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Intentional Dad
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Do you know what really made a difference in helping me become a more intentional and more engaged dad? Believe it or not, it was when I came here to the National Center for Fathering as CEO.

I know, that’s kind of a unique thing, so why would I bring it up? After all, we can’t hire all of you dads—I only wish we could. But that doesn’t mean you can’t apply the principles that have impacted me, and other guys on our staff.

Here are three things that make a difference for me:

First, being here at the Center, I think about fatherhood a lot—hours every day. I soak in great principles and inspiring stories all the time, and that has an impact on me when I go home.

With that in mind, I encourage you to spend significant time thinking about your role as a dad. Leave yourself reminders and put up photos of your family at work. Hang around other guys who are committed dads. Follow us (and other fathering groups) on Facebook and Twitter for practical tips and an ongoing, daily reminder about your role. Read blogs, books and articles that lead you to think about fathering.

Now, I also know that thinking about something doesn’t automatically mean we follow through. But it’s a good first step in the daily challenge of making your family a priority and living out Championship Fathering.

Another thing about my job: I talk about what it means to be a good dad, whether it’s at a speaking event or just in conversations with people.

Likewise, I’d challenge you to share your own passion about being the loving, committed father your children need. If you have found something useful to your fathering journey—a resource, a skill, a truth—pass it along. Pay it forward, as the saying goes.

Other dads around you will be encouraged and challenged in their fathering, and there are benefits to you as well. You probably know that we learn something better when we teach it to someone else. So, sharing your fathering convictions and best practices with someone else will help to solidify them in your own life.

Best case, you can talk about fathering regularly with other dads in a small group.

Finally, as CEO of the National Center for Fathering, I have a sense of accountability. As you can imagine, having that title comes with some pressure to actually be a good dad. If I’m not living it out at home, then it hurts my credibility big-time. So I’m really accountable to everyone around me.

But I must say all of us dads should share an even greater sense of accountability. A higher title than CEO is the title of father. It’s an awesome privilege, and we should take our responsibilities seriously because we’re in that position. Nurturing the next generation is huge! Being a father is among the most important jobs we’ll ever have! I hope that title helps to motivate you to be a good dad.

So, yeah, I’m CEO here, but more than that, I am a dad. And you are, too. So make the most of it. (And I must say, “Granddad,” is a pretty sweet title, too.)

Of course, I am also accountable to my bride and my children, my staff and a group of men that I meet with nearly every week. They all have permission to examine my life and point out areas where I might need to grow, and they help me stay on track as a dad.

I need that accountability if I’m going to be the father my children really need—and I’m pretty sure you’re like me in that way. So if you don’t have those kinds of relationships in place already, I hope you’ll have the courage to seek them out. They can be a huge factor in your success as a father.

Please help other dads by sharing. What are your secrets for maintaining a high commitment to your children? Join the discussion below or on our Facebook page.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Be an effective “CEO” at home—not the head honcho who calls all the shots and expects everyone to jump at his command, but one who leads by example, listens to others and builds up every member of the team.
  • Dive in and be a dad! Even if you come up against something you don’t feel prepared for, ask for help from your kids’ mom or other dads. Learn how to care for, nurture and shape your child.
  • Jot down notes about each member of your family: positive traits and abilities, recent acts of kindness and so on. Then look for ways you can help them build on their strengths.
  • Start a WATCH D.O.G.S. program at your child’s school—or help promote the existing one. You’ll help other dads be more involved and boost your own commitment to your children and their education.
  • Make yourself accountable to other fathers. When men talk honestly and listen to other guys about their fathering, we realize we’re all in the same boat and we gain great insight and awareness for ourselves as dads.

Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors and inspires my children.

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