Fatherhood Feature: RETA
As we prepare for the Fathers Matter Forum in March, we want to highlight some of the organizations in our community that are dealing with the issue and working with at-risk youth. To sign up for one of the forum sessions, visit this link: Fathers Matter Forum Registration
This is a guest post from Jeff Fater, Men’s Coaching Manager at RETA.
The Power of Dad
Check out the movie listings – superheroes aren’t going away anytime soon, neither the good ones nor the conflicted ones with a dark side.
Superman is truly super, but Batman has pretty cool gizmos, plus a vendetta. Iron Man has a neat, shiny suit with amazing technology, but the Incredible Hulk is just a stubbed toe away from demonstrating his power to “Smash!” Spiderman simply suffered a tiny bug bite while the Flash was exposed to a pretty intense mix of lightning and chemicals; for some fans, his speed outpaces a sticky web without question. Finally, Captain America is a man of integrity, and he stands for traditional values. Hats off to you, Cap.
But behold the power of dad. Dads are pretty important.
Kids need dads who are engaged, involved, loving and affectionate. Kids need dads who are affirming, attentive and supportive. Kids need dads who communicate by talking and listening, and by example.
Moms need their kids’ dads to be these kinds of men for them, too. Healthy relationships between parents are important. Mutual respect and affection between moms and dads are important.
To be clear, moms are important. No dad is perfect. We’re not saying dads are better than moms. But there’s something about the power of dad.
Psychotherapist Sigmund Freud said, “I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.” Sigmund Freud!
Dads can prevent poverty. Dads can keep kids off drugs and away from alcohol. Dads can keep kids in school, and out of both the juvenile justice system and adult prison. Dads can prevent teen pregnancy. Dads can prevent teen homelessness and teen suicide. Dads can help kids avoid suffering from behavioral disorders, depression and other mental illnesses. Dads can help both boys and girls see the value of a woman. Dads can help inspire daughters to attempt and achieve. Dads can keep crime low in their neighborhoods. Dads can prevent violence.
Behold the power of dad.
Dads have the power to fight these social ills that are beating down our communities. Dads can win, one kid and one family at a time.
Many kids struggle with the issues above, in addition to the usual concerns with school, friendships and the future. For many kids, dads make the difference—whether they fall through the cracks of a dilapidated bridge, or are able to journey confidently over rushing rivers of trouble and temptation.
Dads who are a strong, stable bridge to the future are less common than is good for anybody. These rare men would be terrific mentors, and could provide an authentic challenge for their fellow man to become the dad their kids need. If you’re a dad like this, help a brother out. See if your power can rub off on another dad who might need a little something.
Anyone who is able should take an opportunity to walk alongside an at-risk kid, pointing out potential danger zones as well as proven paths to success. It’s not the same as being a dad, but it will be worth it. To each kid.
Let’s affirm the stable dads we know. Pats on the back are appreciated so much because they are so seldom felt.
For those with gaps in their parenting, let’s lend a hand, and help build better bridges—and better men, as part of stronger families.**
Behold the power of dad.
About RETA: RETA is a faith based, pregnancy and family resource center that provides confidential help by appointment, Monday through Friday. We are located in downtown Elkhart, Indiana and all of our services are free of charge. We provide services and help for those facing an unplanned pregnancy; for new parents or new grandparents, for men who want to make a better life or learn to be good dads, and women who want to become good moms.