Friday, March 18, 2011

Upbeat Dad of the Week: Chris Lewis

One of the thrills of my life recently has been getting to know other dads and moms in the world of blogging. It’s really a privilege to know those whom I call the ground soldiers in the campaign to develop strong families and to help our kids to become productive members of our society.
Today’s Upbeat Dad of the Week is a man whom I’ve had the privilege of getting to know – though from a distance. But through our interaction in cyberspace as well as on a few phone conversations, I know that he’s a man who all young men should emulate and who we should all look up to. He’s making a real difference in the lives of many. I’m pleased to say that our Upbeat Dad of the Week is Chris Lewis.
As I mentioned, I met Chris in the world of blogging. His blog is Dad of Divas. Kinda original, don’t you think? As we have interacted over the past several months, I have been drawn to his message and his vision. You see, like me, he understands the very important role that fathers play in the lives of children.
His mission is two-fold: to share his perspectives of fatherhood and also to highlight other fathers who are making a difference in the lives of their kids and others. You’ll read later on just how he highlights these fathers. I share this now to say that we share a similar vision. The Upbeat Dad of the Week feature is consistent with his mission to highlight dads making a difference.
Chris is a native of Michigan. He and his family live just outside of Lansing. In the world of blogging, he’s simply Chris of Dad of Divas. In his other life, he’s Dr. Chris Lewis, a Student Affairs professional who has been working in the field of College Administration for 14 years. He has extensive experience in precollege planning, admission, advising, and other areas. He mentors and guides students as they prepare to enter the world to make their mark.
In his personal life, he’s a loving husband. He and his wife have 2 daughters – divas, if you will. They are now 6 and 3 years old. Chris grew up in a loving two-parent household as an only child. He knows the importance of the loving guidance of parents in the lives of children. He had a good example from his father about how to be a loving dad so the transition to fatherhood for him was somewhat smooth.
When his older daughter was just over 3 years old, he wanted to share his perspectives on fatherhood with others so he started a blog about this role of a lifetime. Before long, his other daughter was born and now his writing is about what it’s like as the father of two girls, hence the name Dad of Divas. On his blog, he not only writes about fatherhood, he also does book reviews on pro-family books.
Having been an only child, he now sees a different dynamic in his kids that he didn’t see growing up. Having to share with a sibling is something he never had to do. Neither did he ever find himself competing with another sibling for his parent’s attention or affection since he was the only child. Through his experience, he has grown in wisdom, as he understands how to effectively raise his girls, while making each feel special.

He says, “Being a dad is hard but rewarding work and having two kids is an eye opener. As a father you need to be engaged. You need to be at your kids’ level so that you understand them but you also need to get them to the point where they understand you so that you can guide them to where they need to be.” Quite profound and so true.
Chris isn’t  a stereotypical father who stands back and lets his wife do all things related to the kids. He works hard in his daily vocation but when he is home, he is home. By that I mean, he is an active participant in the kids’ life and their activities.

For instance, his daughters are members of the Girl Scouts. Instead of simply dropping them off and picking them up when each session is over, he is actively involved in the organization as a co-leader. As you might imagine, there’s no other father performing this role at these sessions with him. Still, to him, it’s the thrill of a lifetime, as he teaches his girls and others about the life principles that are embraced by the Girl Scouts.
Chris with fellow blogger Chris Singer of Book Dads
One message that I constantly try to convey is that you show your kids you love them with one word: T-I-M-E. Chris embodies this philosophy. He’s an enthusiastic participant in anything and everything having to do with his kids – whether it’s at school programs or gymnastics events. At home, the family has movie nights or sometimes they just play Wii video games. The time both he and his wife invest in their girls’ lives today will yield a lifetime of dividends.
About one year ago, Chris decided that he wanted to feature other dads who are making a difference in the lives of their kids. He says, “You hear so much of the negative side of fatherhood in the media. I wanted to show the good examples of fatherhood that you don’t always read about.” So on his blog he started the Dads in the Limelight Series. Each week, he shares the stories of dads who are making a difference. Thus far, he has featured just over 100 dads.
In the US army, one of their slogans is, “Looking for a few good men.” Well, the Dads in the Limelight Series shows that there are more than a few good men who are making a positive impact in the lives of their kids and others. As I mentioned earlier in this post, this philosophy is very consistent with my idea to begin the Upbeat Dad of the Week feature. There are men who are making a difference and unfortunately what often makes the headlines is the negative side of the subject of fatherhood.

I’m pleased to know that both Chris and I share this philosophy. And I believe that through each of our efforts, as well as the efforts of others, the important role of fatherhood would be recognized and embraced by more people.

Chris with baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr.
Please join me in honoring Chris Lewis as our Upbeat Dad of the Week. He’s making a difference with his life - whether it is as a Student Affairs professional, helping to guide the future leaders of our world, or as a loving husband and father in the home. He lives by the words that I wrote in my poem A Lasting Legacy:
May I seek to serve my fellow man
And give of myself and do all that I can
May I love and give a helping hand
That’s the foundation on which I stand.

His is truly a life of service. It’s such an honor for me know someone like him. He’s not simply standing back and observing the world as it is; he’s an active participant in making it a better place.
If you’d like to nominate someone – anyone, including yourself – as our Upbeat Dad of the Week, please do so by emailing us at:
I hope that you’ve been inspired by this week’s feature. And I hope that it would help you to make your life a channel through which others’ lives are touched.
Enjoy your day.

The Upbeat Dad

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