Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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The Council of Dads
by Tom Goodman
June 16, 2010

When doctors told him of the malignant tumor, the first thing Bruce Feiler thought about was his 3-year-old twin daughters.

"I kept imagining all the walks I might not take with them, the ballet recitals I might not see... the boyfriends I might not scowl at, the aisles I might not walk down."

And thus was born "The Council of Dads," which Feiler wrote about in a new book by the same name.  The 43-year-old author of the best-selling Walking the Bible enlisted a small group of friends to be ready if he was no longer around -- ready to step in and say the things he would have said when his daughters failed a test, won a prize, or fell in love.

Feiler's latest tests show him to be cancer-free for now, but his Council of Dads has not disbanded.  His project is now tied in with the National Fatherhood Initiative and he's inviting soldiers -- men who live with mortality and separation -- to convene their own Council of Dads.

Some things come to mind as I read Feiler's book.  With Father's Day this Sunday, it would be good to reflect on these things.

What values do you want to impart to your kids?  Convening a Council of Dads is a way to ensure that what you hope your kids would hear from you would be passed along.  So, start there:  What values do you want your kids to hold by the time they leave the nest?  Even if you never take the step of actually convening a Council of Dads, this is a good exercise to go through.  It will make you a better father.

What friendships are you developing?  Once you've determined the values you'd want to pass along to your kids, do you know any man well enough to confidently entrust him with that work if you weren't around?  Again, even if you never took the step of actually convening a Council of Dads, it would be worth your time to think about whether you're developing relationships with men you'd be willing to enlist.

Who is on the Council of Your Dads?  Feiler's book is from the perspective of a father who fears he won't be around to raise his daughters.  But I think every young adult male needs a short list of men he looks to for guidance.  Who's on your list, and are you meeting with them enough?

God bless all the dads at Hillcrest!


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