Dads on duty
To build healthier military families, Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program spearheaded "Dads on Duty,' a campaign throughout the month of June.

FORT SILL, Okla.-- Research has shown that families are more resilient to change when fathers are present or are active in their children's lives. Since this is the military, dads have to deploy or go on unaccompanied tours of duty, or often the parents are separated.

To build healthier military families, Army Community Service Family Advocacy Program spearheaded "Dads on Duty,' a campaign throughout the month of June.

"Since Father's Day is in June, this is the perfect time to highlight the importance of fathers in their children's lives," said Mohammad Ali, Dads on Duty coordinator. "This is all part of building resiliency in families. During June we are shining a spotlight on Dads in particular. We want male Soldiers and family members to understand how they're instrumental in their child's success."

Fort Sill will host several events in June to emphasize the importance of a strong bond between fathers and their children.

The campaign kicks off with an awareness and education effort found on the ACS Facebook Page.

"We have two major events for the campaign including the Father's Day Brunch at 12:30 p.m. at the Patriot Club June 17, where Lt. Col. (ret.) Tim Redd, from the National Fatherhood Initiative, will speak about the importance of fathers and their relationship with their kids in the military environment," said Ali.

Tim Redd works for fatherhood.org, an organization which supports not only military, but dads in general so he is very active not only with military dads but with all fathers. He will speak about special lessons he learned while being a 'Dad on Duty.'

One day prior to the brunch, Nye Library will host a Father-Child Social June 16, from 10 a.m. to noon," said Ali. "The social is a make and take so kids can either make a card for dad and present it to him, ideally at the brunch on Sunday, or they can have their dad go with them to Nye Library to spend some special time with dad."

To close out the "Dads on Duty" campaign, FMWR is hosting a bowling event at Twin Oaks Bowling Center June 29 from 4-8 p.m. The event, which includes shoe rentals, lanes, pizza and soda is free to military dads and kids. Tickets for the event, which are limited, are available through Adventure Travel in the Welcome Center, Building 4700. Since June 29 is part of payday activities, Soldiers who get off early can bring their kids to the bowling center and enjoy a little bonding time.

"Gen. George S. Patton said, 'Duty is the essence of manhood,' and when he used the phrase he was talking about duty to your country, duty to your unit and duty to your fellow Soldiers. When we use the phrase we are also talking about duty to children and family as a whole," said Ali. "Just because dad is absent from the home doesn't mean he has to be an absent parent. Fathers can be deployed and still be part of their family's life especially with new software like Skype or Tango where you can see each other and be there for the important moments even when you are physically somewhere else."

Ali, who holds a masters in psychology and is currently completing the requirements for licensed marriage and family therapist and licensed practical counselor, said a big part of being present in your child's life is to plan ahead. "Say for example a father is in another state from his children, he can do prior planning by purchasing plane tickets and planning his vacation around his kid's vacation.

Another example of planning is if a father is deployed or separated from his children he can still keep connected by honoring the routines they have established like reading to the kids before bed, via recording, of course, or attending a child's special event through Skype or Tango," said Ali.

Research has shown that when a Dad is present many risks are reduced in a child's life including poverty, poor academic performance and juvenile delinquency, said Ali.

He added a strong force starts with a strong family because you recruit a Soldier but you retain a family. Fathers make such a huge difference in a child's life as far as role models.

Benefits of strong father-child relationships

"We want male Soldiers and family members to understand how important they are in their children's lives. They make a huge impact on their children and the values and confidence they develop in life. Most of the dads understand this, but we want to take the time to make them aware of the vehicles that are available for them to use to stay in contact with their children and it also coincides with the commanding general's philosophy of prevention," said Ali. "Instead of waiting for things to happen, we have to be proactive in preventing things before they happen. Let them know they don't have to miss out on things in their child's life with the technology we have available today."

It's important for dads to develop daily, weekly and monthly routines with their children like taking your son to the barbershop weekly or helping your daughter practice her cheers. The time spent together bonding is just as important.

"The goal of this campaign is to increase the bond between dads and their child(ren) and once the bond is increased everyone benefits. The father benefits because he has a good strong relationship with his children, his children benefit because they feel secure in their relationship with their father and they develop better self images and stronger self-confidence. Mom benefits because she is not the only one raising the children and she develops a stronger relationship with her husband," he said.

For more information, call ACS at 442-4916 or log on to their Facebook page.

Page last updated Thu May 31st, 2012 at 11:11