If there is one thing I am passionate about it is dads connecting with their children for the purpose of transitioning into manhood and or womanhood. This ceremony is often called a rite of passage but it could just as easily be called a celebration of womanhood or a celebration of manhood. The Jews, in their culture, call it a ‘bar mitzvah’ for boys and a ‘bat mitzvah’ for girls. This ceremony is held in a variety of different forms in hundreds of cultures around the world. Sadly, in western nations it is almost non-existent.
But I have some really good news for you. Darren Lewis from Fathering Adventures runs these types of events right here in Australia to help both boys and girls connect with their dads. Darren is one amazing man. Husband to Melissa for almost 27 years, he is father of four children between the ages of 24 and 15 years, father-in-law of one beautiful daughter-in-law, grandfather of one precious granddaughter, founder of ‘Fathering Adventures’ 10 years ago, and former Queensland Father of the Year (2011).
People come from all over the world to his Father/Daughter and Father/Son Adventure camps.
The Father/Son events are mostly booked out but sadly Darren’s Father/Daughter events are way under subscribed. This is a national tragedy! I am hoping you can help me, and help him, turn it around. Here is Darren Lewis in his own words.
“Fathers inevitably change the course of their daughters’ lives—and can even save them. From the moment you set eyes on her wet-from-the-womb body until she leaves your home, the clock starts ticking. It’s the clock that times your hours with her, your opportunities to influence her, to shape her character, and to help her find herself.”Dr. Meg Meeker (Author of “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” etc.)
In my experience as a counsellor, over almost two decades now, I have had the great honour & privilege of meeting and counselling many men, and many women. Conservatively, 80-90% of those men and women had been wounded by their fathers, most of them unknowingly of course.
Whenever I meet a woman today, I am able to assess quite quickly, through our interactions, whether or not she had a good relationship with her father, and if he was actively involved in her life.
As award-winning, best-selling Author, Kristen Houghton said, “Little girls become strong, competent women by having a dad who is encouraging, compassionate, and loving.”.
Back in August 27, 2013, Sarah Berry, Lifestyle Health Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, published an article entitled, “The Importance of Dads”. In that article, she quoted Dr Linda Nielsen, Professor of Educational & Adolescent Psychology at Wake Forest University, who in turn quoted a U.S. wide poll “Dads talk about their daughters” conducted by the Roper Center For Public Opinion Research in 2004, which stated that “Only 30% of fathers believe that their active involvement in their daughter’s life is “vital” to her health and well-being.”
Now if my math serves me correctly, then 7 out of 10 fathers of daughters do not believe that their active involvement in their daughter’s life is “vital”.
And all of that is very concerning, because fathers are extremely important and influential, in the lives of their daughters… clearly more than most fathers of daughters are aware. Psychologist and author Dr James Dobson said the following about fathers and daughters, and the importance of the father-daughter relationship… “If I sat here for three or four weeks, I could not adequately describe just how important the father / daughter relationship is”. See my short video presentation here.
Extremely talented American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer, John Mayer, understands that truth all too well, which is why he penned the lyrics to his 2005 Grammy Awards winning Song of The Year, “Daughters”, which contains lyrics such as these… “Fathers be good to your daughters. You are the god and the weight of her world.“.
Every daughter (child & adult alike) has a single core question, which is often phrased in any one of the following ways… “Do you love me?”, “Do you notice me?”, “Do you see me?”, “What do you see in me?”, “Will you pursue me?”, “Will you fight for me?”.
How are you answering your daughter’s core question Dad? She needs your love, time, & attention, your appropriate affection, and your words of affirmation. And if she’s not getting those things from you, then she will go looking for those things outside of the home, from another, less healthy, masculine source.
Your daughter also needs you Dad, to be an integral part of her development between girlhood and womanhood. World renowned Australian psychologist & author Steve Biddulph, says the following in his book, “Raising Girls”… “Some time between fourteen and adulthood, a girl needs some kind of marker event, a growing-up rite… Girls have to be deliberately and proactively launched into healthy womanhood. When this is done well, the results are impressive. A girl takes charge of her life and begins to make her unique way in the world.“
Isn’t that what we all want for our daughters? That at the appropriate age, they take charge of their lives, and begin to make their unique ways in the world. If you have a daughter aged 13 years or older – no maximum age limit, then we encourage you to provide such a marker event / growing up rite, for your daughter. ‘Fathering Adventures’ can help with that, through their “Prepared for Womanhood” 4 Night Father-Daughter Adventure experiences.
And finally, no matter how old your daughter may be, you will always be her father. Yes, as she grows older, your influence will diminish, as it quite rightly should, but she will always want, and need, you to be actively involved in her life, for as long as you have breath in your lungs.
I don’t often ask for this sort of help to advertise someone else’s program but we at Dads4Kids really believe in the wonderful work of Fathering Adventures and in particular Father and Daughter type adventures. Dads4Kids was privileged to raise half scholarships for needy fathers and daughters. All these scholarships have been allocated but there is one left.
Why not apply yourself? (For details see this link) If this is not directly of interest to yourself, could you send this newsletter out to your friends and family who have daughters? Trust me, if they go they will never ever, ever regret it.
Yours for great Father-Daughter Adventures
PS: Celebrate ANZAC Day with your family this Wednesday 25 April. Let’s remember those who currently serve in the Armed Forces and those in times past who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
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.”
The Fatherhood Foundation Incorporated trading as Dads4Kids is a Harm Prevention Charity listed under Subdivision 30_EA of the Australian Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 with Tax Deductible Status (DGR) for donations
Dads4Kids – Building Men. Growing Fathers. Changing Generations.