A Washington Township family has used its time of grief to create a children’s book about being a positive influence in the community. The result is “Are You Good from A-Z?”
“The idea is teaching kids what it takes to be a good person, which would in turn make the world a better place,” said Tiffany Sandridge. “If you start with yourself and have these qualities, it’s one thing to be compassionate or appreciative, but you might not be loyal or like to volunteer. Are you good all the way through?”
The Sandridge family, Tiffany, Judah, Caleb, Luke and Seth, lost their husband and father, Dave, to suicide in September of 2019. Although they were grieving, Tiffany was hopeful that through school and work, the family could stay focused and distracted to get through their loss.
Then, in March, COVID-19 took over their lives, as it did families across the globe.
“It had never been easy, but once you are forced in the house to look at each other all day long, it was like, ‘Okay wait, he’s really not here.’ It was horrible,” Tiffany recalled. “The book kept us sane almost. I was just trying to stay busy; that’s how I survived initially.”
After her husband’s passing, Tiffany thought long and hard about character and how important it is. She sat down with her two older sons and learned they did not really know what it meant to encourage or have integrity. She decided to write a book about all the positive characteristics people should demonstrate in their lives.
“I started talking to them about character and started naming different things, like integrity, respect and patience … As we were talking, I told them we were going to write a book,” Tiffany said. “The things I was telling them about, I learned through life. I never sat down and heard about them all at one time. I saw there was an opportunity there.”
An example in the book of a positive characteristic is ‘‘Patience.” That page focuses on a young boy waiting in line. Instead of joining others who complain about the wait, he decides to read a book, doing something creative and productive with his time.
“I am so super proud and elated because I use this book on my kids every day,” Tiffany explained. “I will ask them if they are being good from A to Z. It has really been helping us and I want them to be well-rounded.”
She expressed how the book has helped her and her family through their grief and a pandemic. Tiffany believes her husband would have appreciated the project..
“David was so loving and so charming,” his wife said. “He actually did a video one day and he went down to Center City and he gave out books … He was giving them out for free, if you got a free hug, a hug for a book.
“The idea of it was just spreading love: That’s what he was, that’s what he embodied.”
The book is available on Amazon; more information about the Sandridge family is available at neverstopbuilding.org.