I had a call this week from a female Sunday Telegraph reporter, doing a story on Father’s Day, which is celebrated in Australia on 1st September 2013.  The Sunday Telegraph is Australia’s biggest selling newspaper.

She asked me two questions. The first was:

What is the state of fatherhood in Australia?

My answer to this sort of topic always finds me quoting the Charles Dicken’s novel,

“It is the best of times and the worst of times”.

On one hand we have an all out war against the idea of male, female and even fatherhood itself. And yet, looking at it from the positive point of view, we see encouraging signs of a renewal of fatherhood, especially amongst younger men in their 20s and 30s. I believe this is largely a reaction to the epidemic of fatherlessness that they have personally experienced firsthand.

Her second question was,

“Can you give me some tips for Dads that I can put in my article?”

In return I asked her what she thought, as a mother and observer of the male of the species, what are the three most important things a dad can do for his children. Her points were so good that I thought I would share them with you.

  1. Listen to your children.
    You must listen to your children. Give them your full attention and listen without prejudice. In other words listen to them, not tell them whether they are right or wrong but just listen to them. Your child is valuable and their words are valuable. Value them by listening to them.  Don’t try to fix them, just listen.
  2. Have fun with your children.
    Your children long to have fun with Dad. Being a parent is serious business and being a Dad who is fulfilling the role of protector/provide can be overwhelming in itself. So take time out! Play with your children. Do some things that they would like to do for a change, but most of all have fun with them.
  3. Model change, don’t just demand it.
    Children do as you do, not as you say.Be more loving and gracious in your approach of fathering so that your children will want to be like you.

After telling me her three points, I congratulated the reporter and informed her that these are all part of Dads4Kids Good to Great Fathering Course. She had just written her Fathers Day article for me and she didn’t need to ask me what I thought because what she said was better anyway. (People won’t believe what you say but they will believe what they say, that’s why it is so important to get them to say it if you can.)

Check this Good to Great 1 Minute promo link: https://vimeo.com/67951457

I extrapolated on her last point in conversation and told her that while her role as a mother was critical; her children will be more influenced by their father in life’s decisions than by their mother. All the social science research and stats show this to be the case. An extensive Bureau of Statistic’s study by the Swiss Government showed that if a father does not go to church, no matter how faithful his wife’s devotion, only one child in fifty will become a regular worshipper. If a father goes to church regularly, regardless of the practice of the mother, between two thirds and three quarters of their children will become churchgoers (regular and irregular). In statistical terms, a child is 19 times more likely to follow the father’s leadership in this area than a mother’s leadership. This enormous level of influence by fathers carries over into other areas. A father’s positive involvement with his teens means that those teenagers are twice as likely not to engage in risky teen sex.

Instinctively women are aware of how important fathers are to children. Danna Vale said, “Children get their nurturing from their mother and their identity from their father”. This is one of the many reasons that Dads4Kids developed the Good to Great Fathering Course – to help fathers become great role models for their children. As Mahatma Ghandi said, “You must become the change you seek”.

Herein lays the challenge.

So what are the ingredients in the process of change? Let me list them for you.

Information – you can’t do what you don’t know.

  1. Empowerment – you need inspiration and activation.
  2. Goal Setting – you need to set goals for yourself.
  3. Accountability – you need to share your goals and achievements with other men.
  4. Positive change – achieve your goals and then celebrate them.
  5. Encouragement – no man is an island – receive encouragement from other men.
  6. Long Term Transformation – it takes 66 days to create a new habit.

Excitedly I told the Sunday Telegraph journalist that Dads4Kids is rolling out the Good to Great Fathering Course all across Australia  to help men become the change they seek and make the ‘best of times’ applicable to Australian fatherhood for Father’s Day 2013.


Let’s take the exhortation of our female journalist to heart and go on the quest to becoming a better father by: becoming a better listener, a better fun person and a better role model. The last is the hardest, but as Churchill said in his famous speech, “Never, never, never, never . . . give up”.

Yours for more Great Dads

Warwick Marsh

PS: We are releasing the Good to Great Fatherhood Course across the nation in the coming weeks. We would love you to join us on the journey of becoming a great role model for your children. The Good to Great Fathering Course is primarily a fatherhood course, but it is also a marriage course, improve your listening course, relationship course, self-development course for men, men’s leadership course, how-to-be-a-great-husband course, men’s health course, sexual integrity course and a how-to-have-fun-with-your-children course.

The most critical thing to remember is that Good to Great is a journey, not a destination.  Whenever we think that we have arrived, that is usually the moment we start to go backwards.  The price of safety is eternal vigilance.  Jim Collins, author of ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’ says: “Good is the enemy of great and that is one of the key reasons why so little around us becomes great… Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” For more information go to Dads4Kids Good to Great Fathering Course or email for more information: info@fatherhood.org.au

Published On: August 10th, 20130 Comments on Good To Great

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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