One of the greatest gifts a dad can give his children is wonderful memories. As I think back to my childhood years I have some incredible memories of fun and special times. It breaks my heart to know that there are many children that grow up without similar memories. If you have found this website, then you are striving to make a difference as a dad. I applaud you. Make great memories.
I ask you to think back for the last twelve months. If you were to ask your child what their favorite memory was, what would he or she say? Was it a ball game or movie you attended together, a family vacation, a trip to the zoo, or a bedtime discussion? Or, would your child struggle to recall any pleasant memory?
Regardless of your child’s age it is important for you to continue to share special times together, even as they enter their teen years and early adulthood. The activities may be different, but the importance of your relationship is not. Spontaneous or planned, it really doesn’t matter.
Several years ago, I went through a program called “Raising A Modern Day Knight.” It was based on a book by the same name written by Dr. Robert Lewis. I highly recommend it for any dad (or father figure) with a son. The program concluded with a father-son weekend at camp that included a “Knighting Ceremony” where each dad “knighted” his son in front of the group. The ceremony was incredibly meaningful and emotional for all of us. However, the part of the weekend I remember the most is what my son told me as we were walking back to our cabin after ceremony. He said, “Dad, this is the best day of my life.” That simple statement made that day also the best day of my life.
Kids need and deserve great memories. So let’s be a 365 Dad and create lots of them.
Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. with my 16 year old daughter. I was attending a public policy conference and visiting legislators, so I decided to ask her if she would like to come along. Fortunately, it is a teen friendly event. We went a little early to have time to site see before the “official” part of the trip began. We had a great time visiting monuments and museums, and walking through the city. She even enjoyed the many cab rides. One interesting thing to me was to read her Facebook posts (I am one of her Facebook friends) and to see the excitement of having this experience with her “daddy.”
Spending one-on-one time with each of your children is important. It is more important to them than what you probably realize. It doesn’t need to be as extensive as a trip. Go out to eat, go to a movie together, go bowling, go fishing, go bike riding, just spend time together. Spend time together and talk about stuff, it doesn’t really matter what that stuff is. Just talk and laugh and enjoy being together.
Most dad’s have multiple children, so plan time with each separately. Whether it is once a month, or once or twice a year, the time will be valuable to your child and will create incredible memories that you don’t want to miss out on. So get out your calendar today and plan your next one-on-one. Enjoy!
We are very pleased that 275 individuals attended our Championship Fathering Conference on March 2nd. Speakers Carey Casey (National Center for Fathering) and Jamie Pollard (Iowa Sate University) shared an inspiring message about the impact of fathers.
The message was plain and simple, the presence of a father or a father figure in a child’s life makes a difference. You do not have to be a perfect dad, you just need to “be” a dad. Championship Fathering is loving, coaching, and modeling for your children. He also challenged us to encourage and enlist other fathers and to be there for children who may not have an active father in their life.
Carey has a unique delivery style which draws on his upbringing and his involvement with sports. His passion came through on every word. Here are a few questions he left us with:
- If your father/father figure were here, what would you want to tell him? What would you want to hear from him?
- What is one thing you will give your children?
- What do they need from you?
- Are you responding to your child’s emotional needs for time, touch, and talk?
These are just a few questions for you to consider today. More will come. I’m so glad that you’ve taken the time to visit 356dad.org; let’s work together and make a difference in the lives of our children.
What is a Championship Father? We hope to create a Championship Fathering movement that is characterized by men who will fulfill their commitment to Love their children, Coach their children, Model for their children, Encourage other children, and Enlist other dads to join the team. I hope everyone reading this will be a part of the movement.
This morning I joined Dr. Gary Rosberg on WHO radio for an interview about our conference to be held on March 2nd. One of the questions we were asked was, why was is this important? Here is what we shared.
- Children in fatherless homes are 5 times more likely to be poor.
- 71% of high school drop outs are from fatherless homes.
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
- 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
I spoke with our conference speaker, Carey Casey, last week in preparation for the conference. After our conversation I am more excited than ever. He will “inspire and equip” us. I am also looking forward to visiting with Jamie Pollard, Iowa State University’s Athletic Director, who is our honorary conference chair and will share his fatherhood story. Please join us on March 2nd and spread the word.
Yesterday was the Des Moines YMCA’s Annual Red Flannel Run. It is an event that has taken place for many years where individuals and families come together in February, regardless of the weather conditions, to run and walk to stay active and support a good cause. There were well over 2000 participants yesterday dressed in red flannel and all sorts of other attire just having good, healthy fun. The run this year was supported by a family in memory of their son who was tragically struck by lightening while running in Colorado a couple of years ago. What is so incredible about this event is that there are people and families of all shapes, sizes, and abilities that participate. I ran with my wife and son, there were kids in strollers being pushed by their parents, there were participants in wheelchairs, there were young and old people running and walking, it was awesome.
As a father, you have the opportunity to pass along, or model, a lifestyle for your children. What do you want that lifestyle to be? They are watching every move you make. Involve your kids in activities like this, and they will very likely continue the pattern throughout their lives. Model an unhealthy lifestyle, and the same result is likely to occur. Kids love doing things with their parents, so stay active and stay healthy while spending time with them. Be the model for a healthy lifestyle, starting today.
Valentine’s Day is less than a week away. I’m the world’s worse at waiting until the last minute to plan for the day. Often I stop by a store on the way home from work on February 14th to purchase a card and flowers from the picked over selection. That’s not the way it should be done. I am proud to say that days in advance I have already purchased cards and small gifts for my spouse and daughter this year and I had my son do the same. (Hopefully, I can instill that habit in my son.)
Take advantage of the tradition of Valentine’s Day and use it as a time to express your love. Plan in advance. If you need to turn over a new leaf, this gives you a great excuse. Since my daughter is in high school now, I am trying to set an example for what she should look for in a boy friend or mate when time comes (like when she is thirty). Anyway, make the day special. Make it different. Be her Valentine.
The National Center for Fathering’s WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) Program will be featured on the Monday morning edition of the Today Show. Matt Lauer visited a school in West Virginia to cover this impactful program. The purpose of WATCH D.O.G.S. is to engage men, inspire children, reduce bullying and enhance the educational environment in a school. Today there are 2,659 active programs in 46 states. You can learn more about the program at http://fathers.com. We hope to post a video of the story after it airs for those who miss it.