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The Father Factor


#DadsWay Twitter Party Tonight (6/20) at 8pm EST—Win an iPad Mini & Raise Money for NFI

In a unique partnership with Tide + Downy, NFI announces the #DadsWay Twitter Party! 

#dadsway tide downy

Let's get together and discuss how “dad’s way” of doing things—being a more engaged parent, household purchases, household chores (including laundry)—have changed among modern dads. 

For every tweet using #DadsWay @Tide & @Downy will donate $1 to @TheFatherFactor .

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2013

Time: 8-9 PM EDT
Hashtag: #DadsWay
Lead: @DadaRocks



Each tweet with #DadsWay hashtag will enter you for a chance to win...

  • One (1) iPad mini
  • Two (2) Amazon $50 gift cards

RSVP by commenting with your Twitter URL ( over at An RSVP is not required to participate or to be entered to win.

Catch NFI's Vince DiCaro on Fox News Live being interviewed about the Twitter Party tonight:  

For over 60 years, Tide has been caring for the clothes of American families and helping to provide the everyday miracle of clean clothing. To meet consumers’ diverse laundry needs, Tide offers its cleaning in a variety of products including Tide Total Care, Tide with Febreze Freshness, Tide Coldwater, Tide with a Touch of Downy, Tide with Bleach Alternative, Tide Stain Release, Tide High Efficiency and 2X Ultra Tide Liquid. For consumers’ on-the-go stain removal needs, Tide to Go helps remove fresh food and drink stains on the spot. Visit for helpful product information, practical tips on laundry care, special offers and promotions and more. You can become a fan on Facebook at

Can't see the video? Visit here.

This post is a part of the Tide + Downy #dadsway promotion.

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If You Have a Daughter, #DadsWay Means Dancing

I don't dance. So you can imagine the nervousness and anticipation I experienced upon hearing that Bella, my six-year-old daughter, was to attend her first (and annual) Winter Formal Daddy-Daughter Gala for her Girl Scout Troop.

As I read the invitation, several words leaped out at me and I knew—this was it—this was the moment wherein lies the difference between good dads and great dads. Looking back on the Winter Formal Daddy-Daughter Gala Dance Thingy, there were words that leaped from the invitation and seemed to strangle me in a choke-hold. Words like:


"Winter Formal"
Honestly, the committee couldn't make this "informal"?! Was the Gala-committee sitting back thinking of ways to make this event more uncomfortable for non-dancing dads?! Answer: yes. Yes, the committee was doing exactly that. 

"Dress: Suit & Tie"
Now, I'm not the guy who never wears a suit and tie. But, when "suit and tie" are the minimum dress a dad is to wear, there's a certain ante that's upped—uppped to the level of "maxed-out uncomfortableness" for a Friday night.

"Masquerade Masks"
Great. Not only was there gonna be dancing all uncomfortably and in a formal way, there was to be crazy, creepy masks. Awesome. Add this to the column: "Ways to make dad uncomformtable and not attend your dance."

Fast forward to the dance. Once we stepped into the Winter Formal Daddy-Daughter Gala, things weren't so bad. There was a dance floor—ugh. But, there were also tables in the dance vicinity—score. And a long table with food and desserts—score, again.

We snacked, chewed gum and blew bubbles. Bubbles were a hit for a few minutes. There were brownies on the dessert table. Brownies kept me from the dance floor for a few minutes. Cookies and lemonade did the same. Boy, was I glad they had cookies and lemonade. I knew the "dance" was to last for two and a half hours. My strategy? Spend time doing other things besides dancing! Any few minutes off the dance floor meant a few mintues not dancing.


Then there were the raffles. I spent several minutes in line guessing the number of jelly beans in hopes of winning a pink princess tent. After several guesses and $20 later—we didn't win the tent.

Also, and I hadn't originally thought of this, but there were other dads at this daddy-daughter event. I immediately found two wingmen-dads. One dad was a Gala-newbie like myself. But one dad, he was a Gala-pro. We kept one another comfortable while our daughters ran around the dance floor. The Gala-pro's daughter had taken off her shoes. My daughter soon followed.

Turns out, Gala-pro dad had an older daughter, age 8 or 9 or something. This was like his fourth Gala. His daughter was doing her own thing at this point. All Gala-pro dad had to do was show up and watch. The daughter had friends and other things to keep her busy. She didn't have to dance with her dad the whole night. This led me to two conclusions:

  1. Oh no, there's gonna be more Gala's?! and...
  2. Wait, there won't be many more Gala's were Bella actually wants to dance with me. I'd better actually dance.

The next song plays...I grab Bella...we twirl and dip...dip and twirl. That's pretty much my entire repertoire. After the song, there was a break for raffle-winner announcments. They actually called "Isabella Sanders" over the speakers. Out of the millions of girls (well dozens of girls) in attendance, Bella won a big raffle prize. She won a wooden jewelry box. They must have seen me placing all that cash in the jelly bean raffle.

There were more dances. Then, more standing hand-in-hand at the juice line. I talked more with my wingmen-dads about life and how quick the time flies. We talked about how much we hated dancing.

Then, there was the last dance call. I found barefooted Bella and held her. The emcee said something special (I don't remember what, I was nervous). Then, Whitney Houston music started. You know, slow-jam Whitney.

If you're me, you've spent your life caring little about Whitney's slow jams. Why? Well, because those said slow jams didn't involve you dancing. At grade school dances, you could sit on the bleachers. In middle school, you could stand by the wall. In high school—outside in the car. In college, well, who attends dances in college?!

But this last-dance was different. This last-dance was Whitney Houston's "I will always love you". It was a rallying cry to hold my sweet, formally dressed, barefooted Isabella. This was really a "last dance" in many ways. How often do you dress formally and dance? Oh, now I get it. The mom-steering committee had it right all along. This night was really special.

Thankfully, I've been able to dance in the living room and in retail store aisles many times with my six-year-old princess. And I hope to dance a few more times before she turns seven in a few months. Each dance has its own special quality, but this one was different.

This dance had as a background a room full of dads singing off key, and as loud as they could. You see, most of the dads had been there before. They weren't as nervous as me. They knew something I didn't. That as dads, you don't get many of these nights. You don't get enough of these dances. I'm still not certain if the dads were shouting off-key to be funny or to keep themselves from tearing up. I'm guessing the latter.   

Me, I picked Bell up and held her in my arms until after Whitney's long last note. I've never been so grateful for Whitney's ability to hold a long note! Bella rested her head on my shoulder and I took a mental snapshot. We held hands as we walked off the dance floor, we grabbed more gum from the center pieces on the tables and I put Bella's shoes back on. Then, we walked slowly to the car—just me and Bell.

By the time we were buckled safely in the car, Bell was thinking about fries at the Burger King next door. Me? I was thinking about a line from a Tim McGraw song, "Someday you'll be looking back on your life at the memories, this is gonna be one of those nights..."

Why is the hashtag #DadsWay in this blog title? Through June 23, every time you Tweet using the hashtag #DadsWay, Tide and Downy will donate $1 to National Fatherhood Initiative. So, if you are on Twitter, tell us what #DadsWay means to you. To me, #DadsWay means dancing.

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5 Father's Day Commercials that May Make You Shed Man Tears

Much like Chuck Norris, I don't cry. Every so often, around Father's Day-Month, I may or may not "shed man tears." But I don't cry—ever. Shedding man tears is something wholly other—yet emotionally significant. June is a tough month for we dads to watch commercials. It seems for a few days, the world stops and turns, then turns more and lands on fathers for a few hours before rotating to Fourth of July sales. While we dads like our Fourth of July sales too, hardly have Independence Day commercials made us cry, er, shed man tears, which is different, not crying, no.

I give you NFI's list of five Father's Day commercials that may cause you to shed man tears.

Tide and Downy Commercial: Happy Father's Day (30 sec)
Lily lives in her favorite princess dress, but like most kids, she's not exactly tidy. Between pasta spills and kissing frogs, that princess dress gets messy! Once a week, Lily's dad lets her play sheriff and uses Tide laundry detergent and Downy fabric softener together to keep her dress stain free and super soft. This one may not make you shed man tears, but the kindness of Tide and Downy is making us do so. For every tweet on Twitter of the hashtag #DadsWay, Tide and Downy will give NFI $1. Let's see those tweets! Leave the man tears to yourself!

Oral B: Power of Dad (1:09)
Your dad has always had the power to make you smile, now Oral-B wants to help you power up his smile in return (insert shedding of man tears here). #PowerofDad

Sears: Not a Superhero (1:03)
Let's hear it for the original Superman, Dad. From the one place you can always count on to save his day. From ties to grills, tools, TVs and more, only Sears has everything the superhero in your life is looking for this Father's Day. This is Sears, #ThisIsSuper. Another hashtag could be used here: #ShedManTears.

Dick's Sporting Goods: Father's Day (1:02)
For everything Dad has done for you, make this Father's Day the best one ever. Sometimes, no emotion is needed, simple sports scenes may evoke the shedding of man tears. Like in this video:

Oreo: Bedtime (1:01)
Wonder if a girl gave an Oreo to her Dad - would he let her stay up past bedtime? See how sharing an Oreo can let wonder loose in Oreo's latest Wonderfilled commercial, featuring a new twist on a favorite song. Yes, in conducting my own experiment, the data is statistically significant showing when a daughter gives her dad an Oreo—she can in fact stay up past her bedtime. While dad sheds man tears over delicious cookies and milk. Those man tears are actually called "wonderfilled man tears."

If you made it through these commercials without shedding man tears, chances are, you're either a cyborg or not-a-father. In which case, I'm not mad at you. But you need to understand, all the above companies got Father's Day correct this year. Go dads—and Happy Father's Day!

What's your favorite Father's Day commercial?

The Father Factor Blog

NFI Presents 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ to RPC Patrick Mondragon

RPC Mondragon Chosen From Among Hundreds of Nominees to Receive Prestigious Annual Award for an Exemplary Military Dad

At a ceremony this morning at the Third Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) presented the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ to RPC Patrick Mondragon, US Navy.

rpc mondragon navyMondragon, a husband and father of two, had to act as a solo parent during his wife’s recent life-threatening health complications. During that time, he cared for his wife and children while continuing to fulfill his military duties. In a display of amazing work-family balance, he recorded over 20 videos of himself reading stories to his children so that they could see and hear him while he was onboard the USS Bunker Hill and forward deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In addition to caring for his own family, he dedicates himself to supporting other military families. As a religious program specialist on his base, he counsels dads and families on handling the challenges of military life. He was also the United through Reading Program Coordinator on the USS Bunker Hill, helping hundreds of dads stay connected to their children while deployed.

One of RPC Mondragon’s fellow sailors said, “I am not surprised that RPC Mondragon was selected. He is absolutely the father, man, sailor, RPC of the year, every year, in my book. I wish him and his family the best and I am so proud to serve along side of Patrick in the sea services.”

Earlier this year, NFI received hundreds of nominations for the Military Fatherhood Award™ from the wives, children, friends, and colleagues of our nation’s military dads, and then narrowed them down to four exemplary finalists, including RPC Mondragon.

The four finalists’ families then submitted home videos of why they thought their dad should be the recipient of the award. From mid-April to mid-May, the public was able to choose the recipient of the award by visiting National Fatherhood Initiative’s Facebook page and casting their votes for their favorite of the four finalists.

In RPC Mondragon’s video, his wife, Violet, said, “Patrick is so deserving of this award, and I can’t think of anyone more qualified for the Military Fatherhood Award™.”

The three other finalists were Maj. Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force; Ssgt Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps; and Ssgt Jorge Roman, U.S. Army.

nfi logo

Each year, the Military Fatherhood Award™ is given to a military dad who displays an ongoing commitment and dedication to his children, makes extraordinary efforts to father from a distance when deployed, successfully balances military and family life, and makes an effort to mentor other military fathers and/or military children who are separated from their fathers.

Several past Military Fatherhood Award™ recipients have been officially recognized by the White House. The 2012 awardee, 1st Lieutenant William Edwards of the U.S. Army, had lunch with President Obama and received his award at a “Champions of Change” event at the White House on June 13, 2012.

In addition to the award, NFI supports the U.S. Military as its #1 provider of fatherhood-specific resources. NFI has distributed nearly 300,000 fatherhood skill-building materials to bases all over the world for all five branches, and has trained family support services on how to deliver our numerous fatherhood curricula and programs.

The sponsors of the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award™ are Huggies®, Nissan USA, Acumen Solutions, Inc, Sandy Cove Ministries, and Boy Scouts of America.

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Phil Mickelson Skips US Open Practice for Daughter's Graduation

If you follow professional golf, you know the U.S. Open Championship is kind of a big deal. ESPN reports that Phil Mickelson skipped US Open practice to attend his daughter's eigth grade graduation.

mickelson medium 5688393965

ESPN says:
Mickelson was not at Merion Golf Club on Tuesday preparing for the U.S. Open because he headed home to San Diego, where he will attend his daughter's eighth-grade graduation.

Mickelson arrived at Merion on Monday but was unable to get in much practice due to the severe weather conditions that twice caused United States Golf Association officials to close the course.

Mickelson was quoted in a statement released Tuesday he always planned to attend his daughter's graduation ceremony. But with the bad weather at Merion, he left early so he could practice at home.

Mickelson said in a statement:

  • I was scheduled to return to San Diego after my 2:30pm press conference Tuesday. I came back daughter Amanda is speaking at her 8th grade graduation ceremony and I always planned on being here for that, but since it was raining so much Monday and we didn't know if we'd even be able to play a sloppy course, I came home last night to practice in great weather on my range and greens. I'll be ready to go Thursday.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place in the late afternoon Wednesday in California, and Mickelson plans to return to Merion (in Pennsylvania) sometime overnight. He has a 7:11 a.m. starting time on Thursday off the 11th tee (4:11 a.m. California time)

As CBSSports makes clear: say the graduation ends at 5 p.m. on Wednesday (8 p.m. in Pennsylvania) -- Mickelson will probably eat a cookie and drink some juice at the after-party and be out the door by 6:30 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in Pennsylvania). It's a 4 1/2-hour (or so) flight.

Even with a private jet, like I'm sure Mickelson has. He will hit the tee box like any sleepy dad would! To that we say, go Philly Mick, you're doing things #DadsWay!

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photo credit: zzazazz

With T1D Care, #DadsWay is Indispensable

One of the saddest statistics I have seen is that divorce rates among couples with special needs children are higher than among the general population. This breaks my heart. In situations where it is most critical for a couple to stay together so they can work together for the good of their children, there is even more family breakdown.

dadswayAnd the sad reality is that one of the main reasons for this breakdown is that too many fathers are walking away from difficult situations. My friend’s wife counsels women who are in high-risk pregnancies, and he swears that by the end of their wives’ terms, half the fathers have left. And often, even if they stay, they don’t make the selfless changes necessary to accommodate the special needs of the wife going through the difficult pregnancy.  

Again, this is heart breaking. At their wives’ and children’s most needful hour, their attitude is “this is not what I signed up for; I’m outta here.”  

That is why when my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) last June, I knew that I needed to step up in a big way. Responsible fatherhood needed to take on a whole new meaning for me. My son deserved for me to be there for him. My wife deserved for me to be there for her.  

Thankfully, due to incredible medical breakthroughs, T1D has become a manageable disease. But it still takes constant vigilance. You can’t take a day off from managing it. Really, you can’t even take several hours off from managing it. Our son is 3-1/2, so he is not yet at the age where he can tell us when he doesn’t feel quite right. It is up to us to figure it out, which involves checking his blood sugar every few hours (even in the middle of the night). It means making constant adjustments to his insulin pump to ensure that we are keeping his blood sugar under control.  

And none of these actions or decisions is made without my wife and I working together. And what makes it work even better, what gives it that magical synergy, is that my wife and I both approach things differently. Right on par with the research about how moms and dads take different approaches to parenting, my wife and I take different approaches to diabetes management! For example, my wife tends to be much more cautious/worried when it comes to dealing with his high blood sugars, whereas I tend to be a little more laissez faire and patient; what this creates is a perfect balance where we are not overreacting, nor are we standing idly by.  

Aside from the “transactional” part of managing the disease, there is the relational part as well. My wife and I both relate to my son differently, and we can already see how our son reacts and interacts with us differently. He makes it clear that he is happiest when both my wife and I are with him, eating dinner together, watching a movie, whatever. He gets irreplaceable comfort and security from our presence. When he wants to be thrown (high) into the air, he comes to me. When he wants to cuddle he goes to mom (I cuddle him, and my wife throws him (low) in the air, too, but I am talking about “on average” here).  

Short of there being a cure, my son will always have T1D, which means that I will always have to work with my wife to ensure that he grows up as happy, healthy, and normal as possible. This is a team task, and my wife and I are our son’s perfect team.  

Being there for my wife and my son to help him overcome the challenge of T1D – that’s #DadsWay.  

You may be wondering why we are using the hashtag #DadsWay. From now until June 23, every time you Tweet using the hashtag #DadsWay, Tide and Downy will donate $1 to National Fatherhood Initiative! So, if you are on Twitter, sign in and tell us what #DadsWay means to you.   

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3 Super Simple Ways to Support Fathers this Father's Day

As you can imagine, June is quite a special month for NFI. As we serve fathers, we thought we should remind you of three ways you can support our aim of creating better dads and give you extraordinary ideas for gifts. Here are three ways you can support fathers this Father's Day: 

1. Join NFI's Dads Club™
DadsClub RotatorWith a one-time $20 membership fee (Now through Father's Day—regularly $35), you get:

  • awesome set of Dads Club™ swag - including a set of men's grooming products from Dove® Men+Care™ 
  • connect with other Dads Club™ members who care about fatherhood.

Plus, your membership fee supports National Fatherhood Initiative's mission to create a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad℠! Join now!

2. Donate in Honor of Dad for Father's Day
Give $25 or more between now and Father's Day and we will send you a customizable, framable certificate you can present to your dad! Donate now!

Fathers Day LDD Rotator

3. Tweet Using #DadsWay Hashtag
Here is the easiest $1 you will ever donate to National Fatherhood Initiative. If you are on Twitter, every time you use the hashtag #dadsway, Tide/Downy will donate $1 to NFI. Talk about the dad in your life or share something unique about your dad. Dads, you can tweet about being a dad. We will make it even easier for you. Here is an example tweet:

  • For every tweet using #DadsWay @Tide & @Downy will donate $1 to National Fatherhood Initiative @thefatherfactor. Have at it!

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