The 2016 Fatherhood CoMission Leaders Summit


Next week, on November 30 through December 2, the Fatherhood CoMission will be hosting their fifth annual Fatherhood Leader’s Summit at the Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA. The Summit provides Fatherhood leaders and their spouses with free training, spiritual enrichment, and Christian fellowship; all while offering the potential of national networking with organizations across the United States and the ability to “dream as a team”. According to Mitch Temple, Executive Director of the FCM, this year’s Summit will host over 100 leaders and their spouses; representing over dozens of different states and countries. “We are pumped about the Summit”, Mitch said, “God is showing favor on the event. We give Him glory.”

The Summit offers every leader an opportunity to give a brief (1-2 minute) synopsis of their organization’s mission, as well as any other details, in front of the entire group. There is also plenty of extra time such as meals and less-formal fellowship/discussion time over the three days to help make such a big group “smaller”; thus creating stronger bonds and friendships between those in attendance. Previous featured speakers at the Summit have included NY Yankee legend Bobby Richardson, Iron Sharpens Iron Founder and President Brian Doyle, Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs, TGIF devotional author Os Hillman, and Family Life’s founder Dennis Rainey.

As a whole, the Fatherhood CoMission strives to champion Fatherhood by inspiring leaders and influencers to champion Fatherhood both inside and outside the Church through clear, compelling evidence of God’s design for dads as noble difference makers in their families and the world. The annual Leader’s Summit is the pinnacle of this mission. As Mike Young, Executive Director of Noble Warriors puts it, “The gathering of passionate champions for Fatherhood was encouraging and compelling for my wife and me. I’m moved by the Kingdom focus and the timing of the event. God is obviously working in and through many ministries individually and collectively to prioritize the issue of Biblical fathering. I’m optimistic and prayerful about the future of this movement. Lives will be transformed and families restored earthly fathers learn to love their children under the guidance and example of our Heavenly Father.”

To view a clip of the Summit, please watch (and share!) this video. Please pray for the Leader’s Summit as incredible collaboration comes from it each year. Also, please know that this Summit is offered by invitation only to leaders and their spouses each year at no cost to them. We want to bless leaders and their spouses who may not have the funding to attend leaders events like this. Would you consider making a donation to help us continue to bless our nations’ fatherhood and family leaders?

To make a donation:



Pokémon? Go, Go, Go!

Pokemon Go


This is not an endorsement for Pokemon Go.  I think it’s probably harmless.  I know it has gotten literally millions of young people to go outside and walk around. (That’s a good thing.)  And I know some parents and kids are hunting for Pikachu, Squirtle, and other Pokemon characters together. (That’s a great thing.) Apparently, the app already has more active users than Twitter. (And it’s only been available for a week!) For now, the downside of Pokemon Go seems to be that kids are tripping on curbs, walking into each other, trespassing, and venturing into unfamiliar neighborhoods. Like so many fads, a dark side will soon be revealed.  Mom and Dad, I recommend you use it to enter the lives of your kids. Even older kids. Even young adult kids. Just go ahead and say, “What is going on with this Pokemon Go thing?” Then, let your kids be your teacher. That’s a great parenting strategy. In the meantime, I clearly used the Pokemon Go phenomenon to get your attention. And now that you’re thinking about kids and summer, you’ll want to click on this little video I made a few years ago. It’s called, “There’s Nothing to Do.” Now go hang out with your kids!


What’s up with Jay?   I have 20 copies of Lifeology, my hopefully-amusing new book from Broadstreet Publishing. If you promise to zip through it — and within a week — give the book an honest review on Amazon, I’ll send you a copy. Just let me know.

Dad Talk- Manly

Rick Wertz- Manly

It was October 4th, 1997, on The Mall in Washington D.C. – I was one of over a million men attending Promise Keepers’ Stand in the Gap event. We listened to some of the nation’s top preachers & teachers challenge us on the many fronts of manhood; we heard of Jesus’ example of loving selflessly and sacrificially and were challenged to love our wives in the same way; we sang in force, “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, “As for Me and My House” and other hymns; we were on our knees with billfolds open to pictures of our family, praying for them; and we were encouraged and equipped in the word of God to Stand in the Gap for marriage and family, and for the Church. That was the first time I had heard with such clarity what it meant to be a man.

To put an exclamation point on the experience, the Lord worked through a stewardess on the flight returning a plane load of men to Houston early on October 5th, almost all of whom had been on The Mall the day before. After the safety briefing, the stewardess said, “Men, I know y’all received a lot of negative press for the gathering on The Mall yesterday. But I want you to know that we women love you, we love what you are doing and pray that you will keep on doing it!” Applause and Amens erupted. Then she made a request, “Would you please sing, ‘As for Me and My House, We will Serve the Lord’?” We sang, the plane took off, the pilot prayed over breakfast and I thought the flight might just keep going up to Heaven.

“I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.” – Ezekiel 22:30. Today there are many men standing in the gap thanks to the Lord working through organizations such as Promise Keepers, Robert Lewis’ Men’s Fraternity, spinoffs such as Men’s Life, That Man Is You and other men’s ministry initiatives in and beside the Church. Yet, the status quo still reflects much confusion around manhood. The challenge before us is to be manly, to stand in the gap and lead by example. Below are tips built around Robert Lewis’ definition of Biblical manhood as conveyed in his book, Raising a Modern Day Knight.

Tips to Be Manly:

  1. Reject passivity – do not tolerate the serpents in your life. Turn from temptations and turn to Christ;
  2. Accept responsibility – complete the education needed, get a job, get married and have children – in that order;
  3. Lead courageously – live life with the right priorities. Keep eyes focused on a growing, personal and passionate relationship with Jesus the Christ, live that relationship in marriage and reflect it in family, the Church and beyond.
  4. Invest eternally – Be engaged in raising a godly generation and keep an eternal perspective in this temporal world.A faithful father is a manly man that rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads courageously and invests eternally.

Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for men you have lifted up on the battlefront for manhood that have impacted my journey – Bill McCartney, Ken Canfield, Robert Lewis, Dave Peterson to name a few. These are men of You that have always pointed to You and Your word, not to themselves. Keep me under Your word and Your love on this journey of becoming the man, husband and father You expect me to be. Amen.


BHG, Rick Wertz


Prioritize physical presence

   Be engaged emotionally, and

      Lead spiritually by example.

Facing Your Blitz: Drop Desire for Dignity

DignityYou probably have some lingering pain or bitterness over being snubbed or disrespected. This story and message is about how to break free from the pain and chains of having to please, impress or get the credit in life. Check out this great inspirational video from Jeff Kemp:

Jeff Kemp is the Vice President of Family Life, the author of the weekly devotional Facing the Blitz, and a member of the Fatherhood CoMission. For more on Jeff and his blog, please visit

The Anatomy of a Positive Family Dinner Time


Healthy family communication is extremely important in your day-to-day routines, but it typically takes last place in most homes. Whether it is your and your spouse’s busy schedule, the hustle-bustle activities of the kids, or the ever-present TV distraction, mealtimes are rarely together as a family and typically fall to the “get ‘er done” syndrome. Healthy family communication is the inevitable loser and the result is that family members’ needs, wants and concerns get ignored or glossed over with little or inappropriate attention.

Opportunities for family members to express their needs, wants, and concerns to each other without fear of rejection or being ignored are essential. Solving family issues relies heavily on the family members being able to talk and listen to each other in an environment that encourages honesty, trust, acceptance and fairness. Family dinner time can provide such an environment.

This brings us to the anatomy of a positive family dinner time, a dying tradition in family bonding that offers a unique and underappreciated opportunity to instill the value of taking time from a busy week to touch base with, encourage and support each other. Family dinner times are your best chance to address daily issues, express concerns and praise accomplishments, and is one of a select group of family activities that can be plopped right in the middle of your busy routine with little interruption and many immediate and long-term payoffs.

Here are but a few of the many reasons for the importance of regular family dinner times:

  • Provides a ritualized daily activity that gives essential time to wind down and discuss each family member’s experiences of the day as a family.
  • Develops important social skills, including the ability to express and discuss opinions and feelings in an acceptant group setting.
  • Provides subtle but important marriage help to struggling couples by prioritizing eating meals together and setting common goals in an environment of warmth and acceptance.
  • Provides a daily opportunity to teach and reinforce commitment, values, and basic life principles.
  • Makes a daily statement about the importance and value of family time together.
  • Creates a sense of family love, unity and strength that can translate to other areas of family life as the inevitable individual and family issues and problems arise.
  • Provides a daily opportunity to reinforce the importance of hanging together, no matter what.

As parents, by committing to regular family dinner times you can send a clear message to your children that you value spending regular time with them and that they are more important than anything or anybody else. Therefore, make every effort to make the time a positive, encouraging and beneficial experience for every family member. Shun the temptations to let your family dinner time deteriorate into just another “task” to check off or hustle through. Stay on track, keep your commitment, set an example in attitude and demeanor, and “be there” in body and spirit.

And remember, turn off the TV, and put away the phones, tablets, whatever is a distraction! You will in time be very glad you did.

The health of your family communication is worth all your efforts and sacrifices.

– Family Dynamics Institute

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

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A Note to All This Father’s Day


Father’s Day is this Sunday. I have found that when I ask a man about his father that it usually stirs a strong emotional response. For some that response is incredibly positive, and regrettably for others, that response is filled with pain and anger. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, I want to encourage you to reflect on your dad during the next week—what did you learn from him, what is your favorite memory, what do you admire most about him, and what do you think he struggled with, how did he describe his relationship with his father? Engage your friends in this discussion, and your friendship will deepen, as you learn more about each other.

I was blessed to have a wonderful dad. The older I get, and the more mistakes I make, the more I realize how fortunate I really was. I had the privilege of speaking at his memorial service over eight years ago, and I chose Philippians 2:1-4 to discuss his life. He taught by example, and his actions consistently demonstrated a concern for others, putting their interests ahead of his own. He loved his family with a tender and compassionate heart. He showed up and was always available. He was a loving and faithful husband, and I never heard him raise his voice at my mom. He valued relationships, and got along with everyone. In short, he was a great man, and I really miss him.

For the men in our community who have a strained relationship with a father that is still alive, I want to encourage you to take a step toward forgiveness and reconciliation. These steps are never easy, but they are usually fruitful. I have heard great stories from men that took the initiative to engage their dads in a discussion. This morning, I watched this message about conflict resolution and relationship restoration from Rick Warren. His talk provides very practical advice on how to have difficult conversations with others, and I strongly recommend that everyone take the time to watch this message.

For those in our community that are fathers, I want you to reflect on your role to date as a father—what have you done well, where have you fallen short, what messages and values have you taught your children, what can you do to be a more impactful dad, are you on track to leave the kind of legacy that you want to leave? One of our guys sent me the following quote today: “Inheritance is what we leave FOR others—legacy is what we leave IN others.” Talk to a friend this week about some things you want to do differently in the next year as a dad. We have tremendous impact in our roles as dads—let’s make sure we are all focused on maximizing the positive impact we can have on our children by saying and doing the right things, and making sure that they know that they are loved and that we are proud of them.

One thing I have experienced as a dad is a greater appreciation of the love of our Heavenly Father. While my three children are all unique, and at times they make better decisions than others (like me), my love for them, and my desire for them to find happiness, is relatively constant, regardless of the circumstances. I hurt when they hurt. I rejoice when they rejoice. I hope you find comfort this Father’s Day in knowing that our Heavenly Father adores you, and can fill the void from any shortfall created by earthly fathers.

I want to encourage you to make Father’s Day extra special for the Dad’s in your life. Write a note or have a special conversation to your dad that will draw you closer to him. Plan some one on one time together where possible. Reach out to others in our community and share your stories.

-Tom Cole, Manhattan Chapter, New Canaanan Society

Honoring the Life of My Father

Matt & Dad

My dad recently passed away on May 22, 2016. He was eighty years old and died in his sleep. Although he had some health issues, his death still came as a surprise to us. I had just seen my dad the day before, and I am so grateful that my daughter and I stopped by that day to visit. As we parted I gave him a little shoulder hug and said, “See you later”. My daughter one-up’d me and said “I love you” to her grandpa. He replied back with “I love you too sweetie”. Those would be the last words either of us ever spoke to him.

My dad was not a perfect man, none of us are. He did a lot of good- both in me and my daughter’s life, as well as the lives of complete strangers. He was very generous when it came to helping those in need. (Just the sheer number of flower bouquets that were sent to the funeral home proved that!) As is the case I’m sure with many reading this, he also frustrated me sometimes to the point where I really wanted to chew him out…but never did. I have carried many of the traits my dad taught me on for the next generation: specifically my love of sports and a child-like, playful attitude. Now, I love kids- but my dad LOVED kids! He never hesitated to brighten a young boy or girl’s day like only he could. My dad told me and my little brother funny bedtime stories growing up- I do the same for my daughter. Yet, I often find myself improving as a father by doing the opposite of what my parents did. Not in a disrespecting way, but as a method of learning from their mistakes so I don’t repeat them.

The week following my father’s death, I was hit with a wave of emotions. Naturally there was grief and loss; but also lingering frustrations, love, and an awe of God’s presence. I cried often that week- both tears of sadness and tears of joy. Three years ago, I had the ability to have one of the rare “life talks” my dad and I ever had. By the end of our conversation, I told my dad I loved him, I forgave him for the things he had done to hurt me, and I prayed over him- the one and only time that has ever happened. Looking back, I now see that as the day God set me free from any “father wounds” I had and allowed me to spend our remaining years together on much better terms.

I will always be grateful for the years I had with him, I know not everyone is as fortunate. I am also so grateful to God for allowing my dad and I to reconcile and for him to see me make something of myself (I wasn’t always on that path). In his last year of life he was able to attend my wedding and several months later, my daughter’s baptism. I even got to spend my 40th birthday with him a month before he passed.

When others ask me about my dad in the days moving ahead, I pray my words will be ones that honor him and glorify God. Regardless of our parents’ failures, God’s Word holds a perfect standard of how we are to honor them. To follow Christ to the fullest is to follow the Word to the fullest as well. I will always love my dad and I thank the Lord for blessing me and my family through him.

I challenge you to dwell on this over the upcoming month: regardless of your relationship with your father, how can you honor him? Is there something that needs to be said while he is still around? What can you do as an act of love to let him know he is appreciated? Or, if your father is no longer around or contacting him is not an option, what can you do to honor, forgive, or set tribute to him as an act of worship to God? Don’t wait! You’d be surprised how a simple, small act of love can move mountains in your life.


Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. To learn more about the ministry, please visit For more information and ideas of how you can honor your father, visit our website at

Show Him Honor


What does it mean to give honor? It’s a question that puzzled me for years, because the command to honor my father felt in conflict with the feeling that my father didn’t deserve my honor. He simply couldn’t, he wasn’t present. So when I occasionally saw him or spoke to him on the phone and he made comments like, “I’m proud of you, son” those words felt so empty. Again, because he wasn’t really there. I ran track from when I was 9 years old, and was pretty good in my youth. Multiple national championships and even a couple of trips to Junior Olympics, but guess whose dad wasn’t in the stands cheering me on? Reality is, most of my teammates didn’t have fathers that were present either, so it’s not like I knew that I was missing something. But I did know I was missing him at home. People commented all of the time that I looked like my dad, or I laughed like my dad, and told stories about how funny my dad was back in the day. To me, he was both a figure that I admired and a phantom that I wished was around to make me laugh and to show me how to be a man. But due to a terrible addiction to alcohol, he simply wasn’t. So as I grew older, I just lived in the conflict. Wishing I knew more about him and that we were closer, but also wanting to keep my distance from the man who disappointed me so often. As I grew in the Lord, the command to honor my father loomed as an inescapable tension. How was I supposed to do that?

Honoring my Grandfather came easy it seemed. Talking about a man who was present, who took care of me, who asked me the hard questions, who modeled integrity, who exemplified the faith and patience and service to others that would leave an indelible mark on my life. Honoring that man was easy. I loved him deeply, because he first loved me. He showed me what love looked like. To this day I can unexpectedly break into tears of joy and tears of the pain of the loss of the most significant man in my life. When Father’s Day came around annually, I didn’t have to conjure up the nerves to give him a call, or browse the greeting card aisle forever trying to find the card that said just enough, but not too much. Not with my grandfather. I could buy a blank card and fill it with words of expression of my gratitude and loving kindness towards this man that was easy to honor, because he showed me consistent compassionate unqualified love.

As I wrestled with this question well into my adulthood, I stared at my Bible and read the words to honor my father, the easy thing to do is to give honor to my father-figure, but to discard the command as it related to my actual dad. But then I learned more. I began to dig deep into the definition of honor, and realized that it was more than to show gratitude, or to follow his advice, but to hold him in high regard. Then I began to think about how I could honor my father even though he wasn’t the example that I thought he should be. I had to look past my grandfather and the great shadow he cast over my dad. I had to look towards my Heavenly Father, the only one who could show me perfectly how to love and care for those around me. Then I had to realize that to bring honor to my earthly father, and even to my grandfather, was to live in such a way that would bring them honor by living Christ-like. Beyond the barbershop talk of, “I heard about your kid doing great things,” or the gigantic smile resulting from reading an excellent progress report from school. Beyond doing things in front of him that would naturally elicit his commendation. To bring honor to my father is to live in such a way that Our Father in Heaven would be well pleased, and to do my best show my father that allegiance to Him and His perfect love. To bring honor to my father is to live aligned with the gospel, whether or not he understands it or respects it. To treat him with respect, and to show him love and forgiveness, and to communicate His love, is the primary way in which I can bring him honor.

For some of you, I imagine the struggle to show your father honor may be very real, as it was for me. For others, to show and to share that you truly love him and are thankful for his influence in your life is easy, I can relate to that as well. But to all of us, no matter where your dad fits on the gradient scale of “honorability” in your mind, I only encourage you all to look beyond him, and to live as the man and the father that Our Heavenly Father calls you to be. To walk humbly before Him should result in having compassion and care and humility before your earthly dad. No matter if you find it hard, or if you find it no chore, give him a call or drop him a line if he is still alive.  In my case, both my father and grandfather have passed, but my pursuit to show them honor continues. Every day is a celebration, and a conscious decision to live in forgiveness. I pray that it can be the same for you as well.


Written by UNCOMMEN coach, Dee Lanier.  Watch Dee explain his reconciliation story with his dad and his relationship established with his other grandfather here. Check out the Honor Your Father campaign for more inspirational stories and ideas on how to honor your dad at  Be sure to check out practical ways to be an honorable father by downloading the UNCOMMEN app at

Verses to reflect on:

Dad Talk: “Be Reconciled”

Older father and son hugging

Every day is Veteran’s Day – Thank you to all who have served to defend our country, this one nation under God.

I learned the hard way to honor our veterans. Growing up in a violent alcoholic home, I just knew I did not want anything to do with Dad nor have anything in common with him. After having our last run in, I left home at a young age. My eldest sister and her husband opened their home to me and I moved on with life. I had two prayers and one goal as a young man – I prayed I would be blessed with a happy and healthy marriage and family, and that I would keep my family well above the poverty line I had grown up below; My goal was to go as far as I could in the opposite direction of my dad.

All was going well with that plan. I had not effectively talked with Dad for 15 years – He did not attend my high school graduation, college graduation or wedding. Then our daughter was born. I could no longer deny having something in common with Dad – we were both dads. I extended an invitation for him to meet his new granddaughter and he accepted.

We were living in Midland, Texas, at the time and I scheduled a trip to visit the Nimitz Museum in Fredricksburg. It was 1986. The museum was quite small but it offered some of the most realistic views of the Pacific theatre during World War II. Dad had been a Hellcat pilot off the USS Wasp. When I saw actual footage of the Hellcats taking off and landing on the aircraft carriers as well as those that crashed in the Pacific with little chance of survival, I was convicted that I had passed judgment on a man I had no right to judge. If I had been in a cockpit engaged in air combat in my early 20’s and had to watch as a number of my buddies went down while trying to return to the ship, I may not have been able to turn from the alcohol either. I asked if he would forgive me. He did.

We reconciled and established a relationship that opened the door for Dad to know our daughter and to meet his only grandson. Dad passed in 1994. Ma had said at one point that the man she married before the war came back a different man. I think it is obvious that anyone going into battle will be different as a result. Tip your cap and say, “Thank you,” to veterans you see any day of the year. And if your dad has struggled to deal with battles he has faced in war or in life, take the initiative to be reconciled before any more time gets by.

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. – Exodus 20:12. This is the commandment with a promise.

Tips to Be Reconciled:

  1. Initiate an honest discussion on thoughts around your relationship;
  2. Exchange real expression of feelings about the past;
  3. Confess and ask forgiveness as you are led;
  4. Commit to build a new relationship.

Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the many gifts and blessings in my life. Thank You for turning my heart to honor my father, to accept that he did the best he could do with life choices he faced. Thank You for Your Word and Your love that guides me through life choices I face in becoming the man, husband & father You expect me to be.  Amen.

A faithful father reconciles relationships to honor his father and mother.


BHG, Rick Wertz


  • Prioritize physical presence
  •    Be engaged emotionally, and
  •       Lead spiritually by example.


For more on the Honor Your Father initiative, please visit

Dr. Seuss Weighs In On Fathering

600-00948575 © Masterfile Model Release: Yes Property Release: Yes Model & Property Release Family Playing in Park

As we all know, in just about any profession there are brilliant and skilled doctors who have expertise and know-how in very specific areas.

Not unlike docs in the medical, dental, or psychological professions who bring their best to their patients, there is another doctor with whom most of us grew up—someone our parents turned to time and again. No, I’m not talking about Dr. Spock (who literally was the “go-to” guy for my mom as she raised me in the 60’s). I’m talking about Dr. Seuss! 

I love the fact that in some of his well-known children’s books he actually portrays the relationship between parents and kids. Most of us probably never really thought of it like this until now; but I think Dr. Seuss could probably enlighten us on a thing or two when it comes to father-child dynamics.

Of course the beauty of a childhood story is that we don’t always have to give much thought to every minute detail. But being that I’m a shrink, I do have a curious desire to ponder what subtle undertones might be conveyed in the classic, Hop on Pop. Let’s review what the good doctor was saying, shall we?

Here is an excerpt from about halfway through the book, and feel free to read out loud as you reconnect with your inner child:

Sad. Dad. Bad. Had.

Dad is sad.

Very, very sad

He had a bad day.

What a day Dad had!

Hop. Pop.

We like to hop.

We like to hop on top of Pop.


Pop now finally sits up with a stern look on his face while two bewildered children sit stunned. Pop says:

You must not hop on Pop.

After this section, for some reason we don’t hear about dear Dad again until the end. Then finally, right before the last page, we’re introduced to one more important thing about Dad: We discover that he can read big words like “Constantinople” and “Timbuktu.” It’s nice to know that the father in the story is intelligent and capable, educated and sharp.

So then, what can Dr. Seuss teach us about fathering? Could there be any dad lessons tucked into these few short pages?

Let me take the liberty to highlight a few things I’ve gleaned from this incredible read, the famous go-to handbook for fathering, Hop on Pop. With each one, I’m including important things for dads to remember in relation to their sons and daughters, stated as though your children were speaking to you:

  1. Dad has emotion. – We kids are very dialed in to your emotions and moods, Dad.
  2. Dad doesn’t hide his sad emotions from his kids (especially his very, very sad ones). – Dad, it’s okay to be real and let us see your sad emotions as well as your happy ones.
  3. Kids like to play with their dad. – We like it when you are approachable even on your very bad days, because we care about you.
  4. Dad lets his kids get close to him even when he’s had a bad day. – We need you to let us physically connect with you on good and bad days; truth be told, sometimes we need safe touch from you on our hard days too. (By the way, hugs and kisses release chemicals in the brain that counteract stress. So give more hugs and kisses on your very bad days, and you’ll feel better!)
  5. Dad allows his kids to use him as a jungle gym. (Maybe it doubles as a new kind of “play therapy” to cheer Dad up after a hard day while also meeting his kids’ needs.) – Dad, we know you have a limit on how much you can handle and it’s understandable when you’ve hit that point.
  6. Dad has a limit on how much interaction with his kids he can handle when he’s stressed. – We’d prefer that you not scream and shout at us when you’ve hit your max capacity, but we do like knowing you’re human.
  7. Dad abruptly stops the connection of interactive play when he’s had enough. (Dad sets a boundary.) – It’s okay to set a boundary when you need to, but please remember that you are teaching us how to handle intensity by your example.
  8. Dad is smart and understands complex words and concepts. – We really do like the fact that you are smart and can decode big words and concepts. We love it when you educate us on things you understand and know. And even if you can’t solve all the world’s problems, for some reason we like to believe you can.

So there you have it: a few thoughts about father-child relationships that are worth underscoring. I hope you will choose a few of these lessons and make them happen today with your son or daughter:

  • Show vulnerable expression of your “softer” emotions, like sadness.
  • Hug your kids even if you’ve had a bad day.
  • Communicate lovingly (not abruptly) when you’ve had enough or are maxed.
  • Set healthy boundaries with your kids by modeling what that looks like.
  • Teach them something new so you can grow smarter together.

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for teaching us a thing or two about little kids and big kids alike from your vast base of knowledge. We’re deeply indebted to you and are ready now to “hop” into action!



Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon and has served in that role for the past 18 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook at and Twitter @mwatsonphd.