Dads: I am definitely in the Christmas spirit as we’re now just a few days away. I’m eager to spend time with my children and grandchildren and celebrate all the traditions of the holidays. 

My #1 message for dads right now is to focus on being present with your kids. The gifts are probably bought and wrapped (or soon to be delivered to your house) at this point, so let’s all turn our attention to how we can engage our kids in fun and meaningful ways. 

There’s more about this in a piece on our website, which includes a powerful statement from a young boy about his father. Go read about Maximizing Your Holiday Presence here

In addition, there’s more I want to say to continue the past few weeks’ messages about what’s ahead for NCF and fathers.com. You can read those messages here and here if you want to catch up, but the summary is that there are some exciting things coming as we put plans into place that will encourage and equip all dads more effectively, with special attention to millennial dads, dads of daughters, fathers in faith settings, and grandfathers. And we will partner with some incredible people to make it happen. 

What I haven’t mentioned yet in all this is a strategy that will help us multiply and spread the message: re-launching NCF’s training efforts. That means seminars and conferences as well as rebuilding our Train-the-Trainer program, where we equip leaders to hold workshops and other father-training activities among the men in their communities—one of the most effective ways to increase our influence and reach more dads where they are. 

In NCF’s history, more than 1,000 leaders have been trained to lead fatherhood workshops and seminars using our research-based principles, packaged into programs specifically for different situations. Several experienced trainers are ready to be part of this effort. And while we know face-to-face training is most effective, we will also use web-based media to expand our reach even further.

Bigger picture: as I look across the landscape of fatherhood today, there has surely been progress since NCF began nearly 30 years ago. Today’s dads have far more information at their fingertips to help them succeed with their kids. However, the effects of fatherlessness are still all around us, and they should be alarming to everyone. Far too many children don’t have the positive influence of a father or father figure in their lives and, maybe more alarming, far too many fathers are present physically, but are not truly engaged in their kids’ lives—their education, their emotional lives, their spiritual growth.

We’re all about addressing that situation—with the goal that every child would have a father or father figure—and I believe we have a plan that is very promising, that will help us make a difference, as resources allow. Please consider joining us in this effort. A year-end gift to support our work will be greatly appreciated and put to good use. You can give online right here.

Thank you, and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Ken Canfield

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