Everyday Heroes: It’s an Honor to Be a Good Father (and Father Figure)

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Leading up to Father’s Day, we’re honoring everyday heroes—real dads who are great examples of Championship Fathering. This week’s example is an amazing story that demonstrates fatherhood at its very best…

It starts with a boy named Gage, whose biological father left when he was very young. Gage rarely saw his dad and was often left waiting for him to show up.

Gage’s mom had a close friend from college who had three children of her own, and who was married to an everyday hero named Ivan. The two families occasionally spent time together, so Gage and Ivan got to know each other.

As Gage grew older, like many fatherless kids he started thinking about what he was missing. So, at age five, with his mother’s encouragement, Gage approached Ivan one day and asked him, “Will you be my father?

Ivan responded, “I would be honored to.”

I suspect that Ivan was caught a little bit off guard, but when he said “Yes” to that young boy’s request, he meant it. Gage graduated from high school this year, and Ivan has truly been his dad for all those years.

Even though he was plenty busy with three other children, Ivan managed to attend Gage’s little league games, choir performances and spelling bees, even if it meant taking off work. He invited him to come on family outings and vacations. Ivan has taught him about manhood—accepting responsibility, being honest, sincere and trustworthy.

Even though they are of different races, Ivan will often introduce Gage as his son, and he doesn’t care who hears it. Gage says that really makes him feel special.

Dad, I hope Ivan’s story inspires you like it inspires me. There are all kinds of lessons we can take away from Ivan’s example. Of course, it starts by giving your best to your own children. Then, I hope you’ll take action as an everyday hero for other kids around you who need your fatherly influence.

It’s a huge thing when you tell a child, “I’m honored to be your father.” It’s important for two reasons:

First, it reminds you of your responsibility to love them, serve them, and sacrifice for them. It creates a sense of duty. You’ll find the strength to play catch with your son after a 10-hour day, or stick it out when your teenager is suddenly hard to love. You’ll always be there for them, because that’s what fathers do. And telling them

Second, kids need to hear and see your pride and commitment. When you affirm and claim children through spoken words, written words, actions, and prayers, you’re giving them a confidence and a strong sense of belonging that will help them as they mature.

This Father’s Day, renew your commitment to love your children, coach them, and be a great model of character for them. Then step forward and encourage another child who may need you. Chances are, it probably won’t involve the kind of commitment and sacrifice that Ivan has made … but it might! Don’t let that stop you. I feel confident that, just like Ivan, you won’t regret it.

Does Ivan inspire you, too? Or are you doing something similar with another child? Please tell us about it in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Action Points for Everyday Heroes:

  • The next time your child asks you to do something for him or her (and it’s not an unreasonable request), respond by saying, “I’d be honored to.”
  • As you receive Father’s Day gifts this year, respond with something like, “Thank you. But it’s really a privilege just to be your dad.”
  • Whenever you introduce your child to others, do so with great pride: “This is my son.” “This is my daughter.”
  • We all know unfathered children—a neighbor, a family friend, a boy or girl at church or on our child’s team. Invite one to join your family in an activity or find some other way to encourage that child and be a fatherly influence.
  • Wherever you are, keep a watch out for children outside your family who may need a fatherly influence, and be willing to speak a word of encouragement, give a gentle challenge, teach a skill, or do other common father-actions.


Carey CaseyCarey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.



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  1. Please send my free publication at your earliest availability

  2. Tim Anderson says:

    THANK YOU CAREY & TEAM – You continue to impact this Generation!! God Bless and Prosper You

    • i would suggest this is an exeonsitn of the general gendering of active/passive behaviour; it’s the same with little kids, boys are told to do and girls are told to be , boys are taught to respond to things in a physical manner and express themselves actively, while girls are told to think of others, be gentle and good and quiet and express themselves passively. This is all generalization of course but come from studies around the gendered treatment of children and their activities; boys are much more likely to be told to do/not do while girls are told to be/not be. Don’t be mean versus don’t hit your sister. Be a good girl versus don’t do bad things. it makes sense to me based on this but it doesn’t mean it isn’t all a load of hogwash.

      • Wow Gary, that is so wonderful. I know my dad wkeord hard all his life, but when my mother left him when we were 6 and 2, nothing really changed for us, other than he was never there. But then his presence back then had been minimal. He thought work was enough, it wasn’t. Later in our life my father and I wkeord really really hard to establish a relationship, but until the day of my step mothers heart surgery, it was so difficult for us to connect. He called me and asked me to pray for Bev, because God would listen to me and not him. For a moment I was stunned, then with difficulty I cleared my throat and told him, No, dad, God can hear you just as well as me, we both have a direct line, you just have to talk to him, talk to him like you would talk to your dad. But I will pray for her too, I promise.” Well she came though the surgery and is still doing well, but everything changed between Dad and I that day. You see my father always believed in God, but until then he never had a relationship with him. That was 8 years ago, and I have to say dad and I are much better at communicating, and a shared love of God and faith in Jesus, is very responsible. Thank you for your words above, and know that I truly do know the validity of your statements, as I have lived them. You are the best Gary, and I am so thankful for the wisdom you impart to us, through the ministry of Trinity. God BlessTeresa M. VossTrinity Redlands.

      • As always these are inecbdirle!! Erin as been my favorite photographer since before she did this professionally! I still have a pic she took of us at her brother in laws birthday party that caught just the right moment of us dancing! That is what she is so good at- always catching the right moment! Thank you so much!!!!!

  3. Alex Ramirez says:

    Great! Keep up the strong support for every dad! No one should miss your messages on fatherhood.

    • I am the director of a male youth mortensip program in Richmond ,Va calledFathers That Care Inc. Fatherhood is an area that we focus on by encourage men to become more involved in the lives of young black males as father figures . I,m encouraged by what you doing with your publication by focusing on some young black men like the one featured in the vidoe clip are having a positive impact on the lives of others . Please include me on your mailing list.

      • Carey Casey says:

        Thanks, Richard. You can get on our mailing list at http://www.fathers.com/weekly. Best to you.

        • Ok, that is seriously a snnunitg couple! I don’t even know them! .And, you better enter that doggie pic into some canine contest! I could just see that pic on the bag of some wholesomeTexas dog food! Not to mention a commercial! You work magic Pledge sis!

      • Can’t wait to see it. I would only hope that it got more personal for you. There is liltte more personal than the topic of fatherhood when talking to Dads!I hope everyday that more and more people become more involved with their kids and hopefully your film will do just that.Great job and I am looking forward to the release.

  4. Wow, Carey! I’ve been one to overlook things at times, but I was rereading the website(s) stuff in recent Championship Fathering discussion points. I’d overlooked the action points, but was pleasantly surprised at each one being something that fathers.com, WATCH D.O.G.S., & my own childhood-fatherhood mentors had been coaching me through already into action.

    That’s just a testimony to how well the organization is in the consistency & purposed steps that keep everything tracking good.

    The staff is amazing. Some excellent fatherhood champions in the desktop/cubicle trenches too. We’re very blessed in the leading by example, individuals that man the posts that keep the National Center for Fatherhing so poised for success story after success story.

    Ya’ll keep up the good work. We’re all behind you & glad to have your leadership making such an impact.

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