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Vote for the 2013 Military Fatherhood Award Winner!

Every year, National Fatherhood Initiative celebrates military fathers and families through our Military Fatherhood Award™.  We get hundreds of nominations and after narrowing down to four finalists, we turn to the American people to help us select an Awardee by voting on Facebook

Our finalists are going above and beyond in staying involved in their children's lives, despite the challenges of military life, and they are an inspiration to us.  We hope they'll inspire and encourage you too!

Ssgt Charlie Linville, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award FinalistSsgt Charlie Linville, U.S. Marine Corps - a combat veteran and Wounded Warrior, Ssgt Linville insisted on attending his daughter's first karate competition the day after having his leg amputated and continues to plan activites with his daughters, despite daily pain.



CPO Patrick Mondragon, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistCPO Patrick Mondragon, U.S. Navy - CPO Mondragon was effectively a solo parent while caring for his wife and kids - and continuing to fulfill his military duties - during a life-threatening health complication his wife experienced. 

 


Ssgt Jorge Roman, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistSsgt Jorge Roman, U.S. Army - a first-generation American, Ssgt Roman is fulfilling the American dream for his children, teaches them art and fitness, and has continued to parent his daughters during overseas deployments.

 


Maj. Kevin Billups, 2013 Military Fatherhood Award finalistMaj. Kevin Billups, U.S. Air Force - leaving for his eighth deployment in a few weeks, Maj. Billups is not only an involved father to his three children, he teaches other new military dads how to prepare for fatherhood and care for their little ones.

 

You can watch the videos their families created and vote for your favorite finalist on NFI's Facebook page.  Voting opens on Monday April 15 and closes on Sunday May 15.  You can vote once every 24 hours.

We're excited to introduce these wonderful dads as outstanding examples of fatherhood and to honor them for their service to the country.

Share this blog with other collegues and associates working in the fatherhood field!

Good Dads and Bad Dads in TV Ads

My wife hates watching TV with me because whenever I see a commercial depicting fathers in a negative light, I go off on the same rant. So, she hears this rant almost nightly.

But to be fair to the Madison Avenue crowd, there are certainly lots of commercials showing dads in a positive, or at least realistic, light (note: showing dads acting like childish idiots is not realistic, nor is it helpful). In fact, NFI has given the Fatherhood Award™ to several of these companies, including Google, Subaru, and many more.

In the spirit of being fair and balanced, here is one good and one bad example of current TV ads depicting dads.

The good

As a baseball fan, former Little Leaguer (where my dad was my coach for several years), and high school player, I love this ad.

Some may argue that it is another ad showing a dad looking pretty dumb, but my problem is not so much with “dumbness,” but with ads that are not realistic. This one is. Not everyone can throw a baseball well. What matters is that this guy is so sincere, and he’s spending time with his son, one on one.

Most importantly, the ad does such a great job of telling a realistic and touching story. Look closely and you can see that the dad is still wearing his work clothes. He pulled into the driveway from work and his son was waiting for him in the front yard wanting to play catch. And he started playing with him right there – he didn’t even go inside to change his clothes! You can almost hear the kid saying, “Dad, dad! Let’s play catch!” And he, being the loving dad he is, dropped everything and started playing, despite his obvious lack of skills or comfortable clothes.

Humor, storytelling, and a positive message about fathers – this ad has it all. As opposed to this ad…

The bad

In contrast to the one above, this ad is not realistic. I do not know a single dad who would be this negligent and uncaring. Nor would a dad be “bought” so easily with the promise of food that was probably purchased with his own money. I also hate the recurring commercial theme of “if it weren’t for moms, American households would be bastions of chaos and permissiveness.” One could counter that the ad was “bending the truth” for a comical effect – but so was the above ad, and it was great and heartwarming and realistic. Again, note to commercial producers: you don’t have to make men and dads look like idiots in order to make funny ads. Frankly, I think it is lazy writers falling back on stereotypes who are making these kinds of commercials. The non-lazy ones are making gems like the VW ad above.

To be fair to Kraft, they are a sponsor of the upcoming Dad 2.0 Summit, so clearly they are trying to make a genuine effort to reach out to fathers. But with ads like this (and it is only one in a series of similarly bad ads), I don’t think they are going to have as much success as they’d like. To be sure, if they want to work with NFI, we would need to have a serious discussion about what they really think about fathers given the mocking nature of their ad campaign.

Have you seen any good fatherhood commercials lately? How about bad ones? Let us know.

Throwback Thursday—Tony Dungy Receives Fatherhood Award

Today, you probably know Tony Dungy as the anaylst on NBC's "Football Night in America". But Dungy retired as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts after making the playoffs in each of his last 10 seasons (7 with Indianapolis; 3 with Tampa Bay). With his win of Super Bowl XLI, he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl as the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears. 

In 2002, National Fatherhood Initiative awarded Tony with a Fatherhood Award in San Antonio, TX. Long before Tony won the Super Bowl, NFI knew he was a Super Dad. Watch this clip of Tony receiving his 2002 Fatherhood Award and let Tony's words inspire and challenge you about the importance of being an involved dad today.

Tony’s recalls upon receving the Fatherhood Award:

In 1997 I got an award for NFL Coach of the Year. Five years later, receiving this award is really no comparison. This certainly means a lot more to me and it’s quite a honor and so humbling to be here with other dads recognized tonight. Watching these ads (tv ads were shown at the event) it's touching and every single one you can relate to probably the one for me that I relate to the most is the first one “Catch” with the little boy playing ball because we have a 10-year-old and yesterday he wanted to play baseball. We’re up in Indianapolis, we’re moving up there, and we don’t have all of our stuff, we had to go find a stick and we made a little taped-up ball and he beat me 23-2 with a stick ball.

So as we were talking about coming down here, I said (to my son), “What’s the most fun you’ve ever had with me?” And he’s got to do a lot of things, he’s been on the floor of the Metrodome, he’s went with me to the NFC Championship Game and stayed in the Ritz-Carlton and held my cord on the sideline, he’s been to Hawaii to the Pro Bowl and held my cord on the sideline, and he said, “Well, the most fun I’ve had was beating you in stickball!” And his reasoning was something that really touches this, I said “How can that be the most fun with all the things you’ve done?” And he said, “Because that’s what we did TODAY!” That’s what it is in a kids’ mind, it’s not what you do, it’s if you’re there to do it with them and I would encourage you to be there to do things with your kids. 

Visit our Fatherhood Award page to see a full list of Fatherhood Award recipients through the years.

Connect with The Father Factor by RSSFacebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.

NFI Honors Mayor Bloomberg With Fatherhood Award™

National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) recently recognized New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg with a Fatherhood Award™ in a ceremony at LaGuardia Community College.

Mayor Bloomberg Fatherhood Award
Mayor Bloomberg was honored for his leadership in launching two initiatives to strengthen fatherhood and families in the city: the Young Men’s Initiative and NYC Dads, New York’s first city-wide effort to engage fathers and help them to connect with their children.

Mayor Bloomberg, a father of two daughters, has consistently demonstrated, through his administration’s policies and practices, a deep understanding of how father involvement not only helps children, but strengthens the entire city.

Upon launching the city-wide fatherhood initiative in 2010, Bloomberg said:

Strong families make a strong New York. But too many children in this city are growing up without their fathers. We want more children in our City to experience the encouragement, support and love of their fathers.

Mayor Bloomberg also understands the link between the challenges facing the black and Latino youth of the city and the problem of father absence. One of the key changes in practice that was identified upon the launch of the Young Men’s Initiative was to encourage family-serving agencies in the city to “identify where obstacles to father involvement can be reduced.” This approach coincides with research showing that young men without involved fathers face significantly greater risks of failing in school, using drugs, becoming involved in the criminal justice system, and facing a host of other challenges.

NFI President Roland C. Warren said:

Mayor Bloomberg’s innovative thinking and powerful leadership are making it possible for New York City to be an example for cities across the country on how to effectively serve whole families. Too often, dads have been left out of the equation, but Mayor Bloomberg is ensuring that the city’s agencies will serve them, which will lead to stronger families and a stronger New York. 

At a time when 32 percent of all New York City children under the age of 17 live in households without a father, and 54 percent of black and 43 percent of Latino children grow up in fatherless households, Mayor Bloomberg’s pioneering leadership on this issue is critical.

Warren presented the Fatherhood Award™ to Mayor Bloomberg at the first graduation for the CUNY Fatherhood Academy. As part of the Young Men’s Initiative’s effort to strengthen fathers and their families, the Mayor launched the CUNY Fatherhood Academy in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation’s Campaign for Black Male Achievement. The CUNY Fatherhood Academy is a free comprehensive program intended to promote responsible parenting and foster economic stability for unemployed and underemployed young fathers by preparing fathers to apply to earn a GED and enroll in, and graduate from college.

As part of the city’s important work to become more father-friendly, NFI was recently contracted by the Department of Youth and Community Development to train and provide technical assistance on NFI's 24/7 Dad™ fatherhood curriculum, which equipped the department’s fatherhood grantees to address the most critical needs of the city’s low-income, non-custodial fathers.

Inaugurated in 1997, NFI’s Fatherhood Award™ is presented each year to individuals, corporations, and organizations that make a substantial contribution to strengthening involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood. Among the recipients of the Fatherhood Award™ are: country music superstar Tim McGraw; former-NFL coach Tony Dungy; NBA superstar Dwyane Wade; newsman and author Tim Russert; and corporations such as Johnson & Johnson, Google, and Chevrolet. 

National Fatherhood Initiative works in every sector and at every level of society to engage fathers in the lives of their children. Connect with The Father Factor by RSSFacebook and on Twitter @TheFatherFactor.

Image: NYC Mayor's Office 

NFI's Military Fatherhood Award Finalists Featured on HLN Morning Express with Robin Meade

mornexpress resized 600HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade (@Morn_eXpress) featured National Fatherhood Initiative’s Military Fatherhood Award Finalists on the show this morning.

Visit HLN's Morning Express to watch videos of each Military Fatherhood Award finalists.

Go directly to National Fatherhood Initiative's Facebook Page to vote for your favorite military father.

NFI Military Fatherhood Award Finalists To Be Featured on HLN

HLN resized 600Tomorrow morning HLN's Morning Express with Robin Meade will feature NFI's three Military Fatherhood Award finalists. The videos are scheduled to air during the hours of:

6am ET – 1st Lieutenant William Edwards, U.S. Army
7am ET – Lieutenant Dennis Kelly, U.S. Navy 
8am ET – Senior Airman Jonathan Jackson, U.S. Air Force

Tune in tomorrow to see each finalist and then visit National Fatherhood Initiative's Facebook page to vote for your favorite.

Guest Post: And the Winner of the 2011 Fatherhood Award is...

Shawn Bean is the executive editor of Parenting and author of the new fatherhood manual Show Dad How. He lives with his wife and two young sons in Florida. Shawn learned about NFI's "View and Vote" contest to select the next winner of our Fatherhood Award™ and wrote on his blog Pop Culture about why he thinks this is a great idea. (Read Shawn's original post here).

In one of my previous posts, I take issue with the current state of dadvertising. Where to even begin? For starters, moms get all the good gigs (Hey Proctor & Gamble, you think only moms use the Swiffer? I Swiff! I Swiff like a motherswiffer!) There are as many redheaded English princes as there are cool modern dads selling product these days. Dads are losing pitchman gigs to cavemen and lizards. The two most prominent males in advertising are Mr. Clean and the Brawny paper towel guy. If those dudes have kids, they certainly never let them on the label. And what would two childless guys know about using cleaning products?

So I was seriously happy to see that the National Fatherhood Initiative has nominated three companies for its 2011 Fatherhood Award™, companies that have created TV commercials that present Dad as the kind of guy we aspire to be: easy-going, funny, someone a kid can look up to.

Voting for the 2011 Fatherhood Award™ ends this Sunday, November 6th. To cast your vote, click here.

Vote today for your favorite Father-Friendly TV Ad: Chevrolet, Oreo, or Volkswagen?

Regular readers of our blog know that we occasionally honor individuals, corporations, and organizations with our Fatherhood Award™ for their work to strengthen involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood. (Click here to learn more about our Fatherhood Award™ and see a list of recent and past honorees.)

We need YOU to help us choose the next recipient of our Fatherhood Award™. We selected three wonderful television commercials by Chevrolet, Oreo, and Volkswagen that portray fathers interacting with their children in heart-warming ways. A special page on our Facebook allows people to view the commercials and vote for their favorite. The ad that receives the most votes by November 6 will receive a Fatherhood Award™ from National Fatherhood Initiative.

Would you take 2 minutes to click on
this link, watch the three commercials, and vote for the one you think is most deserving of a Fatherhood Award™? Vote every day between now and November 6 - and tell your friends and colleagues to vote too!

We guarantee that these short videos will bring a smile to your face. In a time TV typically portrays dads as dumb, disaffected, or dangerous, it's really encouraging to see corporate brands depicting fathers in positive ways in their advertising. We want to see more of these types of ads and that's why we're doing this contest on Facebook. Take a look and vote - no matter whether you vote for Chevrolet, Oreo, or Volkswagen, you're casting a vote for a brand that recognizes the importance of dads!

Vote today!

NFI honors Sherwood Pictures with a Fatherhood Award for movie "Courageous"

Today NFI's president Roland C. Warren is in Atlanta to present a Fatherhood Award to Sherwood Pictures for the film Courageous, being released in theaters on September 30. We are excited about the incredible message this film has for fathers and plan to discuss themes and highlights from the movie in the next few weeks here on The Father Factor blog, on our Facebook page, Twitter, and in our weekly Dad Email. Stay tuned to learn more!



In the meantime...

  • Read the Press Release about why NFI is honoring Sherwood Pictures with a Fatherhood Award for Courageous here

  • Watch the Trailer for Courageous here
  • Watch Roland talking about the impact of Courageous here
  • Order tickets to see Courageous in theaters, opening on September 30, here

As Roland said, “It’s rare that a movie has the potential to become a movement. But from the moment we saw Courageous, we knew it had the power not only to entertain but to transform the lives of fathers.” Congratulations to Sherwood Pictures, not only for receiving a Fatherhood Award today, but more importantly for their work to inspire men to be the courageous fathers their children need them to be.

Google Chrome Hits a Home Run with "Dear Sophie"

“In our 17 years of tracking cultural statements about the importance of fatherhood, the “Dear Sophie” film stands out as one of the most positive messages we have ever found." -- NFI president, Roland C. Warren on Google Chrome's Fatherhood Award™-winning film.



If you haven't yet seen "Dear Sophie," Google's short film about its Chrome browser, then watch it now:







As you can see, this was a no-brainer for us in deciding to honor Google with a Fatherhood Award™ for this powerful message about what good dads do.



One of the reasons it is so powerful is that rather than taking the usual tack with technology -- that it is a distraction that only geeks are interested in -- it shows instead how dads, who love technology, can use it to be better fathers. (Kinda sounds like our Tech Savvy Daddy campaign...)



Do you see yourself as the dad in "Dear Sophie"? Tell us about how you use technology to be a better dad.







This ain't about fishing

If you listen to your local country music radio station, you may have heard Trace Adkin’s new song “Just Fishin’.” If you haven’t heard it, you should… it’ll pull at your heart strings, even if you’re not a fan of country music.



This song resonates in a personal way with NFI’s Senior Director of Events and Logistics, Elaine Barber, because fishing with her dad is one of her favorite memories of childhood. Looking back now as an adult, she appreciates the significance of those moments together – as Trace Adkins says, it’s not just about fishing.

When I was 5 or 6, my Nana and Poppi had a motor home and we always used to go camping with them. I had a Snoopy fishing pole that my Poppi had gotten me and I always loved to fish with my dad when we were camping (which is funny because I don't even eat fish!) One time when we were camping, we forgot my Snoopy pole. I was so disappointed, but my dad made me a homemade fishing pole out of a stick, fishing wire, and hook -- with no reel! We used dough balls for bait and I caught more fish with that pole than ever before. We called it my Robinson-Crusoe fishing pole and my mom has it in her basement still 30 years later!

Flash forward 20+ years and in 2002, NFI awarded The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) a Fatherhood Award for a public awareness campaign they did titled "Take Me Fishing." One poster showed a picture of a little girl and her dad in a red fishing boat with the line, "Take me fishing because my wedding will be sooner than you think." I asked RBFF to provide me a copy of the poster which proudly hangs in my parent's house -- a reminder of all those wonderful times spent fishing -- just me and my dad.

NFI honors Dwyane Wade with Fatherhood Award

The result of the NBA Championship Finals on Sunday may not have been what Dwyane Wade and his Miami Heat teammates had hoped for, but Dwyane Wade knows that there are more important things in life than championship rings – his two sons.

Dwyane Wade recently gained full custody of his young sons, Zaire and Zion. Despite the time constraints of being a professional athlete, Wade’s number one priority is being involved in his sons’ lives. It’s for his commitment to his sons that NFI is recognizing Dwyane Wade with a Fatherhood Award. (Click here to read the press release.)

In response to receiving the Fatherhood Award, Wade said, "I am so thrilled to be given this award, especially because it is in recognition of the most important thing in my life, my kids. Nothing in the world compares to the happiness that they bring me each and every day. I know that my biggest responsibility is to be there for them 100% and to demonstrate to other fathers that it is possible to be a strong male figure in your children's lives regardless of what else is going on in your life."

Congratulations to Dwyane Wade! Thanks for being a great role model of an involved, responsible, and committed father!

Update (9/16/11): On August 25th, at his Wade's World Weekend basketball camp, Dwyane Wade was presented with his Fatherhood Award by NFI president Roland C. Warren (photo).

Guest Post: Be a Dad: Fatherhood is all about balance

This is a guest post by Jon Brancheau, Vice President, Nissan Marketing. Jon will accept a Fatherhood Award from National Fatherhood Initiative this Friday, recognizing Nissan for their father-friendly ad "Baby." (Click here to watch the ad). Jon is a father of three and shared his thoughts with us as part of NFI's Be A Dad campaign.

To Be a Dad is an awesome, incredible, and honored responsibility.

I’m the father of three kids… blessed with my two boys through adoption and my daughter shortly thereafter. My kids are 12, 15 and 17 now and in reflection of what I’ve learned, I would say that the key for me has simply been “balance.” Fatherhood is all about balance… just like the guy in our “Baby” ad.

A balanced obligation between the kids and the workplace is a good start. Prioritizing the time for my kids sporting events and recitals has proved important. I want to be visible for them at these events and will go out of my way to attend some during inconvenient business hours. Trust me, they get it and appreciate it. In the end, I try not to let my kids come up short on the “balance of work-life” scale.

Staying with the idea of balance… How about the simple balance between trying to teach your kids vs. listening to them? Listening has worked for me so far and the kids continue to teach me something new every single day.

Congrats to Military Fatherhood Award winner Chris Cady!

600 nominations. 3 finalists. 1 winner.

For the past few years, NFI has been recognizing military fathers for their commitment to the country and their families. This year, we gave America the opportunity to choose the recipient of this award. After narrowing 600 nominations down to three finalists - quite a difficult task! - we introduced three great military dads on our Facebook page. Thousands of people voted, and we are pleased to announce that Navy 1st Class Petty Officer Christopher Cady is NFI's 2011 Military Fatherhood Award recipient! Congratulations Chris!

Watch the announcement of the winner on Sunday's Fox and Friends show:



The 2011 Military Fatherhood Award will be presented to LS1 Cady on his base in June, along with sponsor prizes and other surprises. The winner's and two finalists' bases will also receive Fatherhood Resource Centers filled with NFI's educational materials for dads!

You can learn more about LS1 Cady and his son Joshua, who was born with Cytomegalovirus, by reading his nomination.

Congratulations also go to the other two finalists for the Military Fatherhood Award, Army Captain Scott Kulla and Air Force Major Marc Mathes. We are grateful to all three of these dads for their service to the country and for setting a great example as involved, responsible, and committed fathers!

Learn about how National Fatherhood Initiative supports Military Fathers and Families, and how you can too!

Rodney Peete's Fatherhood Award

NFI recently gave a Fatherhood Award™ to former NFL quarterback, Rodney Peete. Peete's new book, Not My Boy!, is an honest, heart-wrenching look at the struggles that Peete faced when he learned his son has autism.

Peete, like any dad, had dreams that his son would follow in his footsteps, which in this case meant becoming a star athlete. When that dream was shattered, Peete had to create new dreams for his son. However, through his struggle, he learned that the support system for parents of children with special needs is build mainly by and for moms. He felt he was going through this battle alone.

But Peete worked with his wife, Holly Robinson Peete, to learn how to deal with their son's situation as a family.

Peete's Fatherhood Award™ was announced on The Mo'Nique Show the day after Father's Day. Watch the video to see how Peete talks about his struggles and what NFI's award meant to him:

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