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Oprah, NFI, and Fatherhood

Posted by Vincent DiCaro

Oprah Winfrey remains one of the most influential people in the country. The fact that she is using her influence to highlight the crisis of father absence in America is remarkable.  

941587 648061311886864 788336605 n resized 600Back in 2002, when I first started working at National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), we got a call from the producers of The Oprah Winfrey Show, asking us to help them locate fathers who would want to be on their show. We did that, and we also were able to get our then-president, Roland C. Warren, to serve as that episode’s “fatherhood expert.” The show was called “The Secret Thoughts of Fathers” and it was one of Oprah’s most powerful shows.  

And it really started something. Roland went on to do three more shows within the next year and a half, helping Oprah deal with a variety of issues around fatherhood, parenting, and marriage.  

Fast forward to 2013, and here we are again, and it is clear that Oprah’s commitment to strengthening fatherhood has not faltered. As Oprah’s LifeClass headed into production of a new series of “fatherhood shows,” they wanted Roland back to fulfill his role as the fatherhood expert who could help Oprah’s guests navigate their issues.  

The first of the three shows that were created airs this Sunday at 9 pm eastern on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). It is called “Fatherless Sons, Part 1,” and it is powerful. Take a look at a sneak peak video.  

What if America's sons didn't have to grow up without their fathers? What difference could it make? It's a problem that's been going on for too long and at too great a cost. And it's time to talk about it. Tune in Sunday, May 5, at 9/8c for a special two-hour Oprah's Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant.

The audience will be filled with men who grew up without fathers. Men who still feel the pain from having been abandoned or ignored by their dads. Men whose relationships are still suffering because of the damage done by neglectful fathers. Men who have not gotten closure.  

This show serves as a step towards getting closure. With help from Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah, and Roland, the dads begin the healing process. The even better part about it is that viewers at home will be able to tap into the wisdom, advice, and shared experiences that are highlighted on the show, so that they can begin healing, too. This show has the potential to help millions of men come to terms with how father absence has affected them, which will only serve to help their own children have better fathers in the long run.  

As always, NFI has a portfolio of resources at the ready to support the dads who watch the show and are looking for the tools they need to implement change. Visit our “Fatherless Sons” page for more. And re-visit this blog next week to get our full commentary on Sunday’s show.  

Tune in Sunday, May 5, at 9 pm eastern on OWN to watch “Fatherless Sons, Part 1” with NFI board member, Roland C. Warren, and join us on Twitter (@thefatherfactor) for the live chat using #FatherlessSons and #Lifeclass.

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