We all have to move forward. The good news is that Dads4Kids is on the move. Earlier this year, Paul Lassig joined our team as the Dads4Kids Development Manager to take Dads4Kids forward. If we stop moving forward, we get stuck in the past, atrophy and die.
It is the same for you and me as fathers. We have to keep challenging ourselves to get better, be more honest, and develop new skills or relearn old ones.
Let me put this in perspective.
I used to hate changing nappies when the kids were young. Truth be told, I didn’t pull my weight in this regard. I am very glad for a forgiving wife. Thankfully my sons put me to shame in this department, but I still struggle.
The other day, my youngest grandson filled his pants. He pushed out a real stinker! I grimaced, bit the bullet, grabbed the change bag, and voila, the old skills came rushing back without me having to put a peg on my nose. I was very proud of myself.
If Dads4Kids is going to stay relevant, we have to connect with the next generation of fathers. We are thrilled that Paul Lassig, a father of two with 16 years in the Air Force and ten years in the business world, has joined our team. Paul has also been working with men and families for the last two decades. He too believes the words of Frederick Douglass who said,
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Just as fathers have to keep challenging themselves to get better, be more honest and develop new skills, the same goes for Dads4Kids.
To this end, my wife Alison and I, along with Paul Lassig, and in consultation with the Dads4Kids Board, have examined the last 18 years of operation and developed a 5-Year Strategic Plan to assist more dads to help their children. To do so we felt challenged to first develop a Hedgehog Goal for Dads4Kids.
The Hedgehog Concept was originally based on an ancient Greek parable that stated, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Business researcher and consultant Jim Collins used this concept as a metaphor for business in his influential book, Good to Great.
The concept can help an organisation to focus on three main areas: passion, talent and the ‘economic engine’. By understanding each of these dimensions and where they overlap, it is possible to identify the key focus that will guide your organisation toward meaningful, long-term success. The diagram below shows how you as a father or your family can develop your own hedgehog goal, and why not?
After much thought, discussion and analysis, we realised that the Hedgehog Goal for Dads4Kids was to “transform society by being the best fatherhood training charity in the world and give our children the best start in life”.
In this way, we become a great investment for our donors. To do this, we need to help fathers turn their hearts towards their children, and offer different levels of inspiration and training to engage those same fathers in the pursuit of excellence in fathering. Those we help will mostly likely give to us, and the stories of the children, mothers and fathers we help will inspire others to donate, and thus drive the Dads4Kids economic engine, so that we can help more fathers help more children.
See below the Dads4Kids ‘Excellence in Fathering Training Funnel’, which explains how Dads4Kids will achieve our Hedgehog Goal as we move forward. Remember the beneficiaries of what we do, and that you do as a father, are always our children.
Excellence in Fathering Training Funnel
To reinforce the relevance of our Hedgehog Goal, I had a very powerful phone call from a father called Steve (not his real name) who had completed a Good to Great Fathering Course 12 months ago, which has revolutionised his family and his business.
Steve said to me,
“Warwick, I used to be a bully. My mum and dad split up when I was young. The breakup crippled my heart and I got stuck in the past. My Dad was a bully, and a womaniser. When I started work as a young man I trained in management. The corporate culture was full of bullies, so I became what I didn’t want to become.”
“I hated myself but that is all I knew. I went out on business on my own and I bullied my staff. The big problem was I bullied my wife and I bullied my children. The good to Great Fathering Course was a real wake up call and the act of doing the course changed my life. I now have a fantastic relationship with my children. I used to have to pay my children to spend time with me. Now we are inseparable. Recently I had the best day of my life. I took a day off work to take my children to and from high school on their first day.”
“Warwick, every part of my life has changed”, continued Steve. “Because I stopped being a bully at my business, my staff are 30% up on sales this financial year. It just seems unbelievable.
“I did the Good to Great Course because I had achieved everything I had dreamed of as a kid: married, great home in a fashionable suburb, dream car and awesome boat. When my friend asked me to do the course last year I was apprehensive but I thought I had nothing to lose. I didn’t realise that doing the course would win me so much.”
“The Good to Great Fathering Course was challenging and forced me out of my comfort zone but it has put me back in my comfort zone with my family in the best possible way.”
Steve’s phone call helped confirm that the Dads4Kids’ one big thing is helping fathers like Steve move forward and embrace excellence in fathering. The children will always be the ones to benefit.
Think about how your family can move forward. What is your one big thing? What do you delight in? What does your family delight in, and how can you blend it all together so that everyone wins and you can move forward together?
A hedgehog goal is really a vision and mission statement all blended together in the simplest way possible. Every family should have one.
Yours for families moving forward,
PS: When I heard the horrific news about Rowan Baxter, the dad who killed his wife, three children and then himself, I just knew that this man had some sort of fathering deficiency. I knew the truth would eventually come out. Sandra Taylor, a cousin in Baxter’s family, revealed in an interview with media that Rowan Baxter had a Father Problem.
The news story goes like this:
‘The estranged cousin of Rowan Baxter has revealed the man, who killed his wife and three children in a car fire on Wednesday, had degrading views on women that fueled his rage.
“Not that I’m saying Rowan is a victim, but Rowan has been raised by a father and his father and his father — and it goes onwards — that women are two things: to be the house cleaner and to be a prostitute,” Sandra Taylor, who is Mr Baxter’s first cousin on his mother’s side, told 9 News.’
Promoting excellence in fathering, training dads and changing the culture, one father at a time, are the only ways to eradicate domestic violence in our nation.