Well-formed fathers are essential to the flourishing of families and society. With your help, Dads4Kids has been supporting fatherhood for twenty years.
We will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Dads4Kids newsletter next week on Father’s Day, Sunday 4 September 2022. From our research, the Dads4Kids newsletter is the largest and most comprehensive weekly fatherhood newsletter in the world.
You, as one of our dedicated readers, are the reason for our success, so we dedicate this issue to you. Thank you for your loyal readership. Furthermore, we dedicate this issue to our Father in heaven and all the fathers of the world who are on the journey to learn how to spell L-O-V-E.
To celebrate the past and help us move into the future and get us ready for Father’s Day next week, I thought I would share the final part of my speech at the inaugural National Strategic Conference on Fatherhood. The historic conference was hosted and organised by Dads4Kids nineteen years ago in Parliament House in Canberra on 18-19 August 2003. Here it is below.
“Chris Miles MP made a very interesting and profound statement at our Fathering Forum in February. He said that fathers need to become a wellspring of life for their families. The great need is for fathers to become a source of creativity, a source of giving, a source of guidance and a source of love for their families and their children.
Mr Crean, the Labor Opposition leader, has said the same thing in Sunday’s Telegraph. Father’s Day should be a day for giving. Fathers loving their children, fathers loving their wives, fathers spending time with their families. We have to reverse the mentality of Father’s Day as a day fathers get, to a day fathers give.
Then Father’s Day becomes a model for us all year long. A day to change the future of our nation. A day for giving, not receiving. You see, life’s about giving. The words of Jesus come to mind, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” …
Let me read from the 12pt Plan which is available at the Dads4Kids website. The preamble, to me, is most important because it deals with our values and our relationships…
“The greatest resource this country possesses lies in the families of our nation. At the same time, the strength of our families depends on the quality of the relationships between its mothers and fathers. The quality of the relationships between mothers and fathers and their children will determine the destiny of Australia. The future of Australia lies in the character of her children. Equipping and supporting fathers and mothers in their relationships helps ensure that our children have the best possible future.
The National Fathering Forum, who are the creators of the 12pt Plan, believe that every child has the fundamental right to both a mother and a father. The best way to secure this right is to establish a loving and stable marriage between a man and a woman for life. This long-term relationship facilitates the rights of grandmothers and grandfathers to continued access and valuable input into their grandchildren.
The overwhelming conclusion of current social science research has shown that the best environment for children is a close, warm, sustained and continuous relationship with both biological parents. The best way to ensure strong families is to support strong marriages. This traditional family unit — a loving father, mother and their children — is the best way to nurture, educate and protect children. This is the best social security system the world has ever known.
However, for a variety of different reasons, many fathers do not find themselves in a marriage relationship. Therefore, irrespective of their marital status, we want to support all dads to fulfil their role as effective fathers.
Fatherlessness can be defined as the absence of an active, positive father influence in the lives of children. Fatherlessness is both a natural and spiritual problem.
To turn the tide of fatherlessness, we need strategic and synergistic partnerships that should involve government, business, church, community, faith-based and secular charities and many others working together to strengthen and support Australian fathers.”
The future is in your heart. Together we can make a difference. The National Strategic Conference on Fatherhood is not a talk-fest but a change-fest. It is you and I having a change of heart. It is you and I valuing our relationships above our jobs, our position, our money, our career. It is you and I being living examples of our words.
Our children will become what we are, not what we say. The greatest challenge is to change from the inside out. Yes, the laws need changing. Yes, we need Family Law reform, but more importantly, we need a change in our hearts as fathers. I must stop being a slob at home. (Speak for yourself I hear men say.)
I have to not just be able to die for my wife, I have to live for her. We have to value our children more than our jobs, our positions, our money etc… Men spell love S-E-X, women spell love T-A-L-K, children spell love T-I-M-E. We must all take spelling lessons together and learn how to spell L-O-V-E again.”
Sit down with your family. Ask them how they spell love from the youngest to the oldest. Ask them what they think is the glue that holds your family together.
Put all your answers together, mix them with a good dose of listening: equal parts of forgiveness and patience, to find out how your family spells L-O-V-E.
Yours for good spelling,
PS: We are just about to release our Dads4Kids TV CSAs for Father’s Day. The TV ads are looking very good. Will keep you posted.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska.