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"Home Run" on DVD July 23!

"I spent a lifetime looking to replace the love I didn't get from my father." —Cory Brand

National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) is proud to support the DVD release of Home Run on July 23.

Can't view the video? Click here.

You may recall, we wrote a blog post for this faith-based film while it was in theaters called The Possibility of Freedom. If you love us, click and read the full post, here's an excerpt from that profound and life-changing blog post:

  • Consider some of your favorite sports films. Chances are good there's a baseball film on your list. Let's see, for me there's Bull DurhamFor the Love of the Game and Field of Dreams to name a few. Aside from the fact that all these films star the great Kevin Costner, these movies share two elements: 1) There's something bigger than yourself for which to live. 2) It takes sacrifice to understand your purpose in life. In Home Run, we see an example of someone who isn't involved, responsible or committed to anything but himself.

Want more details on the film? Keep reading...

From the Home Run website:

  • Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control. Hoping to save her client’s career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory’s agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. 
  • Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can’t wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible. As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future…and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.
     
What People Have Said After Watching Home Run...
home run the movie dvd
"Home Run is a film of great hope." —Rick Warren, Pastor and Best-Selling Author
"It's a wonderful movie. It touches your heart in a way that will change your life." —Brett Butler, Former All-Star Baseball Player
"Home Run is a powerful parable showing us what God can do for a person who hits bottom. Many who come from dysfunctional homes or deal with addictions will find a ray of hope as they watch this film. This is a tool churches and ministries can use now and for decades to come." —Michael Catt, Best-Selling Author; Senior Pastor, Sherwood Baptist Church; Executive Producer, Fireproof and Courageous
"Home Run is not only a great movie, it's a story of hope that people have to see. " —Dwight Evans, Former All-Star Baseball Player
"It's a powerful movie. I have to be honest it was emotional for me to watch." —Ben Zobrist, All-Star Baseball Player


Follow Home Run via Social...

Home Run DVD releases on July 23. See our Home Run page for more details. 

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

'Despicable' Daddy-Daughter Trip at Universal Orlando: Minion Mayhem & VIP Experience

A three-day weekend that involves flying with your six-year-old daughter to Universal Orlando for a special Despicable Me 2 and VIP Experience weekend is time well spent.

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Bella and I connected over the weekend like never before. We attended a special screening of the upcoming Despicable Me 2 (in theaters July 3!), rode "Minion Mayhem", went on a scavenger hunt across both parks and were given a special VIP Experience of Universal Orlando.

First, there were "Blue Men"... From the paint, colors and audience interaction, I enjoyed seeing Bella's amazement at all the interesting visuals of the show.

After the show, we met one of the "Blue Men." Bella was scared and wasn't excited to have her picture taken with him. Noticing Bella's tentative stares, the Blue Man slowly walked over to us, and without a word, slowly took my iPhone from my hand and proceeded to snap a selfie. This may be something the Blue Men do every night, but for Bella and I, we felt like rockstars as we left the show!

Here's the pic...this Blue Man is not only an on-stage talent, he's pretty good with an iPhone too.

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The Blue Man is actually holding my iPhone for this picture!

Minion Mayhem
This ride starts in Gru’s living room! Gru recruits you for one of his latest villian experiments. This experiment? He wants to turn you into a Minion!

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Here's Bella standing in Gru's living room!

despicable me, daddy-daughter, #dm, #dm2, #despicableme, minion, #minion, universal, #universal, gru, minion mayhem,You wait in line in Gru's living room. The ride hasn't started yet!

After surviving "Minion training" you are now a minion. Margo, Edith and Agnes' Adoption Anniversay is coming up and the girls aren't sure Gru's remembers. I won't give away much of the ride; but know the storyline of Gru adopting the girls plays a major role. As a dad who works for NFI, I was blown away by the creative and powerful adoption theme in this ride.

After the Minion Mayhem ride, Bella fell in love...

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Scavenger Hunt
Bella and I were on a mission! We received our clues and with iPhone in hand, we set off to find our treasures. The clues from our hunt took us all across Universal Orlando and Universal Islands of Adventure.

We gathered clues at Crusty Land, found the Transformers Allspark and much-much-much more across the both theme parks. As you can see, we are quite the dynamic duo!

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VIP Experience
We were treated like rockstars during the Universal Orlando VIP Experience. We didn't wait in a single line. We were personally escorted with a tour-guide on a walking tour of both parks. And just to brag, we had exclusive backstage access and learned all kinds of interesting stories from our tour guide! Note: this was Bella's first-ever trip to a theme park. She is now spoiled and doesn't yet know about standing and waiting in lines!

On the VIP Experience, we rode Shrek 4-D, where the only thing I remember is getting donkey snot sprayed on me...like three times. Donkey snot is cold, in case you're wondering.

The Spider-Man ride is amazing. All Bella talked about after it was the flames and how she felt the heat from the fire! I honestly raised my 3-D glasses a couple of times during the ride to see what was a screen and what wasn't. 

Our adventure took us through Dr. Seuss Land too! The Cat in the Hat™ ride takes you through the pages of Dr. Seuss's great book. You'll spin like crazy as Thing One and Thing Two make a mess and try to clean up before mom gets home!

We rode The High in the Sky Suess Trolly Train Ride and the Seuss Caro-Suess-El, too! 

And as you can see from the pictures below, Bella met Big Time Rush!

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Transformers: The Ride 3-D
This ride wasn't for Bella...this ride was for me! As a boy who grew up pretending to be Optimus Prime (yes, I just dated myself!). It was awesome to ride with the Autobots against the Decepticons. I was surprised when Universal announced we could have a private ride of this new adventure before it was to open this summer. This ride did not disappoint. I honestly couldn't tell what was real and what was the 3-D screen. And the simulated speed of flying through the air and working with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee was something the 10-year-old boy inside of me wants to do again!

despicable me, daddy-daughter, #dm, #dm2, #despicableme, minion, #minion, universal, #universal, gru, minion mayhem, vip tour, transformers the ride,

I mentioned Miss Bella fell in love after riding Minion Mayhem earlier. Well, The Sanders Family is happy to announce a new member of our family: Fluffy Unicorn Sanders! Please know Fluffy Unicorn is well taken care of! She can been seen below in our return luggage—my bag to be exact, at the hotel for a late night of cards (Despicable Me cards!) and buckled safely for our return flight! 

Since returning from Florida, Fluffy Unicorn has been busy with her new life in DC. She has camped out with Girl Scouts and enjoys multiple snuggles per day and night. Fluffy Unicorn is currently spending the weekend with my parents in Tennessee. Fluffy Unicorn Sanders is a great addition to our family. We need only adopt an additional Fluffy Unicorn for Bella's younger sister, Gabby!

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This three-day daddy-daughter weekend was time well spentBella and I not only have the memories to look back on, but we have the pictures and Despicable Me swag to prove it! I am grateful to Universal for the opportunity to be a rockstar dad for my Bella. Thank you, Universal, for understanding the importance of family and fatherhood. 

Be sure to check out trailers of the upcoming Despicable Me 2 in theaters July 3 and follow the minions online.

So, how are you and your kids spending the summer?
 

 

This post is part 2 of 2 of my daddy-daughter weekend visiting Universal Orlando for a very special Despicable Me 2 experience. Post 1 covered the movie and special "Despicable" parties. This post covers Minion Mayhem and Universal Orlando VIP Experience. 

Dad Tips from "White House Down" Stars Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum at DC Screening

White House Down reveals what a dad will do to protect his daughter. While on a tour of the White House with his young daughter, a Capitol policeman must take action to save his daughter and protect the president.

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As a dad of two young daughters, I can't help but like the stars in this film. This special screening was Channing Tatum's first public apperance since becoming a new dad (to a daughter). Jamie Foxx is a dad of two daughters. So, of course I was excited to attend the special Mamarazzi® event in Washington, DC for their new film White House Down. 

White House Down is a film about a dad trying to save his daughter. As a dad, I enjoyed the film and think it's worth watching for several reasons:

1. It's All Action.
Think Bruce Willis and Die Hard! Enough said. Yeah, that whole "White House Down" thing isn't just a cute title. They mean it.

2. It's Really Funny.
Of course the explosions are amazing. That's why the "total destruction" part made number one on my list. However, the film's comedic delivery, for me, helps make the whole idea and storyline even more believable. If this film didn't include the real-life humor—it wouldn't be half as entertaining.

3. It's All About A Dad Trying to Save His Daughter.
White House Down shows a strong example of fatherhood in John Cale. Cale will stop at nothing to try and save his daughter—all while saving the President.

I enjoyed watching the film and hearing Jamie and Channing talk fatherhood and parenting tips at the special screening was a major bonus. Interested in Channing and Jamie's dad tips? Watch this clip from The Moms and get to the theater June 28!     

Can't view the video? Visit here.

From White House Down: Capitol Policeman John Cale (Channing Tatum) has just been denied his dream job with the Secret Service of protecting President James Sawyer (Jamie Foxx). Not wanting to let down his little girl with the news, he takes her on a tour of the White House, when the complex is overtaken by a heavily armed paramilitary group. Now, with the nation's government falling into chaos and time running out, it's up to Cale to save the president, his daughter, and the country.

Watch the official trailer of White House Down:

 Can't see the video? Visit here.

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'Despicable' Daddy-Daughter Trip at Universal Orlando: Despicable Me 2 Adventure

When Universal contacted me about flying my daughter and I to Florida, it took me seconds to respond in the affirmative. Once all was squared away and I knew we were flying to Florida, I had to tell my six-year-old daughter. But how much should I tell her?

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After announcing plans for our Despicable Me 2 weekend at a hotel—I realized I needed to be careful so as not to give too many details. To keep the surprises, I decided to give Bella one clue per day leading up to our big weekend. Her questions clearly reveal what was on her six-year-old mind that particular day. My answers are in parenthesis:

  1. How are we getting there? Car or plane? (Plane)
  2. What state is it in? (Florida) 
  3. Do they have oranges there? Maybe like, an orange tree?! (Yes)
  4. Can I take golf clubs and tennis racquet? (No) 
  5. Does Florida have plant & coconut trees?! Can we make a coconut drink?! (Yes)
  6. Will there be tv in our hotel? (Yes)
  7. Can we stay up all night? (Yes) 
  8. Will there be soda? (Yes)
  9. May I drink soda while there? (Yes) 
  10. Does Florida have poison ivy? (Yes)
  11. Does Florida have blue skies? Is it rainy? (Yes)
  12. Does Florida have Popsicles? (Yes)
  13. Does Florida have spooky houses? (Yes, probably.)
  14. Does Florida have Despicable Me costumes or statues? (Yes) 
  15. Does Florida have showers? (Yes)
  16. Does Florida have toilets? (Yes)
  17. Does Florida have any flowers? (Yes)
  18. Does Florida have any pizza? (Yes)
  19. Does Florida have any birthstone stores? (I'm not sure—probably.)
  20. Does Florida have any palm trees? (Yes) 
  21. Does Florida have any water? (Yes, most likely.)
  22. Does Florida have dirt? (Yes)
  23. Does Florida have any leaves? (Yes, bunches of them.)
  24. Does Florida have any big leaves? (Yes, lots.)
  25. Does Florida have people? (Yes, lots.)
  26. Does Florida have water bottles? (Yes)
As you can see, this "26 Questions" game was the perfect plan! I was able to give her some information, but the entire weekend was still a surprise to Bella. She simply knew we were flying in a plane to Florida, watching Despicable Me 2 and staying in a hotel. That's pretty much it. Everything that follows was a surprise! Yay for parenting secrets!

We first found Florida on our map, Orlando to be exact:
IMG 4670 resized 600Then, we packed. Ever packed with a six-year-old? Yeah, it's fun. Bell packed as if she wanted daddy to get frisked. She wanted to take her collection of 50 state quarters and upward of 15 fluffy bears. I managed to get the fluffy bear count to three. Then came the pixie dust. Yes, pixie dust. Why fly to Florida and not have glitter upon arrival? That's how we roll. 
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After being frisked, we made it to the plane on time. A nice woman moved to let Bell have the window seat and all. Bella can give mean looks:
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We arrived in Florida at the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel (only the best for us!). This "Minion Basket" greeted us in our room and we were handed these (VIP badges):
despicable me, daddy-daughter, #dm, #dm2, #despicableme, minion, #minion, universal, #universal, gruThen, we were whisked away to the Despicable Me 2 premiere at Universal Studios where very large popcorns and sodas awaited. We enjoyed the film. I've never seen a human consume so much popcorn and drink without using the restroom... Bell had lots of soda too!
After the show, it was the after party. The Minion Party:
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We partied with characters from the film:

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The next morning, we had a sensible, Despicable Breakfast:

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We enjoyed a full day at Universal Studios, including a scavenger hunt and VIP Tour on Saturday (stay tuned for blog post 2!). Then, we attended a special reception...Despicable Dessert:

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Our daddy-daughter weekend was an absolute blast. The opportunity to hop on a plane and fly to Florida with Bella (not her first flight—but her first time traveling to Florida!) and spend quality time creating memories, just us two, was an experience Bella may never forget—I know I won't. Every time we see the "Universal" branding at the start of a film or advertisement; we will both be reminded of our 'despicable' trip. Thank you, Universal, for making me look like the best dad ever to my Bella.

Check out trailers of the upcoming Despicable Me 2 in theaters July 3 and be sure to follow all the "despicable" social online.

Despicable Me 2 Trailer

Despicable Me 2 Clip: Never Get Older 

 

About Despicable Me 2
Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me entertained audiences around the globe in 2010, grossing more than $540 million and becoming the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in U.S. history. In summer 2013, get ready for more Minion madness in Despicable Me 2. Chris Meledandri and his acclaimed filmmaking team create an all-new comedy adventure featuring the return of super-villain Gru (Steve Carell), his adorable girls, the unpredictably hilarious Minions...and a host of new and outrageously funny characters. Release Date: July 3, 2013 Genre: 3D-CG comedy adventure Cast: Steve Carell, Kristen Wiig, Benjamin Bratt, Miranda Cosgrove, Russell Brand, Steve Coogan, Ken Jeong, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier, Moises Arias Directed by: Chris Renaud & Pierre Coffin Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio

Follow Despicable Me 2

This post is part 1 of 2 of a daddy-daughter weekend visiting Universal Studios Florida for a very special Despicable Me 2 experience. Post 1 covers the movie and the "Despicable" parties at Universal Studios. Post 2 covers the "Minion Mayhem" ride and the Universal Studios Florida VIP experience

"Man of Steel" and Fatherhood

"You will give the people of earth an ideal to strive towards, they will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall, but in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders." —Jor-El

man of steelAs a guy who grew up watching Christopher Reeve and Dean Cain fly through the air as Superman, I was excited to see the new Man of Steel that was released Friday.

Fans of Superman will love the film. The film has been ridiculed for the seemingly extra 45 minutes of excess explosions — of which I can't disagree. But all in all, the film is better than any previous Superman and places the franchise firmly in same line with other great superhero films of the last few years.

Aside from all the lengthly explosions, there's a real story that sticks with how Superman was originally conceived. We learn the "Man of Steel" was born on Krypton to Jor-El (Russell Crowe), has an adoptive earthly dad (Kevin Costner), and must save the planet all while figuring out whether to use the gifts he has to help people or not.

When I watched the previous Superman movies, I was not a father myself. Now that I'm a dad, I watched Man of Steel through the eyes of Jor-El and Jonathan Clark. Watching as a dad, I was reminded of two things.

1)  Great Fathers Guide Their Kids.
Throughout the film, Superman has flashbacks to Smallville, Kansas and in doing so, he finds his true self. Meanwhile, the audience gathers information to aid in understanding the depth of his “Man of Steel” character.

We watch as Clark finds his “Fortress of Solitude”. It is there he finds his suit and learns the crest on the suit is a symbol of hope. In this same scene, Jor-El explains exactly how Clark has been given certain powers. It is only after this moment that Clark begins to push his own limits—eventually learning to fly. Without such guiding from Jor-El, it's debatable that Superman would ever learn to fly, literally and figuratively. 

"Every person can be a force for good, free to forge his own destiny."  —Jor-El

In another flashback, Clark talks with his earthly father, Jonathan. Jonathan, in explaining how he came to live with "The Kents", says to Clark, “I have to believe you were sent here for a reason…Even if it takes the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself to find out why that is.” In a great father-son moment, Jonathan says to Clark, “You have to decide what kind of man you want to be. Good character or bad, that man will change the world.”

“You have to decide what kind of man you want to be. Good character or bad, that man will change the world.” —Jonathan Clark

2)  Great Fathers Put Their Kids First.
Superman had a great biological father in Jor-El and a great adoptive father in Jonathan Kent. Superman/Clark Kent struggles to live as a human/super-human throughout the film. This tension unfolds in the two fatherly relationships of the film.

With Jor-El, the idea of living and using super powers is a given. In stark contrast, Jonathan struggles to keep his son's powers from the scrutiny of public for fear of misunderstanding or unneeded attention. Living in that tension between being human and super-human is where Man of Steel wins.

In the end, Man of Steel depicts a man whose biological father and adoptive father sacrifice themselves to save their son. It's a film that depicts sacrificial love and selflessness as the true nature of fatherhood, making it a movie worth watching...dare I say...a "symbol of hope" for our generation.

“Man of Steel" is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). 



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NFI and Life of Dad Present Fatherhood Movie of the Year Award™

"The Fatherhood Movie of the Year Award is given each year to the film that “best communicates the importance of involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood in children’s lives."

Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) May 31, 2013—At a ceremony yesterday at Ulysses S. Grant High School, National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) and Life of Dad (LOD) presented the 2012 Fatherhood Movie of the Year Award™ to director Andy Fickman for his work on Parental Guidance.

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The public chose Parental Guidance -- via a contest on NFI’s Facebook page -- to receive the Award, which is given each year to the film that “best communicates the importance of involved, responsible, and committed fatherhood in children’s lives.”

NFI nominated Parental Guidance (directed by Fickman; starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, and Tom Everett Scott) for its realistic depiction of the generational struggles of a pair of loving grandparents, for its positive portrayal of the importance of marriage, and for the important roles the father and grandfather play in their families’ lives.

On NFI’s blog, The Father Factor, Fickman said that the takeaway for dads from the film is twofold: “One is a reminder to dads that we do play a part, we do have a role, and that role never changes. It’s easy to say, let your mom handle that, but it’s important that we’re handling that as well,” said Fickman.

Fickman also said, “I think it’s also that we have different experiences that we are bringing to the table, and a child lucky enough to have both a mother and father can give them different pieces of wisdom.”

After accepting the Award, Fickman took questions from Grant High School students interested in pursuing careers in entertainment.

andyfickmanstudents resized 600Throughout the month of February, voters were able to watch the trailers of the four nominated films and vote for their favorite once per day through Oscar night. The contest is part of NFI's efforts to shine a light on cultural messages that highlight the unique and irreplaceable role that fathers play in their children's lives. Given the power of film in shaping public perceptions, NFI applauds the makers of Parental Guidance for their efforts in depicting fatherhood in a realistic, positive, and powerful way. NFI started the Fatherhood Movie of the Year™ contest in 2012, when Courageous was selected by the public as the winner for the 2011 movie year.

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This award ceremony also marks the first event hosted by the newly established partnership between Los Angeles-based Life of Dad and Washington, DC-based National Fatherhood Initiative. The organizations will help promote entertainment media productions to their large audiences of fathers, families, and family-serving organizations through events in Los Angeles and Washington, DC; social media promotions; and audio and video production.

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What Kind of Dad Are You?

“He does not need a commanding officer; he needs a father.” —Faia Raige, Wife of Cypher Raige, Mom of Kitai Raige in the new film, After Earth.

At NFI, we often talk about discipline. It comes with the territory. It’s worth pointing out that “discipline” comes from the Latin word discipulus meaning “to teach; to guide.” Dads often mistake “discipline” for “punishment”, which means to “penalize” for doing something wrong. In the new film After Earth, we get a glimpse of what happens when a dad must learn how to connect with his son.

AETF 04

In the film, under Cypher Raige’s (Will Smith) command is a young recruit named Kitai (Jaden Smith), a rebellious teen. Kitai is also Cypher's son, and the father is frustrated at what he thinks is a lack of discipline.  

Cypher's wife, Faia, urges Cypher to see Kitai's behavior as a plea for his father's love and attention. At her request, Cypher takes Kitai along with him on a mission, but an asteroid storm interrupts their course and a crash landing leaves teenage Kitai and his legendary father stuck on earth.  But “Earth” isn’t as you may think. This is Earth 1,000 years after cataclysmic events have forced humanity’s escape.  

This film forced us to think about what kind of fathers we are and what kind we should be. If we’re being honest, most dads think that discipline means “to control” rather than “to teach or to guide.”

As a result, we use fear when we punish. Our role as a dad is to be a model. Modeling is one of the most important ways we dads teach our children. Dads who say one thing but do another confuse their children because they don’t “walk the walk.” Dads, we must understand what kind of parent we are so we can make the correct adjustments. Chances are, you’ll fall into one of five fathering styles:

1. The Dictator.
This Dad is always strict and never nurtures. He leads with control and enforces rules with an iron hand. His children know what he doesn’t want them to do, but rarely what he wants them to do. This Dad says, “My way or the highway.”

2. The King.
This Dad is strict and nurtures when needed. He leads by example. His children know what he doesn’t want them to do, as well as what he wants them to do. This Dad says, “Let me show you the way.”

3. The Joker.
This Dad is never strict and rarely nurtures. He jokes a lot and makes fun of his children. His children don’t know what he doesn’t want them to do or what he wants them to do. This Dad says, “Let’s just have fun.”

4. The Follower.
This Dad is sometimes strict and sometimes nurtures. He lets Mom take the lead on discipline and backs her up when needed. His children know some of things he doesn’t want them to do and some of the things he does want them to do. This Dad says, “Do whatever Mom says.”

5. The Dreamer.
This Dad is never strict and never nurtures. He lets Mom take the lead on discipline and doesn’t get involved with it. His children don’t know what he wants them to do or what he doesn’t want them to do. This Dad says, “Whatever. Just leave me alone.”  

When considering which discipline style you most associate with, ask yourself, “Is this the best style for my children/my family/my involvement?”  

In After Earth, we see a glimpse of a “dictator” dad who learns to be a “king”. We are reminded that even if we aren’t perfect fathers, we can be better.  

Question: What style of discipline did your father use? What style do you use? Why? 

Visit NFI’s After Earth page for the trailer and more information. See the new film in theaters May 31.

New Father-Son Adventure: "After Earth" Opens May 31

"Danger is real. Fear is a choice." —Cyper Raige (Will Smith), father in After Earth

after earth danger is real fear is a choice will smith jaden smith

National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) is proud to support the upcoming father-son adventure, After Earth, opening May 31. 

A crash landing leaves teenager Kitai Raige (Jaden Smith) and his legendary father Cypher (Will Smith) stranded on Earth, 1,000 years after cataclysmic events forced humanity’s escape. With Cypher critically injured, Kitai must embark on a perilous journey to signal for help.

Facing uncharted terrain, evolved animal species that now rule the planet, and an unstoppable alien creature that escaped during the crash, father and son must learn to work together and trust one another if they want any chance of returning home. 

Although the film is set in a future world filled with evolved creatures and alien enemies, at its core is the relationship between a father and son whose bond has been strained by past trauma.

The film is set at that inevitable time when a father has to let his child go, and watch them live out the lessons they’ve been taught.

Fathers will leave the theater with a better understanding of the pressures of being a son, and sons will empathize with just how trying it can be for a parent to watch their child come of age. Stay tuned to our After Earth page for more details on the upcoming film.


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The Possibility of Freedom

At NFI, we like to say dads should be "involved, responsible and committed." In the new movie Home Run, we see what happens when someone isn't "involved, responisble or committed."

If you can't see the video above, visit our Home Run page for details.

Consider some of your favorite sports films. Chances are good there's a baseball film on your list. Let's see, for me there's Bull Durham, For the Love of the Game and Field of Dreams to name a few. Aside from the fact that all these films star the great Kevin Costner, these movies share two elements:

  1. There's something bigger than yourself for which to live.
  2. It takes sacrifice to understand your purpose in life.

In Home Run, we see an example of someone who isn't involved, responsible or committed to anything but himself. While Home Run doesn't have Kevin Costner, I decided to break from watching The Bodyguard and review this film. As I watched, I was reminded of several life lessons. Here are two lessons that stuck out with me:

  1. Change Takes Work...
    Cory Brand, the big league baseball star in this film, makes his share of mistakes. In one game, he skips the third base when running bases and this sets everything in motion for a big crash in Cory's life. The interesting thing is, as Cory struggles to recover from his mistakes, he is given the job of overseeing the third base duties of a local little league team. Cory learns that to right his wrongs, he'll need to be ready to work. 
     
  2. ...But You Can Change.
    As long as we are living, there's time to change, to make things right. As long as you have time, change is possible. Cory goes from playing in the big leagues to overseeing a little league team. In this film, we see a real picture of struggle against past and years of mistakes. 

This film is full of important messages. Sometimes, like in real life, the mistakes in this film aren't easy to watch. But if you watch closely, you'll leave the theater reminded that there are things bigger than yourself for which to live, that purpose takes sacrifice, that change isn't easy, but change is possible. 

In your opinion, what's the greatest sports movie ever made?


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King's Faith in Theaters 4/26: Watch the Trailer!

King's Faith is about second chances. It's about the potential each of us has to change a life. Brendan is a teen who's had a difficult past. He's a kid struggling with life. He's a guy searching for whether he is better than his failures. Enter Mike; who works in the school where Brendan enrolls. Mike and his wife become the foster family for Brendan. They take him in and, through them, he discovers the courage to face his past and try to do what is right.

Watch the Official Trailer [www.kingsfaith.com]

King’s Faith is the story of a troubled, fatherless young man named Brendan, who is trying to make his life better—but his past keeps trying to get in the way. With the help of strong foster parents, especially his new foster father, Brendan works through his issues. 

The foster father, Mike (played by James McDaniel), is a great example of how a strong father can build confidence and resilience in his children. He shows the unique and irreplaceable traits a father can bring to the parenting equation. Mike hasn't had it easy either. We see in this film that everyone has a story and most people have struggles and hardships in life. This film does well to depict the old saying, "It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." King's Faith opens in theaters this Friday, April 26.  

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Home Run Twitter Chat with Prizes! Tonight 8pm EST #HomeRunMovie

Home RunBaseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control.  

Hoping to save her client’s career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory’s agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can’t wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible.

As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future...and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption. 

To celebrate the opening of Home Run, we’re tweeting live with the Celebrate Recovery Pastor at Saddleback Church, Johnny Baker.

Tweet now with your questions using #HomeRunMovie or leave a comment on this post. Johnny Baker will also be answering questions live during tonight's Twitter Chat, but getting your question out there now increases the chances of having it answered.

Home Run Twitter Chat

When: Thursday, April 18th from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern

Where: #HomeRunMovie on Twitter

How: To participate, follow host @TheFatherFactor (in case host gets blocked during chat, follow @RyanSanders) and tweet using the hashtag. 

Who: Johnny Baker (@JohnnyCR), Celebrate Recovery Pastor at Saddleback Church will be live during the Chat to anwer questions and talk about the film and parenting. Please tweet questions using the hashtag provided throughout the day and/or place your questions in the comment section of this post. 

Sponsors of the #HomeRunMovie Twitter Chat are Propeller (@flypropeller) and Home Run (@homerunthemovie)

Get more details about Home Run and follow the film on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Prizes

  • 4 (four) winners will receive a $25 theater gift card.
  • 10 (ten) winners will receive Home Run swag complete with: cap, t-shirt, baseball card packs & official soundtrack cd from the film.
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RSVP

Planning on joining us? Let us know here by adding your Twitter URL (http://twitter.com/username). An RSVP is not required to participate or to be entered to win.

Watch the Official Trailer

 

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King's Faith Movie: Bring it to Your City!

KF OneSheet[1] resized 600At NFI, we're excited to share the latest fatherhood film with you. We think this film will inspire you to be the best dad you can be. 

King’s Faith is the story of a troubled, fatherless young man named Brendan King, who is trying to straighten his life out as his past continues to invade it. With the help of strong foster parents, especially his new foster father, Brendan works through his issues. 

On April 26, King’s Faith, a faith-based film from Faith Street Film Partners and Hopefilled Media, will hit theaters…and you can have a say in whether it will be shown in your community’s movie theaters!

The foster father, Mike (played by James McDaniel), is a great example of how a strong father can build confidence and resilience in his children. He shows the unique and irreplaceable traits a father brings to the parenting equation, especially for a “lost” boy looking for guidance from a responsible male role model.

Don't miss the opportunity to use the movie King's Faith to engage fathers, mentors and youth in your community. Watch this clip of Brendan King's new foster Dad (Mike) advising Brendan on how to make good decisions.

DEMAND THE MOVIE for your local theater at www.demandkingsfaith.com


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New Movie: Home Run! Opens in Theaters April 19th!

home runNFI is proud to support the upcoming film, Home Runopening on April 19. 

Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control. Hoping to save her client’s career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory’s agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. 

Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can’t wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible. As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future…and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Watch the Official Trailer!

Home Run releases next Friday, April 19. Get more information on our Home Run page and stay tuned for details on our Home Run Twitter Chat next Thursday, April 18 with great give-a-ways!

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I Ate Last Week: What "The Croods" Teaches Us About Fatherhood

Having worked in the “fatherhood field” for nearly 11 years, I have heard, seen, and read a lot about fatherhood. However, I am always surprised that so many of these conversations are disconnected from the one thing that actually makes guys dads: children.

the croods grug

In fact, a friend of mine once asked a room full of “fatherhood experts” what makes a man a dad. There was silence; no one could figure out that the answer is “having kids.” Perhaps it is our modern desire to “self actualize” or find the intimately personal meaning behind our lives’ activities that drives many men to talk about fatherhood almost exclusively in terms of how it affects them. “My blog, my career, my self-esteem, my health, my this, and my that improved when I became a dad!”

However, every once in a while I see something in our culture that gives me hope. While an animated movie may not be one’s first guess for where to find deep wisdom on fatherhood, I was not let down by the upcoming DreamWorks film, The Croods.

The Croods is the tale of the “first modern family” that has to leave the safety of its cave and venture off into an unknown land to find a new home. The dad, Grug (voiced by Nicolas Cage), is the family’s main guide on their road trip, and the film is filled with profound messages about the important role dads play in their children’s lives.

There is one scene in particular that summarizes the movie’s valuable perspective on fatherhood. The family has just found a large egg to share for breakfast. Each family member – mom, baby, son, daughter, and grandma – takes a sip out of the cracked egg. Then it’s dad’s turn. He turns the egg over and only a tiny drop comes out. Instead of complaining, he shrugs it off and says, “That’s ok. I ate last week.”

While the rest of the theater was laughing, I was nearly in tears. The writers got it! That is what fatherhood is all about. Fatherhood is about sacrificing your own comfort to ensure that your family is comfortable. It is about ensuring that your children are first and you are last.

The “fatherhood framework” that the film beautifully captures is this: good fathers provide for, nurture, and guide their children. In that one line of dialogue, Grug shows us how to do all three. Provide: he led the operation to catch the egg that they are eating. Nurture: he let them eat first. Guide: he showed them the right values through his self-sacrificial act of putting the needs of others ahead of his own.

It may be too much to hope that one family film will change the way we all look at fatherhood. But I am confident that The Croods will serve as a powerful reminder that the only measure of a father’s worth that counts is whether or not his children are getting what they need from him.

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Photo credit: Dreamworks (Grug holding NFI's Fatherhood Award)

The Croods and “Leaning In”

It seems that strong women beget strong women. However, research also shows that involved fathers beget strong women. Let me explain...  

the croods CDS FirstLook 21 4K RGB v10 1 rgb resized 600Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has made headlines recently by imploring today’s working women to “lean in” to their careers in order to reach their full professional potential.

According to a CBS News story, “If there's one message she wants women to hear it's to aim high -- seek challenges and take risks -- and fight the instinct to hold back.”  

Much of the response to Sandberg’s idea has focused on whether or not women should try to act more like men, whether it is appropriate for women to “lean in” as much as Sandberg thinks they should, what the future of work-life balance policy is, etc.  

I am not going to get into that debate. Rather, I think it is critical that we are honest about the characteristics that many successful women tend to share – they grew up with involved dads.  

The conventional wisdom seems to be that strong women beget strong women. I don’t doubt that that is true… to a degree. But what research has shown consistently is that involved fathers beget strong women.  

For example:

  1. Children who have involved fathers expressed emotions in non-traditional gender patterns. Girls express more aggression, competition, and less intense fear and sadness whereas boys expressed more warmth and fear as well as less aggression. Also, 3 to-5-year-old children with highly involved fathers had less traditional views of future employment possibilities when they became adolescents than did their peers whose fathers were more aloof.
  2. A study of 302 adolescent girls showed that those who feel connected with their biological father but have little contact are at higher risk of problematic psychosocial functioning. Poor school behavior also increases for girls with low contact levels with their father.
  3. Fathers’ emotional involvement in the lives of their child can lead to less gendered roles.
  4. Fathers have a unique effect on their daughter’s tendency towards anti-social behavior. A study of 325 families revealed that fathers who present their daughters with more opportunities and reinforcement lessen the likelihood of their daughters’ poor behavior.

Having recently seen the upcoming DreamWorks Animation Film, The Croods, and then seeing what Sandberg had to say about women in the workplace, I couldn’t help but make the connection to this compelling data.  

While you may not think of an animated cavegirl as the poster child for today’s working women, the reality is that Eep (pictured above on her father's shoulder), the young girl in the Croods’ family, drives the film’s plot through her desire to “leave the cave” and find new adventures out in the wide world. And guess what? She had a great dad.  

As you may have seen on this blog, we gave Grug a Fatherhood Award™ for his heroic fathering in the film. Sure, these aren’t real people, but they are archetypes that mean something in our culture; the makers of The Croods have tapped into something very real. The reason Eep had the confidence to step out into a dangerous world is because she knew her father had her back. She may have been rebelling, and her father may have seen it as such, but the reality is that she would not have had the foundation to take such bold steps if she didn’t come from a supportive, strong family whose bedrock (Flintstones pun not intended) was dad. Again, take a look at the above data points if you have your doubts.  

If a movie, even an animated one set in a fantasy world, is too unhinged from reality it will not be successful. That is why we at NFI believe The Croods is a special movie. DreamWorks is tapping into a truth about what gives children, especially girls in this case, the confidence they need to reach their full potential. Dads are the secret ingredient to “empowering” today’s girls to do their best.  

The tagline for The Croods is “the first modern family.” Indeed.

Question: How have you seen this play out in your life as a dad?   

 

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Sources:
1. Rivers, Caryl and Rosalind Chait Barnett. “Father Figures a Slew of New Studies Applaud Dads.” The Boston Globe 18 June 2000: E1.
2. Coley, Rebekah Levine. “Daughter-Father Relationship and Adolescent Psychosocial Functioning in Low-Income African American Families.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65 (November 2003): 867-875.
3. Deutsch, Francine M., Laura J. Servis, and Jessica D. Payne. “Paternal Participation in Child Care and Its Effects on Children’s Self-Esteem and Attitudes Toward Gendered Roles.” Journal of Family Issues, 22 (November 2001): 1000-1024.
4. Kosterman, Rick. Et al. Unique Influence of Mothers and Fathers on Their Children’s Anti-Social Behavior.  Journal of Marriage and the Family, 66. (August 2004). 762-778.
Image credit: The Croods © 2013 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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