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Paterson — The Arts

Lifelong Patersonian Publishes First Book

John Heinis

Saturday, August 6, 2011 • 10:41am

PATERSON, NJ – In the late 1960s in Paterson, an 11-year-old boy started writing in a personal journal. He came from a pretty big family - three brothers and two sisters - and sometimes he felt overlooked, or less loved. Writing became an outlet for his feelings. No one else knew about his journals. They were private.

Now he’s 53. Over the years, the boy became a  man - a teacher, a counselor, a college professor, a proud father. And during that time, he continued writing. And eventually, his writing stopped being so private.

On June 30, Dr. Thomas L. Page, a lifelong Paterson resident, released his first book, When Love is Not Enough

It’s a title, Page said, that “has been in his thoughts” since his teens. Once, he even jotted it down on the cover of one of his journals.

During a recent interview, Page said his book is “about spirituality, coping, raising young adult males, and reuniting families.”

 

"I want parents to get a deeper understanding of their children, sometimes it’s not about love,'' Page said. "Sometimes its compassion, understanding, discipline, validation.  Single parent, and foster parent households are good examples, since both birth parents are not in the picture.  When love is not enough, here’s what we do, “I mentor you, show you, instruct you.'”
 
Page said the book examines “African-American males, although my work involves all those with adolescent and young adult males in their family.” The volunteers he used in his book were males ages 18-24, which mostly included his students and his sons’ friends.

Page has a doctorate degree in human services, with a specialty in counseling studies, and has been working in the field for many years now. “I love teaching the most,” Page said. “I love opening minds and making ‘em think.”

Page said he had one goal in mind prior to releasing When Love is Not Enough: “My goal is to allow families to accept, embrace, and understand young adults.”

“And young adults must learn according to what young men should be,” Page added.

In the course of his research, Page said he found that young men typically want simple things in life.

“All young men wanted were to be loved and understood,” Page reflected.

 

An elementary school music teacher for 15 years and a counselor at the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department for 13 years, Page has been teaching three classes at Passaic County Community College since 2000 - Psychology, Institutional Racism, and Human Growth and Development.
 
Page said the mentors in my life helped shape his book. "My father, Pastor Tony BanZanten, Art Gardner, William Peter Nelson, and Dale Skip VanRensalier were mentors for me growing up,'' he said. "Art was a teacher from elementary school, and Nelson and VanRensalier were teachers during high school.  They remained a part of my life.  Art has passed away, but I still use his wisdom today."
 
 
"My father mentored me, taught me how to be respectful, demonstrated what things are like: Involve your child in different activities, incorporate them into your life,'' Page said. "Too many parents fall into that trap of letting their kids sit in front of the TV all day."
 
Page held a book signing party at the Jacksonville Lounge on Grand Street on July 28. He will be heading to Atlanta in August to do a book signing to continue promoting his work. 

Even if his book were to earn him fame and fortune, Page said he has no plans to leave the Silk City.

“Paterson is where I’m from, who I am, where my parents raised me,’’ he said. “I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”

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