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Tewksbury Man Hopes To Inspire Children And Adults With New Book

Sep 28, 2015 12:19PM ● By Bill Gilman

Bob Briggs, right, and his son Bobby pose with their book, "Grateful Bob." Bob Briggs wrote the story and Bobby provided the illustrations.

Some people call it a defining moment or a turning point. In the pop culture vernacular they call it an "Aha! moment."
It is that moment of clarity, of revelation, in a person's life that causes a radical change in perspective on a certain situation or life in general.
For Bob Briggs, such a moment took place in 2010. The Tewksbury man was at home, with his children, in the backyard, when he suddenly felt tightness in his chest and shortness of breath. A 911 call was made and Briggs was taken to a nearby hospital.
""I thought I was having a heart attack," said Briggs. "It turned out, I was having a major panic attack."
The panic attack, also known as an anxiety attack, had been brought on by steadily increasing stress in his life. Briggs owned a successful cable installation company, employing 90 people, from 2003-2009. But he was forced to close the company when a major communications company cancelled its contract.
He was out of work for close to two years, struggling to try and find a job in his field that paid enough to cover his family's bills.
"We had a rough couple of years," said Briggs. "We had to sell the house. We moved a lot."
And then came the panic attack.
Briggs was pretty sure he had hit a new low in his downward slide. He felt like he had lost everything and had failed his wife and children.
But something remarkable happened. Somehow, Briggs isn't exactly sure how, the blinders came off and he realized three important truths.
  1. His family was still here. His wife Julann and his children Bobby, Ryan and Rylie still loved him and believed in him.
  2. Because of No. 1, the things he had lost really didn't matter.
  3. He had plenty of reasons to be grateful. In fact, he had things to be grateful for every day.
Those realizations and a recognition that American culture was becoming one of complainers, inspired him to write a children's book called "Grateful Bob." The book is the story is a little boy and how he learns to recognize and focus on the positive things in his life rather than on the disappointments or negative events.
Briggs said the book draws from experiences in his own childhood and that of his eldest son, Bobby, now 19. Bobby also provided illustrations for the book, making it a true Father-Son 'project. 
"At the end of the day, being grateful is what gets us through anything," said Bobby. "Bullying, hard times, anxiety, anything."
"If you can be grateful, if you can think positive every day, no one can penetrate that," said the elder Briggs. "The dedication in the book is to my wife and three kids, for their understanding and support. They love me no matter what."
"Grateful Bob" won't just be a one-shot deal. In fact, Briggs has already written a sequel that he plans to publish as soon as Bobby completes the illustrations.
"Hopefully, we will have five books in the series, all focused toward kids, up to 10-12 years old," said Briggs. "My wife and I have a passion to help kids think, to be more creative and have more confidence."
Briggs self-published his book using Create Space by Amazon. "Grateful Bob" is available for purchase on Amazon.com and will soon be available through Barnes and Noble. It is also available for purchase as an e-book on Kindle. He's also hoping to get the book into Massachusetts libraries.
"It would be great if I could sell some books but what I'm really hoping to do is start a movement," said Briggs. "Imagine what the country would be like or what the town would be like, if everyone started to focus on being grateful."

Click here to order "Grateful Bob" on Amazon.com.
For more information on "Grateful Bob" and the Briggs Family, click here to check out their Facebook page.


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