Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Choosing Comfort or Courage

Renae Smith, NFI's Special Assistant to the President, shares her thoughts on a movie she saw recently:

One of NFI president Roland C. Warren’s new sayings is, “Every day, a dad must choose between courage and comfort. Because to be comfortable is never courageous, and to be courageous is never comfortable.”

I recently watched a movie that depicted a father’s transition from choosing the comfort of pursuing career success to the courage of being an involved father. Granted, this was an Eddie Murphy film, so it was more hilarious than sentimental, but it had an inspiring message that reflects the tension many dads feel between work and family.

In Imagine That (2009 – Nickelodeon Movies), Eddie Murphy plays Evan, a financial advisor who has had phenomenal success in his career but has been pretty much absent as a father. It’s Evan’s week to have his daughter Olivia, and fulfilling his obligations as a father is an inconvenient hassle that he fears could derail his chance for a promotion - until he discovers that the security blanket that his seven-year-old daughter uses to visit her imaginary princess friends could be the key to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Olivia’s princesses magically share with her accurate predictions about stock futures and investment firm collapses. To get these unconventional insider tips, Evan has to enter Olivia’s imaginary world and, in the process, he fluctuates between genuinely bonding with his daughter and taking advantage of her to promote his career.

Olivia’s mother confronts Evan’s self-centeredness with a line that many dads need to hear: “You have two jobs – and one of them is being a father. She needs to know that you care just as much about that job as you do the other.” Ultimately, Evan realizes that being Olivia’s dad is more important than achieving financial success, even though that means walking away from some great career opportunities.

A couple months ago, I blogged about another father-friendly film that deals with the tension between work and family. The producers of these two films are tapping into a common problem that dads face. In National Fatherhood Initiative’s 2006 study, Pop's Culture: A National Survey of Dads' Attitudes on Fathering, the top obstacle that dads listed to being a good father was "work responsibilities" and #2 was media/pop culture. Given those two stats, and the fact that many media depictions of dads present them as a bumbling idiots, it’s refreshing to see films that portray dads making the courageous – but uncomfortable - choice to put their kids first.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Rewind

We hope all you dads out there had a GREAT Father's Day! Here at National Fatherhood Initiative, we were celebrating our favorite holiday in a pretty big way. Here's our Father's Day Top Five:

  1. Chris Brown, our Senior VP, was trackside to honor three NASCAR drivers with Fatherhood Awards.

  2. President Roland C. Warren appeared on CNN, CNN.com, and BET talking about the important role dads play.

  3. News outlets across the country were buzzing about our work and about the issue of involved responsible committed fatherhood.

  4. We snacked on HIS Chips from Herr's and Dad's Root Beer thanks to our Father's Day partnerships with these great companies.

  5. President Obama spoke on the importance of fatherhood and the direction of his fatherhood and mentoring issues.
Click here to see a full recap of our Father's Day celebration, and check out our news feed to see what the media were saying about NFI and fatherhood this weekend!

Thanks for following us here on The Father Factor. We're committed to raising awareness about the importance of involved, responsible, and committed fathers and equipping our nation's dads to be the best fathers they can be!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gentlemen, start your engines!

NASCAR is not only an incredibly popular sport, it is also a very family-friendly one. A recent USA Weekend story highlighted just how family-centered the sport is, and featured three NASCAR dads in particular who embody those values - Jeff Burton, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Michael Waltrip.

That is why National Fatherhood Initiative is very excited to be honoring those three dads with Fatherhood Awards at this Sunday's race out in Sonoma, CA - the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.

During the pre-race ceremonies, NFI's Sr. VP of National Programming, Chris Brown, will be on the track to hand the awards to the dads while the track's PA announcer tells the crowd about NFI and the awards.

Tune in to TNT at 2 p.m. eastern time (3 p.m. for the start of the race) to catch the action. The pre-race ceremony will not be broadcast live, but we are hopeful that throughout the broadcast, the awards will be discussed. You can also hear the race on the radio on the PRN network.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy "Farters" Day??

Today, I was looking for Father’s Day cards for a couple of friends who are new dads and I was just amazed at how many of them were focused on drinking, grilling and farting. In fact, one enterprising and creative “poet” was able to produce the trifecta and use all three in a single card. What talent… Now, anyone who knows me for more than 20 seconds will tell you that I am a guy who loves humor. In fact, I have certainly “dealt” a few fart jokes in my day. If you don’t believe me, you can pull my finger.

That said, the folks in the card business have gone too far and now they really treat Father’s Day like it’s a national holiday to celebrate lazy frat boys. Furthermore, I noticed that, unlike on Mother’s Day, the humor tends to make fathers the butt of the jokes. For example, for moms, the card writers tend to say stuff like “despite all the times that I was a thoughtless idiot, you somehow managed to love me nonetheless. I love you Mom!” For dads, it goes something like this: “Dad, despite the fact that you are a clueless out of touch idiot, who is more interested in guzzling beer and guarding the TV remote control than parenting, somehow, despite my better judgment and the counsel of many, I managed to still love you... Happy Father’s Day!”

Well, if you ask me, something just stinks about this…It seems to me that there is a “silent but deadly” plot afoot and I think we dads need to say enough is enough and make these card companies give us more than just a burst of hot air. Or, at least we should make them leave the room.

Kristof: Give Your Dad a Meaningful Gift

Check out this article in today's New York Times by Nicholas Kristof with creative suggestions for Father's Day gifts. Near the top of the list is a donation to a father-friendly organization, like National Fatherhood Initiative! We couldn't agree more - click here to give a gift in honor of your dad!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fun Father's Day T-shirts...Great Gift Idea!

Congrats to the winners of our Fibers.com t-shirt contest! Check out the winning designs:

Dad to the Bone

Definition of a Dad

Proud to be a Dad

$5 from your purchase of any of these shirts will go toward NFI's essential work of connecting fathers and families - so pick up one of these t-shirts for your dad's Father's Day gift! Check it out at www.fibers.com.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Brand NEW Fatherhood.org!

We're very excited to announce a brand NEW www.fatherhood.org! Our new website has even more great information for dads, plus some great new features. Here are our favorites:

  • For Fathers Section. Full of advice specifically for dads, www.fatherhood.org/fathers is a great resource - we've got helpful information on topics like work-family balance, parenting teens, and more!

  • MyFatherhood Online Community. Connect to other fathers around the country and share your thoughts and strategies through our discussion boards. Plus, our community has even more great advice and exclusive content.

  • See the Impact. These pages tell so many important stories of fathers and families who are reconnected through our initiatives and programs.
We hope you enjoy the new site. Join the community and tell us what you think!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memento Book Winners...and Another Contest!

Enter our Fathers' Day Contest and You Could Win and iPad

Yes, that's right. You could win an iPad. (Hey, we really like Father's Day. And contests.)

We've partnered with Fibers.com for a Father's Day t-shirt contest. Submit your design and get all your friends, family members, uncles, cousins twice removed, etc., to vote. If your design wins, you'll get a free iPad. Plus, there are plenty of other cool prizes.

And, proceeds from the winning tee will help support our programs and initiatives!

To submit a design and/or vote, visit http://www.fibers.com/contests/fathers-day-2010.

And, the winners of a free copy of Memento are (drum roll, please):

Aaron Anderson (The Princess Bride)
Dave@davestoneinc.com (Braveheart)
Tom Wolf (Mrs. Doubtfire)
Kirk (12 Angry Men)
Johnny Bravo (Pursuit of Happyness).

Email Vince by this Friday, June 4, at vdicaro@fatherhood.org to claim your prize. And thanks for answering the question...you guys have great taste in movies!