“Any fool can have a child. That doesn’t make you a father. It’s the courage to raise a child that makes you a father.” That truism is from a speech by Barack Obama on Father’s Day 2008. Fatherhood means taking responsibility for the development of another human being, and that takes guts. This is especially true for people who hadn’t planned on being a dad, or who are separated from their spouse, or who — like the President — didn’t know their own father. But luckily there is a growing network of dads and people who love them who are trying to make fatherhood a little less scary: the Minnesota Fathers & Families Network (MFFN), which encourages healthy father-child relationships by giving “men-with-children” the resources to become fathers.
Kids don’t come with an instruction manual …until now. MFFN has a whole list of free guidebooks with tips on how to be a dad. Like “The Daddy Book.” For each month of your baby’s first year in the world, this helpful guide offers: parenting advice, developmental milestones you should expect, and safety tips –plus fun stuff like games you can play with your baby and toys you can make from things you’ve got laying around the house. And The Daddy Book is just one of the many parenting resources offered on their website.
But in this rough economy, dads who are struggling to pay the bills are going to need more than a guidebook. That’s why MFFN is connecting fathers across the state to a whole host of services that help dads support their families: employment assistance, childcare, housing and more.
This Father’s Day, Obama called being a dad “my hardest, but always my most rewarding job” — and that’s coming from a guy who’s other job is no walk in the park. The struggle against terrorism is easy compared to the struggle to get a young child to sleep peacefully through the night. Arguing with John Boehner is nothing after you’ve tried arguing with a teenager. But at the same time, raising a child is the most gratifying endeavor you can ever engage in– that is, if you’ve got the courage to be a father.
For more information check out mnfathers.org.