Forum for Fathers

I have been co-facilitating a Fathers’ Group at my school for about ten years. The group began in response to the suicide of one of the fathers in our school. This man was a beloved, involved father of four young boys, all under the age of ten. No one knew he was struggling and his death took the wind out of the sails of our entire school. Several fathers began to admit they also feel lots of pressure and while they were quick to assure others that they had no suicidal thoughts, they admitted they rarely share their struggles with anyone.

The Fathers’ Group was born of parents believing that there should be a place where dads can go to talk about themselves, especially to talk about their most important investments: their children. These brave men started to drop into our group sessions, often at the “gentle pushing” of their parenting partners. Many of them seemed surprised by how the hour meeting flew by and by the depth of the discussions. Therapy was not occurring, pressure was not put on anyone to share, but something unique was occurring for many of these dads.

It became evident to me that those of us who work in school settings and those parents who are able (or comfortable) to participate in school events are used to talking with others about issues related to children. While fathers are just as interested, forums for such discussions rarely exist for them; they are not naturally occurring in their work settings.

Our Fathers’ Group does not have a huge membership: some core attendees, some drop-in participants and even an occasional faculty or administrator parent. Our discussions remain rich and the feedback gives testimony to the value of giving fathers a place to connect.

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April 30, 2011. Uncategorized.

2 Comments

  1. Deanna S replied:

    Great Idea!
    Usually the most interaction I get from a father is through a passing email or two. If every district would have an opportunity for fathers (and mothers too) there would be so much more consistency in many areas of child development and education.
    Wish we could draw more parents to work with us!

  2. James Magnuson replied:

    I think having a Father’s Group is a great idea. I can remember when my children were attending elementary and secondary schools. I was a dad who was really involved with my kids. Their mom was a doctor who worked long hours during the week and on weekends. Because of this, I was the major care giver in our family. I took my girls to school events, socials, and meetings. I wish there had been a Father’s Group back then for me to attend. I would have liked to bounce ideas and share concerns that I had with the other dads. It would have been nice to be able to talk to other dads about their experiences, frustrations and fears.

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