By Rick Coates
At 64, Larry Kuhnke has opened a new chapter in his life: that of an author. After a career in the airline and banking industries Kuhnke decided to impart his wisdom unto others. But instead of writing about his observations and knowledge from his professional world, he decided on sharing his insights on how to best pursue a life of happiness. Advice that he hopes the younger generation will grasp early in life and carry with them into adulthood.
This Saturday, January 29, the Traverse City author will sign copies of his book Cloud 9 at Horizon Books in Traverse City from 2 to 4 pm.
Kuhnke believes that it is easier to learn while you are young than when you grow older. He wrote Cloud 9 with the idea that it would serve as a conversation starter between parents or grandparents and children. The 80-page book has 43 chapters, each representing an important value to live by.
This book is my lifestyle, it is based on what I was taught growing up. Now, some of these values I came to understand in adulthood, said Kuhnke. As I reflect on my life these are the values that I believe will help a person achieve happiness and fulfillment in life. These concepts are how I raised my two daughters and now what I am sharing with my four grandchildren.
10 YEARS IN THE MAKING
Kuhnke, who describes himself as a person of few words and one who observes his surroundings closely, started developing the concept of the book 10 years ago.
I noticed in my travels and daily observations that many young people were not being taught the basic fundamentals and values of life, said Kuhnke. That peer pressure and lifes daily distractions seemed to be leading many down a path of unhappiness rather then happiness. In addition, many children are not getting parental guidance on core values and beliefs.
Kuhnke believes that many parents often struggle with how to instill in their children a system of values that will guide them toward happiness, good health, and success in life. His goal with the book is that if children start early adopting these values they will go through life living on cloud 9.
These concepts are simple, basic values that in recent years have been overlooked by many and I think the result is we are paying for it in society today, said Kuhnke. My wife and I decided to do the simple things with our daughters, like nightly meals without electronic distractions.
CREATING A DIALOGUE
How Cloud 9 differs from other books in the same vein is that Kuhnke does not use a preachy tone, but instead is suggestive and encouraging in his approach.
My goal with this book was to create a dialogue between parents and their children. Children, regardless of their age, will ask questions and their parents will be able to share the specifics of each value with them.
Cloud 9 covers what most would consider to be obvious values such as The Truth, Integrity, Responsibility and Ethics & Morals. Kuhnke also expands beyond the obvious and touches on Sportsmanship, Your Word, Dreams, Financial Accountability, Goals and the importance of singing and dancing.
Well like I said, not everything in this book I learned in childhood and certainly singing and dancing is one of those things, said Kuhnke. I understand their importance now and am trying to do both. They make you feel good and both are great ways to meet new people.
Kuhnke grew up in Monroe, Michigan in what he describes as a humble upbringing. His father was a Marine and eventually worked at Ford while his mother worked part time in a tavern. He had four siblings and lived in a three-bedroom house with one bathroom. His grandmother also lived in the home. Kuhnke learned many life lessons at an early age and setting goals was one of them.
I did set goals, one of my most meaningful was to become an Eagle Scout. I accomplished that by the age of 13. I also learned that by growing up with so many of these values it opened doors for my personally and professionally through my life.
So was there anything Kuhnke would change about the book?
I forgot one value, an important one and if there is a second printing I will add it, said Kuhnke. Forgiveness is so important in life; it was an oversight on my part.
As for the future, Kuhnke is not sure if another book is in store for him. He wants to see how this one plays out. He also wants to be active in his grandchildrens lives. Plus he has plenty of hobbies to keep himself busy, from downhill skiing and tinkering with tractors to boating and waterskiing in the summer.
I can still get up on one ski and I am very proud of that.
Author Larry Kuhnke will be at Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City this Saturday from 2 to 4 pm signing copies of his book Cloud 9. He has committed 50% of the proceeds from all sales of the book to charities that benefit children. To get a sneak peak of the book check out www.tiny.cc/cloud9.