Success is not final,
failure is not fatal,
it is the courage to continue
Failure is not fatal. These words by Mr. Churchill absolutely still ring true today.
When it comes to serving fathers and families, it’s likely that you hear from dads who are desperate, angry, lost, and worse—hopeless. They’ve failed in relationships with their children, their spouse/partner, extended family, friends, employers, and others. Many have piled on layers of bad decisions and mistakes that add to more barriers to those relationships. Then they experience further institutional barriers from social services, child support, and the courts.
Dead beat? Dead broke? Dead hope? Some have accepted defeat and deem themselves irrelevant and replaceable. So where does that leave their children? Sadly, when these dads give up, we see the impact of father absence and that impacts all of society.
But there’s good news: we can inspire these dads to face those relationships (and themselves!) with the courage to continue by offering a fatherhood program that allows them to learn about themselves, the relationships in their lives, and the key behaviors that are necessary to navigate fatherhood successfully.
NFI’s newest program, the 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop is a shorter-length fatherhood program where dads learn the importance of developing and applying the 12 key behaviors of the 24/7 Dad. The workshop is based on the 5 characteristics from NFI’s evidence-based 24/7 Dad® program, which are:
- Caring for Self
- Fathering Skills
- Parenting Skills
- Relationship Skills
Along with an accountability partner, dads explore these characteristics by learning the behaviors to be involved and improve their relationships with their children, his spouse/partner, his entire family, friends, work, and his community that can lead them to success.
Recently, NFI received a grant to pilot the 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop with 30 organizations across the nation. Here’s a little about them and how they delivered the workshop (highlighting the program’s flexibility):
- Some participating organizations already delivered group-based fatherhood programs (like 24/7 Dad®, or InsideOut Dad® and others) and they included the one-day workshop before or after those programs.
- Some provided it as a stand-alone workshop. The curriculum is designed to deliver either way and includes PowerPoint and videos for each delivery method.
- Some combined in-person delivery and virtual delivery.
- Some delivered it in one full day, while some preferred to deliver it over 2 days, or even once a week over a few weeks.
Here’s what the dads who participated said about the 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop:
- They loved that it was a program specifically for them as dads/men:
- “Camaraderie”, “fellowship”, “feeling welcome.”
- “Learning from one another.”
- “Feeling not alone.”
- “A brotherhood.”
- “…we had a safe place to talk and discuss and felt invited to open and share.”
- It helped them improve their relationship(s) with their child(ren) and the mom of their child(ren):
- “I’ll be more understanding.”
- “I’m more aware of the big picture.”
- “Future generations will benefit from this workshop.”
- “Helped me understand myself, spouse, and child."
- “Realized my behavior affects my kids and relationships.”
- “Valuable”, “helpful”, “useful for everyday living.”
- “I now have more understanding.”
- “Increased confidence in fathering.”
- “I saw some unhealthy traits that I needed to change.”
- “Knowing the difference between punishment and discipline” and “I will not get mad at my kids but teach them instead”
Workshop facilitators said they appreciated the flexibility, they were able to add team building games, and most importantly, appreciated how the program allowed the fathers to be vulnerable and support one another:
“The biggest takeaway for me was having a real conversation up front about how men can struggle with vulnerability around other men. I also asked them to commit to the group to be mindful that we all on the spectrum of Fathering and that we are all here to support and lift one another up. We have now started a community group of Fathers that will allow Dads to take off their mask of competing in the world and be reenergized by fun activities and camaraderie.”
~Pilot Program Facilitator
You see, these dads learned that failures are not final. By learning the key behaviors for being a great dad, these dads found that they’re not alone (other dads in the groups had similar experiences/feelings) and that there is hope to succeed by applying these key behaviors. More importantly, for the sake of their child, they found that it’s the courage to continue that really counts!