Monday, November 28, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: A T-I-M-E to Be Thankful

This Thanksgiving, I had a few conversations that made me especially thankful.

During a car ride to my church’s Thanksgiving eve service, my 26 year-old son, Justin, told me that he knew that sometimes it must be especially challenging to keep motivated doing the work that I do. But, he offered that he wanted to encourage me to keep doing it. He said that I have touched so many through my time at NFI. He also said that it really matters that I have been a “father-figure” for several of his friends. And, interestingly, it really meant a lot to him that I attended nearly all of his football games, from Pop Warner through college. He said, “Dad, you are laying up treasure in heaven…”

Then, as we were cleaning up from Thanksgiving dinner, my 29 year-old son, Jamin, told me that so many of his many friends tell him that they don’t really “know” their parents. He offered that their parents spent so much time working to give his friends material things that they failed to give them the most important thing of all…their time. He said, “Dad, you struck the right balance…”

Kids do say the darndest things.

Ironically, my sons’ comments could not have been better timed. You see, I turned 50 years old in October and, frankly, I have been reflecting quite a bit about the choices that I have made in my life, especially when it dawned on me that I likely have more yesterdays than tomorrows. I have often wondered if I have invested my life wisely so far. Social change, like parenting, is hard work that requires steadfastness.

Alas, one can grow weary of doing good, no matter the rightness of the cause. So, it was good to hear this type of affirmation from my sons. Their words were a tremendous encouragement to me and I am hopeful that they will serve as a motivation for other dads, especially those with young children, who read this.

As I am fond of saying, kids spell love “T-I-M-E.” And I know that being a dad, at times, can seem like a thankless job. But if you hang in there and choose to be a father who provides, nurtures and guides, there is a wonderful “treasure” that awaits you.

And for this, like me, you will be thankful.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: Three "Others-First" Values in a "Me-First" World

This is a post by Evelyn Hines, NFI's Executive Assistant for Training and Program Support. Evelyn and her husband of 26 years live in Pittsburgh and have three children. She shares her thoughts today as part of NFI's The Thankful Campaign.

As this holiday season approaches, I want to share what we have planted in our children in order to teach them to be thankful for everything. Although we live in a "me-first" society, it is important to step back and put others first.

We cannot choose our parents. We have taught our children to be thankful to have parents, for many of their friends come from single-parent homes. We cannot choose our children through birth, but as parents we are blessed to be given just the right ones for our family. The perfect match begins in the womb.

An Obligation to Strangers
With the economic condition steadily falling, many folks cannot make it financially. One does not necessarily need money to uplift a stranger’s countenance. We are thankful to share time, a smile, and kind words with someone who will not discuss their empty heart and pauper’s pockets. Furthermore, there is nothing more valuable than visiting people in the hospital during the holiday. That is the last place they want to be.

Give Until It Never Hurts
Throughout these upcoming holidays of having delicious food and expensive gifts, we remember to share with others that may not be as fortunate. It truly is more blessed to give than receive.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

When your father is the milkman

The 11/21/11 issue of Time magazine did its "10 Questions" feature with Sting.

In it, Sting reveals that the first time his father ever complimented him was when he was on his deathbed. How could this happen? How could a father never compliment his son, especially one as "successful" as Sting?

I think part of the answer may have been revealed in the rest of Sting's answer. He says:

"My dad and I had the same hands. I hadn't really noticed that until he was on his deathbed, and I mentioned it. And he said, 'You used your hands better than I did.' My dad was a milkman. And I realized that was probably the first compliment he'd ever paid me, and that was kind of devastating."

Maybe I am wrong, but what I read into this is that these were two people who had mutual contempt for each other's professions, and it likely damaged their relationship.

Sting's dad was a working class guy - a milkman. Is it possible that he was jealous of his son's success doing something as "frivolous" as pop music while he worked hard every day for a modest wage? Why else would he never compliment his famous son?

And is it also possible that Sting had contempt for his "working stiff" dad who didn't use his hands right? And could this contempt have shown?

If my speculation is correct, they were both wrong. Sting should have respected his father for working to support his family. And think of all the families who had milk every day because of what Sting's dad did. And Sting's dad should have respected his son for using his remarkable talent to entertain the world. Every person has value, and each person is given gifts to be used to help others. While Sting and his dad had very different gifts, both of their contributions should have been valued, especially by each other.

Instead, we end up with a "devastated" son whose father paid him only one compliment. The lesson: find the value in the unique gifts your children have, as inconsequential as they may seem on the surface, and compliment them often. You never know when your time will come.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dads Playbook Podcast with NFL quarterback, Mark Brunell. Week 6: Getting fit2father

Welcome to the sixth installment of our 10-week podcast series, "Dads Playbook featuring NFL quarterback, Mark Brunell."

Who better to learn about fitness from than an NFL quarterback!? We always say here at NFI (somewhat tongue in cheek) that you can't be an involved father if you are not alive. That is why it is so important for dads to get and stay fit and to help their children do the same. We launched a campaign called fit2father to help dads with this very idea. Let's hear what Mark has to say about fitness.

Click here to download the podcast on Mark’s game plan for being an All-Star Dad when it comes to fitness.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: Guest Post: No Time to Mow the Lawn

This is a guest post from Jeff Allanach, a newspaper editor in Maryland. Jeff is a married father of two children, and writes about fatherhood in his weekly column. You can follow Jeff on his Facebook page, Adventures in Fatherhood. Jeff contributes to The Father Factor today as part of The Thankful Campaign.

I stop the car on the driveway after a long day of work, and wait for the garage door to open. Tall grass stares at me from my front yard, and weeds sprout up around the bushes as though they were taunting my homeowners’ association. Both probably break whatever rules I agreed to live by when we bought the house, but I shrug. It just means a longer to-do list on Saturday, or maybe Sunday if the former gets away from me, which it usually does. Either way, I won’t find time today. I might not even find time this weekend.

As the garage door opens, the light shines dimly on jigsaw that still needs its blade replaced a year after it broke. It just means one more thing to buy on my next trip to the hardware store, but then again, I’ve made many similar trips since the blade broke and it still needs replaced. Maybe someday, but it’s not today. It might not even be this weekend.

I walk through the garage door, pass the cluttered living room and into the study only to place my laptop on the chair. My desk has no room for a computer between the stacks of magazines, assorted boxes, and other stacks of paper I’ve yet to sort through. It’s just one more chore to do, but I won’t do it today. I probably won’t even do it this weekend.

A novel that I need to revise sits behind the screen of my desktop computer, the one that has the beginnings of at least three other novels and assorted story ideas buried in its memory chips. I long to finish writing all those stories, but I won’t do it today. I probably won’t even finish them this weekend.

It’s never today, and it’s never this weekend, at least not in the 10 years since I became a dad. And for that I am thankful.

The grass is long because I’d rather spend my Saturday mornings this season watching my children, Celeste and Gavin, play in their basketball games. They look for me on the sidelines, and would notice if I wasn’t there. Grass doesn’t care if I cut it or not.

Weeds are sprouting up around the bushes because Gavin usually wants me to spend Saturday afternoons teaching him to ride a bike, or Celeste wants me to take her to the park, or it’s the only time I can take them to the pumpkin patch. Weeds don’t care if I pull them or not.

I can’t run up to the hardware store to buy a jigsaw blade on Sundays because of church in the morning, and the park or the library, or both, in the afternoon. The saw doesn’t mind its missing blade, and I probably couldn’t find the time to make sawdust anyway.

And I can’t find the time to finish writing my novels because it means time alone at the computer, and time alone at the computer means less time with my children. The novels might never sell anyway, so why spend so much time crafting stories people may never read?

So this Thanksgiving season, I will give thanks for tall grass, sprouting weeds, a broken jigsaw, and unwritten stories. If I didn’t have those things in my life, I would have less time with my children.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Penn State Taking Positive Action on Child Sexual Abuse

On Tuesday, Roland wrote this post on the Penn State sex abuse scandal. In it, he asked what Penn State will do to address the sexual abuse of boys on their campus and elsewhere.

We are glad to report that Penn State is taking some early action. Tonight, they are hosting a live, call-in radio program to address child sexual abuse.

We applaud Penn State for taking this action. As they say in the announcement, the sexual abuse of children is underreported and more needs to be done about it.

However, a word of caution about the approach that Penn State appears to be taking. Let's be clear that these were boys who were being abused, not "children" generically. And, as Roland mentioned in his blog post, there are several special circumstances surrounding the abuse of boys (it is even more underreported and understudied than the abuse of girls, and there appear to be more complex and damaging consequences for abused boys than for abused girls).

When conversations about sexual abuse start to drift into the territory of "children," they inevitably refocus on girls and women. Indeed, notice that the experts who will be on hand to field calls from parents are from the Centre County Women’s Resource Center (not children's, let alone boys, resource center).

Again, we are not trying to minimize the severity of the abuse of anyone: woman, man, boy, or girl. But we are trying to keep this conversation focused on boys, the future fathers of our children, who often have no voice.

So, while Penn State is off to a good start with this radio program, we hope that future efforts will be more focused on what actually happened on their campus - the systematic rape and abuse of boys, an underserved group that needs more help than they are currently getting.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Post: Thanksgiving Thoughts (and a recipe!) from Chef Madison

This is a guest post by Madison Cowan, a chef, author, restaurateur, husband, and hands-on dad to his daughter. In 2010, Madison become the first ever Chopped Grand Champion on Food Network. Visit Madison's website at Madison is regular guest contributor to The Father Factor and he shares this post and one of his delicious recipes as part of The Thankful Campaign.

I constantly give thought over to what I’m most thankful for, which may suggest I have massive amounts of time on my hands. To say the least I am quite grateful for many things in my life, most notably time spent round the supper table with family and friends. This time-honoured tradition seems a bit of a lost art nowadays, with working households and the continual reliance on convenience. During my days on the streets, thoughts of proper and ample food to eat, along with daily survival, was a definite source of motivation. Simply sharing a meal not only promotes gratitude but encourages a sense of community as well. Moreover, while it’s fashionable to engage in the spirit of charity with others less fortunate during the holiday season, it is imperative to be mindful throughout the year.

Whilst commemorating this Thanksgiving, I remain cognizant of numerous ways and opportunities to give. Enjoy the following recipe for an easy alternative to traditional sweet potato pie and let’s all keep in perspective the true expression of gratitude.

“Who does not thank for little, will not thank for much” ~ Red Cloud

Sweet potato panna cotta & orange caramel sauce

For the panna cotta:
Sweet potato 1 medium, alternatively use 1 cup Libby’s pure pumpkin & ¼ tsp each ground cloves & ginger
Gelatine 3 sheets or 1 tbsp powdered
Half & half 2 cups
Raw cane sugar 4 heaped tbsp
Vanilla pod 1, split in half & seeds scraped out
Cinnamon stick 1
Fresh nutmeg generous dusting or ¼ tsp ground

For the sauce:
Raw cane sugar 1 cup
Water 2 tbsp
Butter 2 tbsp
Heavy cream ¼ cup
Orange liqueur ¼ cup
Macadamias 1 handful (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash and score the sweet potato and bake on the center oven rack over a baking sheet until soft, about 45 – 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Soften the gelatine sheets in a bowl with 1 cup of cold water for 3 minutes (sprinkle 2 tbsp water over powder and stir to dissolve. The gelatine will become spongy).

2) Place the half and half, sugar, vanilla pod and cinnamon stick in a heavy based saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

3) Next, slice the sweet potato lengthwise and scoop out the flesh. Stir well into the hot cream mixture to combine.
Pass through a fine sieve into a bowl or jug, discard the vanilla pod and cinnamon stick.

4) Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves (leave the powdered gelatine sponge as is) and add to the mixture along with the nutmeg. Whisk until the gelatine has dissolved and check the seasoning.
Pour the mixture into small ramekins or dessert cups and leave to cool. Refrigerate to set at least 3 hours or overnight.

5) To make the sauce, bring the sugar and water to boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat until it just begins to caramelize (the key here is to bring the sugar to a light golden brown. Caramel continues to cook when removed from the heat and is bitter the darker it becomes).
Remove the caramel from the heat and add the butter, one at a time, stirring to melt. Pour in the cream and liqueur, stirring after each until smooth. Set aside.

6) Toast the macadamias, if using, in a dry sauté pan over medium heat, cool slightly and crush or roughly chop with a large knife.
Remove the panna cotta from the fridge, slightly warm the sauce over low heat, if needed, and spoon over the pudding. Garnish with macadamias and a light dusting of nutmeg. Serves 6

© 2011 All Rights Reserved. Madison Cowan, LLC

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What the Penn State Scandal Tells Us: We Don’t Care About the Sexual Abuse of Boys

Most of the commentary about the sex abuse scandal at Penn State University is what one would expect. Penn State football fans debate the fairness of the abrupt firing of their beloved coach; the Penn State board of directors talks about its need to hastily handle this public relations nightmare and restore the university’s storied reputation. The pundits on TV and radio pontificate while pointing their fingers and shaking their fists, questioning how Jerry Sandusky could get away with so much abuse of so many boys for so long.

Certainly, this makes good fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. And it may even assuage our collective need to understand what happened. However, this sexual abuse scandal confirms a much broader problem that has become increasingly evident to me. One that says less about Penn State than it does about our culture.

We don’t care about the sexual abuse of boys.

Consider just a few of the allegations in the Sandusky situation:

  • A janitor observed Sandusky the showers at the Penn State football building with a young boy pinned up against the wall, preforming oral sex on the boy. The janitor immediately tells others on the janitorial staff, including his supervisor. In fact, another janitor also sees Sandusky with the boy. Despite all of this, no one makes a report of the incident.
  • A 28-year-old Penn State graduate assistant enters the locker room at the football building. In the shower, he sees a naked boy, who he estimates to be about 10 years old, being sodomized by a naked Sandusky. Although he tells Paterno the next day, at the time, he does nothing to stop Sandusky.
Now, replace the word “boy” in the above instances with “girl.” Do you think that two janitors would fail to stop Sandusky from sexually assaulting a little girl? I think not. What about the graduate assistant? He was a former Penn State football player. No doubt, he would have used his best form tackling technique on Sandusky to stop him from raping a little girl.

And, consider how differently the Penn State administrators, who were told by Paterno about Sandusky’s behavior, would have responded if the victims were girls. Would they have stood idly by for years? No. They would have taken immediate action rather than risk being on the receiving end of the wrath of celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, NOW, and numerous women’s groups on campus. They would have reasoned that Penn State getting a reputation as a university that did not protect girls and women would have deeply negative consequences for years to come.

Not only that, they would probably take proactive steps to show the public that Penn State is dedicated to becoming a place that is safe for girls and women. They would start a new research center, and host forums, events, and marches to show their solidarity with the community of women. What will Penn State do to show it is a safe place for boys?

Boys have no advocacy groups to fight for them. Baby seals, pit bulls, and trees do, it seems. No matter how young and vulnerable, boys are expected to fend for themselves.

According to Prevent Child Abuse America, the sexual abuse of boys is under-reported and under-treated. Although the sexual abuse of girls has been widely studied, little research has been done on the abuse of boys. Accordingly, we don’t know nearly as much about it as we should. But, what we do know is quite troubling.

First, boys at the highest risk are younger than thirteen years of age, nonwhite, of lower socioeconomic status, and live in father-absent homes. (Alas, it is no surprise that Sandusky founded an agency that would provide him easy access to troubled boys from broken homes.) Second, sexually abused boys seem to experience more severe and complex consequences than girls in respect to emotional and behavioral problems. Yet, as a culture, much like the Penn State janitors and the graduate assistant, we see what is happening, have the ability to help, but we do nothing.

As is typical with all sex scandals, in time they move from the front page to the back page; from being the lead story to a minor mention; we move on and we forget. But our boys need our help to protect them from the Jerry Sandusky’s of the world and, when they become prey, to help them heal.

But first of all, they need us to care.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dads Playbook Podcast with NFL quarterback, Mark Brunell. Week 5: Sibling Rivalry

Welcome to the fifth installment of our 10-week podcast series, "Dads Playbook featuring NFL quarterback, Mark Brunell."

Now that you've heard Mark talk about raising both sons and daughters, let's hear what Mark has to say about keeping those sons and daughters at peace with each other. We're talking about dealing with sibling rivalry, and Mark has some great insights to share.

Click here to download the podcast on Mark’s game plan for being an All-Star Dad when it comes to sibling rivalry.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: A Military Dad: Thankful for Restored Relationships

This is a post by Tim Red, NFI's Director of Military Program Support Services. After spending 30 years in the U.S. Army, Tim now leads NFI's efforts to help the U.S. military add fatherhood programming to its work to support military families. Tim and his wife have four children and live in Texas. Tim contributes this blog post as part The Thankful Campaign and shares his personal experience about realizing that sometimes the things we're thankful for come out of the hardest experiences of life.

I am thankful for my improved relationship with my oldest son (Travis). My mobilization/deployment from July 2005 through December 2006 affected him more than any of my kids. It put distance in our relationship that I did not know or understand. He told me three summers ago that he quit praying the day I got on that plane to go overseas. In the last four years there has really been calm only once for about a two month span in the spring of 2009. Things got very ugly in July of this year - so bad that I had to give an ultimatum that changed his life.

Since then, we have talked more in the last three and a half months than we had in the previous four years. I am thankful for the changes he has made in his life and continues to make. We have still got a long way to go, but if you would have told me we would be at this point after the events of July, I would say you were crazy. I never thought we could come so far so fast. So I am very thankful for having my son back.

I am also thankful for the young men and women that serve our country all around this world. I am thankful for their military families who support them. And I am thankful for the services that are provided by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard to support our military families.

To learn more about NFI's work with the military, visit

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanks, Bil Keane!

Bil Keane, the creator of the “Family Circus” comic, died this week at the age of 89. His comic strip put smiles on the faces of readers for over 50 years with humorous moments in the life of a family that could have been yours, mine, or any average family.

The “Family Circus” comics captured a range of family experiences – from silly things kids say to the stresses of juggling work and family to favorite family traditions like vacation and trick-or-treating. The one-panel comics engendered laughs, but also left a sense of familiarity. As Keane said, according to the Associated Press, “I would rather have the readers react with a warm smile, a tug at the heart or a lump in the throat as they recall doing the same things in their own families.”

Actually, the “Family Circus” family was probably a lot like Keane’s family. The cartoon family has a similar number and gender of children (Bil was the father of one daughter and four sons) and the Mommy was modeled after Keane’s wife Thelma. Keane commented once that "I was portraying the family through my eyes. Everything that's happened in the strip has happened to me.”

If the life of Daddy, Mommy, Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, and P.J. in “Family Circus” gives us a picture of the Keane family, it’s pretty safe to say Bil was not only a talented cartoonist, but more importantly a great dad. As his son Jeff told the AP, "He was just our dad. The great thing about him is he worked at home, we got to see him all the time, and we would all sit down and have dinner together. What you see in the 'Family Circus' is what we were and what we still are, just different generations."

Thanks, Bil, for sharing your family with us through 50+ years of fun and endearing comics. Our condolences go out to your loved ones as they mourn your passing.

Here's a few favorite fatherhood moments from "Family Circus":

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: Guest Post: Lessons Learned from Dads Who Have Gone Before

Wayne Parker is the father of five children and has served as the Fatherhood Guide for since 2002. Wayne contributes to The Father Factor today as part of The Thankful Campaign.

The Thanksgiving season always causes me to reflect on people who have blessed my life. This season particularly I have thought of the impact of three fathers who have shaped my attitudes about fatherhood and my own experience as a father.

My own father taught me many important lessons. The first is that fathers work hard to support their families. Even though my dad worked two jobs most of my life to sustain our family and I missed having more time with him growing up, I never doubted his commitment and his love. And he taught me most of all by example that the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.

I was also close to another father growing up, who was the dad of my best friend and my dad’s best friend. Gene Holderness taught me the importance of making time for fun and for doing things together as a family. Gene’s joy for life and his commitment to fun made a big impression and helped shape my own approach to fatherhood.

Finally, the third important father figure in my life was a religious leader from my youth who raised a truly remarkable family. Barrie Blackburn taught me some remarkable lessons about resilience, about surviving and thriving after tragedy, and about how to best battle the seeds of discouragement that often creep into a father’s life. He lost a son to leukemia but never lost faith. And his gift to me of a hand-carved top with a small flaw in it reminds me often that keeping moving is the best way to not look too critically at our own flaws and scars.

So, thanks for great fathers, our own and the fathers of others, who made such a difference for us. It is our job as fathers to pass on that legacy of amazing fatherhood to our children, our grandchildren and beyond.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: What is NFI Thankful For, You Ask?

During The Thankful Campaign this month, NFI is encouraging you to Show Your Thanks, and we're saying thanks too! Each week in the Dad Email™, we'll tell you about something we're thankful for this year.

Last week, we said "thanks" for Changed Lives - specifically for children whose lives were changed because their dads participated in one of our programs and gained the knowledge and skills to be involved, responsible, and committed fathers.

Earlier this year, we were excited to learn that a longitudinal study by Rutgers found that our InsideOut Dad™ program for incarcerated fathers is effective in improving dads' confidence, knowledge, behavior, and attitudes around fathering. This study qualifies InsideOut Dad™ as the first evidence-based program designed specifically for inmate fathers. (Learn more about the Rutgers study here.)

Troy is one of the dads who graduated from an InsideOut Dad™ program, and his story is proof that lives are being changed through NFI's work. Actually, maybe we should say that it's Xavier's story instead. Xavier is Troy's son, and the change in Troy is most evident in the happiness of his son, who now has what his father never had... a good dad. Watch Troy and Xavier's story here - and grab the tissues before you do, because this short video will pull at your heartstrings.

So today, NFI says thanks for Changed Lives like Troy and Xavier. It's all possible because people like you support our work and enable us to impact dads, kids, and families!

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: Thankful Tips from Dads & Moms

As part of The Thankful Campaign, we are asking our Facebook followers, Dad E-mail™ subscribers, and blog readers to "Talk Back" by answering a weekly question on the topic of thankfulness. This week we asked you to tell us how you're teaching your children to be thankful. We received a lot of great tips and advice on our Facebook page! Check out these suggestions from dads and moms on raising thankful kids:

  • The last few years have been extremely tough for us financially and we have had to do without a lot of things we had gotten used to. One time our children were getting discouraged and making statements like "we don't ever get to do anything anymore!" So we took them on a driving tour of a local homeless camp. No matter how bad you think you have it, there are many, many people who have it worse!
  • Since she's only a year old, we're teaching Morgan to say thank you when someone gives her something (food, toys, etc...), but we'll certainly work on the other thanks as she gets older. She seems to be getting the idea so far.
  • As for me and my wife we've got 3 kids, 10, 8, and 5, we try and teach them to be thankful by showing them that the things they have are a blessing being that we both work and still find it hard to survive. There are many people in the world that have nothing.
  • I have been working with my children about saying thank you, even for the small things. Though they may not "get it" yet at such a young age, they will know about it, and I feel that they are slowly starting to understand the importance.
  • By telling them to put God FIRST, talking and explaining morals. Hardwork and patience never grow old. Lastly, I ask them to think about their actions before they act so that the end result is positive and something they can be thankful for.
  • To put Jesus first! And get them to watch the news! The news usually has a humbling story and point it out to them!
  • Lots of the things already mentioned, plus we insist on them saying please and thank you for things. Also at Christmas, they usually get 1-2 gifts and then we give toys or a donation to a local charity.
  • Encouraging my little one to say thank you is something I always do, but when she is a little older I would like to include her in some volunteer efforts.
  • I tell my three boys, ages 5, 3, and 1, that I love them very much every single day, several times a day. I show them by example to love God and all his creations. Lastly,we do everything together--pray, eat, have fun, read and learn...
  • We give thanks to God before eating a meal. The children started volunteering at an early age at church and helping out at home.We believe that when children are taught to be of service to others at an early age it teaches them to have grateful hearts.
  • Children often learn by example so when it comes to teaching them to be thankful, the most important thing I can do to help impart these values is through being a good role model in that regard.
Stay tuned for next week's "Talk Back" question in the Dad Email™.

Also, check out our 5 Tips for Raising Thankful Kids.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guest Post: And the Winner of the 2011 Fatherhood Award is...

Shawn Bean is the executive editor of Parenting and author of the new fatherhood manual Show Dad How. He lives with his wife and two young sons in Florida. Shawn learned about NFI's "View and Vote" contest to select the next winner of our Fatherhood Award™ and wrote on his blog Pop Culture about why he thinks this is a great idea. (Read Shawn's original post here).

In one of my previous posts, I take issue with the current state of dadvertising. Where to even begin? For starters, moms get all the good gigs (Hey Proctor & Gamble, you think only moms use the Swiffer? I Swiff! I Swiff like a motherswiffer!) There are as many redheaded English princes as there are cool modern dads selling product these days. Dads are losing pitchman gigs to cavemen and lizards. The two most prominent males in advertising are Mr. Clean and the Brawny paper towel guy. If those dudes have kids, they certainly never let them on the label. And what would two childless guys know about using cleaning products?

So I was seriously happy to see that the National Fatherhood Initiative has nominated three companies for its 2011 Fatherhood Award™, companies that have created TV commercials that present Dad as the kind of guy we aspire to be: easy-going, funny, someone a kid can look up to.

Voting for the 2011 Fatherhood Award™ ends this Sunday, November 6th. To cast your vote, click here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Thankful Campaign: Giving Thanks for Fathers and Families

As we head into the holiday season and the end of the year, we're Giving Thanks for Fathers and Families through The Thankful Campaign.

Throughout the month of November, we'll be leveraging our Dad E-Mail, Facebook page, and this blog to bring you helpful tips on raising thankful kids (check out these 5 tips to get you started), share what we're thankful for here at NFI, and give you opportunities to show your thanks. If you haven't already, make sure you sign-up for our Dad E-mail and like our Facebook page so you can participate in The Thankful Campaign.

One exciting feature of The Thankful Campaign is that YOU get to be part of it. Each week, we will post a question on our Facebook page and will feature your answers (anonymously of course) on this blog. This week's question is: How are you teaching your children to be thankful? Share your advice on Facebook and look for a blog post next week with your comments included.

Visit to learn more about The Thankful Campaign and show your thanks today!