Good to Great for Single Dads by Warwick Marsh

The ‘Good to Great’ Fatherhood Mentoring Course for the 21st Century was originally designed for fathers of intact families, to strengthen their relationships and help fathers go to the next level of excellence in fathering. Single Fathers face many challenges, not the least being a ‘system’ that tends to be very cruel to the male of the species. The Fatherhood Foundation has long recognised the many difficulties faced by single fathers. The variables are immense.

On the one hand single dads have total custody of their children when they find themselves widowed by the passing of their wives. These men face a unique set of challenges, one of which is to find female input for their children, whether girls or boys. Children need male and female input and attention in order to receive a good gender balance as they grow up.

On the other hand, some lucky divorced fathers achieve a 50/50 shared parenting arrangement the best way for continued father and mother involvement in a child’s life. Sadly other single dads are relegated to every second weekend and half the school holidays. Some are almost totally cut off from their children lives, which is a tragedy beyond comprehension for all concerned. The very complexity of running a course for single dads has prevented it in the past, when we consider the many variables that single fathers face.

The Fatherhood Foundation is pleased to announce that there is now a Single Dads Module in our existing ‘Good to Great’ Fatherhood Mentoring Course.

‘Good to Great’ for Single Fathers will feature a unique session in Week 5 specifically for single dads with Tony Miller, Dads in Distress: www.dadsindistress.asn.au and Barry Williams, Lone Fathers Association: www.lonefathers.com.au Tony Miller has 5 children and is the first to admit that he has made mistakes as a dad, but he is one of the most devoted fathers I know. When I first approached him to speak at our course he said, “Sorry Warwick, I can’t do it because that’s my week with my son.” My brain wave of giving Tony and his son a bit of a break in sunny Wollongong caused him to reconsider our invitation. Tony loves his children and even though he is separated, his goal is to put them first.

Barry William’s story is similar. When he was a truck driver he left his job so that he could look after his children when his wife left him. Barry used to shoot rabbits to feed his young family and tried his best to keep his children in relationship with their mother even though he was the primary caregiver.

Tony Miller and Barry Williams are just two of the great father figures who are helping the broken hearted single dads of Australia. Many men have contemplated suicide and sadly large numbers have been successful in their choice. Many more would have died had not Tony and Barry sacrificed their own lives and dedicated themselves to helping others.

Being a great father is all about sacrifice and going the extra mile for the ones you love. Being a great father is also all about speaking words of encouragement and love to your family in the most difficult times. That’s what leadership is all about and ‘Good to Great’ is all about developing great leaders. We know that distance alone will prevent many single fathers from being able to attend our first ‘Good to Great’ for Single Fathers at our Wollongong Campus, but perhaps you can help us in other ways. The Fatherhood Foundation does not receive any government funding. Perhaps you can subsidise another father to attend, or maybe you could pass this information on to other single dads who might be interested and able to attend.

Whatever the case, let us continue to work together to encourage fathers and make Australia a better place for our children.

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