flood of condolences conveyed through letters and emails, and also in social media posts – which at the time, 2006, were a brand-new phenomenon. From these messages emerged a mosaic of Reid’s character and personality that was barely known to Tim while Reid was alive because, as parents raise teens by “letting out the tether,” they see less of and know less about their kids. Thus, after Reid’s passing, Tim learned more about his son than he had known while Reid was alive. While this portrait arrived too late, it was not unwelcome; Reid’s crash and its aftermath eventually segued to Tim forging these new insights into the foundation of a renewed relationship with his son that was, if nothing else, a sustainable way forward.
This book is, therefore, remarkable not only for its honesty but also for its forays into a breadth of universal issues, topics that shaped both Tim’s experience as a father while Reid was alive and his reconstruction of their parent-child bond after the crash: balancing protection and freedom when raising a teen; delivering discipline; reacting to a school’s contested accusation of misconduct; supervising a teen driver; writing an obituary and eulogy for a teen; composing condolence messages, especially through social media; preserving and then giving away a deceased’s possessions; using the aftermath of tragedy to rebuild a frayed relationship; counting blessings; establishing an enduring connection with a loved one who passed away; and harnessing the power of communities to care for those reeling from a sudden loss.
Oprah’s Book Club
Recommended Summer Reading
About the Author
Tim Hollister is the author of HIS FATHER STILL: A Parenting Memoir (Argo Navis, September 2015). Since the death of his 17-year-old son Reid in a car crash in 2006, Tim has become a nationally known advocate for safer teen driving. In 2009, he launched his national blog for parents of teen drivers, “From Reid’s Dad,” www.fromreidsdad.org. In 2013, he published NOT SO FAST: Parenting Your Teen Through the Dangers of Driving (Chicago Review Press), which will be released in Spanish in 2015. For his writing and advocacy, Tim has received the nation’s highest civilian award from traffic safety from the U.S. Department of Transportation, and has received national public service awards from the Governors Highway Safety Association and, in September 2015, the National Safety Council. Tim has appeared on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, the Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family” Show, and Raising America on HLN.
Published by RSH, LLC.
“Tim Hollister’s writing is fearless. As he tells the painful and beautiful story of his teenage son’s life, he examines in retrospect when he needed to protect his beloved boy and when he needed to let Reid be Reid. Rules, rebellion, academics, driving fast: this book is for every parent who has ever anguished about how to be a parent. Read this and grow in wisdom and love.”Mally Cox-Chapman
“Tim Hollister’s honest narrative of his experience will help parents better understand the calculus of the exposure vs. protection dilemma that we all face. Anyone who wants to be a safer and smarter parent should read this book.”Brendan Campbell, M.D., M.P.H.
“This book masterfully weaves together the travails of parenting, which are temporary, with vivid illustrations of the parent-child bond, which endures no matter what. Along the way, it demonstrates the power of a caring faith community to help a family, in the wake of tragedy, to find God’s grace in each day.”The Rev. Matt Laney
“This book helped me, as a mother who lost a daughter, to understand that we are always parents to our children, no matter on what path life takes us. As a professional who works with teens on safe choices, I gained a new appreciation of how we guide our young people through the dangerous rites of passage they face every day.”Brandy Nannini
“His Father Still is a story delivered with love, insight, grace, courage and honesty. Time delves into the struggles that parents face in trying to decide what is best for their children and how to protect them. This book demonstrates that relationships with our children do not end, even if our kids leave us, but take on new dimensions. As a parent who lost her daughter in a vehicle crash, I know all too well the journey about which Tim writes. His recounting celebrates each child’s individuality, and the unconditional, eternal love that parents provide.”Robin Thompson, RN, MEd
“In His Father Sill, Tim Hollister provides a self-critical and intimate look at parenting that will help all parents as we wonder how we are doing at the most important job we will ever have. Ultimately, Tim achieves a new and enduring connection with Reid, one that will continue to evolve. A must read not only for parents, but also for all who want to understand and better comfort those who are suffering.”Joel Feldman
“Tim’s story is a message that every father-and mother- should hear about being a parent, especially through changing fortunes: that love is eternal and lives on in powerful ways.”William Seymous
“This beautifully written book is profoundly deep, powerful, and insightful. Tim Hollister’s journey as a father and friend before, during and after his teenage son’s fatal car crash are exquisitely described and touch the deepest human emotions and exploration of faith. A tour de force and a must read.”Garry Lapidus
Table Of Contents
Introduction: What a Parent Does
1 – Passing Into Memory
2 – Instantaneous and Irreversible
3 – And Unrelenting
4 – Truths They Will Recognize
5 – A Rough Road Ahead
6 – Hugging Lessons
7 – Him Who You Cannot Detain
8 – Our Electronic Funeral
9 – Memory Posts
10 – Hawks, Crosses, Polos, and Angels
11 – The Company We Keep
12 – A Step Aside To Reassess
13 – And Lead Us Not Into Penn Station
14 – Small Mercies
15 – Dear Buddybear
Questions and Answers with author Tim Hollister
About the Author