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Why Father’s Groups Matter…the NewDadsNetwork.com

We live in an increasingly busy world. The time of the casual conversation has been almost but not completely lost. So much of life and what our options might be we learn from our talks with friends, families, peers, colleagues and especially (relating to this blog post) dads.

In the many years of doing Dad’s Groups at the Fathers’ Forum programs and in my research on the “Developmental Phases of Fatherhood,” two themes are very constant.

One is that when men become fathers they are challenged by the profound change in their life.  I know this was true for me. Even though I had recently become a Marriage and Child Therapist and my wife at the time was RN in the nursery…and I thought this dad thing would be easy…oh wow! It was much more complicated than I thought or understood! Most new dads are very uncertain about to expect after their baby is born and although , this completely normal…it is difficult to tolerate the new uncertainty of life.

The second theme…when dads get to talk to each other about fatherhood it really helps. Having been in a “men’s group” for some time I knew the value of talking with other guys. After our son was born I got together with a few men who had just become dads. It made such a difference for me to hear them talk about what they were going through. That was how I started the Fathers’ Forum and now launched the NewDadsNetwork.

Dads, especially in the early years of parenthood, (but really throughout our lives) talking about the changes and joy, difficulties and confusions with other dads helps normalize our feelings about what we are going through. You we are not the only ones experiencing this! We may all handle things a little differently,  but we all have to deal with things like: no sleep, what happened to sex, why am I so worried about money, am I going to be like my father, who is this person that use to be my wife, whose relatives are these! It is reassuring when you talk with other dads to know how we are all going through some version of this. It is also helpful to share this part of the journey as man/father with other dads…it makes us less isolated. It allows us to talk about parenting challenges with someone other than our wives.

It appears from my research that the dads who have other dads to connect with about fatherhood actually enjoy parenting more…even if they have very difficult challenges.  Even if it is just 10 minutes a week that you spend here, read a comment or two, write one if you like or find a discussion to follow or join in one of our a smaller online dads groups, you will get a chance to feel more connected to other men, yourself, your child, your partner, your family and our community.

I think we can save the “unhurried” conversation on the NewDadsNetwork…you can sign in when you have time, and your conversation can take place at a leisurely pace …over a few days or weeks.  I thought with all the time demands on our lives maybe this social networking could really work for us dads and with sincere and meaningful content, help us feel part of something bigger…part of the larger world of fatherhood and parenting, shared with a few other “fellow travelers.”

Guest blog Becoming a Grandfather….

Lenny a dear friend of mine wrote this beautiful piece about becoming a grandfather…It speaks to us as dads too!

My Second Birth By Leonard Pitt  © 2013

    My son Stephen walked into the house one day and told me that his girlfriend was pregnant. I hit the roof. “Stephen, are you crazy! How’d that happen? You studied safe sex in high school.  You even taught it to other kids. Pregnant! You mean you didn’t use a condom?”   “It was the heat of the moment,” he said.   “There’s always heat of the moment,” I said. “That’s no excuse!”  He sat in stony silence. I railed.  You can’t do this. This is terrible! You’re driving into a brick wall.”  This went on for days.

Stephen is my adopted son. He came to live with me when he was almost nine years old. Today he is 28. I raised him alone. His mother is my first cousin who I hardly know. He was taken away from her for reasons of gross negligence. Like many adopted children who lived through rough early years, Stephen has issues. He was profoundly unready for fatherhood. His girlfriend Viva is wonderful, but at 22, and a grad student studying to become an opera singer, and with school debt, this was not her moment either.  “There’s no happiness here,” I said. “Go ahead, have the baby. But you’re not  going to live with me and don’t come to me for money!”  I argued for abortion or adoption. Viva saw the light and began arranging for adoption but then changed her mind. I walked around with a cloud of gloom and doom hanging over my head.

When Viva went into labor I made sure I was at the birthing center with Stephen. No matter how I felt I wasn’t going to miss this. Viva wanted a natural birth and was in a shallow pool of warm water being guided into motherhood. But the labor went late into the night and I had a lecture on Paris to give the next day so I went home to get some sleep. Unbeknownst to me things got complicated and Viva had to be rushed to the hospital for a C section. By the time I got there Miles was six hours old. We knew it was going to be a boy but ten and a half pounds! I took one look and my heart stopped. I had never seen a newborn before. Well, yes, in pictures and movies. But now it was for real. And my blood. Love at first sight does not describe the feeling. I could barely catch my breath. I was a goner. I gazed in wonder and astonishment at Miles Millan Pitt.  They ended up living with me and I gave them money.

Stephen and Viva were slow at first to understand how much I had come around.  So I told them straight out. “This is the greatest gift that has ever been made to me in my whole life.” To make the point more clear I reminded Stephen of something he said to mea couple of years earlier. “Lenny, how can I ever repay you for all you’ve done for me?”  Now I told him, “Stephen, debt paid.”  Because I never raised a child from birth I had no idea what I had missed. Now so many things I never understood, and did not know that I did not understand, suddenly made sense. Here at the tender age of seventy I was discovering things that everyone else knew all about. I felt like I was living life in reverse.  For example, now I understand what people mean when they say, “Oh, I’d never travel or move to so and so place. I don’t want to be that far away from my grandchildren.” Of course. And that’s only the beginning. Every day at this young age is a day of growth, change and discovery. Who would want to miss that?  That first moment I laid eyes on Miles changed my life. Another one of those moments came at eight weeks, and like the first one I didn’t see it coming either. Miles was still a little blob. His head rolled in all directions, his eyes wandered. I held him in my arms and talked to him, cuddled, cooed, and told him how much I loved him. One afternoon I was talking to him softly when all of a sudden his head stopped and he fixed his gaze on me. I froze. Wide eyed, he looked straight at me. And he held the look. This was the first look of his life and it was on me. He kept looking at me. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind. Strangely, I thought of the downfall of the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and all the orphaned children I saw in the news who were thrown into cribs to be left unattended and how this isolation would handicap them for life. And this made the present moment all the more important.

I swear I could see Miles’s brain growing, knitting, coming together right in front of me. He looked at me for what seemed like a long time. I knew I had to hold that look foras long as he wanted, that I had to be silent and must not look away. This was his moment. He had to be sated in his first look. He had to be in control. I had to let him know the beauty and intimacy of his first look. Then his head snapped and bobbed away. I was breathless.

Some loves are so deep that we are unalterably changed. That’s how I felt. Each of us has a shape to our emotional life. All of our personal experience combines with who we are in our genes and comes together into an individual signature shape. I had never thought of this before but I did now. And the reason why is because I could feel the shape of my emotional life change. Truth be told, I’ve become a mushy puddle of tears. I’ll choke up at anything.

Four days a week Viva has class at San Jose State University about an hour south of Berkeley. Stephen is Mr. Mom. They drive up to Berkeley on Thursday night and stay til Sunday night. When they drive away I admit I do experience a moment of relief. The next day, Monday, my big teaching day keeps me busy and I’m fine. But by Tuesday things don’t feel quite right. By Wednesday I’m in serious DMM mode (Desperately Missing Miles). Thursday I’m lost. When they finally arrive Thursday night sometimes Miles is already asleep but it makes no difference. Miles is in the house and all is well.

Miles has brought me many gifts. Things I could never have dreamt of. Now when I see a woman walking down the street with an infant, imagine, I’m the one who strikesup a conversation with her. “Baby time! How old? Sleep through the night?” I find it all fascinating and would be perfectly happy to sit in a circle of women and talk about babies. Crazy, but true. Miles began crawling at about six months and that was exciting. But something far more exciting was in preparation that I could not see coming.

Every night as Miles goes to bed mommy and daddy bring him into my study so I can give him a kiss good-night. But one night was different from all other nights. He was eight months old. I went to give him a kiss and out of nowhere he leaned forward and reached out to me with open arms. I melted on the spot. And it made sense. Knowing how to crawl he had more directed movement in his arms. He was learning how to assert his desire through his arms and there I was a recipient of his newly learned knowledge of how to manifest his desire.

At thirteen months it occurred to me that Miles was like a being from another planet who had fallen into my lap. He knows nothing about life down here but is open and hungry to learn everything. And it has fallen to me to show him what life on earth is all about.

Example: My house has jasmine and lavender all around. I walked out the front door one day with Miles in my arms and thought, “Wait a minute. He’s never smelled a flower!” So I plucked a sprig of fragrant jasmine, held it to my nose, inhaled deeply and gave out a big ahh! I put the jasmine in front of his nose. He didn’t know what to do but the fragrance was so strong that he took it in and smiled. I smelled it a second time with a big ahh! I held it to his nose. He turned away. I smelled again. Held it to his nose. Now he leaned in, smelled and let out a big grin. Lesson learned.  A week later we were in the garden standing at a lavender bush with jasmine growing all over it. While I plucked a jasmine sprig Miles reached out and pulled off a tip of lavender and surprised me by putting it right up to my nose with a big smile. As I let out a big ahhh! so did he. I held the jasmine to his nose. He smelled and with an ear to ear smile let out a big ahh! He then took his lavender tip and placed it delicately back on the bush.

People tell me that Miles is lucky to have me. I say I’m lucky to have Miles. He has taught me so much.  Here is one thing I have learned. When a child has their focus on anything, no matter what it is, do not disturb them. Miles sits playing with the plastic top of his bottle trying to figure out how the devil it fits over the nipple. He tries to put it on, drops it, picks it up, tries to fit it on the bottom. That doesn’t work. He sucks on the nipple for a bit, tries the cap again and gets it over the nipple but can’t push it on to secure it. He keeps trying. Remarkably he does not grow frustrated and give up. He spends a long time trying things out. Do not disturb! Give him the pleasure of focusing.

When I’ve got Miles in my arms, either sitting or standing, and he gets fidgety, I realize how little it takes to calm him. Often all it takes is a slight turn of my body, even a shift of weight. These changes, small to us, are big changes for him and do the job. If I’m standing I’ll step to the side and turn a bit and all is well. Any time he reaches out to touch something that is almost within reach, a tabletop, a window, a door, I can feel his body, I can feel his desire and how important it is for him to have that touch. And I make sure he has that touch. And I can feel his satisfaction in completing this tiny desire. When he’s on my lap I make sure he has something under his feet so he can push with his legs if he wants. I can feel what that means in his body, how good it feels,how that contact and pushing nurtures his physicality, hence his person.

Part of my job is to be attentive to what interests Miles and to nurture that in him.  One evening at about three months old, I sat with him on my lap in front of the computer as I searched around on Youtube for some music to watch. I came upon the great pianist Murray Perahia playing the 3rd movement of the Beethoven Moonlight Sonata. I clicked it on and to my astonishment Miles became engrossed and watched for the entire six minutes without getting bored or fidgety. We did it again the next day and he sat just as quiet watching it all the way through. And we have done this everyday he is at home with me. Since then we have broadened our horizons and now include a seventeen-minute video of The Chieftains, which he loves. And of course the ultimate, Elmo! He loves his Elmo songs. I’m too old to have been brought up on Sesame Street or Elmo but I’ve made up for lost time and have put in many hours watching the same songs over and over again, and funnily, with Miles on my lap, I do not get bored.

Others things we do: Saturday swim class at the Y. There he was eleven months old and going under water. The first time he was a little disoriented. He came up with a  “What the hell just happened?” look. But every time since it’s been down and up with a smile. Socializing a child is critical, I know, and I’ve taken this to heart. Every day for the last hundred years or so I’ve gone to the same café near my house. My years in Paris did leave their mark. The distance to the café is not great and I’ve always felt guilty for not walking there. My excuse is that I’m from Detroit. I was brought up with cars in my DNA. But now with Miles in the stroller I walk up there everyday singing to him along theway in English or French. The café, coincidentally, is called The French Café. He knows everyone there, the baristas, the customers, and has charmed them all. Pretty girls come up and start chatting out of the blue. I’ve tried to decipher his charm. Is there something Ican learn from him? Is it the diaper? Should I try a diaper with just a little bit showing over my jeans. Or is it the drool?  Because this café is not a hip place where only young kids go, the whole gamut of life is present there from infants to the very old. And it is important for Miles to see that whole spectrum of life. And there is a good share of dogs too, which he loves.

Down the street The Cheese Board is a carnival of food and fun. The hundreds of cheeses from around the world, the shelves with an array of breads, morning buns, brioche, the freshly baked pizza provide a mix that is magic to a little one learning about the world.  Peeking behind the counter to watch the baking: the kneading, pulling, cutting, sprinkling, is endless fascination. Children love verbs. They understand verbs. Verbs are physical and this is their language. And the live music in the afternoon is a big addition to his enjoyment

Walking to the café is not the only thing Miles gets me to do that I would never do on my own. I have also taken him for a walk along the edge of the Bay so he can get a view of San Francisco in the distance, so he can see the huge body of water, the ducks, the waves.  I have seen children who have never had this experience and I know what this means. I volunteer at a school a few miles north of Berkeley in one of the most crimeridden neighborhoods in California. Many of the children I tutor have never seen the Bay or the ocean. They don’t even know they exist. Consequently the world they will grow into will be incomprehensible, fragmented. The mass of images thrown at them by the media will make no sense. As an antidote I have taken some of these children on day trips around the bay, crossing all the bridges, going up and down the hills in San Francisco to take in the views. Their eyes startle with wonder. I swear I can see their brains changing shape as they take in the experience of discovery and gain a coherent picture of the world vital to living in the world. That’s why it is never too early to embed this experience of what I call hands-on geography onto a young mind.

Something else I have understood: Miles will not remember any of the things we do together in these early months and years. This is normal. What does count in these early months and years, though, is the quality of the relationship. A relationship of love and support will create a young person with self-confidence, intelligence and an optimism about the future. A fractured, problematic relationship will create a young person living with insecurity and all the terrible compensations that that can bring on.  The negative side to my experience of becoming a grandfather is the fear I now live with. To date Miles has been to the ER three times. The first time he swallowed a penny. With many children the penny will pass through, I have learned. With Miles it got stuck at the end of his windpipe. Stephen was alone at home with Miles when this happened. All he saw was Miles suddenly gagging, choking, trying to get his fingers into his mouth. Luckily the penny lodged in a way so as to not block his breathing and he quieted down. But clearly something was wrong. An X-ray at the hospital thankfully told the story and the penny was taken out.

Two months later, ER visit number two. Mile was listless, vomiting. The clue was the blood in his poop. Luckily Oakland Children’s Hospital is a short drive from my house.  We rushed over. An ultrasound gave the doctor a hunch. A real time X-ray was conclusive. Intussesception. What! I never heard of this. The intestine, like a telescope that should be fully extended to function, instead contracts, folds in on itself. Digestion stops, the intestinal wall weakens and blood passes through. Untreated the child can die in a couple of days. We got to the ER at 9am and the doctors took Miles in like the President had arrived. By 1pm he was on his way to full recovery. I cannot say enough good things about Oakland Children’s Hospital.

And I am realize now what my parents most certainly felt when, as a newly minted twenty-one year old, I went sailing off to Europe in the fall of 1962 with practically no money in my pocket, little idea of where I was going, and no ability to speak a word of a foreign language. And I now understand what my mother must have felt when my first postcard arrived telling her I was ok, and how many times she must have read and reread that postcard, and what it was like for her and my father when I came home for my first visit a year and a half later. So many things.  Not to diminish all the wonders grandfatherhood has given me, there are, along with the worry, a number of regrets. Having Miles in my life highlights the loss of others in my family who have passed away. How my mother and father would have loved him.

Moreso, I have so many questions I would have wanted to ask them. What was it like raising three boys? Did they childproof? How were we different from each other when we were little? What was I like? How did I eat, sleep? I think of my little brother Barry andhow he would have loved seeing me as a grandfather, and all the notes we would have compared, all the things we would have talked about. And most poignantly it brings a reconsideration of so many people in my family. I think of all the love and sweetness that everyone in my family showed me, showered me with when I was that small, and now I would like to thank them. The only relative surviving of that generation after Miles was born was Aunt Ada. I was lucky enough to see her a few months before she passed away and brought with me this realization and I felt so grateful and wanted to say thank you but didn’t know how, so I doted on her like she was my mother. Every day I think of all the things I want to do with Miles, all the experiences I want to give him. Prime of course is my desire to take him to Paris. How old does he have to be before an experience such as this can have any meaning? May the Gods grant me the years to see it happen. By the time Miles graduates high school I’ll be eighty-nine years old. May the Gods . . .

 

 

Evolution of Fatherhood: What I Learned at Dad Summit 2.0

Dad Summit 2.0 was held in Houston, Texas from Jan 31 – Feb 2, 2013. It brought together “daddy bloggers” and brands seeking to affiliate with dads who had audiences on the Web. It was a recognition that today’s fathers are now a demographic that large consumer companies want to reach. But it was so much more for me than that….

It was a statement that today, being a dad is central to men’s lives, identity and sense of purpose. It also says that how we judge masculinity is changing. I experienced the warmth and support from a community of men who valued fatherhood. It was very moving and made me aware how far men have come from when I started out as a dad.

My son was born in 1981. I remember walking around with him in the “front pack” called a snugli. Often women would comment to me on how nice it was to see a man “mothering.”  I think that was the first phase of today’s Fatherhood movement. That men caring for their children were doing what women did…”mothering.” Phase One was that a dad caring for child would be an extension or a replacement or just a helper for the mom.

A couple of years later I was at the park with my son.  I met an older woman, probably in her early 70’s sitting on a park bench and we had a conversation about parenthood. I told her how fortunate I was that my wife and I worked half time each so we could co-parent our son. I told her how much it meant to me to be with him and sharing the early years of his life. It was so exciting to see his each new discovery. I thought I understood life in a very deep way as I watched and helped him navigate the new discoveries which were daily! After about an hour I needed to leave and told this woman how much I enjoyed talking with her and hearing her stories about her children too. She said, “Yes, young man it was wonderful to talk with you and I do hope you get some more work soon.”  This was 1983 and the cultural context for fathers was…men who can’t get work or “make it” at their jobs defaulted to taking care of their kids.  Along the cultural landscape, men who were valuing the importance of fatherhood in their lives were either being seen as “mothering” or not competent enough in the work world.

At that time I felt very isolated from other dads. From time to time I would meet up with a dad in the park on the weekends but during the week it was mostly me and the moms.  The moms all “loved” me and often commented on how they wished their husbands were more available for their kids. I had been involved in the “Men’s Movement” for some time and had many good men friends but none at that time were dads. I knew the value of being with other men and sorting out our lives together.  I wanted to find some new dads to share my experiences of fatherhood.  All these feelings that were emerging from me by becoming a dad: what is expected of myself as a father, how do I care for this infant, why is my relationship with my wife so different, thoughts about my own father, concerns about money, changes in relationships with my single friends, so little flex time when you have a young child, did I put the diaper pail out on Tuesday morning?

I did find four other dads and we met for three months. We found much in common: the lack of sleep, the change in relationship with our wives, trying to balance work and family life.  When we talked about our own fathers, the emotions ran deep. We each knew we wanted to be more involved in our kid’s life than our dads had been. Even though each of us was working out our lives in different ways, it was reassuring to see we all had very similar challenges. Our conversations led me to feel that what I was going through, all these changes, was normal. It also gave me a larger perspective on what was possible for me as a dad, listening to how they were working out their lives and families.

This experience with this first group of dads inspired me to focus my practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist on working with dads and couples with young children. I started the Fathers’ Forum programs in 1985 offering Men’s Groups for Fathers of Young Children and a Becoming a Father workshop for expectant dads. A couple of years later I added the Parent’s Journey a 3 session program for couples who had recently become parents. I began to see more and more men who were focusing their lives around children and family. They were trying to find the balance between work and home, career and family.

I remember in about 1986, in my private practice, seeing a dad who was expecting another second baby. He had just been interviewed for a new job. After passing all the initial interviews a Vice President at the new company pulled him aside and said, “I know you are expecting another child, but if we hire you we need you as part of our team, none of this Mr. Mom stuff.”  Aside from probably being illegal, his comment highlighted the next phase that was developing for dads: The “Mr. Mom” phase. This was what I was seeing in my groups, that dads had really begun to develop a desire to be more involved in their children’s lives and that they were, in some cases, discriminated against when they did. But there is more to this “Mr. Mom” phase and how it came about.

I noticed that as women began to focus more on their careers and wanted equal status with their husbands, men/dads began to need to develop more of their parenting skill set to help out with domestic life. At first a number of researchers into fatherhood development saw men simply filling the role that was needed as their wives began to have careers and contribute significantly to the family income. What I was seeing in my Dad’s Groups was that these new fathers really desired to be able to care more for their children on a daily basis. The dads were reporting how competent they were feeling as a parent and how exposure to more time with their children made them feel that they were contributing, not just to their families, but making a greater and more significant contribution to the world than they felt at work.  This was definitely the “Mr. Mom” phase but it was evolving into something much more.

Phase Three is when men who care for children are seen as “fathering” plain and simple. Ample research in the last 10 years has shown that today’s dads are nurturing, competent, caring and are attachment figures for their children. There are more stay-at-home dads today than ever who have taken on both the caring of their children and the domestic tasks of the household while more women are pursuing their professional careers. The moms feel positive about pursuing their careers knowing that their child/children are being well cared for by their husbands. Masculinity is evolving to see the strength, courage and sensitivity as a father to be an important aspect of being a man. Men are becoming supportive of each other in their roles as dads and the competition that has often divided men is being overcome.

At Dad Summit 2.0,  I was on a panel titled “Can parenting be gender neutral?”  This is a long way from when I started caring for my children and being told I was “mothering.” At the conference there were great vibes of all the dads being so proud and fearless about how important fatherhood is. All the great dad bloggers are really changing the world. (Certainly corporate advertisers are noticing this!) More and more men/dads are recognizing this too. We are moving as a community of men towards a more cooperative and less competitive relation with each other. We are redefining masculinity as connected with nurturing and caring for others as an authentic expression of who we are as men. The world is changing. The next phase, Phase Four, will be to see both moms and dads, not only as mothers and fathers, but as primarily as parents— either gender capable of caring and providing for their children. “Hat’s off” to Doug French who spirited Dad Summit 2.0. It is the beginning of a revolution. And to all the dads out there…you are not alone…come join us at the New Dads Network!                                    (Thanks to The Good Men Project for hosting this post.)

 

Want to start a dads group?

When you think about becoming a father…..how huge a life change that is!  I can’t imagine going through all the challenges becoming a dad brought into my life and identity and soul without having a group of men to talk with.

It is Wednesday evening and we are not here to talk about the 49er’s or the “fiscal cliff” our discussion tonight  will focus on what our child taught us about being a father over the last two weeks. This courageous group of new dads, dads with kids under 5 years old, is having their bi-monthly Fathers’ Forum meeting. It’s carpenters, engineers, writers, psychologist, salesmen, all different careers, backgrounds and lives, but all going through the challenges of understanding who they are as men now that they have become a dad. The stereotype that “men don’t share their feelings” is obviously not true here; the dads have a lot to say and I struggle to bring our meeting to a close.

I think men don’t have the opportunity to have a place where the focus of the conversation is about the important changes and events in their lives as fathers. My 25 years of working with dads has proved to me that given the opportunity men can talk about very deep emotions and experiences candidly. That’s what the Fathers’ Forum is about.

Over 30 years ago when my son, Morgan was born, I was in a men’s group. Great group of guys and many of them I still know today. But being one of the first to have a child I didn’t feel that they were getting how hard it was for me.  I remember the conversation one night. I was going on about not sleeping, having a baby that was crying all night, a wife who was someone completely different than one month ago, yikes what was happening! Then the evening’s facilitator said  “Bruce you have talked a lot about becoming dad, but Jeff here has been going out with his girl friend for three months now, he things it is really serious”…”really serious” I said, “I am so far beyond really serious I can’t tell you how much trouble I am in!!!”  It was at that point I knew I needed to meet with some other dads…would they feel the same way as I do or am I just crazy?

I decided to find a few other men who had recently become dads to get together for some weekly meetings.  To find out I was not alone with these feelings of being overwhelmed, losing the life I had known and discovering a whole new way of being in the world was happening for them too!  Feeling frightened and scared and proud and in love with my son, in awe of my wife, confused about how I felt at work, trying to exist like I was in a sleep deprivation experiment, having all kinds of relatives descend on our lives, wow…..this was a lot…thank goodness I found a few guys who were going through it too…I wasn’t crazy!

This is how the Fathers’ Forum was born. I realized that becoming a dad was a “tipping point” in my life.  It pushes me into a need to redeem the very special friendships that come from sharing intense experiences with other men at an important time in life. I did not want to “go it alone.”  I later found in my research that special bonds are developed between men who share this time of early parenting.  It is a time we need a place where there is room for the soft, emotional self and the competitive, controlling part can take a step back.   A new inner world is emerging.   We are learning about new aspects of ourselves from our conversations.

Now after 25 years of groups and over a thousand men who have participated in my small office here in Northern California I hope to find a way to help other new dads start their own groups. I am not sure how to do this or what it may become. But I learned when I first became a father, that is how it goes sometimes.  I hope with a little tolerance for uncertainty I may find a way to do this. Want to help me change the world…one dad at a time?