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Fatherhood Programs: Facilitating for Change

This is a guest blog post from Scott Lesnick, author, speaker, trainer, and 24/7 Dad® facilitator at The Parenting Network located in Milwaukee, WI.

Finding Your Way - Guides for Fathers in Child Protection Cases

You work with a variety of Dads. And they've got questions or issues that they need help addressing. And sometimes they're issues you or your staff aren't sure how to answer. Or, frankly, it's just not your area of expertise. 

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Guest Post: 30 Days (Or More!)

This is a guest post from Jeff Allanach, a newspaper editor in Maryland. Jeff is a married father of two children, and writes about fatherhood in his weekly column. You can follow Jeff on his Facebook page, Adventures in Fatherhood.

I’m at my best when I do one of two things: play with my children and write.

I feel like Superman when I combine the two, so I saw a great opportunity to leap tall buildings in a single bound when I signed up for “30 Days to Be a Better Dad,” the National Fatherhood Initiative’s program to kick off 2011.

I figured I would write in great detail about my efforts to hone my fathering skills as part of the program. I would share my triumphs with anyone who cared to read about them by answering every question the initiative asked and doing every task challenged of me.

I could do it, I figured. After all, I'm Superman. It would be “American Idol” and “The Justice League” combined in one string of blog posts.

I started out OK by answering a couple of questions in the first e-mail in early January. Yes, I know what my children need (a father who loves them) and we do follow daily routines (two, in fact, morning and night) they find comforting.

It wasn’t as much as I originally planned because I couldn’t find the time to write as much as I wanted. I shrugged, figuring I could still be Batman if not Superman. After all, driving the Batmobile is kind of like flying, right?

I checked off the first week, and waited in anticipation for the next one. When it came, I quickly read through it and gravitated to one tip in particular: “Stay focused.”

No problem, I said. I’m Batman. He has to focus to work all his cool gadgets. I went about my day, which slipped into a week, and then some. So much for staying focused. I tweaked my plan again, and figured I would be Aquaman instead of Batman. After all, talking to fish is kind of like driving the Batmobile, right?

The third week came, and I realized that I already do most of the activities the initiative suggested. I play with my children. I read with them. We bake cookies and have movie nights. The only problem was that it wasn’t the third week. I had fallen behind to the fourth week. I shrugged again, and figured I could be Plastic Man if not Aquaman. After all, being super stretchy is kind of like talking to fish, right?

I looked back at the previous 30 days to account for my time. How could I not find time to write? It’s what I do best. Saturday mornings are a great time to write, but I’ve been taking my daughter to gymnastics, so no writing then. It snowed several times, and that gives me a great opportunity to write because I’m trapped inside. But then again, the best time to make a snowman with your children is when it snows, so no writing then. Evenings are another good time to write, but then there’s homework and Wii Lego Star Wars with the kids, so no writing then. Let’s see, we also did a 500-piece Barbie puzzle, played Legos, and had a marathon session of Connect Four.

No wonder I didn’t have time to write as much as I planned. I was too busy being a dad, and being dad beats Superman every time.

You can only be a better dad if you are alive!

This is a post from NFI's Director of Corporate Relations, Tom Patras.

Six months ago, during church, a friend surprised everyone by wheeling his 85 pound son on stage in a wheel barrow. Pointing to his son, he exclaimed, “This is how much weight I’ve lost!” After receiving a standing ovation from the congregation, my friend went on to share that he’d been facing serious health issues due to an unhealthy lifestyle. He finally woke up when our Pastor confronted him and said, “What are you doing? You have a wife and kids and you are eating yourself to death!”

As I listened to my friend, it took everything in me to keep from crying. I was happy for him, but sobered that my Pastor’s words could easily have been directed at me. Weight issues are a generational plague in my family. After many failed attempts at losing weight (and keeping it off), I felt discouraged and defeated. I’d reached my heaviest weight ever and was frankly disgusted with myself. With health issues mounting, I knew I needed to change the trajectory of my life. So…inspired by my friend’s success with the Take Shape For Life program, I decided that if it worked for him, why not me?

During my first week on the program, I had a pivotal moment. One day, a scene from The Biggest Loser came to mind. In the scene, a 25 year old girl was told by a doctor that based on the condition of her organs, she was living in the body of a 55-year-old woman. Suddenly the thought hit me – “holy cow, that’s 30 years! That’s almost two generations!” I then asked myself, “What kind of an example am I setting for my children? What kind of legacy am I building for future generations? Do I want my wife and kids grieving over my untimely death because I wasn’t willing to do everything in my power to fight for my health?”

In that moment, I said, “I’m done! I’m going to engage in (and win) this battle. I’m going to be a chain breaker and change the legacy of my family for future generations.”

Six months later, I’m 68 pounds lighter! At 39, I’m the same weight I was as a freshmen in high school. I have tons of energy, am much more confident, and feel better than I have in years.

No doubt there are fathers reading this post who are battling weight-related health issues – you may be one of them. If so, I encourage you to join NFI’s 30 Days to Be a Better Dad Campaign and make it a priority to get healthy in 2011.

BUT, don’t go it alone! 85% of people who try to lose weight without support gain it back within 2 years. Also, find a plan that teaches you how to build healthy habits for life. There is no magic pill or medical procedure that will allow you to eat whatever (and however much) you want.

Building a healthy lifestyle takes commitment, but you can only be a better dad if you are alive!

The Father Factor Blog: News, tips, and tools for dads and those helping dads.

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