Recently Henderson, Nevada Mayor Andy Hafen proclaimed February 13, 2014 "Fathers and Families Coalition of America Day" and presented me with an original signed proclamation at an empowering ceremony with the city clerk. The new holiday is designed to encourage healthy relationships within families, thereby helping to raise healthy children.
I was honored to be presented this proclamation by Mayor Hafen. Setting aside one day a year to focus on promoting healthy families through positive father involvement is a critical step. I am hopeful that cities around the country take note and follow Henderson's example.
The proclamation was presented to me following my speech at an international fatherhood conference in Las Vegas, which focused on utilizing a father's involvement to halt the cycle of violence and abuse. By following 3 key principles, dads can provide critical support to their children, and help promote healthy families year round:
1. Children Whose Fathers are Present Have Greater Self-Esteem
Children who receive positive attention from their dads – such as spending time together, throwing the football, watching a movie or just hanging out – have greater self-esteem, making them less likely to become victims of destructive or violent relationships.
2. Fathers Are Positive Role Models For Their Children
Dads have a unique opportunity to serve as their child's primary role model. By engaging with others in a positive manner, fathers provide a compelling lead for children to follow. Fathers who are separated or divorced from their childrens' mother can still play a pivotal role by teaching their children effective communication skills, even in difficult situations.
3. Fathers Engaged In Positive Relationships Teach Children to Expect Respect
Children learn from watching those around them. When children see their fathers being treated in a positive manner in a relationship – whether with a friend or a significant other - they learn that they too should expect to be treated well.