Several years ago my wife and went on a family research trip to the USA. It was a rich experience on many levels. Firstly, from video footage shot on the trip, we created our first documentary on marriage and fatherhood called the Marriage Revolution. We even built a website to promote it. Secondly, the place we conducted a lot of interviews for the documentary was the Smart Marriages Conference in Florida. A wonderful learning experience.
Did I say that Brian Molitor, Michigan, of the Malachi Global Foundation took me out on a jet ski at 100 km per hour to remind me of the fourth line of the Marsh Family Mission Statement to ‘Have fun doing it’. (When are you coming back to Australia Brian?)
The beautiful LeBlanc Family hosted us in their unbelievable lake side retreat, deep in the Maine wilderness. However it was a visit to Kansas City to the International House of Prayer for all Nations and the National Center for Fathering that really smashed my heart.
Meeting and interviewing Mike Bickle the leader of IHOP was brilliant. Family and prayer are my two great passions and they are inextricably intertwined. Having said all that, meeting Carey Casey, CEO of the Fathering Centre in Kansas City was one of the high points of the trip.
Carey Casey is a big beautiful man who was the former professional grid-iron quarterback player featured in ‘Remember the Titans’, a true story of the battle for equality set against the game of inter-racial football in a highly charged atmosphere.
Carey Casey and his team at the National Centre for Fathering in Kansas City treated us like champions, the title of today’s newsletter. His book ‘Championship Fathering’ is a great read for dads who want to go to the next level. I’ll let Carey tell you some of his story:
I lost count of how many times my father used the words, “Boys, let’s go for a drive.” . . It took me a while to catch on. The idea wasn’t really about going for a drive. Pop was a lot more subtle than that. He was creating a captive audience in the car, where he could ‘school us up’ on something he’d been thinking about.
He’d slip it into the conversation without making a big announcement. He wouldn’t even change his tone of voice. He’d say, “You know, boys, it would break my heart if I ever heard that you hurt a young lady in any way.” Or, “If it ever got back to me – and you know it would get back to me – that you boys were messing with drugs, we’d have to do some serious business. Know what I mean?”
We would nod our heads. Pop always meant what he said . . .
. . . What are you hoping your kids will catch on to? Have you repeated certain phrases or habits in an effort to teach father-lessons your kids will remember? . . .
. . . For most of us, fatherhood turned out to be different from the way we thought it would be. Some of the difference was good, and some was not so good. Most of us wish someone had sat us down and schooled us about what it was like to suddenly be Dad.
Some of us had a dad or grandfather who gave us some clues about fathering. But very few of us ever had a conversation that started something like this: “Son, someday you’re going to be a father. When that child starts calling you ‘Dad’, here’s what I want you to remember.”
If you did have a conversation like that, I hope you can remember what came next – because it’s probably gold! But whatever your preparation for fatherhood, this book can be a series of conversations about the most important aspects of fathering that some of us have learned about along the way. Think of each chapter as you and me taking a drive. . .
. . . I don’t believe there is a greater challenge a man can take on than the task of being a husband and father. Sooner or late, and more often than you expect, fatherhood will take the best you can give – and them some. . .
. . . Good fathering, even Championship Fathering, is within your reach. It doesn’t matter where you’re starting as much as it matters how you finish. We’ve all got a lot to learn. We can learn it from each other’s failures and successes. We can help others along the way even while we make progress ourselves . . . so let’s keep going!
Carey Casey has laid down a challenge: Championship Fathering. It sure is hard, but I’m working on it.
Yours for more Champion Dads
PS: We would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers this week. We are working on the Dads4Kids new Father’s Day TV ad for 2016. See last year’s advert here. We captured stories from 4 great dads last Wednesday in Warnnambool, Victoria and we are shooting dads and kids moments in Wollongong as we write. Next Monday and Tuesday we will be in Cairns and the Atherton tablelands, North Queensland shooting some more stories and grabbing some special moments with Indigenous dads and their children. We sure need your prayers because the bar is pretty high and we really want to get over it!