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The Father Factor

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Vote to Support the Courage of Military Dads

Recently, I wrote a blog post called “What Can Happen When Too Many Dads Choose Comfort Rather Than Courage” about my visit to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. While at the museum, I noticed a poster for the movie, “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” It was a good reminder for me because I really wanted to see this movie. So last week, I did.

No spoiler alert here, but this movie had some very compelling fatherhood messages and themes. It was told through eyes of an 8-year-old German boy who lived near a Nazi concentration camp. His father was a commandant responsible for executing Hitler’s “final solution.” This movie was extremely effective in portraying how desperately little boys need to see their fathers as honorable and courageous. Unfortunately, this boy’s military father had linked his courage to a dishonorable cause and the results were tragic for millions of people, including his son.

I found it ironic that I happened to be watching this film at the time that NFI was launching a new Facebook initiative to enable the nation to select the 2011 NFI Military Fatherhood Award™ recipient. I hope that you will click here to cast your vote for one of the three courageous military dads who are honorably serving their children’s needs and our nation.

Indeed, we often do the least for those who do the most for us. Here’s a chance to set things right by voting. You can do so daily between now and May 13. Please feel free to spread the word by sharing this link - Vote for the 2011 Military Fatherhood Award - via Facebook, your blog, email, and Twitter. Thanks in advance for your help.

Honoring Military Dads

Voting for the 2011 Military Fatherhood Award is now open to the public!

For the first time ever, NFI is allowing the public to help us choose the winner of this special award. We received nearly 600 nominations of incredible military dads from all over the country. Then we painstakingly narrowed the field down to our three finalists -- and now you can help us select the winner.

Each finalist's friends and family have submitted a video of why they think their dad should win the award. Click the image below to view the videos and cast your vote for your favorite military dad! Voting closes on May 13, and you can vote once a day until then. The winner will be announced by May 27.




Support Military Families - Vote for our Pepsi Refresh Project!

A large portion of our work is devoted to supporting military families. Research shows that military children experience many of the same outcomes as kids living in father-absent homes.

You can help us give military families the support they need by voting for our Pepsi Refresh Project! We're in the running for $250,000 to support military families with critical resources to help them stay connected. But, we need your votes to win!

To vote:
Click here:
http://pep.si/aHtVfT.
Vote using Facebook
Vote using text message [text 101739 to Pepsi (73774)]

You can vote up to three times each day throughout August and voting for our project ends August 31st.

Help support our nation's military families by voting today. And don't forget to tell you friends, too!

Know an Award-Winning Dad?

We've just opened up nominations for our 2010 Military Fatherhood Award, presented by Lockheed Martin. You can nominate a dedicated military dad you know for this prestigious award!

The awardee will be honored at a special ceremony in Washington, DC on June 8, 2010. And, last year's awardee, U.S. Navy Chief Quartermaster John Lehnen, even got to meet President Obama at a special White House event!*

For more information, or to nominate a dad, visit www.militaryfatherhoodaward.org!

Good luck!


*While we would love for the 2010 awardee to meet President Obama, we can't make any guarantees. But, we can guarantee that your dad will be honored and receiving the award will be a special experience he'll never forget!

The Other Casualties of War

Relationships. Families. Those are the casualties of war that you don't see in the news everyday.

USA Today had an insightful, emotional article today - Troops' Families Feel Weight of War. It profiles several different families as they struggle to reintegrate after not just one, but several deployments.

NFI and Lockheed Martin's 2009 Military Fatherhood Awardee, QMC John Lehnen of the U.S. Navy, said something so telling at this year's award ceremony: The hardest part...when you're gone...your family grows without you...you come home to strangers.

That's exactly what this article is saying. One of the military fathers profiled is having a hard time reconnecting to his teenage son, and his son is acting out:
Scott, at 15, says his dad still seems to treat him like the 12-year-old he was before the last combat tour.

He says he loves his father and is proud of his military service but feels distant from him and often finds it easier to just leave the house and go skateboarding...

One a recent Sunday, before his father left on a trip, Scott suddenly threw his arms around his dad and hugged. "I didn't know what to do," Mark says. Father and son had shed that kind of physical affection one or two combat tours ago. "I lost that connection," Mark concedes.
Military families sacrifice so much for our freedom, both on and off the combat field. After the war in Iraq started, NFI developed a suite of resources specifically for military dads, to make sure they are able to reconnect with their kids. And the response we've had to these resources is overwhelming - the Deployed Fathers and Families Guide is being used by ten of thousands of families in all branches of our armed forces. You can learn more at www.fatherhood.org/military.

There is hope; these families show an amazing resillience and commitment to making it work. And, if these families can make it work, almost anyone can.

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