In 1993, author Richard Louv published a book entitled FatherLove: What We Need, What We Seek, What We Must Create. At the time, being a father for six years (and the son of a father for 41 years), the Richard Louv’s theme of “father love” resonated strongly in my heart and mind. FatherLove is a gift all men can bring to all the children they encounter. And there are endless opportunities to practice FatherLove.
For Father’s Day 2017, my small gift in this writing is to honor and appreciate men who’ve brought FatherLove into the world.
Tom Fitzpatrick co-founded the Midwest Father’s Conference and it’s sponsoring organization, Partnerships for Dad. Fitz was passionate about fathering. He used every opportunity to extol the virtues of fathering for the children, for the men, for the women, and for the whole world. Fitz gave presentations, keynote addresses, and counseled men all in the service of bringing more FatherLove into the world. Tom created Fathers Forum, a free monthly gathering of fathers to voice their challenges and successes and receive support and direction from those who had gathered. He offered workshops to train other men to provide Father Forums. To the very end, FatherLove was a fire that burned in Tom Fitzpatrick.
Mark Perlman created the Nurturing Fathers Program to bring more love and less violence into the lives of children. A first-class child advocate, Mark knows that men accessing their abilities to nurture their sons and daughters, including how to engage in conflict well, results in healthier and happier children, better parental relationships, and deeply satisfied fathers. In a well designed, evidence based 13 week training, men develop their capacities to bring their FatherLove to the forefront with confidence and skill. Mark Perlman is a true peaceful warrior for the common good.
Mike McCormick was blessed with insight that called him to write ManQuest: Leading Teenage Boys into Manhood and to run ManQuest programs. Historically, boys became men through initiation ceremonies led by the male elders. Mike recognized boys long for the leadership of older men and how fathers can provide important pieces of the manhood puzzle for their sons. The whole idea of Manquest is for fathers to bridge the gap and give to their sons something the boys all crave in silence: a roadmap to manhood. Mike bravely listened to an inner voice so that fathers could have a FatherLove game plan to co-create men-in-the-making with their sons.
Many years ago, Joe Sigurdson and Craig McClain went on an adventure weekend exploring their manhood and masculinity. Afterward they thought, “why wait to your 40’s to bring the boy in us into manhood. Let’s help the boys do it now.” They took up a quote from Frederick Douglas, “It’s easier to build strong children than to repair broken men” and birthed the Boys to Men Mentoring Network, an international organization bringing FatherLove through mentoring to all kinds of boys. There are an appalling number of fatherless homes fostering havoc for boys of all backgrounds. Boys to Men reaches out to the them through community based programs with a proven track record that has improved their grades, attendance, and behavior. Devotion and passion drive Joe and Craig to bring FatherLove to as many boys as possible, inspiring Boys to Men programs in 13 areas of the United States and 5 areas outside the United States.
I honor and appreciate you all. Thank you!