By Susan Reynolds
Based on interview by Pat Burns
Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® anthologies, which have sold over 500 million copies worldwide, is very enthused about his new status as a grandfather. Jack’s first grandchild was born in April, 2013. “The first time I picked up little Ozzy (Oscar), it was like his DNA knew my DNA,” Canfield explained. “He just nestled into my chest, like it was a home- coming, and I had this overwhelming rush of I am so taking care of this kid. Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® anthologies, which have sold over 500 mil-
You don’t realize what this progression of the generations really means until you have a grandchild. It feels profoundly different and profoundly fulfilling for me. I am so thrilled by it.”
“The first time I picked up little Ozzy (Oscar), it was like his DNA knew my DNA”
Even though he’s sixty-nine, Canfield feels far younger and wasn’t ready to be called Grandpa or Grandfather. Since Ozzy’s mother is Japanese, he asked his daughter-in-law what they call grandfathers in her culture, and thus he became Ojisan. “My son’s name is Oran and now we have Ozzy and Oji, which makes the three ‘O’s feel even more connected.”
Inga, Canfield’s wife of eighteen years, and he live in California. They have a blended family with five children, Oran (Ozzy’s dad), Kyle, and Christopher Canfield, and Travis and Riley Mahoney.
Oran and family live in Brooklyn, which proves a challenge. “My son brought young Ozzy to visit for two weeks at Christmas, and whenever I have to fly east to see my publisher, I stay an extra day or two.” Meanwhile, like most modern grandparents, they use Skype to stay in touch. “Sometimes Ozzy gets who we are, and sometimes he’s cranky and we’re just flat- screened weirdness.”
His daughter-in-law Kyoki is a professional photographer, so sends a stream of video and pictures. “A day doesn’t go by that we don’t get a video or a picture, and it’s fun because there’s always some incremental change that you can’t help but notice. And of course we send little presents.”
When it comes to his legacy, Canfield wants Ozzy to develop what he calls “a matrix of safety,” an ability to know that he’s fine in the world no matter where he is, which ideally would be in place by age eighteen. He also wants him to know that he is truly loved and comes from a family dedicated to helping others. “I want him to be socially conscious and know that it’s not all about Ozzy; that’s it’s about all of us together.” While he will pass on a portion of his financial wealth to his children and grandchildren, what Canfield really cares about is intellectual capital. “I want my grandson to know what his family has learned over the years. And I want him to know that he is a truly unique person with the capacity to achieve any dream he wants, and to possess enough self esteem to know he’s good enough to do it.”
Another legacy Canfield longs to pass on is knowledge of Ozzy’s extensive family history. “It’s important to know about your roots,” he explained. “We’ve already begun archiving our family history so he’ll get overwhelmed with books about our life, who we are.”
The new grandfather admits that he used to think people who were willing to pick up and move vast distances to live closer to their grandchildren were overdoing it, but now admits that he may consider it. “Being a grandfather has also made me closer to my son, and his wife, and I’m in a place in my life where I’m realizing that relationships are even more important than I thought. I long to spend a lot more time with Ozzy, to share my personal knowledge, in the real world way instead of in a preachy way, so that he’s learning les- sons as he going through life. I want him to discover early on that each of us has a unique life purpose and that part of his job in life is to figure out what that is and to express it fully in the world.”
When it comes to his legacy, Canfield wants Ozzy to develop what he calls “a matrix of safety.”
Canfield used to define success as being able to produce any result you want anywhere, anytime, but now it’s all about fulfilling your soul’s purpose. “I want Ozzy to follow his bliss, follow his heart, but most of all I want him to be happy.
Jack Canfield is perhaps best known as the co-creator of New York Times Bestselling inspirational anthology series known as Chicken Soup for the Soul® [after 144 publisher rejections, the series now boasts 225 titles and more than 500 million copies in print in 47 countries]. He is also president of the Canfield Training Institute where he helps entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, managers, sales professionals, corporate employees, and educators accelerate achievement of their professional, financial, and personal goals. Over the last thirty years, his compelling message, empowering energy, and personable coaching style has earned Canfield the affectionate moniker of America’s #1 Success Coach.
Click here to listen to Pat’s interview with Jack Canfield.
Pat Burns is a film critic and Regional Editor for GRAND Magazine, author of Grandparents Rock, and the happy grandmother of four.
Susan Reynolds is a Boston-based writer whose works include Train Your Brain to Get Happy, Everything Enneagram, and Meditation for Moms.