Great news! NFI has completed the delivery of over 140,000 fatherhood skill-building resources to 47 Air National Guard Airman and Family Readiness Programs and 71 Army New Parent Support Programs across the United States and around the world.
In the Air National Guard, the resources -- which include guides, classroom-based programs, and brochures -- will be used to support and train Air National Guard dads, thereby strengthening and improving the resilience of Air National Guard Families. In the Army, the resources will be used by Army New Parent Support Program Home Visitors to educate and train new and expectant Army dads, resulting in stronger and more resilient Army families.
At a time when thousands of military fathers are returning from long overseas deployments, it is critical that our nation’s military fathers receive the education and inspiration they need to embrace their roles as fathers and to build their relationship and parenting skills.
Tim Red, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, father, and NFI’s Senior Program Support Consultant for the Military, said, “Building resilience in our military families and communities has become a top priority, and there is no better place to start than with building the skills and confidence of our nation’s military dads. Having been there myself, I know firsthand the difference an involved, responsible, and committed father can make in the lives of military children and families.”
Through FatherSOURCE, the Fatherhood Resource Center, NFI has provided a wide variety of skill-building materials to the Air National Guard and Army, including NFI’s flagship 24/7 Dad® curriculum, a classroom-based program designed to help fathers build their communication, fathering, and relationship skills. Other resources include NFI’s Deployed Fathers and Families Guide™, which helps military dads prepare for, endure, and return from deployment. Several of NFI’s fathering skills brochures were also delivered, including “10 Ways to Be a Better Dad” and military-focused brochures such as “10 Ways to Stay Involved with Your Children During Deployment” and “Welcome Home Dad!”, which helps military fathers successfully transition from deployment to every day life with their families.
The Air National Guard will support dads and families with the resources at sites in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The Army will support dads and families with the resources at sites in the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
Since launching its Deployed Fathers and Families program in 2001, National Fatherhood Initiative has become the nation’s leading provider of fatherhood-specific resources to the U.S. Military. NFI has delivered nearly 650,000 resources to all five branches of the military on bases all over the world, and has been listed on Military OneSource, the Department of Defense’s support service for military families.
For more information on Military Fatherhood Programming, please contact Tim Red at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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If you've been with us since the beginning of the year, you know we've provided readers with tips and tools for being the best dad in 2013! Now that "New Year, New Dad!" is coming to an end, we give you a few ideas to keep your goals this year! Here are seven tips for being a great dad, even after January!
1) A Great Dad Stays Focused
When you are at work, remember your goals you identified for what you want to improve in your family this year. By staying focused at work, you can begin to minimize time away from your family. Part of being focused is being in the moment and not being distracted. Determined for yourself that this is the year you keep work at work and when you come home, you keep working! By remembering your goals at home, you will be eager to work on them when you return.
2) A Great Dad Finds an Ally
Whether it's sharing with your spouse, ex-spouse, or another dad; be intentional about discussing your goals and any progress toward the finish line. By sharing what you want to work on, you can hold each other accountable.
3) A Great Dad is a Role Model
Pay attention to what you say and how you act around your children, even if you aren't directly talking to them. By being a good role model, you are teaching them how men should act and how they are to take care of their family. For dads with daughters, you are modeling, for good or for ill, how every other man should treat your daughter.
4) A Great Dad Makes Meals Important
Whether it is breakfast or dinner, sit down to eat at the table with your family and focus on connecting as a family. We know from countless research, but we also know from our own families, that there simply isn't a better time to connect as a family. It's a built-in time if we are intentional and use it as such.
5) A Great Dad Earns the Right to Be Heard
Take time to listen to your children's ideas and problems. Try to keep from answering questions and allow your kids to open up to you. The more you do this, the more you will learn about your family.
6) A Great Dad is a Teacher
Your child will look to you for guidance and direction. Take some time to teach your children about something you care about, either a topic you are intrested in or something they bring up. Use something from what they are already learning about in school as something you can use to expereince with your child. This will not only form a bond with you and your child, but will also peak your son or daughter's interest in a given subject. For example, as hard as it might be, don't sleep in on Saturday morning, but head to a museum wear you can be a part of making a school textbook come to life.
7) A Great Dad Disciplines with Love
One of a father's most important roles is to discipline his children. Discipline is about teaching and setting reasonable limits. Remind your children that there are consequences for their actions. Remember to affirm their good behavior, too!
What would you add to this list?
We hope you've enjoyed our "New Year, New Dad!" campaign. These are just a few of the tips we'll continue helping you with in the coming year, stay tuned for more tips and tools this year to help you be the best dad you can be in 2013!
Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative honors a military dad who goes above and beyond in his service to the nation and his responsibility as a dad.
NFI's Military Fatherhood Award™ recognizes and celebrates a dad who:
- demonstrates ongoing dedication to his children
- puts in extraordinary effort to stay connected with his kids
- successfully balances his military duties and family life
- invests in other military fathers and children
If you know a great military dad, nominate him for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ today! Nominations close on Monday February 4 at 12:00 p.m. EST, and we can only accept the first 600 nominations, so submit yours quickly! (See Terms and Conditions to answer most questions about the award program.)
Share this blog post using the buttons at the top of the post to let other military friends and family know about this opportunity to nominate their dad or a dad they know!
Sponsors of the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award:
as of January 17, 2013
Protect and Defend Sponsors
If you are connected with a company that would be interested in sponsoring, contact Renae Smith at email@example.com. Download the sponsorship kit here.
We have exciting plans for 2013 to reach more dads, help more families, and advocate on behalf of responsible fatherhood - with the ultimate goal of improving child well-being and creating a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad ℠. But we need your help.
As we start 2013, will you join our 12 Dollars, 12 Months, 12 Dads challenge?
It costs $12 to provide a dad with one of NFI's evidence-based fatherhood handbooks to help him build his fathering skills. We are looking for 100 people to commit to donate $12 a month to help one dad every month. If we reach that goal, together we will equip 1,200 extra dads in 2013 with resources to help them connect with their children heart-to-heart!
Will you be one of our team of 100 giving $12 a month to help a dad?
For example, $12 gives an incarcerated father an InsideOut Dad™ handbook to help him connect with his child even while behind bars and build a successful reentry plan for when he returns to his family.
Or, $12 gives a dad in a community like yours a 24/7 Dad™ handbook to help him build fathering skills like communicating with his child, working with mom, and understanding the impact of his relationship with his own father.
Each time a dad completes one of NFI's evidence-based, tested and proven programs, a child is more likely to benefit from a dad who is involved, responsible, and committed. You can help make that happen.
Joining the 12 Dollar challenge is an easy but significant way to make a difference in the lives of kids. Plus, all donations are tax deductible!
Will you take the challenge?
Donations represent a gift to the entire mission of NFI. To help the most number of children and families, we use your gifts where they can do the most good by pooling them with the gifts of others. And, because you are helping to change children’s lives, your gift is tax deductible!
My wife hates watching TV with me because whenever I see a commercial depicting fathers in a negative light, I go off on the same rant. So, she hears this rant almost nightly.
But to be fair to the Madison Avenue crowd, there are certainly lots of commercials showing dads in a positive, or at least realistic, light (note: showing dads acting like childish idiots is not realistic, nor is it helpful). In fact, NFI has given the Fatherhood Award™ to several of these companies, including Google, Subaru, and many more.
In the spirit of being fair and balanced, here is one good and one bad example of current TV ads depicting dads.
As a baseball fan, former Little Leaguer (where my dad was my coach for several years), and high school player, I love this ad.
Some may argue that it is another ad showing a dad looking pretty dumb, but my problem is not so much with “dumbness,” but with ads that are not realistic. This one is. Not everyone can throw a baseball well. What matters is that this guy is so sincere, and he’s spending time with his son, one on one.
Most importantly, the ad does such a great job of telling a realistic and touching story. Look closely and you can see that the dad is still wearing his work clothes. He pulled into the driveway from work and his son was waiting for him in the front yard wanting to play catch. And he started playing with him right there – he didn’t even go inside to change his clothes! You can almost hear the kid saying, “Dad, dad! Let’s play catch!” And he, being the loving dad he is, dropped everything and started playing, despite his obvious lack of skills or comfortable clothes.
Humor, storytelling, and a positive message about fathers – this ad has it all. As opposed to this ad…
In contrast to the one above, this ad is not realistic. I do not know a single dad who would be this negligent and uncaring. Nor would a dad be “bought” so easily with the promise of food that was probably purchased with his own money. I also hate the recurring commercial theme of “if it weren’t for moms, American households would be bastions of chaos and permissiveness.” One could counter that the ad was “bending the truth” for a comical effect – but so was the above ad, and it was great and heartwarming and realistic. Again, note to commercial producers: you don’t have to make men and dads look like idiots in order to make funny ads. Frankly, I think it is lazy writers falling back on stereotypes who are making these kinds of commercials. The non-lazy ones are making gems like the VW ad above.
To be fair to Kraft, they are a sponsor of the upcoming Dad 2.0 Summit, so clearly they are trying to make a genuine effort to reach out to fathers. But with ads like this (and it is only one in a series of similarly bad ads), I don’t think they are going to have as much success as they’d like. To be sure, if they want to work with NFI, we would need to have a serious discussion about what they really think about fathers given the mocking nature of their ad campaign.
Have you seen any good fatherhood commercials lately? How about bad ones? Let us know.
Let’s face it; connecting with your child is difficult. It’s much easier to be a horrible dad. NFI is here to help you be the best at being horrible. Here are five tried and true ways to be a horrible father to your children.
Please share your ideas of how to be a horrible dad in the comment section.
1) The Horrible Dad ALWAYS Works Late.
There are folks who say, “Meals are the perfect time to connect with family.” Well, not if your goal is to be a horrible father. Forget mealtimes and stay late at work. Typically, the horrible dad is great “yes man.” Your boss needs something? Great, you can do it—you’re a horrible dad to your children. There’s nothing of importance at home for you. Heck, spend time after work socializing with old friends and colleagues. Because what’s more important than connecting with coworkers you already see all day for five days per week?! Answer: nothing. Nothing is more important for you, horrible dad.
2) The Horrible Dad Talks About Himself ALL the Time.
If you end up making it home before 8pm, be sure you talk to your kids and spouse about your day at work and never ask your family about their day. There’s so much that can be learned about dad during family mealtime. You filed a TPS report today? Awesome. Your family really cares and wants to know every detail. You can also use dinner to argue with all family members present. Trust us, it’s what horrible dads do, and you can do it too! Your kids can learn so many things from you about selfishness at mealtime, which they can carry into adulthood.
3) The Horrible Dad Thinks READING to His Child is a CHORE.
Reading to your kids takes time and effort. The horrible father need not worry about this problem.
From dads with younger kids to dads with college-aged kids, reading should NOT be a major part of the horrible dad’s life. Wouldn’t it be great for your kids to think of their dad as a lover of books?! Nope, says the horrible dad. Imagine talking with your high school or university student about a character from the same book they are reading—because you’re reading it with them! “Ha, that’s hilarious,” thinks the horrible dad!
4) The Horrible Dad ONLY Cares About His Interests.
You have a daughter who likes playing with Barbie dolls? Well, you think Barbie dolls are silly so you can’t spend time playing with them. The horrible dad only cares about what he likes. From watching his favorite movies and TV shows, you don’t waste time on something you don’t like. Be intentional about hating whatever your kids like. Have a son who plays with blocks? Boring. You get extra points for only talking about things that interest you at the dinner table.
5) The Horrible Dad NEVER Spends One-On-One Time with His Kids.
Listen up, dads. To be a truly horrible dad, be sure you NEVER connect one-on-one with your children. Good dads have reported that this is the best way to connect with their children. The horrible dad doesn’t bother taking his son or daughter out for ice cream. Taking a walk to discuss life with your teen? Who has time for that when you could be practicing your golf swing or working late?! Again, just another thing the horrible dad doesn’t have to think about.
What’s one thing you did recently to be a “horrible dad”?
photo credit: dontshoot.me!
This is a guest post by Jason Bruce. If you are interested in writing for us, send an email.
Are boys obsessed with weapons? Is your home a toy gun-free home? I’ll be first to admit that I’m a toy-weapon tolerant dad. I allow my son to play with toy guns and swords. Boys naturally like to play with toy weapons and there’s nothing wrong with acting out make-believe combat with toy guns and swords.
I grew up without toy weapons at home. My solution was to make my own weapons. I made cardboard machine guns and grenade launchers like a young Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. I made Samurai swords out of tree branches and any L-shape object became a hand gun including my baby sister’s Barbie dolls.
Many parents forbid their children from playing with toys guns. Many view toy weapons as corruptors of children, exposing them to aggressive and violent behaviors and reinforcing gender stereotypes.
The tragic event in Newtown, CT put the debate on gun control in the spotlight again and many parents followed suit imposing their own toy gun control and zero-tolerance policies in their households. But is this the right response to the issue of violence? Should parents keep their sons away from toy weapons and impose a weapon-free zone at home? Should zero-tolerance policies be extended to playgrounds, schools and other public venues?
Boys naturally gravitate toward weaponry not because of their desire to kill or hurt another human being but because of their desire to be heroes. Boys have a natural willingness to do great things, be adventurous and to be rescuers. They need to feel like heroic warriors and toy weapons help bring out their imagination and act out their fantasies. It is one way boys are molded to be mature courageous men.
Play is play and violence is violence. What’s essential is that fathers educate their sons to understand and differentiate the two in their playtime. Their make-believe games are opportunities to teach boys to distinguish between what’s right and wrong and what’s good and evil. Penny Holland, author of "We Don't Play with Guns Here," says toy weapons were "part of...making sense of the world (imitating) timeless themes of the struggle between good and evil."
Parents should recognize and respect what young boys are dreaming to be and experiencing in their play. Fathers were once young boys too and played fierce battles with evil monsters and alien invaders. We usually grow up wanting to be heroes.
Sometimes I wish my son would simply pretend he’s a magician or a race car driver; but right now he wants to be a gun-trotting Pirate and Captain America. All a weapons-tolerant dad like me can do is to play along with my imaginary laser gun and light saber and model to him the right and honorable way to save the day.
Do you let your child play with toy weapons? Why or why not?
Connect with The Father Factor by RSS, Facebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.
Jason is a blogger and social media specialist for the Colson Center. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two kids. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonBruce) and visit his blog The Living Rice.
In 2003, National Fatherhood Initiaive ran the "Golden Dads Campaign" on Father's Day weekend to raise awareness about the importance of involved, responsible, and committed fathers in the lives of their children. We gave several celebrity dads Golden Dads Awards, including the American Idol judge Randy Jackson.
From Randy Jackson's American Idol bio:
A music industry veteran of more than 20 years and a Grammy Award-winning producer, Randy Jackson began playing bass guitar at age 13 and got his big break when he joined the band Journey. A prolific producer, Jackson spent eight years as Vice President of A&R at Columbia Records, followed by four years as Senior Vice President of A&R at MCA Records. However, it was AMERICAN IDOL that propelled Jackson into the mainstream.
While working on more than 1,000 gold and multi-platinum albums, which have sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, Jackson's amazing talent; vast studio knowledge; and performing, touring and record company acumen have made him one of today's most coveted music industry experts. Jackson currently resides with his wife and children in Los Angeles.
About the "Golden Dads Weekend" from 2003:
The "Golden Dads Campaign" was a partnership between NFI, Rendezvous Entertainment and Warner Bros. Records to promote responsible fatherhood by recognizing and rewarding the acts of good fathers in five cities across the nation on Father's Day weekend.
The Golden Dads Campaign was inspired by the Rendezvous Entertainment album, "Golden Slumbers: A Father's Lullaby," a collection of classic and unexpected lullabies made especially for fathers and their children, featuring the Grammy-nominated performances of Dave Koz and Jeff Koz.
100 Golden Dads were awarded in Los Angeles, along with 100 fathers in each of the following cities: Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., for a total of 500 Golden Dads across the country.
Visit our Fatherhood Award page to see a full list of Fatherhood Award recipients through the years.
We're already midway through January; if you're like us, you're in disbelief! However, we're still committed to helping you be the best dad you can be in 2013! After our first post for "New Year, New Dad!;" hopefully you've had time to reflect on your goals and are ready to tackle the year. In hopes of making sure your goals are in check and you've considered everything you need to for your family, use the seven questions below to help you assess the needs of your family and be sure you're setting the right goals for the coming year.
Here are seven questions that great dads ask themselves:
1. A Great Dad Knows the Importance of Improving His Family.
Take the time to write down three things and post them in an area where they can be easily referenced. These things can be areas of weakness or things that you simply want to do more. These areas of improvement need not be statements; simply write one word to help you keep the ideas in mind this year.
2. A Great Dad Knows the Importance of Communicating with His Spouse/Ex-Spouse.
This will be much easier if your living with your child's mother. But admittedly, it's often easy to not communicate with your child's mother regardless of where she resides! Be intentional about asking your spouse what she thinks of your goals and work together to agree about those goals. Single dads: the idea here is to work toward being on the same page as your ex-spouse with where you want to take the family regarding goals.
3. A Great Dad Knows What His Child Needs.
If you're a new dad, or the father of a teenager, you may find your children have different needs. Assess what those needs are by age. If we make goals at all, we tend to focus on ourselves. Be sure you are considering where your children are in developement when creating goals and making plans. For instance, you will find your travel plans change drastically depending on the age of your children.
4. A Great Dad Knows His Child's Favorite Experiences.
Ask your children what their favorite memory was for 2012 and begin brainstorming other similar activities you can do this year. Work to create a time, perhaps over dinner, to let the kids not only talk about their favorite memories but come up with a list of things they would enjoy doing this year.
5. A Great Dad Knows His Schedule.
A schedule is beneficial for children and parents. Consider stopping unnecessary routines and starting better ones. This may be one of the most difficult steps in the process. The point here is to reflect on your daily or weekly routine and see where changes could be made.
6. A Great Dad Knows His Family's Schedule.
With school, dance, theater, and/or sports in full effect, check in with your family on how they are handling things. As a leader in the home, create appointments with yourself on your calendar to remind you about checking in periodically. It's too easy to get too busy and often consider EVERYTHING as IMPORTANT when in reality, not everything is important. Depending on your assessment, consider cutting back on activities as a family.
7. A Great Dad Makes Time for His Family.
Schedule time each day to be intentional about being face to face with your spouse. Additionally, be intentional about being face to face with your kids daily. Of course this isn't easy. Strive to be creative and caring this year. If you can change daily routines with family priorities in mind, you'll notice a difference in your marriage and/or relationships with your kids.
Knowing these things will help you focus on being the best dad you can be this year. What would you add to this list?
The following is a post from Christopher A. Brown, Executive Vice President of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI). If you would like to blog for us, email here.
If you’re as avid of a sports fan as I am, you undoubtedly heard that no one will become enshrined this year in Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame. The uproar among a large segment of the sports community has been interesting to say the least. In fact, it’s been rather myopic.
Cries that the voting system is broken have been emanating from the mouths of sports pundits since the voting results were announced on January 9th, loudly enough to make someone think that the baseball world has been turned upside down by this “travesty.” Moreover, it could lead a reasonable person to wonder whether this “no vote” has ever occurred. The reality is that this isn’t the first time the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA)—the body of well-known and respected writers on America’s pastime that gives the thumbs up or down on inductions into the hall—has voted to not allow anyone in. Indeed, it’s happened no less than 8 times (the most recent time in 1996). But in our sound-bite world with its focus on the present to the exclusion of history (and its lessons), these pundits of the diamond have no doubt poisoned the well for so many Americans, especially young ones, who love the game.
From a historical perspective, I can think of no other game that better symbolizes the joy that fathers and children experience together within the context of sports. Images come readily to mind of fathers and sons and fathers and daughters playing catch, of children opening Christmas presents to find a brand new glove (and its wonderful smell), and of families spending an afternoon or evening at the ballpark eating hotdogs, nachos, and burgers. Some of the fondest memories I have of high school and college include cramming into the car with my buddies and driving to Texas Rangers games and sitting in the outfield for less than $10 a ticket. I didn’t care whether the Rangers won or lost (primarily because they usually lost) because I was there to watch the stars. (One of my fondest memories is of Bo Jackson hammering a fastball from Nolan Ryan that landed just a few rows out of my reach.)
Coming back down to earth for a moment, if you’re not familiar with the specifics of the vote, there were several former players eligible for induction for the first time who are, based on almost every statistical measure associated with their primary role as a player, some of the greatest to play the game. Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza were chief among them. (Other lesser-known but fantastic players eligible for the first time included Craig Biggio who, incidentally, received the highest number of votes.) Players on previous ballots included Rafael Palmeiro, Mark McGuire, and Jack Morris. Does anything jump out at you about most of these players? If you said that most of them have been accused or admitted (in the case of Bonds) to using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), you win a prize.
Most of the players on this year’s ballot played in the “steroid era.” That fact alone doomed their candidacies this year and, possibly, forever. To qualify for induction, at least 75 percent of voters must select a former player for induction. None of the players associated with steroid use even came close despite their gaudy numbers. (Clemens at 37.6 percent received the most votes of these players). Players remain on the ballot for 15 years, a fairly short window in which to gain induction. With so many of these players’ vote totals being so low, there’s a possibility that they’ll never get their busts into Cooperstown.
As I watched a roundtable of BBWAA voters on ESPN discuss the results of the vote and its implications, one of the reporters said that he voted for many of the purported steroid users because “I vote in context.” He explained that because these specific candidates played in an era when many players (allegedly) used PEDs, voters shouldn’t discriminate against them. After all, he said, everyone was using them. He then proceeded to support his argument by drawing on a standard practice of many voters throughout the years—vote for players based on the era in which they played and not across eras (i.e. comparing the numbers from a player in 1920 with one in 1980 given changes in the game over that time). Moreover, the widespread use of PEDs created a “level playing field”; consequently, the numbers of these great players speak for themselves. Interesting as this argument might be, it misses the broader issue.
These players are accused—rightly or wrongly—of cheating, pure and simple. While most of these players haven’t been convicted in a court of law, they certainly have in the court of public opinion. (And, unfortunately, this era has painted such a broad stroke of PED use that some players who might be deserving of induction might not get in as a result of playing during that time.) That’s why so many voters didn’t vote for Bonds, arguably the best hitter in baseball history, and Clemens, arguably the best pitcher. Regardless of era, cheaters have not been allowed into the hall. (Do I hear a “Pete Rose” or “Shoeless Joe Jackson?”)
Herein lies the lesson for fathers. (Yes. I finally got around to it.) Fair play is baseball’s hallmark—an immutable law. That’s why cheaters, whether convicted or not in a court of law, don’t get into the hall. I surmise that many voters would rather keep a possible cheater out of the hall and let him into it later after his name is cleared than to allow a possible cheater into the hall and later learn that he did, in fact, cheat. Fair play is baseball’s moral center. As its moral center, it spans the chasm of time. It does not change regardless of era. As fathers, we must give our children a moral center to guide their behavior—a set of immutable laws that don’t change with the seasons. While the specific morals of this center might differ from culture to culture, the fact remains that giving it to our children is our most critical role as fathers. Fair play is one moral that I have tried to imbue in my daughters. Is it one of yours?
Today, you probably know Tony Dungy as the anaylst on NBC's "Football Night in America". But Dungy retired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after making the playoffs in each of his last 10 seasons (7 with Indianapolis; 3 with Tampa Bay). With his win of Super Bowl XLI, he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl as the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears.
In 2002, National Fatherhood Initiative awarded Tony with a Fatherhood Award in San Antonio, TX. Long before Tony won the Super Bowl, NFI knew he was a Super Dad. Watch this clip of Tony receiving his 2002 Fatherhood Award and let Tony's words inspire and challenge you about the importance of being an involved dad today.
Tony’s recalls upon receving the Fatherhood Award:
In 1997 I got an award for NFL Coach of the Year. Five years later, receiving this award is really no comparison. This certainly means a lot more to me and it’s quite a honor and so humbling to be here with other dads recognized tonight. Watching these ads (tv ads were shown at the event) it's touching and every single one you can relate to probably the one for me that I relate to the most is the first one “Catch” with the little boy playing ball because we have a 10-year-old and yesterday he wanted to play baseball. We’re up in Indianapolis, we’re moving up there, and we don’t have all of our stuff, we had to go find a stick and we made a little taped-up ball and he beat me 23-2 with a stick ball.
So as we were talking about coming down here, I said (to my son), “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with me?” And he’s got to do a lot of things, he’s been on the floor of the Metrodome, he’s went with me to the NFC Championship Game and stayed in the Ritz-Carlton and held my cord on the sideline, he’s been to Hawaii to the Pro Bowl and held my cord on the sideline, and he said, “Well, the most fun I’ve had was beating you in stickball!” And his reasoning was something that really touches this, I said “How can that be the most fun with all the things you’ve done?” And he said, “Because that’s what we did TODAY!” That’s what it is in a kids’ mind, it’s not what you do, it’s if you’re there to do it with them and I would encourage you to be there to do things with your kids.
Visit our Fatherhood Award page to see a full list of Fatherhood Award recipients through the years.
- “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” —Smart Person
- “The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline.” –Another Smart Person
We’re a few days into the new year... How are you doing with those new year’s resolutions? Did you decide you wanted to lose weight, eat better, get organized, save money, read and exercise more? I hate to break it to you, but your resolutions probably won’t stick… unless you follow the three simple steps below to help you set and keep your goals.
I am a planner. Whether it’s my wiring or something else, I am prone to plan. I like knowing what I’m doing and what I’m going to do. I create my shopping list based on the aisle order in my local grocery store. I know that the bakery is close to the door and dairy is in the back; so at the top of my list is bakery items and at the bottom is dairy. In short, I REALLY plan my trip for groceries! Also, if I’m walking in aisle two and find an item I left off of my list, I place the item in the basket then type that item into my iPhone checklist just so I can place a checkmark on it. Plans make me comfy. It’s an issue I’m dealing with.
However, as in most blog posts I write, I have a confession to make: while I have been a planner for as long as I can remember, I haven’t always been great at sticking to the plans I make. In my experience and especially as a parent, I truly believe that unless we live with a plan, we will not live on purpose. Are you like me? Do you plan but sometimes fall through on the action part?
Here are the three steps necessary for setting and keeping your goals:
1. Resolve to Take Small, Specific Steps.
Understand that you can’t do everything at once. There’s a saying, “if you chase two rabbits, you’ll end up hungry.” Your path to becoming a new and better person is taking small steps at a time, not giant leaps.
If you want to lose 50 pounds by running. You don't run for a week and then wonder why you haven’t already lost 50 pounds. Guess what? You lose 50 pounds by losing one pound 50 times. Bam!
I’ll never forget what a friend (who runs marathons) said after I told him I’d love to run as much as him. I was amazed at how much he ran daily. It was nothing for him to run 5 to 10 miles per day and on the weekends run 15 miles. In my amazement, I asked him curiously, “What’s your advice for someone like me, who has never run, to run like you?” His answer was simple yet profound, he replied, “Start walking.” He was right. I wasn’t going to get on a treadmill and run 10 miles if I’d never been on the treadmill and walked one mile.
The point here is to not create a long list of 10 or 20 goals. Stay focused on fewer goals, maybe between three and five of the most important goals. My advice is to not make so many goals that you can't easily remember them. You should definitely write your goals down, but if you have to work to memorize a list, you've probably made too many goals!
2. Resolve to Be SMART.
Being SMART has its requirements! I didn’t create this rule, but I have found this idea useful in the goal-setting process. Make your resolutions this year into SMART goals by following this idea:
- Specific: Specific goals are more likely to be accomplished than general ones. Answer questions like who, what, when, and why at this step.
- Measurable: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Think about how you will know when the goal has been accomplished.
- Actionable: Do your goals start with words like “write,” “quit,” “run,” and “finish”? If not, they are less likely to be accomplished.
- Realistic: This may be the hardest step. If you’ve reached this point, you’re getting excited and you’re doing well at setting goals. With that, it’s easy to set your goals too high. Be very honest with yourself and consider what really can be attained.
- Timely: Put a date at the end of each goal. Some goals may need to have December 31st on them, but even with those goals, consider breaking them into smaller steps and adding a shorter time period to them.
3. Resolve to Go Public.
I admit this isn’t the easiest step—depending on the goal you’ve set. But something happens when you tell the people closest to you about a goal for which you are committed. There’s a built-in accountability that takes place among close friends and family, especially with a spouse and/or family that lives with you. If your goal is to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain time, family will naturally ask you how you’re doing or comment about your progress.
Parents, here are a couple of examples of goals you can re-create in your own words and keep with your family this year:
- I will create two times to “get away” and be relaxed with my family for 2013.
- I will make dinner at home with my family an event by making sure every one is present and conversant at the table for at least 20 minutes, twice per week during 2013.
What goals are you "launching" for 2013?
Be the BEST DAD you can be in 2013 by connecting with other dads and sharing your tips for starting the new year right. You can record a video, share a picture, or post a comment on this blog, Facebook or Twitter @TheFatherFactor. Use #NewYearNewDad13 so we see your message!
Just before Christmas, we had the pleasure of speaking with Andy Fickman, director of the new film Parental Guidance, in theaters now, starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, and Tom Everett Scott. Crystal and Midler play Tomei’s character’s parents, and are grandparents to her and her husband’s three children. Mom and dad have to go away for the weekend, and they struggle with leaving the kids with their grandparents. Much intergenerational hilarity ensues, driven by the great comedic acting of Crystal and Midler.
The film does a great job of exploring issues around parenting, grandparents, and marriage. Take a look at what the film’s director had to say about it. We are hopeful his wisdom, insights, and humor will inspire you to go see the film this weekend!
On if this film was personal:
Andy Fickman: I’m a father, I have a 15-year-old son, and I think every day on the set you are bringing your personal life into it... It became a very personal journey for me…
On if he was going in trying to make a “fatherhood film”:
AF: Billy and I spoke so much in development about fathers… we are a little bit in this weird position because, look what the mother lovingly does. The mother helps carry the child in her womb, she goes through all the physical changes while we sit on the couch, she goes through labor, breastfeeds and has that maternal bond that is so beautiful and so specific that every dad knows the look on a child’s face when the child sees the mother. Every dad knows that moment of lighting up, you know, “The nurturer is coming!” So for dads, we have that weird pace, which is, am I the dad who comes home from my 9 to 5 job, and I’ve got my one hour of story time? So entering [into the movie we wanted to explore] what are [dads] hoping to pass on to our children, and what are they learning that they are then going to pass down to their children?
On how his relationship with his dad affected the themes of the film:
AF: My father passed away when I was 16 and I was very lucky that I had an uncle who became a surrogate, and I have three older brothers who became surrogates. But to this day my brothers and I talk about how lucky we were that our father provided such a role model for us, from education to social issues. So our challenge to us is we always feel like our responsibility is we have to pass down to our children what our father probably would have continued passing down to his grandchildren.
On the struggles grandparents sometimes face:
AF: Especially with the stuff in the movie where Billy is really struggling, he has some incredibly personal moments. The hardest thing to admit to anybody is that “I am not comfortable around my grandchildren” or “I don’t know how to talk to them.” I think those are very real things, and what we found throughout promoting the movie how many grandparent or parents have said that just because you have the title of parent or grandparent certainly does not mean you are comfortable with that title or that your relationship with your offspring is always a healthy one.
On helicopter parenting:
AF: That helicopter style of parenting is a very different world. There are whole stores dedicated to just early development of your child, and it’s great. But you also think about the classic line, “I was pretty sure I was just happy with a cardboard box.”
On if things really are better today for parents and kids:
AF: I remember we were talking on set one day about how great people are these days with health. True, I said, but make no mistake, all throughout history and all over the world, there are still kids born in a grass hut… So I definitely feel like it’s hard not to look a little like the marketing sham sometimes in modern society, where if we can come up with something, like the Snuggies commercial. “If putting on a bathrobe is too difficult for you, you need a Snuggies!” They’ll show commercial for things for children, where they’ll be like, “Tired of your child constantly falling off the bed? You need the new Bed Guard 2000!” That’s where we’ve gotten as a society, so when you put those generations together, it’s easy for them to Clint Eastwood squint their eyes at you and wonder, “Really, is that what you need?”
On the importance of strong marriages:
AF: From the very beginning, what we wanted to deal with was reality, and anybody’s who’s in a relationship knows that children can pose challenges. And what the husband and wife are dealing with is, I think, so universal. “What do I do for an hour of intimacy?” One of my favorite moments in the movie is when Tom grabs Marisa and takes her out on the patio and the kids are going crazy in the kitchen and he gives her a kiss, and she says, “Oh, that’s like a mini-date!”
Even his grandparents are talking and it’s very real. You don't get the impression that these are couples on the verge of divorce lawyers and dealing with the nastiness. You get the impression that these are two couples who are dealing with life and not always making great decisions, and just because I’m your spouse doesn’t mean I have to support you, and yet I am supporting you.
On the central importance of the relationship between mom and dad for the well being of kids:
AF: Bette has a line that a lot of people have really responded to when Marisa says to her, “You always take dad’s side.” And Bette says, “Yes, because children leave, and I’m gonna be left with him. You hit college and you said goodbye and your father stayed.” And I think that is so relatable to people.
Bette also says to Marisa, “You need to go and show your husband that you support him and believe in him and you want to be with him.” And Marisa’s character is coming up with so many excuses, the children being the entire excuse – the children, the children, the children. And Bette and Billy are saying, you aren’t even giving us a chance; you are assuming we are going to fail with your kids… In those moments, Bette’s trying to point out, especially in a marriage, that the one night away or those two nights away… you really need it. Two people are in love, they are human and sometimes it’s nice to be in that hotel where the phone’s not ringing, the kids aren’t screaming, and I think that’s important for those relationships, because as we all know, happy parents returning home are only going to be that much better for the kids.
On intergenerational parenting challenges:
AF: The three grandchildren are so raised to be a certain way that when they see the behavioral attitude changes that their grandparents bring to the house, it’s confusing for them because then, are they going to get in trouble with mom and dad for eating the cake. I think that’s what a lot of people deal with because there’s always the sense of, when you’re a kid, you always want to be around your grandparents, because they’re like, “Here's $10.” And you’re like, “Yay!”
On what he wants today’s dads to take away from the film:
AF: It’s twofold. One is a reminder to dads that we do play a part, we do have a role, and that role never changes. It’s easy to say, let your mom handle that, but it’s important that we’re handling that as well.
And I think it’s also that we have different experiences that we are bringing to the table, and a child lucky enough to have both a mother and father can give them different pieces of wisdom. There’s that great moment in the movie where Billy’s watching baseball with his daughter and it’s a really sweet scene because you can imagine what it was like when she was 11 years old and he says, and then you got all girly on me… So hopefully that’s the sort of thing that we can not escape but continue in trying to learn their world as much as ours.
Get tickets to the very family-friendly and funny, Parental Guidance, rated PG.
Photo credits: Phil Caruso - TM and © 2012 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and
Walden Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Not for sale or duplication.
My son has been sleeping in his own bed every night, all night since a new room “opened for business” in our house. Yes – he has his very own Spider-Man room, and it is the greatest solution to toddler sleep issues ever invented by a father, humbly speaking.
He is 3 now. From when he was an infant until about a year ago, he slept in his crib pretty much every night, but he never wanted to fall asleep in his crib. He would have to fall asleep on the couch with mommy and daddy nearby, or in our bed. Then when he fell asleep, we’d whisk him away to his crib. For the last several months, matters had been worse. Not only would he not fall asleep in his own bed, but when we would place him there, he would inevitably wake up in the middle of the night and come to our room, seeking a comfy spot right in the middle of mommy and daddy’s bed.
We didn't want this to continue. And I realized he not only didn't sleep in his room, but he never spent any time in there at all. He just didn’t like his room. We assembled it for an infant, with a soft yellow color and a nice Beatrix Potter mural on the wall. While relaxing for an infant, it just wasn't exciting to a three-year-old whose tastes have shifted to superheroes and Disney Pixar movies.
By far, his biggest fanboy obsession has become Spider-Man. Everything from the movies to the Disney XD cartoon, to books, to clothes, to toys, this kid loves Spider-Man. As a somewhat handy dad, I decided that I was going to convert our boring guest bedroom into our son’s very own Spider-Man bedroom.
I envisioned what I wanted the color scheme to be and that there would be a big Spider-Man Fathead® on the wall. It would be a regular Spider-Man bonanza and, in theory, he would actually enjoy spending time in his room, and thus, sleeping there.
Boy, was I right. This picture of his new Spider-Man room should capture the essence of what it is like. Hyper Blue and Real Red paint from Sherwin-Williams. Spider-Man Fathead® from Fathead.com. Spider-Man curtains and bedding ordered from various websites, etc. And, for old times' sake, my own bedroom furniture from when I was growing up – solid oak furniture that looks practically new at 25+ years old (my parents kept it well preserved).
Now, for the first time ever, Vinny actually asks to go to his Spider-Man room. He loves it there. The other day he said to me, “Look at my Spider-Man room, daddy. It’s so cool!” I was teeming with pride. Shows you what a little daddy ingenuity can get you...
Not only does he sleep in his own bed every night, he actually falls asleep in it. No more waiting for him to fall asleep somewhere else and then sneaking him into his room. And even when he wakes up in the middle of the night (which happens often, as we have to check his blood sugar due to his Type 1 Diabetes – another blog post on that soon), he seems so comfortable in his own Spider-Man bed that he stays there. No more wandering into mommy and daddy’s room at night seeking refuge. He has his very own superhero watching over him to keep him where he is.
These heroes really are pretty super.
What worked/didn't work in getting your child to sleep in his or her own bed?