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15 August, 2008

FATHERHOOD IN THE MILLENNIUM: RAISING CHILDREN...RESHAPING PUBLIC POLICY




Our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers – against the backdrop of a devastating global economic depression and World Wars – created and implemented plans that sustained our families. Under the most difficult set of circumstances – and for some, against all odds -- our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers went about the business of keeping our families together, putting food on the table, and positively shaping the minds and souls of their children – their future – their bridge to the future.

In the Millennium, Married Fathers, Divorced Fathers, Single Fathers, Custodial Fathers, Non-Custodial Fathers, “Long Distance” Fathers, and “Stay-At-Home” Fathers throughout our global village struggle with great difficulty to positively shape the minds and souls of our children – our future – our bridge to the future. They find themselves searching for answers to questions which, in all probability, may not have entered the minds of their fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers: Why is being a Father so difficult today? Who can I talk to about the support services and resources I need to help me be a good parent? How can I obtain sole custody of my children? As a result, Fatherhood in the Millennium has become more than just about raising children. Fathers throughout our global village are creating resources and support services that are responsive to their unique parenting and health issues. They have created support groups and coalitions which transcend the boundaries of geography, religion, politics, culture, ethnicity, economics, and language. And Fathers are reshaping public policy. As an example, in October 2007, Equal Parenting became the law of the land in Denmark. What does this mean? It means that when Danish parents divorce or separate, children have equal access to both Dad and Mom and the right to be nurtured and mentored by both Dad and Mom despite their parents’ divorced or separated status. In the United States, Equal Parenting Initiatives have been launched in California, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio and West Virginia.

Three Fathers and key players in the Fatherhood Movement – PAUL M. CLEMENTS, MINISTER RONALD E. SMITH, and DEAN TONG examine the causes of the breakdown of the family, why Fathers worldwide are feeling that they are “on the outside looking in”, and how we can move Fathers back into the Parenting Equation in the GLOBAL FORUM ON THE FATHERHOOD CRISIS.

PAUL M. CLEMENTS is the architect of the GLOBAL FORUM ON THE FATHERHOOD CRISIS. He is a Father, Fathers’ Rights Advocate for over 20 years, and one of IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’s Senior Contributing Editors, and the Founder and President of Dads Against Divorce Discrimination (www.DADDNH.org). Clements first presented the idea of this nation’s and the State of New Hampshire’s first Commission On The Status Of Men to the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Congress for Fathers and Children and assisted in the lobbying efforts which led to its establishment.. He is a member of the American Coalition For Fathers And Children; Children’s Rights Council; and Coalition For The Preservation Of Fatherhood. In his article, Money Is The Root Of All Evil, Clements attributes the cause of the Fatherhood Crisis to, among other things, “feminist angst against men in general” and the institution of laws that have made divorce an attractive option for women. He goes on to say that “although men are often blamed for abandoning their families, the truth is, they are the most reluctant of the couple to dissolve the marriage.”

It was through ALICIA M. CROWE, ESQUIRE, an author, attorney, Fathers’ Rights Advocate and entrepreneur from Nyack, New York that I learned about MINISTER RONALD E. SMITH and the work that he is doing which is empowering Fathers, our families, our communities and our world. MINISTER RONALD E. SMITH is a religious leader, author, the Founder and President of Children Need Both Parents, Inc., one of the most proactive Fatherhood organizations in the United States which is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a Father. Minister Smith and his son ARIEL D. SMITH have co-authored a powerful book, ‘Cheated: The Story Of A Father Who Would Not Give Up On His Children – A Documented Account Of Parental Alienation Syndrome‘, which is a gripping exploration of parental alienation and is being hailed as a “must read” for Fatherhood advocates, activists and practitioners. Through his article, African American Fatherhood And Marriage, Minister Smith identifies, among other things, the components of the root causes of the Fatherhood Crisis in the African American community and why “the relationship between African American men, women and their children is dictating a rise in single parenthood in the United States.”

DEAN TONG is a Father, author, and an internationally known family rights and forensic consultant on child abuse, domestic violence and child custody. He has been a media commentator for a number of high profile cases which include Elian Gonzalez, Jon Benet Ramsay, and Megan Kanka which led to the creation and enactment of “Megan’s Law”. Tong’s expert opinion has been sought after by more than 2,000 radio talk shows over the past 13 years and numerous national and local TV programs such as Dr. Phil, FOX News, COURT-TV, The Montel Williams Show, and Crier Live. He has been interviewed or quoted by the Boston Globe, Washington Times, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Christian Science Monitor, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and The Washington Post. He is the author of three books – Elusive Innocence which was reviewed by the American Journal of Family Therapy; Ashes to Ashes… Families To Dust; and Don’t Blame ME Daddy. Mr. Tong also is an Affiliate member of the Academy of Behavior Profiling Forensic Section, an Advisory Board Member of the Coalition for the Preservation of Fatherhood; a member of the Children’s Rights Council Section; the Coalition for the Preservation of Fatherhood; and a member of the Board of Directors of the National Fathers Resource Center. In A Time Of Nightmare, Daylight And Redemption, Tong identifies the causes of the Fatherhood Crisis and shows us how the crisis can be resolved through “Fifty Ways To Stay A Father” and a Proposal For Change which is designed to create a “father and family friendly system”.

While the burgeoning demand for food, soaring food prices buoyed by astronomically rising energy prices, declining investment in the agricultural sector, the imposition of export restrictions which has led to hoarding and panic buying of food and food products, and food riots in a number of countries has moved UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON to establish and chair a Task Force On The Global Food Security Crisis, in the City of Philadelphia, social entrepreneurs QUEEN MOTHER FALAKA FATTAH and her husband MR. DAVID FATTAH, the Co-Founders of the House Of Umoja, Inc. (http://www.houseofumoja.org), an internationally acclaimed organization which is celebrating 40 years of service to the world community, have launched the “THINK GREEN PEACE” Campaign which is being heralded as a global model for self-sufficiency and peace. Thousands of miles away – in Hilo, Hawaii -- DOUGLASS CAPOGROSSI, PH.D., the President of Akamai University (http://www.akamaiuniversity.us) recently announced that the academic institution has created an ONLINE PARENTING EFFECTIVENESS TRAINING PROGRAM FOR INCARCERATED FATHERS.which is being heralded as a model for parenting education programs for Incarcerated Fathers worldwide. You can learn more about how two phenomenal organizations – the House Of Umoja, Inc. and Akamai University are creating empowering options for our families, our communities and our world in FATHERHOOD NEWS BRIEF.

What do our children -- our most precious assets -- think about the future – their future? What is their perception of the world outside of their immediate environment and their place in it? And when they become mature members of our society, what will they do with their intellect, talent and creativity? One very creative, smart and talented young lady -- MS. NICOLE S. DANTZLER – has not only looked into the future – her future, but she has also decided upon the career she will embark upon when she reaches adulthood. Ms. Dantzler has decided that she wants to be a journalist and a publisher. She shared her dream of becoming a journalist and publisher with her parents, MR. AND MRS. LEONARD DANTZLER, who talked to me about their daughter’s dream and the collection of short stories and poems she has authored. As a result, MS. NICOLE S. DANTZLER is making her debut as a Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® and with her parent’s permission, she has become a Publishing/Journalism Intern for IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD®’S INTERNATIONAL FATHERHOOD AND MEN’S ISSUES INTERNSHIP PROGRAM. Ms. Dantzler is the creator of NIKKI’S WORLD in our CHILDREN’S CORNER. And while I am on the subject, in 2004, the concept for CHILDREN’S CORNER was suggested to me by one of our publication’s staunchest supporters, a phenomenal gentleman who prefers to remain anonymous. While I am not at liberty to reveal his identity, I can tell you that he celebrated his 94th birthday several months ago and that, in his own unique way, he empowers and strengthens not only his family but the community in which he lives and has worked.

A few weeks before Father’s Day, MARIYA MAZURYAN of Precedent Media Unlimited in New York contacted me about a great book written by New York Times columnist and National Public Radio Contributor BOB MORRIS, Assisted Loving: True Tales Of Double Dating With My Dad (http://www.assistedloving.com) which had just been published by Harper Collins. I was intrigued by the title of Mr. Morris’ book. So, I asked to receive a review copy. Ms. Mazuryan contacted KATHERINE BEITNER at Harper Collins in New York who shipped out a copy of Assisted Loving: True Tales Of Double Dating With My Dad to me. Morris weaves an unflinchingly honest, humorous and compassionate tale about a widower and octogenarian who re-enters the world of dating which is examined in BOOKS FOR DAD. You’ll also find our review of a book written for pre-teen and teenaged girls by journalist, entrepreneur, poet, and former New York City radio personality MS. KEYSHA WHITAKER entitled Hickeys, Hiccups & Homework™: A Teenage Girl’s Guide – Living and Loving (http://www.hiccupsandhomework.com) in BOOKS FOR DAD. So, how did I learn about Ms. Whitaker’s book? During the waning days of Spring, I was introduced to Ms. Whitaker and her book by BRUCE GEORGE, poet, author, social entrepreneur, Co-Founder of Def Poetry Jam, Executive Consultant for the Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam on Broadway which was the recipient of a 2003 Tony Award, and Executive Producer and Talent Executive Producer from 2001 through 2003 for Russell Simmons Presents Def-Poetry for HBO. After reading Hickeys, Hiccups & Homework™: A Teenage Girl’s Guide – Living and Loving which provides Fathers and Mothers with some insight into the fears, stress and disappointments that their daughters may be experiencing but are not talking about, I arranged an interview with the book’s author which you can check out in the LITERARY CHAT ROOM. You’ll learn, among other things, why Ms. Whitaker decided to write Hickeys, Hiccups & Homework™: A Teenage Girl’s Guide – Living and Loving, and how fatherlessness and the lack of a dominant male presence in the lives of pre-teen girls and teenage girls affects their self-esteem and academic achievement and determines whether they will succumb to peer pressure

GEOFFREY D. HOLMAN is a father, author, artist, playwright and poet who juggles the demands of Fatherhood and a career with great agility. Viewed by many as an “Urban Renaissance Man”, Mr. Holman, who was brought to my attention by BRUCE GEORGE, is featured in our FATHERHOOD ROUNDTABLE where he discusses the challenges of Fatherhood, his role models, and stepping out on faith and living his dreams. Self-empowerment guru, poet and Senior Contributing Editor to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD® CARRY GREAVES tells us that we must come together as a nation, put aside our ideological differences, and find common ground and solutions that can heal our pain in Growing Out Of Pain (Our Response To Change). GREAVES, in his poem Brand New which is featured in POETS-IN-RESIDENCE, speaks of “new beginnings” and “happy endings” and reminds us that we have the power to make our lives better. Free-lance journalist and Contributing Editor CARLOS MOORE tells us in Helpless No More that “Long Distance” Fathers are willing to walk through fire, if need be, in order to maintain a dominant presence in their children’s lives.

To subscribe to IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R), contact its publisher, BSI International, Inc. at: bsi-international@earthlink.net.
D.A. Sears, Managing Editor - IN SEARCH OF FATHERHOOD(R)


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