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The Father Factor

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Make Mine A Maxima: A Nissan Fan's First Auto Love

Although NFI is wrapping up its “Innovation For Fatherhood” partnership with Nissan, I’m really thankful to know that a car brand I’ve loved for years has shown a deep commitment to being an automaker dads can trust. Although I wasn’t a father when I made my first car purchase, I do want to share a story on how Nissan won me over thanks in part to my dad’s love for cars.

I’m not exactly what you would call a car buff, but my father was a bit of a collector. One of his favorite cars was his Datsun 280ZX, which he called “Tammy” for reasons still unknown to me. I always liked the sporty look of the car, and I remember playing a lot of “that’s my car” games with my brother whenever we saw one on the road. However, the car that first stole my heart was the 1988 Nissan Maxima.

When I finally got to high school and the reality hit that I could soon be driving, I crafted an ambitious plan that I was going to work at the local fast food joint, cut grass in the summer, and do house paintings in my neighborhood for money. I truly believed I’d save enough money to buy a Maxima but the time I graduated from high school.

My dreams were dashed and car ownership eluded me until I was around 19 years old. The 90s were upon us and while the Maxima underwent a change into its third generation shape at the time, I still wanted the boxier ’88 model. Luck would have it that a man who lived in my neighborhood was selling his sky blue Maxima. My father was skeptical, saying I shouldn’t buy a used car but everything checked out.

I loved this car so much that I even learned how to do maintenance and I’m not the handiest guy around. The engine was the same as another favorite car of mine, the Nissan 300Z, and it was zippy! I pushed the car to the limit, racking up well over 100,000 miles in five years. Because of my loyalty to the brand and a higher income bracket, I was able to upgrade my car to the fourth generation version in 1996. It was all black and it was customary to see me in the summer cleaning and waxing my car every weekend.

An accident some years later (which wasn’t my fault) totaled the car and I’ve missed it since. I’ll admit that I’ve owned other cars since then, but I still want a Maxima. It’s amazing how sleek the car looks now in its seventh generation, coming a long way from its inception in the late 70s. Should good fortune shine upon me in the near future, I can say without hyperbole that a Maxima will be the car that I’ll buy.

Fond Memories of Family Firsts in the Nissan Pathfinder

This is a post by Kayla Cates Brown, NFI's Project Specialist. As part of NFI and Nissan's Innovation for Fatherhood campaign, Kayla shares her memories of one of her family's favorite vehicles.

I am a native Texan by birth and have been a licensed driver for over 30 years and can easily state that in Texas trucks are a big deal!

Almost any native Texan will give their opinion on which truck is the best based on their experience with owning or driving one. However, when I think about the trucks that our family has owned and used to navigate the many road ways in Texas, I fondly remember our 1999 Nissan Pathfinder.

As a family with two young daughters, we celebrated lots of “firsts” and adventures with it. Our oldest daughter, who is also now a licensed driver, remembers telling the neighbors the story of how the SUV found its "path" to our garage on New Year’s Eve 1998. The path began with driving to the "parking lot with lots of cars and trucks;" she was miffed that there were no purple colored ones. Then came the process of correctly buckling both car seats into the SUV, which many parents can attest is much easier said than done. Our daughter remembers driving around in big circles while offering comments to the salesman on how her "sissy" was enjoying the ride. Eventually the path progressed to a purchase and we brought home our first truck.

Other "firsts" we celebrated with the Pathfinder were:
  • It was the first and only car we have ever paid for fully in cash.
  • It was the first car we owned to have a soccer sticker on it – which for our family is a big deal, as we have spent the last 12 years cheering and watching our daughters play soccer. I officially earned the title "soccer mom" due to all the driving associated with this dedication.
  • It took us on our first trip to the hospital to get stitches for our younger daughter when she was 14 months old.
  • It moved us from our first house to our second house.
  • It brought our first adopted rescue dog, Daizy, home from the shelter.
We also shared lots of great family adventures in the Pathfinder while taking road trips to Angel Fire, New Mexico for skiing; many trips to Port Aransas Beach near Corpus Christi, Texas to enjoy some fun in the sun; camping at Inks Lake in the Central Texas Hill country; and lots of travel to Dallas - Fort Worth to visit our extended family.

I guess you could say the Pathfinder was the vehicle that assisted our travels, keep us safe and warmed our hearts. If only DVD players were an available feature in 1999, the Pathfinder might still be in our garage today...

Father's Day Was Busy!

We joke around here at NFI that on Father's Day, like one of those blowout sales, "Everything must go, go, go!"

This year was no exception, as we were fortunate to have a lot of great opportunities to spread the simple message that kids need good dads.

Here are a few highlights of some of the things we did:
  • We gave Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat superstar, a 2011 Fatherhood Award™. Here he is on CNN on Father's Day talking about the award and about being a dad.
  • We honored LS1 Christopher Cady, US Navy, with the 2011 Military Fatherhood Award™ in a ceremony near his base, Naval Base Kitsap, in Bremerton, WA. Cady was also honored at the White House as a Champion of Change. Read about Chris on the White House website here.
  • We gave Nissan a Fatherhood Award™ for its funny and heartwarming TV spot, "Baby." Go to Nissan's news site to see the ad and a photo of NFI president, Roland C. Warren, handing the Fatherhood Award™ to VP of Nissan Marketing John Brancheau, who posted on this blog last week!
We had so much going on that I did not want to post it all at once. More to come tomorrow, including an HBO documentary, a new fatherhood research book, and more!

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.

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