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The Power of Play

The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation will be running ten week fathering courses called, ‘Good to Great’ in the later part of this year. ‘Good to Great’ is not a pushover fathering course but a course that is highly interactive and brings real challenge to any aspiring father who wants to go to a much higher level of excellence in his fathering.

‘Good to Great’ is inspired by the SAS, the elite of the Australian Army, whose members undergo a rigorous training schedule to earn their stripes. Many military commentators argue that the Australian SAS is the best special fighting force in the world. Its motto is, ‘Who Dares Win’.

To quote from David Horner’s book about the Australian SAS, ‘The Phantoms of War’: ‘The strength of the SAS lies in its family nature . . . but the men of the SAS will not rest on their laurels. They are a self-critical group. They have little concern for rank or class. Only merit counts’.

The goal of Dads4Kids is to inspire men to be the best dads in the world for the sake of their children.

Our children already believe that their dad is the best. It is a case of each father rising to the level of his children’s expectations. This will require a commitment to the high calling of fatherhood in exactly the same way that the soldiers of the Australian SAS are committed to a much higher level of training, discipline and sacrifice than many of their counterparts within the armed forces.

We are excited that Brigadier Jim Wallace, previous commander of the SAS regiment, and a devoted father, is one of the ten speakers in the Dads4Kids ‘Good to Great’ Fathering Course. Courses are planned in the second half of 2014 for Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney, Armidale, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast hinterland, Gladstone and Townsville.

Jim Wallace is speaking in the Dads4Kids Good to Great Course in Week 8 about the challenge of leadership and fatherhood. He also gave extensive input into the course and shared with me many of the key characteristics required of regular soldiers who apply to join the SAS. The entrance course to the SAS is so rigorous that only one in twelve of the initial applicants make it through.

It is interesting to note that many of the characteristics they look for in SAS applicants are also qualities found in outstanding fathers. When I took Jim home from our planning session his eldest daughter, who was 21 years old at the time, ran out to greet him with a huge hug. I brought up the rear and was quickly introduced to a sparkling, gracious, gorgeous and articulate young woman who obviously loved her dad immensely. It is hard to argue with love. There is something very beautiful about a father and daughter who enjoy a close relationship.

Although Jim attributes most of his success as a father to his wife as he was often away on training assignments or patrol, he is adamant that successful fathers must be committed to spending quality time with their children, especially when they are young. Jim shared with me that he used to come home from the base and play Barbie dolls with his two young pre-school daughters almost every afternoon.

One of his daughters was even heard to say, “Mummies are good but daddies are best to play with”. What a great commendation of Jim’s fathering qualities. Jim Wallace is a soldier and a father who really understands the ‘power of play’.

Lovework

Brigadier Jim Wallace OAM, former commander of Australia’s most formidable and feared fighting force, the SAS, has set a very high standard for fathers like us. Can we rise to the occasion? Get your Barbie dolls out! This is not time to shirk from your call to duty. If you’ve got boys, it looks like toy cars and trucks will become the standard issue. Successful fathering starts very early.

So what are the high commander’s orders for your love work this week? Ready for it? Play with your children. That’s right – Have fun! Barbies dolls, cars and trucks, whatever it takes, and report back for an even tougher assignment next week.

Yours for playful dads
Warwick Marsh

 

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