I have warm memories of my Dad telling my brother and me stories, each night before we went to sleep. Stories of adventures in faraway lands, strange encounters with tigers and black panthers in the wild jungle.

True life snake stories (my favourite) and stories about stockmen and horses in the Australian outback. These stories were always riveting and greatly encouraging.

Looking back, I realise that the reason they were ‘warm’ and ‘greatly encouraging’ was because it was a real live Dad, who loved his children and who was giving his children his undivided attention through telling stories.

It left a long, warm glow on the inside of me, and the comfort to go to sleep and dream the beautiful dreams that every child deserves to dream.

Grief

Sadly, within a few years, my Mum and Dad went their separate ways for a time. I found out later that my Dad was heartbroken as a single father without access to ‘his boys’. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were heartbroken too.

 

Daddy Doesn't Live Here bookI didn’t realise how heartbroken I was until my early thirties when I randomly picked up a children’s book on a sale table in a shopping centre. My children were young and as a young dad, I was always looking for books to read to the children at night before sleep.

The book, Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, caught my attention in the most unexpected way. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at the pages. I knew the story well and the broken heart that went with the story.

Crucial Foundation

Last Thursday at the Dads4Kids Breakthrough Webinar, a single mother, Sarah Shannon, was asked, “Why are you such a strong supporter and regular donor to Dads4Kids?” My heart skipped a beat when she replied.

“I lost my Dad at the age of eleven. When he passed away my whole world went upside down. I know the importance of having a dad around. He was our solid rock. He was the love of my life. I looked up to him. He taught us many things. When he passed away heaven had gone and hell had come into my life, so I know the importance of having a loving, supportive Dad. The mission of Dads4Kids (to give our children the best start in life) is something I am 200% in support of.”

Our stories are not dissimilar. The pain of fatherlessness is expressed in many different ways. That’s why fatherless children are more likely to end up on drugs, to self-harm, be more prone to suicide, more likely be sexually abused, more likely to drop out of school, more likely to get involved in crime and end up in prison, and the list goes on.

The good news is that when we turn the tide of fatherlessness, our children get the best start in life. Children of involved fathers have a higher IQ, do better at school, enjoy better health, have better relational outcomes, have superior problem-solving skills, have higher levels of economic and career success, and all this is just the beginning.

On a Mission

Over the last 20 years, Dads4Kids has worked hard to turn the tide of fatherlessness in Australia. In 1998, our dear friend Pastor Ron Williams, Indigenous Elder and Leader, declared:

‘The greatest need in Australia is the restoration of fatherhood.’

This led Alison and me, with the support of our wonderful board, to found Dads4Kids in 2002.

Since then, over 21 million people have viewed our message of excellence in fathering found in the Dads4Kids Community Service Announcements as seen on television, inspiring men to be better fathers.

Over the last 20 years, Dads4Kids has equipped, encouraged and inspired millions of fathers through the web, social media and mainstream media. Through our new Dads4Kids Inside-Out Fathering Program, we will support Indigenous and other incarcerated dads within the Australian prison system.

The Dads4Kids weekly email newsletter, inspiring fathers and encouraging families, has been sent out over 3 million times since 2002. Beginning in 2004, the Dads4Kids 10-Week Good to Great Fathering Program has trained over 420 men in excellence in fathering.

In 2007, Dads4Kids helped pioneer a National Men’s Health Policy in the federal government. Through our efforts, the lives of over 3,000 men have been saved. With your help, Dads4Kids has campaigned, and will continue to campaign, against child sexual abuse and to protect women and children from sexual exploitation.

Global Reach

Dads4Kids is the main global supporter for International Men’s Day on November 19 every year. Worldwide, we have campaigned strongly for improvement in men’s health and a reduction in the global male suicide epidemic. Dads4Kids has helped save tens of thousands of men’s lives worldwide over the past 14 years. With your help, we will save the lives of hundreds of thousands more men in the years to come.

Through Dads4Kids Courageous Online Fathering Courses, Dads4Kids Fatherhood Success Seminars, and the annual Dads4Kids Men’s Leadership Summit, we have helped thousands to become better dads, and trained hundreds of dads in how to train others.

In short, the Dads4Kids mission can be spelled out in three words: “Help people love.” Love is the Greatest Force in the Universe.

We could not do all these things without you, our amazing Dads4Kids supporters, subscribers, volunteers and donors. We look forward to 20 more years of transforming Australia, and the world, by inspiring fathers to help their children be the best they can be. Together, we can make a difference.

Lovework

We announced at the Dads4Kids Breakthrough Webinar that strategic supporters of Dads4Kids have put up an amazing $87,000 matching challenge!

Your one-time gift, or the annualized amount of your monthly pledge to Dads4Kids, given before the 30 June, will be instantly doubled. The really good news is that this is a great way to reduce your tax!

Every donation is tax-deductible!

[GIVE HERE]

Yours for Our Children,
Warwick Marsh

PS: Last Thursday’s Dads4Kids Breakthrough Webinar was very real, raw and yet deeply moving. If you have not yet seen it, check it out here.

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Photo by Pavel Danilyuk.

About the Author: Warwick Marsh

Warwick Marsh has been married to Alison Marsh since 1975; they have five children and nine grandchildren, and he and his wife live in Wollongong in NSW, Australia. He is a family and faith advocate, social reformer, musician, TV producer, writer and public speaker. Warwick is a leader in the Men’s and Family Movement, and he is well-known in Australia for his advocacy for children, marriage, manhood, family, fatherhood and faith. Warwick is passionate to encourage men to be great fathers and to know the greatest Father of all. The Father in Whom “there is no shadow of turning.”

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