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The Father Factor:
Fatherhood Matters

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5 Tips for Committing and Recommitting to Fatherhood

At National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI), we focus on helping fathers to be involved, responsible, and committed to their children and families. I've reflected a lot on that mantra over my more than 13 years at NFI. Most recently, I've wondered what is the relative importance of these characteristics of a great dad. 

I've realized that exercise is a bit of a fool's game because each one of them is critical to being a great dad. Their importance is like our need for food and water. We can't do without one and rely only on the other. Nevertheless, there is one characteristic that the other two depend upon if dads are to realize their full potential as fathers--commitment. Commitment drives involvement and responsibility. It's where good fathering begins. Great dads are "hatched" when they become truly committed to being involved and responsible in the lives of their children and--just as importantly--in their relationships with the mothers of their children. 

In The Dark Knight Rises, the last installment of the Batman trilogy starring Christian Bale, Bruce Wayne faces a commitment challenge. He (as Batman) is beaten almost to the point of death by a villain named Bane who takes control of Gotham City. After the beating, which left Wayne broken physically and spiritually, Bane sends Wayne to a subterranean prison in a foreign country that only one person has ever escaped from. Wayne faces a choice. He can wither away and die or recommit to becoming an even better Batman. He chooses the latter, of course. He first rebuilds his body to become even stronger than before. Then he faces a life-threatening challenge that is vital to escaping the prison. 

Escaping the prison requires a symbolic but very real leap of faith. For an inmate to escape, he must climb the circular, slippery wall of an open hole that leads to the surface. If an inmate gets to a certain point on the wall, he must jump across the hole and grab onto a small ledge on the other side and pull himself up. From there, it's a piece of cake. The standard approach is to tie a rope to the waist so that if in attempting to jump to the ledge the inmate falls short and falls, his fall is stopped by the rope. Wayne tries the jump several times with the rope tied to his waste. He fails each time. After he is challenged by a confidant in the prison to completely commit to the jump by not using the rope, he tries again and succeeds. 

Dads must be vigilant about their commitments to children and families because those commitments are constantly challenged. These challenges can arise in the form of work-life balance, the ups and downs of marriage, and personal struggles such as addictions. Life has a nasty way of constantly challenging dads to commit to their children and families. Dads who didn't plan to have children must do the right thing and commit to their children and the mothers of their children. These dads must rise up and take a leap of faith that they can become great dads, partners and husbands in the first place. In other cases, great dads lose their way and must, through a leap of faith, rise again as committed fathers. Dads must do this even in the absence of a safety net.   

5 Questions Every Working Father Should Ask

Gone are the days where working fathers spent most of their time in the office. Today, there is increasing demand, both on the part of working fathers individually and on the part of society, to find more work-life balance.

(Book Giveaway) Bad Dads of the Bible by Former NFI President Roland Warren

As the former President of NFI, current President and CEO of CareNet, the nation’s largest network of pregnancy resource centers, and a father who grew up in a fatherless home, Roland Warren has a unique and personal understanding of the challenges fathers face and the common mistakes they make.

You Can Not Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

A few years back, I was beginning to notice a bit of weight-gain creeping in around my waistline. It wasn’t anything drastic, but as I neared my thirties, I was concerned that the steady buildup of poundage would be something that would continue unless I did something about it.

Have 20 Minutes? You Can Manage Your Work-Family Life

Be honest, with the New Year upon us, spending more time with family has crossed your mind. But how can you make your work folks and your family happy? Is that really possible?!

Celebrating 20 Years of Changing Fatherhood: John Thomas (Video)

Fatherhood Changes Everything… And We’ve Changed Fatherhood!

2014 is a special year for us at National Fatherhood Initiative. It marks our 20th year of working to “change fatherhood” by ending father absence and connecting fathers to their children, heart to heart.

The Father Factor's 5 Most Popular Blog Posts in 2013

You have spoken by number of pageviews to our blog posts. 2013 has been a fun year. Thank you for reading our posts. We look forward to connecting with you in 2014. Happy New Year! Now, see our five most popular blog posts for 2013.

The “Tale of Two Fathers” Confirmed by New Study

I am having a hard time deciding how to respond to this report from the Associated Press on a new survey of fathers.

5 Ways to Raise Disagreeable Children

One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell. If you're not familiar with his name, perhaps you've heard of his books. They include The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw. His latest book is David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. What draws me to his work is his insane ability to see what most people miss when it comes to what makes people and organizations successful.  

Poverty Sucks—How Father Involvement Alleviates It

Poverty sucks. It places adults, families, and, saddest of all, children at risk for a host of poor outcomes. If you're at all familiar with the literature on father absence, you're well aware that children in father-absent homes are much more likely to grow up in poverty.  

LeVar Burton of Reading Rainbow: On Dads’ Reading to Their Kids

This post is from LeVar Burton. LeVar is the Actor/Producer who Co-Founded Reading Rainbow Kidz. Interested in blogging for us? Read our guest blog guidelines.

As a father of two, I know from personal experience how difficult it is for working dads to find time to spend with their kids. Time really seems to be the scare “currency” of the 21st century. So when we do spend time with our children, spending it wisely is imperative. It probably comes as no surprise to you that for me, reading is one of the best ways I know to make great quality out of scarce quantity.

Reading to our young children provides two critical components to their lives: the closeness that comes from sharing stories together; imagining, pretending and learning that few other activities provide. It also gives them proven educational advantages they will gain from for the rest of their lives. Study after study demonstrates a clear correlation between kids whose parents read to them consistently before kindergarten and greater scholastic achievement.

Why I Drink My Coffee Black

This post is from Richard Beaty. Richard is the father of three who directs TEAM DAD, a Responsible Fatherhood program of Douglas-Cherokee Economic Authority. Find Richard at www.team-dad.org or on Twitter @TeamDad1Interested in blogging for us? Read our guest blog guidelines.

“How do you take your coffee?”

“Black,” I reply without hesitation.

Give to Fatherhood.org for #GivingTuesday

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." —Sir Winston Churchill

I trust you enjoyed Thanksgiving with your family. First, there was "Black Friday." Then came "Cyber Monday." Today is "Giving Tuesday!" Whether you shopped in-store or online in the last few days, today is for giving instead of getting!

Giving Tuesday is a movement that started a few years ago to encourage folks to support the causes that are important to them. For this #GivingTuesday, NFI wants you, our dedicated blog reader, involved in generating support for our work to connect fathers to their children.

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

Campaign Ends Today: Help NFI Support Military Families

There are 1.8 million children and families of military dads are affected by the unique stress of military life, particularly during deployment. Help us support them!

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