Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fathering For A Lifetime

Last week, NFI’s Director of Military Program Support Services Tim Red sent out an email to our staff in where he bravely and candidly spoke of a moment shared with his oldest son, Travis. After attending the funeral of his son’s good friend, it gave Tim and Travis a moment to reflect and reconnect the bond between father and son. Inspired by his bravery, I too shared a bit of my own fears and concerns regarding fatherhood with the staff and felt enlightened by Tim’s ability to open up about such a private matter.

When I think of devoted dads like Tim, I always imagine they have all the answers and because of his background, I expected that he handled tough times with flair. With 30 years of military service, I was certain Tim had seen it all. I originally asked Tim if I could share his story on our blog and he was gracious enough to allow me to do so. I called Tim last evening and what was initially meant to be a quick phone call turned into a 30-minute conversation that changed my life.

Tim and I had an honest and open discussion, which allowed me to learn that part of being a father is also realizing your shortcomings and showing vulnerability. To hear from Tim that raising his oldest child had been difficult for him just astounded me. I was listening to this strong man admitting that even after being a dad of 21 years, he’s continuing to learn lessons about fatherhood.

I had to fight back my emotions hearing Tim tell his story of the trials he faced with Travis although I hung on to every word. Tim’s fearlessness inspired me to devote myself to what I do here at NFI, and to also apply the lessons he shared with me in my own life. Being an involved, responsible and committed father became an even greater responsibility to me by way of our chat.

Although tragedy had to happen in order for Tim and Travis to find a new way to reconnect, stories like this are precisely why I’m proud to be a part of the National Fatherhood Initiative family. As I grow as a father and as a man, I can always look back fondly to the chat Tim and I had, realizing that you can never learn it all in one lifetime. Dealing with the ups and downs of fathering can make even the mightiest of us feel stretched thin. However, it’s good to know that we have an entire lifetime to get it right.


  1. There's something in the air. Just this past Saturday, I was in the presence of 2 other fathers following a memorial service for a lost friend. As the three of us sat there catching up, I shifted the direction of the conversation towards fatherhood. "What scares you the most about being a dad?", I asked. After answering the question myself, I was surprised to find out that they thought I "had it all together" - that I was a "super dad" that never made mistakes. Flattering, yes, but nothing could be further from the truth.

    Good dads and poor dads need to be reminded that fatherhood never easy, is often scary, and always takes courage. The occasion made me realize how bad we men are (in general) at bringing up fatherhood in general conversation. We talk about sports, jobs, women, even our kids themselves - but very rarely "fatherhood". Well I for one, will make an effort to change that going forward.

    Just a few days ago, 3 guys found comfort and strength in knowing that others have the same fears, and approach the same problems in unique, even better ways. From now on, maybe I'll replace "How are the kids?" with "how's fatherhood?"


  2. FR,

    I appreciate your reply so much. It's important that we never forget how important a job fatherhood truly is. I think little reminders like yours and the one I shared above makes it all worth it.

    D.L. Chandler


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