The Father Factor

How to Elevate Your Fatherhood Program to The Next Level

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Nov 1, 2018


I recently had the pleasure of conducting a training institute on the evidence-based InsideOut Dad® program for 30 staff of the Missouri Department of Corrections. As I do with every group I train on InsideOut Dad® and our other fatherhood programs, I extolled the benefit of holding a graduation ceremony for dads who complete the program.


Because it creates a meaningful, memorable experience that elevates dads’ accomplishment—a time, in the words of Chip and Dan Heath in the Power of Moments, to be savored. A moment that makes dads and their loved ones who attend a graduation feel engaged, joyful, amazed, and motivated.

I introduced you to the Power of Moments in a recent post that focused on how to use the Heath brothers’ insight to more effectively mentor dads. The primary focus of the book is on how to create meaningful, memorable experiences in the lives of individuals—others’ and even your own. The Heath’s research points to four ways—what I like to call “levers”—to create such experiences, what they call “defining moments”:

  1. Elevation
  2. Insight
  3. Pride
  4. Connection

You can use the insight they share about each lever to create defining moments for dads that can help them become even better dads. I discuss Elevation in this post. I’ll discuss the other three levers in future posts.

Moments of elevation fall, broadly speaking, into three categories:

  1. Social occasions (e.g. a birthday, wedding, and baby shower)
  2. High-stake occasions (e.g. participation in a sporting event, being onstage in a play, and giving an important presentation)
  3. Spontaneous occasions (e.g. a last-minute road trip and being a new team member “kidnapped” in the middle of the night by teammates for a late-night or early morning meal)

 A fatherhood program graduation is an ideal defining moment achieved through elevation. Watch the video below of dads who graduated from Father2Child, the fatherhood program of Mental Health America in San Diego, CA. (Father2Child uses 24/7 Dad® as the foundation of its fatherhood program.) It’s a great example of how a graduation creates a meaningful, memorable experience for dads and their loved ones.

You don’t have to wait until the end of a fatherhood program, however, to create defining moments. Use what the Heaths call “breaking the script” as dads progress through your program. Breaking the script involves “defying people’s expectations of how an experience will unfold.”

How do you break the script?

Here are just a couple of ideas.

  • Think of novel activities or tools (e.g. videos) that you can introduce into sessions of your program—activities that aren’t part of the curriculum but that will add depth to a piece of knowledge or a skill you want dads to learn.
  • Think of novel events that will surprise dads, such as an invitation to a BBQ you’ll hold for them and their families or a trip to a museum for dads and their children.

 Remember that effective fatherhood programs do more than implement an effective curriculum. They use creativity to create experiences that dads will remember for the rest of their lives.

Does your program have a defining moment for dads?

What creative ideas can you implement to create defining moments through elevation?


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Topics: Featured, General Fatherhood Program Resources, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, Tips & Tricks

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