Sulphur Springs High School English IV teacher, Eydie Ginn, prepares to
introduce to her studetns, Marc Pittman, authoro of "Raising Cole."
Author of "Raising Cole," Marc Pittman
Share's Life Lessons With English IV Students
by: Bobby McDonald
Louisiana native and author, Marc Pittman
"You've got a choice, everyone has a choice, since Adam and Eve, to take life's tragedies and become bitter or become better!" warned Louisiana native and author of "Raising Cole," Marc Pitttman, as he addressed Eydie Ginn's English IV classes, on Tuesday afternoon, in the Sulphur Springs High School Conference Center. "It's up to you, what you make of the 'bears' you're required to wrestle in this this life!"
Pittman's trip to Sulphur Springs was a result of Ginn choosing his memorable account of raising two sons, Cole and Chase Pittman, to adulthood, and facing the unspeakable tragedy of losing his oldest son, Cole, in an automobile accident, at age 21. Cole once told newscasters in an interview, "My dad and I are as close as any father and son, in the world!"
Pittman explained to the students the special relationship that he formed with his sons, as a result of having a father whom he craved for approval and affection, and didn't receive it. "I promised myself that I was going to be the kind of father to my sons, that I wanted my father to be, and would have no regrets, when they layed me to rest!" expressed Pittman. "However, I had no idea that I would be the one saying good-bye to a son, as a result of a tragic accident!"
Students in Ginn's English IV Class sat spellbound as Pittman talked to them about the book they had read
and answered questions about his special relationship with his sons.
"You're always looking for some book that students will read, enjoy, and learn from, in your classroom," expressed Eydie Ginn. "And after reading "Raising Cole," myself, I chanced that it would be a life-changing book for my students. I had no idea the impact this book would make on my students, and certainly had no idea that Marc Pittman would be so gracious as to come and speak to them, once the book was read!"
"It's a blessing for me to come speak to you students, about my son, Cole, and the things I wrote in the book," allowed Pittman. "To know that my son is still touching lives and living in your hearts and minds, makes me as a father, extremely proud!"
Pittman explained his parenting skills of sharing with his sons, "Dead Man's Talk," time spent with them that they were encouraged to tell him any and everything without fear of reprisal. "I certainly learned everything that I should know about their lives, and plenty of things that I might not have wanted to hear," expressed Pittman. "But, we formed a special bond between us, that God intended, and was hardly matched by any other father and his sons!"
"We have a Father that cares just as much about us, as we care about our
own children, and he wants a special relationship with us!"
Hours spent with his sons, on and off the football field, where Cole was a Junior Texas Longhorn standout, Pittman told of driving ten hours from Shreveport to Austin and back, just have lunch with his sons. He told of 9:30 p.m. "I Love You Calls," every night, from his son. And, he told of how Cole once called him and talked about how strange and cold, the people in Austin were, when he was a beginning freshman, and how he challenged his son to "speak to everyone you see, in the next two weeks, and report back to me the results!"
"The hardest 'bear" I've had to face in life, was burying my son, Brandon Cole Pittman," stated Pittman. "I'd spent the night before sitting by his coffin, having a 'Dead Man's Talk' and he couldn't tell me what to say at his funeral, before the masses of people that came to pay their final respects!"
"And, it would have been easy for me to have become 'bitter,' following his death, to loathe in self-pity, and shut the world out, but I made up my mind to be the kind of man that I had always encouraged Cole to be, and to keep his memory alive, for the special person he was," related Pittman. "And, your e-mails, your letters, and your presence here today, does just that!"
High school seniors lined-up for a "bear hug" from Pittman, who had inspired them with his book
on fatherhood and parenting.
Students in Ginn's English IV class sat "spellbound," hanging on every word that Pittman spoke, at Tuesday's event. "I never dreamed their could be a relationship between a guy and his father, like the Pittman's, until I read this book," explained one student. "And, though I dont' have a father in my life, I want to someday be the kind of father that Marc Pittman was to Cole and Chase!"
"Mr. Pittman told in the book of the 'love wars,' that he and his sons shared, where they told each other that they loved them, and the other one would prove that they loved the other more, really meaning it," expressed another student. "I didn't know these kind of relationships existed, until I read "Raising Cole," in class!"
"My father and I are not close.....more like the relationship that Marc Pittman had with his own dad, one out of fear and respect, but never telling each other that we love each other," related another student, in his letter. "But, after reading this book, my father has promised that he is reading the book and hopefully we can develop a life-changing relationship, between us. Marc's book gives me hope that anyone can change and that God wants us to have relationships like this in our lives!"
Pittman offered counsel and guidance to students as they asked him personal questions about the book.
And, many admitted, "This is the first book I've ever read, cover to cover, and liked it!"
"Young men and women, you're going to graduate from high school in a few short days. Don't let anyone steal your dreams!" encouraged Pittman. "We're all made in God's image and he want's us to call on him to do the impossible, just like your own father's, maybe secretly, want you to realize your own dreams and be happy! Take the time to sit down and visit with your parents, tell them that you love them, and realize that none of you were born with an instruction guide. We as parents make mistakes and we don't always know what to do, but develop the kind of relationship that will endure the struggles in life, and share your love for one another!"
"Looking back now, at the simple decision to read the book, in my English class, was one of the best decisions that I could make," related Ginn, as she stood and watched her students having their books autographed, and conversing with Pittman, long after he had finished his presentation. "Marc Pittman has truly touched the lives of my students and they will continue to benefit from its influence, as they leave Sulphur Springs High School and enter the world of being parents themselves, and fulfilling the dreams they and their parents share!"
Pittman personally autographed books, for as long as students brought them to him, and continued to
share his message, as long as the students kept coming to talk.
Thank You, Marc Pittman,
For Enriching the Lives of SSHS Students!!!