— Jon Gosselin is growing up, and the lessons he’s learning along the way are the basis for a book outline that he’s working on along with his leadership coach, Dr. Sylvia Lafair.
Contrary to online reports, Gosselin does not have a book contract yet, his agent, Canaan Rubin, told TODAYshow.com. “There has been overwhelming interest in Jon writing a book, and he is considering one, but he has not yet decided on the topic or the time frame,” Rubin said.
Lafair began working with Gosselin last year when he sought help dealing with a life that was in turmoil, with the disintegration of his marriage and the public battle between him and his ex-wife, Kate Gosselin, all played out against the backdrop of their hit TLC show, “Jon & Kate Plus 8.”
‘A very good father’
Lafair is the author of the award-winning 2010 business book, “Don’t Bring It to Work.” She said that she agreed to consider doing a book with Gosselin only when she was convinced of his commitment to changing his life. She said he’s motivated by his desire to be a good father to his eight children.
“In looking at being a father to his children, he’s really looking deeply at the legacy that he is passing to them,” Lafair said. “He is really a very good father. One of the reasons he connected with me was his concern about how his children will know him as they grow up.”
And though Rubin disclaimed knowing the topic of Gosselin’s book, he said, “Being a father is the most important job Jon will ever have, and it wouldn't surprise me if fatherhood were to be a theme of anything he decides to write.”
Lafair, speaking by phone from New Mexico, where she was running leadership conferences, said she envisions the book as chronicling a personal quest.
“The outline is about a journey to the next level of maturity,” she said.
By age 27, Gosselin was the father of sextuplets and twins. A former high school soccer star, he suddenly found himself starring in a real-life “Truman Show,” the full implications of which he didn’t appreciate at the time, Lafair said.
“In those days, there wasn’t a lot of time even to take a deep breath and say, ‘What does all this mean?’ ” Lafair told TODAYshow.com. “He didn’t realize the level of celebrity or the impact when the program started. He is now really looking at what the real responsibility of celebrity means. He really wants to take the responsibility.”
Lafair, whose specialty was family therapy before she got into corporate work, said that Gosselin is facing the same issues that other fathers of his generation face. “For him, it’s helping him begin to see where he’s headed in his life and how he can be a leader, first in a family with a lot of children he had in a short period of time, second in his work career where he is now redefining himself, and third to become a leader as he goes on his journey for his generation of men who have to redefine themselves.”
Lafair said the reason Gosselin acquired a widely reported dragon tattoo recently was “because he began to look at the legacy that was handed him by his parents and grandparents. He had not given thought to the fact that he’s half Korean, that his Korean lineage has been pushed to the background.”
Lafair is the president of Creative Energy Options, headquartered in White Haven, Pa., where there is a retreat and conference center. She said that Gosselin has been attending group programs at the center.
“It was a big risk for him to go into a group of people, because he’s been thrown under the bus many times,” Lafair said. “He knew if he didn’t begin to trust people — he had to take that risk to begin to get feedback. He’s learning how to give. He’s learning how to ask questions. He’s learning to be a better listener and he’s learning to look at the behavior patterns that have held him back.”
If Lafair and Gosselin write a book, she said, it won’t dish dirt.
“It’s really a journey story of what he’s learned. What the outline shows is there will be tips and tools from what he is learning so others can perhaps find a shortcut on their own journeys.”