In part one of this post, I challenged you to take your work with fathers to the next level in “elevate yourself.”
Elevate yourself focused on what you can do personally as a dad or mom to model father involvement.
In this second part, I want to focus on how you can “elevate your community” around father engagement.
The great anthropologist Margaret Meade once said:
“The primary task of every civilization is to teach their young men to be fathers.”
We don’t have to look too far in our communities to see what happens when men abdicate their fathering role or society doesn’t support men in that role (e.g. higher rates of crime and incarceration, poverty, child abuse and neglect). If you see any of these characteristics in your community, there is a looming threat to it.
Here are three things you can do to elevate fatherhood in your community.
First, start with your own organization.
Just as you need to start with self-awareness in elevating yourself, start at home in elevating fatherhood in your community. Specifically, assess the father-friendliness of your organization.
NFI designed the free Father Friendly Check-Up™ assessment tool for that purpose. The results can help you create a father-friendly action plan specific to your organization’s setting and culture. As you increase your father-friendliness, you will establish the credibility your organization needs to talk with other organizations about elevating fatherhood. Only then can you hope to convince other organizations and leaders to join you in addressing your community’s father-friendliness.
Second, recognize you can’t do it alone.
To be effective, you need to collaborate with other leaders. This will allow you to assess complimentary services and resources in partnership with other community partners and, collectively, address more of the critical issues that fathers face in your community than your organization can tackle on its own.
What does collaborating look like? You could, for example speak about responsible fatherhood when you attend community meetings and events attended by other organizations. You could also increase your community’s father-friendliness by providing other organizations with tools, like the Father Friendly Check-Up™, that you’ve found helpful. You could also organize a community coalition dedicated to elevating fatherhood in your community.
Third, you need a systematic process—a framework—to address father absence community-wide.
NFI’s Community Mobilization Approach™ (CMA) is a unique, proven process to help you do that.
NFI staff facilitates the CMA. It gets community leaders invested and involved in mobilizing your community around responsible fatherhood. NFI staff guides your organization (or coalition that your organization might be part of) through three phases that lead to the creation of a multi-sector initiative:
- A Needs and Assets Assessment
- A Leadership Summit on Fatherhood
- Anchoring the Initiative with a Community Action Plan
If you increase your organization’s father-friendliness, collaborate with other community leaders around father engagement, and use systematic process like the CMA, you can have a positive impact on the societal norms around fatherhood throughout your community.
What have you done to elevate fatherhood in your community?
How has that impacted your community?
If you haven’t done anything, why not?