It’s hard to hold back the tears when a man starts being really honest and speaking from his heart. This is especially the case when that same man has just finished the first Good to Great Course to be completed outside the Sydney-Wollongong region. It is even more exciting when that man tells you that his whole relationship with his wife and children has been revolutionised by completing the Dads4Kids Good to Great Fathering Course.
These are the sort of phone calls I live for, and I’m sure a lot of Australian children are waiting for.
Having grown up without a father for part of my life, I know what it feels like for those children who do not have their father living with them in their home. Of course for many Australian children (I estimate half) the lights are on but no-one is home, in other words, Dad is at home but not really present for a whole host of reasons.
Ned Kelly famously said, “Such is life”, which certainly doesn’t give a lot of comfort to those children experiencing a lack of positive father involvement. Things change when people change. It’s great when men strike out to change the status quo and go for gold for their children. Even a decision to do the Good to Great Fathering Course is in itself a life and family changing decision.
To do the Good to Great Fathering Course admits a man’s need for help, and that is something we men are very afraid of; especially of a commitment to complete a ten week course, which I believe, is the toughest and most challenging fatherhood course in the world. That’s why it is called ‘Good to Great’.
I spoke to ‘David’, a police trainer and one of the guys who has just graduated from the ten-week Dads4Kids Good to Great Fathering Course, run by Andrew Maunga in Gladstone, Queensland. I asked him to tell me how he knew the Good to Great Course had changed his family life for the better. This is the story he told me as he was travelling by bus to Brisbane to train policemen in how to use guns and the art of self-defence.
“When I left home this morning it took me half an hour to say goodbye to my four children and my wife. (David has four children: an 11 year old daughter, 6 and 4 year old sons and a 1 year old girl). Normally when I leave on a police training mission, because I have been so uninvolved in my children’s lives, they barely notice that I am gone. This time, there was 25 minutes of tears. It took me all that time to assure them that I loved them and that I was coming back and no, I didn’t really want to go after discovering this beautiful new relationship with my children and my beautiful wife, but I had to go. I was about to cry, but held myself together, because that would have made it worse, and even harder to leave, and the bus would not wait. This has never ever happened before.”
David said with wonderment,
“More than anything, this shows me the Good to Great Course has impacted my family in more ways than I can possibly imagine.”
I asked David how his wife had received the letter he had to write to his wife as part of the course? He told me,
“She was crying even before she opened the letter, she was so excited to receive a love letter from her husband.”
This story reminded me of the man who was a train driver who did the Good to Great Course many years ago. He loved his wife and family, but like so many men, was not good at telling them, and he was not good at writing. The men in his group banded together to help him write the letter to his wife. She received the letter on the same afternoon that the whole family was about to travel to the coast for a break. His wife was so happy to receive a love letter from her husband that she cried for two hours. She was so delighted and surprised at her husband’s gritty but real love letter. (This week’s All You Need is Love demonstrates the power behind the mystery of love, and there is also a great special!)
I asked David, as a trainer who knows the importance of teaching men to shoot straight, what he thought of the very tough Good to Great training schedule. His answer was simple, and to the point,
“It covers all the bases and is intensely practical. Each week builds on the one before and you have to fight hard to keep up. It is so easy to slip back into old habits, but because the emphasis in the course is involvement in practical doing, it makes it much easier to learn.”
As Benjamin Franklin once said,
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Phil Collins said, “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn”. All dads are both teachers and learners. Become a lifelong learner. When you stop learning, you start dying. Commit yourself to learning how to be a better dad, and in doing so, watch the love grow. You will know it when it gets harder to say goodbye.
Yours for lifelong learning,
PS: The Good to Great Course will be taking enrolments for 2014.
If you would like to enrol, go to the Dads4Kids ‘Good to Great’ Fathering Course.
Email Dads4Kids if you are interested in becoming a trainer for the Good to Great Course.