National Fatherhood Initiative annouces the release of an updated version of InsideOut Dad®, the nation’s only evidence-based program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers.
NFI’s team of fatherhood experts incorporated practitioner feedback and evaluation data from around the country to refresh the program, which is already standardized programming in 24 states and New York City.
InsideOut Dad® Second Edition is designed to reduce recidivism rates by reconnecting incarcerated fathers to their families, providing the motivation inmate fathers need to get out and stay out.
For example, a three-year study by the Indiana Department of Corrections found that fatherhood programs such as InsideOut Dad® were linked to prisoner return rates of less than 20%, compared to a national rate of nearly 38%.
These reductions in recidivism can lead to enormous cost savings for taxpayers and the criminal justice system. Nationally, the annual cost of incarceration per inmate is between $25,000 and $40,000. The cost to take an incarcerated father through the InsideOut Dad® program could be as little as $40.
Used by both inmates and ex-offenders, InsideOut Dad® has been proven, through an extensive evaluation by Rutgers University, to improve inmate knowledge and attitudes. Hundreds of state and federal facilities, pre-release programs, community organizations, and more are using this life-changing reentry program. Facilities such as Angola State Prison in Louisiana, the Rikers Island complex in New York, and U.S. Penitentiary Leavenworth in Kansas are among the notable facilities that have run the program for inmate fathers.
Through practical, engaging material delivered in 12 core sessions and 4 optional sessions, InsideOut Dad® increases inmates' self-worth and gives them valuable relationship skills. It covers topics such as Being a Man, Co-Parenting and Communication, Men’s Health, and Children’s Growth and Discipline.
National Fatherhood Initiative started working with incarcerated fathers in 1999, leading to the release of the first edition of InsideOut Dad® in 2004. Through its use in over 400 correctional facilities over the years, NFI’s fatherhood experts gathered user feedback to create the second edition, a more content-rich, user-friendly, and engaging curriculum for fathers, which now includes video and other activities to maximize its impact.
More information on InsideOut Dad® Second Edition can be found at fathersource.org.
Connect with The Father Factor by RSS, Facebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.
The following is a post from Tony Prebula, Administrative Coordinator, Marketing and Communications at National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI). If you would like to blog for us, email here.
Back when I joined NFI, I blogged about the lessons passed down from my grandfather. And I enjoyed being able to share the hope and excitement my wife and I had for having a family of our own one day.
It has been 7 months since then, and over a year since we started trying to have children. We’ve experienced loss, pain, disappointment, and at times despair. On more than one occasion over the last year, my wife and I have lost a child.
For the longest time I’ve imagined what it would feel like to hold my child with the hopes of the kind of person they would grow up to be. I imagine teaching them to ride a bike. Maybe even what the first fishing trip would be like. I imagine teaching my son how to honor his mother and all women. Or showing my daughter how she should be loved and respected in how I love my wife. I imagine being able to tell my children how proud I am for the kind of people they are. I don’t stop imagining these things. I remain hopeful, but it can get tough.
You see, as I get ready to head home tonight after work, I have already planned to spend the evening doing one of my favorite things—brewing beer. It’s a hobby I picked up when I lived in a townhouse with no cable or internet. I’ll have fun tonight. But all the while I will be thinking to myself, “What if”. I will be wondering what if my child were here. Instead of spending the night in the kitchen brewing, I could be putting together a crib. Instead of a quiet night waiting for my wife to get home from working late, maybe I would be giving my baby a bath. The hardest part is not their absence; rather it is in thinking of all the moments we will never have with them. To quote John Greenleaf Whitter, “For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘What might have been’”.
In trying to sort through the emotions of the past few months, I’ve tried to put into words (probably for some healing or comfort) why it has been so difficult to find peace with it all. Strangely enough, I haven’t found any new insight to make it easier. I haven’t found enlightened peace. No, nothing like that. But what I am reminded of is the precious joy that family and children are.
My wife and I have been able to remember that no matter how hard we may try, we can’t just make children happen. Children are not given simply because you want to have them. No, children are gifts to be cherished.
I am so happy to work for an organization that recognizes children are indeed a gift to be cherished. And that part of this cherishing is to ensure that they have involved, responsible, and committed fathers.
In grieving, somewhat selfishly, for our loss, we are consoled knowing that our children are in a better place than we could have ever hoped to give them. And as my wife and I continue to wait and see what lies ahead for us, I know the gift will be that much sweeter. I can’t imagine how blessed I will feel when the day finally arrives. And I only hope that when it does that my children will know how much of a gift they are to me.
Tony is a graduate of the University of Maryland. He and his wife, Lacy, met at Maryland and were married in 2011. In his spare time, you will find Tony rock climbing, cooking and homebrewing. Connect with The Father Factor by RSS, Facebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor
For all the talk we hear these days about how “families can take many forms,” it seems there is one particular form that, if there was a popularity contest for family types, would be losing. It’s the one where dad is involved.
Every time I think NFI is in danger of exaggerating our claims around the prevalence of father absence and the lack of respect for the institution of fatherhood, a good reminder of our pinpoint accuracy smacks me right in the face.
The latest smack came in the form of a series of pictures in a book for toddlers. The book, First 100 Words, was sitting innocently on a shelf in my house. I mindlessly opened it and started flipping through, and came across the following picture.
In case you can’t make out what is going on there, it shows a picture of a family that includes “mommy,” “brother,” and “baby.” Where’s “daddy”? Well, he has his own separate, much smaller picture to the right of the larger “family” picture. (it is probably also worth noting that grandma gets the second largest picture)
Talk about a stark, visual representation of our culture’s general disregard for the centrality of responsible fatherhood. It is as if the editors did not want dad interfering with the pristine image of a mom-child family.
Moreover, this is a book designed to give toddlers their first lessons about the world around them. May as well get to them early with the notion that when we talk about family, we are really talking about a mom and her kids.
One might defend the use of an image of a mother-only family with the premise that we should be cautious about offending such families, or making them feel “left out.” But why is no one ever concerned with offending two-parent families? After all, 2 in 3 children still live in mother-and-father-present homes, and reams of social science research shows it is best, on average, for kids to live in such homes. So, shouldn’t we be “protecting” this family type?
These sorts of images reinforce the false belief that fathers are not as important as mothers. For a boy in a father-absent home, it reinforces the idea that he does not have to worry about being a central part of the family he will one day have. Mom’s got it covered! This attitude “empowers” neither men nor women.
For a child growing up with a father in the home, like my son, I am sure this image will be confusing. My 2.5-year-old son is too young to express himself about something as complicated as this, but this book -- along with a lot of other messages he will get from TV commercials, etc -- shows him that fathers are on the periphery of family. When he asks the question, “How now shall I live?” the answer provided by our culture will be vague at best. If it suits you to stick around for your family, that’s fine; but if not, don’t let the door hit you in the rear on the way out.
Now, you may say that it is just one book, and maybe it’s not indicative of what the general belief about fatherhood is in our country. But that is a cop out. If “just one book” published an image of a blonde girl struggling with a math problem, a ruckus would be raised. Or if “just one book” published an image of a minority being belittled by a white person, a ruckus would be raised. Because we know that images and messages matter; they communicate our culture’s values. When such messages are allowed to see the light of day, it is an indication that there is little fear of reprisal for publishing them.
Dads are not a feared demographic; very few people are worried about ticking us off. NFI will do its part to expose negative representations of fatherhood and award positive ones, but until market forces start to move, little will change. We saw a hint of how powerful those forces can be when Huggies made a mistake with dads.
Here’s to hoping that the mistakes are always pointed out and the offenders learn a lesson.
The following is a post from Christopher A. Brown, Executive Vice President of National Fatherhood Initiative. This post is his response to feedback from his original post The Moral Rationalization of Non-Married Fatherhood.
My most recent blog post titled “The Moral Rationalization of Non-Married Fatherhood” generated a lot of feedback, some positive and some negative. I argued that as a society we have rationalized non-married fatherhood to the point that it is no longer a moral transgression. It has become excusable and, thus, we no longer need to worry about children growing up without their fathers despite reams of data that show when children grow up in single-parent homes—the vast majority of which don’t include fathers—it is detrimental to children and our society.
Several of the responses we received indicated that some non-married fathers—primarily divorced fathers—took the post personally because they thought National Fatherhood Initiative doesn’t appreciate the yeoman’s work they do to be involved in the lives of their children. Nothing could be farther from the truth. NFI recognizes the contributions of and efforts that all fathers make to be involved in whatever circumstances they father.
Consequently, we offer support, guidance, and resources to fathers and the organizations that serve them without discriminating based on marital status. As I remarked in the post, my argument isn’t that a specific non-married dad can’t be a good father to his children. But when viewed through the lens of our culture and population at large, the conclusion that we have rationalized away the morality of non-married fatherhood is undeniable. It has moved us away from our society's need to address father absence in a preventive manner.
To better understand NFI’s position, it’s critical to separate personal experience and the emotion attached to it from the cultural experience and evidence attached to it. Non-married fatherhood results from one of two situations—an out-of-wedlock birth (e.g. a never-married father) or a divorce. From a personal perspective, I’ll wager that if you’re a never-married father you didn’t intend to become one. Likewise if you’re a divorced father you probably didn’t marry with the intent to divorce your wife and face the challenges that brings to raising children. But if you’re an involved, never-married or divorced dad, I’ll also wager that, against all odds, you have moved heaven and earth to remain involved in your children’s lives. Remaining involved requires a lot of hard work and emotion especially when considering the evidence that non-married fathers, on average, are less likely to be involved in their children’s lives as their children age. Therefore, the negative responses we received are understandable because they come from fathers who are not the norm. These fathers are involved in their children’s lives despite the challenges they face. All of us at NFI applaud their (your) efforts.
From a cultural perspective, however, it is undeniable that our society has become more accepting of non-married fatherhood. As an applied anthropologist, I have studied cultures across the globe and, in particular (surprise, surprise), the institutions of fatherhood and marriage and their symbiotic relationship. As noted in my post, marriage arose as an institution (across the globe) for raising children and serves as the primary mechanism societies use to connect fathers to their children. The evidence that fathers are the parent disproportionately separated from their children when they are not married (and not just in the U.S.) underscores the importance of marriage as the institution that undergirds father involvement. And, yet, I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve encountered in my personal and professional life who are perfectly fine with non-married fatherhood (and motherhood) becoming an acceptable circumstance in which to parent (i.e. a norm). They don’t even give it a second thought. The evidence, however, for the symbiotic relationship between these two institutions is overwhelming. Being married to the mother of your children is the single greatest predictor of father involvement. Quite simply it is much harder to be involved in your children’s lives when you don’t live with them. From a preventive standpoint, one of the best strategies we can implement at the cultural level to ensure that children grow up with an involved father is to see that more fathers are married before they have children.
If you’re a non-married father and you’re still struggling to come to grips with NFI’s position on the relationship between marriage and involved fatherhood, I ask you to consider the following question. If your son or daughter comes to you one day and asks whether it is better to be married to the mother or father of their children, what will you say?
I didn’t cry at school this morning. Nope, I did great. But today is still not a normal Tuesday for me. As my wife and I dropped our firstborn at her class and turned away, there were no visible tears from me. I saved my tears for the drive to my office.
It was Darius Rucker who put me over the edge. You know, Country Darius not Hootie Darius. His song, “It Won't Be Like This For Long” made me think. It hasn't been long since we brought Bella home from the hospital. It hasn’t been long, looking back, when we were waking up at night and wishing she would sleep more than two hours at a time. It wasn’t long ago I picked her up and tossed her in the air with ease.
Time sure flies and as a dad to a daughter who started school this morning, some of my thoughts are as follows:
1) How will we deal with the increased expenses of school?
2) How will we manage busier schedules and still create time for fun and travel?
3) Will bears steal my daughter and try to raise her as one of their own because she’s so sweet and cuddly?
3a) Perhaps bears trying to raise my daughter wouldn’t be all that bad. If they are bears that love sweet and cuddly five-year-olds, perhaps they are like a group of real-life Pooh bears and we’ll love them as we do our daughter. They can live with us and we can all enjoy eating honey together….
These are some of my thoughts. I told you; it’s not my normal Tuesday.
So being stolen by a family of kind-and-gentle bears isn’t the most accurate worry as a parent. Besides, bears are probably more apt to steal children in the Shenandoah’s, not closer to metro-Washington, right?! I will Google “bear attacks in greater DC area” later. For now, know that my biggest fear as my daughter starts school is that others will influence her.
See, I have one of those good daughters. She’s sweet, really, she is. She’s kind too. She’s not like your daughter. I have been at parties and Chuck E. Cheese’s with your daughters (and sons) – they aren’t as awesome as my daughter! ; )
Aside from if she’s sleepy or hungry, she listens to her parents. She is a good big sister too. She considers her sister. Just yesterday (at Chuck E. Cheese’s, where else?) she “won” enough tickets to get two packages of Smarties. What did she do with the extra pack? Yep, she shared with her sister. I didn’t have to tell her and her sister didn’t even have to ask.
Bell had other tickets; what did she do with those? She picked an extra set of glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth. Yes, an extra set. You see, Bell has carried around glow-in-the-dark vampire teeth for some time (she may be running around the school with them right now!); but her little sister hasn’t had a set. After yesterday, all that changed. It was Bella’s idea to take the seven million tickets and pick a set of vampire teeth for her little sister. I haven’t seen a better example of sacrificial love in a long time.
I’m focusing on the wrong part of the story. My point is my firstborn is an awesome and considerate big sister and human being. Why? Because my wife and I have worked with her and molded her into this person. Over five years, we have created this machine/human being who says “thank you” and “may I” and “please.” This is no small accomplishment considering I rarely say these things.
But still, my biggest fear is other-lesser-well-meaning individuals will now influence her. Yeah, so maybe I can trust her teacher, but what about those other 20 rascals in her classroom? My wife and I are creating something here, and we don’t need others getting involved and messing it up!
Truth is, other kids will influence my daughter. She will learn to navigate her way through now unimaginable drama. One day her “best friend” will probably lie to her. One day she may be shunned by “the cool kids.” This will hurt her until one day she realizes that “being cool” only comes when you blog for a living and use social media to talk about them. I kid; but seriously, one thing is certain, while we at National Fatherhood Initiative teach about the impact of father absence, we also teach about the impact of involved fathers. We talk about how the lack of a father changes the lives of children and a society, but the truth is that active, involved and committed dads change families and societies too.
With all of our research on absent dads, we hold to the fact that parents are the number one influencers of their children. Did you hear that? Parents are the number one influence on children, not mean girls or sweet boys.
We know that children whose fathers are stable and involved are better off on almost every cognitive, social, and emotional measure researchers have developed. My biggest fear shouldn’t be the influence of fellow students and friends on my daughter. My biggest fear should be how I am influencing my daughter. There will definitely be a test. While I am nostalgic today, I know that this phase is flying by. My wife and I will keep “holding on” as the song says. We will keep hugging, kissing, loving and training our daughter. Because we know, as Country Darius sings, “it won’t be like this for long.”
What's the one thing you fear the most as a parent?
Writing in the Huffington Post, Dr. Ricky Choi tells of an "interview" he had with his daughter about starting kindergarten. Turns out, there was a big difference between his answers and his daugthers. Reading the conversation between Dr. Choi and his daugther may remind us dads to be more perceptive and listen to our child more intentionally. Whether your child is entering kindergarten or college, the lesson this parent learned is worth memorizing.
Dr. Choi writes his most recent column that he learned some things on his "last-hurrah-before-kindergarten-daddy-daughter trip." After waiting in Terminal 2 of the San Francisco Airport on a flight delay and knowing that kindergarten was fast-approaching, he was filled with new thoughts and emotions. He puts in words what so many have gone through or are going through as parents, the idea of "coming to terms with seeing my daughter as a more independent person." Choi then decides to take a break in the airport terminal and ask his daughter some questions about starting school.
Dr. Choi is not only a dad, he is a pediatrician. He spends his day tossing out parenting advice and telling parents to listen to their children. But Choi is honest and says, as a father, "his assumptions about his daughter's capabilities and view of what is best for her can put me out of touch with her actual day-to-day concerns." Isn't this true dads? Don't we often get sidetracked into what we THINK we know rather than what we really know about our kids.
Take time and read Dr. Choi's dialogue with his daughter. Choi asks his daughter honest questions about her feelings of starting school. He asks questions like:
What are you most excited to learn about?
What is the most important thing to remember in order to do well in kindergarten?
Read Choi's article and see how different each perspective is in the answers. For each question, Choi offers what he thought his daughter would say and what his daughter actually said. Armed with this new perspecitve, dads may learn to gain insight by listening first, then offering whatever is best needed; whether it be comfort or praise. This sounds elementary doens't it dads? But oh how difficult it is to listen!
For instance, Dr Choi asks his daughter, "What will be the hardest thing about going to kindergarten?" He expected her to say something like, "Challenging school lessons, homework, missing my family and the demands to be independent." Instead, her answer was, "Figuring out who will be my best friend."
Choi reveals a "telling difference" between what he expected to hear and what his daughter actually said. He observes, "I'm focused on her academic performance and meeting expectations. She is concerned about relationships with her friends and teacher."
He describes his conversation as a "humbling reminder to really pay attention -- and address what she cares about especially if I want to effectively impress on her the things I view as important." If we are honest as dads, we think we know what we are doing sometimes by offering advice or trying to "fix" things. The best approach may be offered after listening to what our child's actual concerns really are. Thanks, Dr. Choi, for making us dads see from a different angle...the angle of our child. We need this reminder in our busy lives.
We agree with Dr. Choi, parenting may have its ups and downs, but in the midst of all the emotions and expectations of a new school year; slow down, relax and listen to your child.
Parents: Where do you go to "get away" from everything, and listen to your son or daughter?
The Dad Games of 2012 came to a close on Tuesday. We hope you dads have been challenged and encouraged as we have during these games. We enjoyed sharing stories and connecting with other dads.
We expect that you are connecting with your kids in a deeper way, are being the best husband (or ex-husband) to the mother of your children, are armed with ideas for managing work and family priorities and have set goals to continue training and improving in being the best dad you can be.
Let's take one last look back at highlights of what dads like you said over all five weeks of The Dad Games. Below are quotes from actual dads who took the challenge to be Gold Medal Dads.
Week 1: Gold Medal Dads Spend Time with Kids
"Love the idea of the 2012 Dad Games! Had a ball yesterday riding the go-kart, bike riding, reading, etc. Summer has been great overall, but it's nice to have the "challenge" placed in front of me as well as other Dad's." -Tim
"Dad Games 2012. Great idea to inspire us guys to be better fathers. My little girl is 1. I read a couple of books to her today. The most important time to me is when we both can take a nap together during the day. Lets do work DADS!!" -Robert
"My son and I have colored, played Batman, fixed the kitchen tile in my grandfather's house, read a few books, and the week ain't over yet. :) Thanks for the fishing tips. My son is afraid of pretty much every animal so fishing is a no-go for a while anyway." –Maury
"My daughter Savannah and I spent all weekend at a Girls Scout camp for Girl Scouts and their family members. We rode horses, hiked, did crafts, archery, low ropes, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was one of the best times ever!!!!!"-Mike
"Yes, from bringing them to work to having "special lunches" while @ work to fun dinners, late night dips in the pool . Movies ordering pizza late at night to all falling asleep together on the same couch.. Loved every second of it! -Will
"Saturday mornings we go get bagels and give Mom the morning off!" #DadGames12 @bfalvey
"I was missing too much so left high-paying job so could work part-time & spend more time raising my kids." #dadgames12 @GeekDad248
"Making up dance moves to songs like Call Me Maybe in our chairs once dinner is done." #DadGames12 @cdel58
"Meal time is our listening and giggling time. 3.5yr old tells antics of day. Sometimes tattles on herself" #Dadgames12 @jon_wilke
"My son and I read a National Geographic Kids magazine last night and a dinosaur alphabet book." #DadGames12 @candyland0606
"Singing The Duck Song with my kids. Grand time quacking together before bed time." #DadGames12 @JasonBruce
"Getting spanked by my kids in UNO." #DadGames12 @ctramosono
Week 2: Gold Medal Dads Communicate With Mom
“Wonderful reflections! Thank you! One of the programs our agency facilitates is "Cooperative Co-Parenting" for divorcing couples. If only these couples addressed the healthy of their relationship before it was too late! It's critical to keep those connections fresh and loving day by day!” –Jan
“My wife and I have been married for 6 years and together for 12 years this September. First and foremost, we are best friends. I can say that honestly. Second, we talk and respect each other. We know each other's buttons and we try not to touch them during disagreements. That is huge in my son's life and will continue to be a big influence on his future relationships. As hard as it might seem, your wife comes first. After God, of course.” –Maury
“Alot of good ideas here…As far is my advice...it's the little things that count. My wife most appreciates signs of affection, gentle touches throughout the day, hand squeeze, hugs for no reason…It keeps us close. Plus it's good for the children to see their parents expressing that closeness.” -Jay
“You have to make it clear to your kids that they are important, but your wife (husband) are first. We still have date nights. I count down the time the kids have left before they move out.” -Charles
“Does shoe shopping count as time together? : ) We have been looking for hours.” #DadGames12 @cdel58
“Gold medal dad weekly activity 2. Had a date night last night going to see batman and dinner with my wife.” #DadGames12 @TheDadpreneur
“Marriage retreat will score you 100+ man points.” #DadGames12 @JasonBruce
"One new thing we started this week was communication mirror. Everyday we use our bathroom mirror and white board markers to display messages to eachother. Things like "I love You" "You are beautiful" or a simple prayer. It is amazing how much we both enjoy getting up each morning to see the messages that have been posted. Feels like we are writing love notes to each other just like in high school." -Chris
Week 3: Gold Medal Dads Affirm Their Kids
“Tell your kids several times a day how much you love them. Show your love for them. Be respectful to their mother.” –Ian
“Didn't have to be in court till 1:30 other day so took kids 2 playground in morning-many women asked if I was sick or unemployed." #dadgames12 @GeekDad248
“Cheer practice now. Can't imagine 5yr olds learning 50 cheers. We shall see what happens. Good luck to coaches." #DadGames12 @CDel58
“I hug my daughter daily." #DadGames12 @BrianTooley1
“Taking daughter to see the movie she has wanted to see all summer-Diary of a Wimpy Kid. She thinks we have errands tomorrow but NO!" #DadGames12 @BrianTooley1
“I knew my dad loved me from how he treated me but he never said the words - I make effort say "love you" to my kids." #dadgames12 @GeekDad248
“Even though parents divorced, Dad never said bad word about my mother." #Dadgames12 @Jon_Wilke
"I'm working on leaving the laptop off when I get home from work so I can be even more present with my twins and planning activities for the weekend for us as a family." -Steve
"You know you are a daddy when you stop watching the opening Olympic ceremony to go read a Dr. Seuss book to your loving daughter when she is calling you to read to her… “The Nose Book.” -Allan
Week 4: Gold Medal Dads Balance Work and Family
"This is awesome timing with it being the first week of school for me and as a teacher I have to juggle a lot. My son calls my students my kids, too. I have always strived to keep "Mr. Wood" at work and let Daddy and Maury come home. It's hard to separate the two but it is something that takes effort. It doesn't just happen. Once again, awesome timing!" -Maury
"I'd say I'm about an 8 or 9. I can't be there every minute but I make a whole-hearted effort to be at every game, performance, and event I can, even if it means going straight from work or driving back and forth to overlapping games. I'm making more of an effort to leave the computer & phone off at night and we always eat dinner together with no electronics at the table and no TV." -Steve
Week 5: Gold Medal Dads Set Goals To Improve
"Great tips. This summer has been a blast with the kids home but when I get home from work they want to tell me all about what they have been up to. They don't care (and I shouldn't even bother them with) my job's day to day droning. I love catching up wIth them, but I have learned its vital to listen to the wife too!" -Kevin
"This was a great program. I hope it becomes an annual event. Great tips and advice." -Thomas
"I agree with Thomas..... Very well organized and brought a lot of dads closer to their children. Nothing better than that." -Robert
"Sad we are wrapping up - stay in touch guys!" #dadgames12 @GeekDad248
"Any more plans for twitter parties in the future?" #DadGames12 @maurydwood2
Thank you, Team Dad, for joining us in The Dad Games of 2012!
We encourage you to keep training, keep connecting and consider being a Double Duty Dad. Stay tuned for more information on our next big project.
Connect with The Father Factor by RSS, Facebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.
Go Team Dad!
We have 24 hours in a day. For the most part, we decide how we spend those 24 hours. A good dad manages work and family. Dad, you must be intentional about how you are spending your time between juggling your work and family priorities. Often, us dads can fall into the trap of letting priorities at work overtake priorities at home.
It's not easy to juggle everything all of the time. However, we can do a better job of working hard AND showing our families we love them. It is absolutely vital that our wife and kids see us as the people who “get things done." How we prioritize will make all the difference in whether our families view us as leaders and influencers or not.
Here are seven ways you can begin balancing work and family:
1) Resolve not to take work home
Challenge yourself to either not take your work home or do it after the kids are in bed. Unplug mentally and physically before you get home. Honestly, I’m the worst at this. The days I do this best are the days that I make myself stop in the driveway, and detach from the day's work.
Recognize that once you enter the house, you’re on borrowed time. It’s not your time to fall on the sofa and rest. Your day is not finished. It’s time to cook, clean and be with the kids. Hug and kiss the wife (before the kids!), hug and kiss the kids and keep working.
Work to be present with your family and not checking emails from your sofa! I’ve done this and I’m repenting as I write (I can do this, I’m a professional!). I don’t want my life to be this way. Only I can change it. For you, it’s your choice. Save the work for after the kids go to sleep, or until the next day!
2) Make sure you come home on time this week
This challenge may sound easier than it is. Dads, this may mean you need to work harder during the day in order to leave on time! This will take planning and purpose on your side to prioritize your day with the end in mind.
3) Get to the office early so you can attend special events
Every week there is something to attend whether it’s a practice or family game night. If you look at your kid’s schedule, there’s probably something you’re missing. Dad, make the extra effort to be physically present and spend time with your family. Go to the practice or take the kids on that boring errand with you.
4) Put your family's schedule on your calendar
A wise man once said if you don’t plan to succeed you plan to fail. Prioritize your duties at work and home. Not that I’m perfect at this, but something that seems to work for me is that I use one to-do list for work and home and one calendar for work and home. My simple theory: If I’m with family, I can’t be doing work and vice versa. Get with your family and review the upcoming months. If that’s too much to ask, start with next week. But be intentional to add the events to your calendar and mark them as the special days that they are. This doesn’t need to be only major events like recitals and family vacations. Mark time in your calendar for down time on a regular Thursday evening at home with your kids. Plan for success!
5) Bring updated pictures of your kids to the office
Take a look at the pictures in your office. My guess is that if you have teenagers, your pictures aren’t of teenagers. If I walked into your office, I’d probably think you had a newborn! Dad, admit it, you’re pictures are old. It is time for an update.
6) Talk to your kids about what you do at your job
My five-year-old asks me daily, “Daddy, did you win at work today?!” I haven’t quite figured out how best to answer her wonderful and uplifting question. So I say, “Yes dear, daddy ‘won’ at work today!” Apparently she thinks I should come home with trophies or something. Regardless, my point here is that your kids may be more interested than you think about what you’re doing when you’re away for hours. Be intentional about explaining what you do on your child's level.
7) Learn about your office's work-family balance policies
This may require you asking for your company’s human resources manual. Scary, I know. The point is you may have extra time you can use to re-prioritize and be with your family. From use of sick time to flextime, there may be ways to take time off from work and be with your family.
Question: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being “I miss everything or am usually late!” and 10 being “People often ask me how I get everything accomplished!” How would your family rank you? Why?
Visit Gold Medal Dads…Balance Work and Family for tips on how to rethink your priorities. Share and connect with other dads on our blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).
Find more tips and advice for all dads, including dads who travel for work and military dad at Managing Work and Family Priorities.
photo credit: Ian Sane
Every Thursday night of The Dad Games has been a great time to connect with dads, ask questions, get answers, and share tips on how to be a better dad.
Join National Fatherhood Initiative (@TheFatherFactor) tonight as we host a Twitter Party for week 4 with great prizes to get dads ready to Balance Work and Family this week!
Get details about The Dad Games 2012.
Dads have a lot to juggle with work and family responsibilites. Join the party tonight ready to answer questions and share tips on how you manage the responsibilities of being a dad and leader.
This week’s topic is Gold Medal Dads…Balance Work and Family.
Be sure you have our checklist with seven ways you can be challenged this week.
Get this week’s Gold Medal Dad checklist.
Follow @TheFatherFactor and use the hashtag #DadGames12 for all of your tweets.
Two prize winners will be selected from among Twitter party participants at random within the party hour. You must be active at the party to increase your chances of winning!
What can you win? See the Dad Games prizes.
#DadGames12 Prize from Dove® Men+Care®: Dove® Men+Care® celebrates men who are comfortable in their own skin and understand the importance of caring for themselves and others. One Twitter party participant will win an autographed sports item from a legend and the new collection of Dove® Men+Care® products to keep you literally comfortable in your own skin.
#DadGames12 Prize from Gillette:
Gillette has a series of limited edition Olympic-packaged products in suppport of their ongoing partnership with the Olympic Movement and their 25 Olympic athletes including Ryan Lochte and Tyson Gay. One Twitter party participant will win a gift package of Gillette’s Olympic-themed products - plus a fatherhood book from NFI.
When: Thursday, August 9, 9PM EST
Get next weeks Dad Games checklist in your email inbox by signing up for our Dad Email. Go Team Dad!
This is a guest post by Heather Creekmore. If you would like to guest post on this blog, email us here.
“Daddy, Big UG! Daddy, Daddy, Big UG...Big UG...”
If you sneak into my house, this is what you'll hear my two-year-old say, over and over again, before his Daddy leaves for work. He'll then run to the door, clearing toys out of his path, so that he can attach himself to my husband's leg, waiting for his Daddy to bend down and give him a full embrace.
But, while you are observing, you may also notice my oldest boy. He's almost six and will wrinkle his nose in disgust as his dad rubs on his buzz cut hair. Sometimes, if his mood is just right, he'll initiate a hug. But, most of the time he'd rather talk. He's a creator and dreamer. He'd rather hear Daddy affirm his latest Lego masterpiece or agree to whatever detailed plan he's come up with for that day, evening, or for when he turns twenty. He's got big ideas and he wants Daddy to listen and put his stamp of approval on them.
We have a total of four children and one of the most fascinating adventures for us as parents has been discovering their similarities and their differences, especially in the area of affirmation. We could squeeze on my eldest all day and he wouldn't be satisfied without some words. Whereas we could talk the socks off my two-year old, yet all he really needs to feel secure are some big, ‘H’-less, “ugs.”
This might have been more of a mystery to me if I hadn't read a book called, The Five Love Languages of Children, by Dr. Gary Chapman. Chapman’s theory is that everybody has a way, or language, in which they best express and receive love. Verbal affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts, and quality time are the five categories dubs as languages. Dr. Chapman adapted his original book (The Five Love Languages) into this version for parents to help them better discover the ways in which their offspring express and receive messages of care and acceptance.
Want to know what language your little guy or gal speaks? The best way to figure out their language is to first stop, and figure out your own.
Are you a dad who needs to hear aloud how much you are loved? Or, maybe you feel most loved when someone takes care of you…like when your spouse does your laundry or takes care of that errand you were putting off. Do you prefer presents over a warm embrace? Or, do you just want someone to spend focused time with you?
Do you show someone you love them by serving them, telling them, spending time with them, physically connecting with them or giving them tokens of your love?
Once you figure out your language, start to observe your children more carefully. Do they always find "presents" to give you or ways to “help” you? Do they just want you to sit and be with them? Do they just want to be physically close? Do they want to hear or say “I love you” frequently?
Take time to discover your child’s language and then find ways to intentionally “speak it” with them. Remember, if you have more than one child, they may all have different languages. If you aren’t sure what language is being spoken, experiment! And, if your child is older, ask for his or her ideas and feedback.
There's no doubt: Kids need a lot. You start buying gear for your newborn and the expenses just never stop. You’ve given so much you may feel as if there is no way your child doesn’t know they are loved. But, I hope you’ll remember that children need affection and affirmation in special ways that their little brains are wired to understand. And, that’s where this information can help take the question out of whether or not your children understand how much they are loved.
So take the challenge! Discover your child's love language, and your own! You won’t regret it!
Question: Which love language does your child(ren) speak?
Visit Gold Medal Dads…Affirm Their Kids for tips on how you can affirm and show affection to your kids.
Remember to share and connect with other dads on our blog, Facebook and Twitter (#DadGames12).
This is a guest post by Heather Creekmore. Heather worked at the National Fatherhood Initiative from 2000 until 2007 when she “retired” from full time employment to live the glamorous life of a stay-at-home mom. Heather and her husband Eric reside outside of Dallas and have four children, ages 5 and under. She now spends her days changing diapers, making a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich, teaching fitness classes, and blogging. Read Heather's blog about the similarities between faith and fitness.
photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography