What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, And My Son Taught Me About A Parent's Expectations
Editor of National Journal, and former head of the Associated Press’s Washington Bureau, Ron Fournier movingly explores the outsize and crushing expectations that parents have for their kids through the lens of his relationship with his son, Tyler, who has mild Asperger’s, in this New York Times bestselling memoir, now in paperback.
Love That Boy is a multilayered story about one father’s journey to acceptance. Ron Fournier’s son has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that makes Tyler socially awkward. With a stiff nudge from his wife, Ron traveled the country with Tyler to various presidential sites and visited with former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, in a series of “guilt” trips that help him appreciate Tyler for who he is, rather than what he wanted him to be. On a broader level, it’s a story about every parent’s stratospheric expectations for their children—where and why the dreams are made, how these aspirations distort childhood, and what ways they can be properly channeled. When a parent’s expectations come from the wrong place and are pressed into service of the wrong goals, kids get hurt. While a parent’s love is unconditional, a parent’s pride comes with caveats. Ron discovered both late in his job as a father, which he shares in this compelling and honest look at the universal pitfalls of modern parenting.