A Soldier’s Journey from Delta Force to Education Entrepreneur- Part II
At Uvize we are inspired by stories of service and education. We are particularly inspired by our friend Scott Warren’s story from being a Delta Force operator, where he was awarded the Purple Heart, to student, father, educator, and entrepreneur. We are big supporters of his venture ‘My Dad Reads to Me‘ . We believe this service will make life better for deployed parents and their children. We even backed his project on Kickstarter here. We thought Scott’s story would be better told by himself, so here is Part II of his story.
During my long absences from home, I felt like I was not being as good of a dad as I could, to be honest I felt guilty. My work was important and fulfilling, but I was failing as a parent. While I was in the military and later, during my deployments as a contractor, I struggled to maintain a relationship with my young son. If I was lucky and schedules worked out, I spoke to him once a week over phone or Skype. These conversations were short; he was 4 or 5 at the time and doesn’t really care to talk about how his day went. I wanted my son to know that I loved him and that I cared even if we only spoke once a week.
Kids don’t discuss their day, or how their latest math class is coming along. Kids interact, they play, they wrestle, they sit and listen while you read. Reading to young kids is important for their development and their reading skills. I struggled with how to most efficiently use the small amounts of time I had when I talked to my son and reflected on ways to extend our interaction.
Prior to some early deployments, I recorded DVDs of myself reading a book. He watch these over and over, while I was away, and asked for more, which I couldn’t provide. Some trips I was unable to make the DVDs because of time constraints or competing priorities. The USO offers a service to soldiers to sit and record a video while reading a book. They send this DVD home for the kids to watch. This is a time consuming and resource intensive process. Setting up video equipment, editing video, collecting and transporting books to numerous locations around the world. With all of this effort, they only serve a small percentage of soldiers in specific location. I applaud their efforts, but I believe we can do better with new technology.
To help solve some of the issues of disconnect and guilt, I am building My Dad Reads to Me. I’m combine a digital book, cloud storage and mobile devices to make it easy for to record the book and easy for a child to access. I’m streamlining the recording process by putting the whole system into a mobile app and using cloud technology. Now, I can record a new book every few days, or even re-record the same book over and over. My voice can be there when I can’t and it’s easy. Its not a perfect solution, parents still have to leave and miss important events, but this will help. I’m crowdfunding the development at http://kck.st/199xYmI.