Greg and Brett: The Power of a Father Figure

If you have the privilege of being a dad, you are fortunate; don’t take it for granted.

Also, please realize that outside your home there are millions of children who don’t have a dad to honor on Father’s Day, who don’t benefit from everything a dad does, and who are therefore facing tough odds in many different areas of life. Some of those kids are on your street or in your children’s school.

hisp-dad-teen-aa-son-arm-around-baseballOur nation — and the world — needs more committed dads like you to make a difference by reaching out and encouraging a child in need.

Greg is a good friend of the National Center and an active WatchDOG dad who stepped up for a boy named Brett. Last year, 7-year-old Brett lost his father — a very involved and caring dad — to a heart attack. Several months later, Brett was suspended from school for behavior problems, and he’d never had those kinds of issues previously.

Since Greg’s kids attended the same school, he heard about Brett and talked with the school’s leadership about Brett’s situation. When the principal mentioned that Brett needed a father-figure, Greg knew he was the one to step into the gap. He contacted Brett’s mother and asked if he and his 12-year-old son Jack could take Brett for a “boys’ day out.” The mother was overwhelmed.

Greg and his son came up with a list of twenty things a 7-year-old would like to do. Then, one Sunday afternoon, they picked up Brett and took him to play basketball and go swimming. They shot off rockets and chased trains. More than once, Greg heard Brett say, “These are things me and my dad used to do.” Greg gave the boy his cell phone number and let him know he was always there for him.

Since that Sunday, Greg and Brett often talk on the phone and look for each other at the school. The best part is that Brett’s performance and behavior issues at school have turned around.

Greg drives home the point nicely:

My family will never be the same for engaging in the life of this young boy. It’s hard to imagine how such a simple, easy, intentional act can radically change the life of a boy forever. I can’t help but wonder how many fathering opportunities I have walked away from in the past. If I can make a difference, you can too!

That’s the power of a father figure in action, and you can be an important part of changing the culture by encouraging other kids.


  • Talk with your children about their friends or other kids they know who don’t have a dad. What, if anything, do they notice that’s different about those kids?
  • Brainstorm with your family about ways you can reach out to one of those kids. Come up with a list of activities he would likely enjoy, then invite him to join you.
  • Are you already a father figure to a fatherless child — as a coach, youth sponsor or neighbor? Write a note of affirmation and encouragement to him.
  • Talk with the principal or another administrator at your child’s school about the benefits of involving more men there next year. Suggest WATCH D.O.G.S. as a great way to bring more father figures into the school.
  • Include your child (and another child who needs a dad) in an activity that you enjoy (with any necessary adjustments for younger people with shorter attention spans).


Watch the replay of the Fathering Breakthrough Event

Join Dr. Ken Canfield and a handful of friends and partners as we give an update about our efforts to inspire and equip fathers all over the world.

There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.