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Fathers Matter

February 4, 2011

Fathers serve as an important role in the lives of their children.
Henderson Intermediate School understands this, and to celebrate fathers, they hosted its first father’s breakfast last week at the school.
“We choose to have a father’s breakfast to thank fathers for being involved in their child’s educational experience and to reiterate how important it is to do so,” counselor Asylee Gardner said.
“Traditionally, the female parent is very involved in a child’s education,” Henderson Principal Timothy Bourne said. “We wanted to show the importance of having fathers involved as well. We wanted to show them a father’s impact on a child’s life is very important.”
More than 60 fathers were present to share breakfast with their child, which was prepared by fifth grade librarian Linda Duston and counselor Gardner. Denise Hosie made the table centerpieces.
“It was special to take time out and sit down and have breakfast with my son,” Rev. Larnzy Carpenter said. “I commend Mr. Bourne and Mrs. Gardner for getting together to have the fathers come out and share breakfast — It was necessary... My son is still talking about it. It’s meant a lot to him, especially when we live in a town where a lot of children don’t have a father to come eat breakfast with them.”
“Anytime you can bring more parents into the school is good for the kids,” father Doug Bedsaul added. “
Bourne explained to that parents fathered that time is one of the most important gifts a parent can give to their child.
“Sometimes the busyness of life gets in the way, so this was a time where fathers could reserve time to spend some time with their child,” Bourne added.
He also shared some staggering statistics with the parents about children who grow up without a father’s presence. Seventy-one percent of all high school drop outs come from fatherless homes. Sixth-three percent of all youth suicides are from fatherless homes, and 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
“A father’s involvement in a child’s life assists with self confidence, self identity and maturity. Statistics show the importance of father’s in a child’s life,” Bourne said.
He also taught the fathers the 10 power principals of successful fathers (by Wayne Parker):
• The emotional bank account — Involves making deposits of trust and faith in the lives of children. It’s about communication, love, loyalty and integrity.
• Gift of time —You can give a child possessions like video games and mountain bikes, but nothing substitutes for the time and attention one can give a child.
• Teaching responsibility — Fathers are in a unique position in a child’s life to teach responsibility and the values of work. Teach by example by keeping commitments and by putting family first, even when life and work get stressful.
• Use the golden sword — Family relationship expert Gary Smalley talks about the golden sword and silver sword. The silver sword corresponds with the working man, whereas the golden sword pertains to father at home. Trying to mix the two swords can be detrimental to the home environment if the father tires to rule with the silver sword rather than the paternal golden sword.
• Walk the talk — Fathers must lead by example. A father who does not lead by example will never gain the respect of a child. Being a man of principal and living congruently with those principals is an essential element of successful fatherhood.
• Consistency — Fathers are best when their approach is predictable and consistent. Children get a strong message when fathers are firm and solid in their approach. Giving in to children is easier, but it hurts more in the long run.
• High expectations — Successful fathers set high, but realistic, expectations for themselves and their children. Then they work to achieve those expectations.
• Expressions of love — Fathers who have great relationships with their children have learned to express love in meaningful ways. They are gentle, yet firm, even when disciplining, and then show afterward an increase in love.
• Mutual respect — When a father shows respect for the child, the child is more likely to return the respect toward the parent. The best fathers also show respect for the child’s mother, regardless of whether they are married or not.
• Making values count — It’s not enough for a father to simply teach behavior. He must also teach values. Successful fathers are honest, respect women, live by standards and have a rich spiritual life (however they define it). Great fathers help pass those values on to their child.
Thanks to the positive feedback from the breakfast, Bourne and Gardner plan to make the breakfast an annual event.

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