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November 21, 2014
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Helping dads be better fathers

As a father myself, and as Chairman of the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood, I know firsthand the irreplaceable role fathers play in their children’s lives. My own father used his high school education and hard work to become a regional Vice President of a coffee company. He was a husband, a coach, a guide, a leader, and a man of compassion that shaped my upbringing.

Ironically, the first Father’s Day I celebrated as a father was the first one I celebrated without my own father. He had passed away about ten months before my first daughter was born. The case for fatherhood is well known and beyond dispute: with a father in their lives, children are less likely to have behavioral problems in school, are more likely to get better grades, show more curiosity and problem solving capacity, and have stronger verbal skills.

What makes a good father? Playing with our children. Reading to our children. Putting down our electronics or our work and simply making eye contact with our kids as they tell us about their day. Time spent together is far more important than what it is we actually do together.

The main goal of the Commission on Fatherhood is to help dads become better fathers. Using evidence based practices, the commission partners with non-profit and faith based organizations that work with new fathers, who are typically young and may not have had a good father as a role-model  to teach them how to be a part of their child’s life. Those fathers deserve credit for trying to become better fathers for their own children. We should support their efforts, and you can do so by visiting fatherhood.ohio.gov.

We set aside Father’s Day to say “thanks” to our dads, and to show them, however briefly, that they are appreciated.

Regardless of how you celebrate the day, being a father is undoubtedly the most rewarding thing that has ever happened to me. But being a father is bigger than that amazing first day in the hospital, hearing your child’s first words, or watching them graduate from high school. Fatherhood is completely committing yourself to the success, safety, and well being of your children. It is challenging and sometimes it is a struggle, but it is worth every second.

This Father’s Day, we celebrate our own fathers and all the great dads out there. But for those of us who are fathers ourselves, let’s rededicate ourselves to raising strong, healthy families, and being the best dads we can be. Our families need it, our kids deserve it and our future depends on it.

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