Monday, August 29, 2011

The Upbeat Dad: More Than a Blog, It's a Mission and a Movement

Would you believe that we're closing in on another year since we launched the Upbeat Dad blog? It was the first week of October 2010 that we hit the "air waves.". And what a thrilling ride it's been since then!

The most significant part of the experience for me has been connecting with you, our readers. This is because, despite all that I write about, without you, the matters that I share wouldn't be quite the same. I treasure the privilege of sharing thoughts that make a difference in the lives of others. That's what this whole thing is about.

As we close in on another year since our launch, it has become increasingly clear to me that our vision is expanding daily. As time goes on, new components to the vision become evident and that's a thrill to know. In my view, our kids are the ultimate beneficiaries of the work that we're doing so to me, it's the job of a lifetime.

Anyone who's close to me can tell you that since the mid '90s I've had a vision to make a difference in the world through the mediums of speaking and writing. When divorce hit my home in 2001, for a while I thought my dream was over. It was just too much to deal with. 

Little did I know that the very difficult period of adjusting to life after that marriage was my audition for the job I have now - particularly as it relates to my role as a dad. To me, recovering from the divorce was a lesson in survival. But the lesson was well learned and I've recovered just fine.

As I began sharing our message through the blog, I quickly knew we were on to something. The need for this message is evidenced in so many ways. Here in the United States, there's a crisis in the home - our fathers are missing. And as a consequence, children become vulnerable in innumerable ways. Statistics show us that these kids are at a significant disadvantage compared to kids who have loving, involved dads present in their lives.

On this blog, I've shared different posts that are geared towards helping dads of all types to learn how to become upbeat dads. And I think that this medium is quite effective. At the same time, I've also come to realize that the Upbeat Dad is not a blog but rather a movement.

The message is clear - kids need their dads. So how do we share the message? The answer to that question is the journey of my life.

I've heard it said that the reward for hard work is more hard work. And believe me, hard work is what we're doing. It's quite fulfilling; so in a sense, it's not work to me. But it's very involved - more than I could really say here. Suffice it to say, it consumes me - and I love every minute of it!

Here's what we've accomplished thus far. We've successfully launched the blog. As I write this, we're over 60,000 hits. Readers all over the globe are engaged in what we're sharing. On social media - Facebook and Twitter, we've made a number of connections as we share the message. Interacting with others through these mediums is something that I thoroughly enjoy. I've connected with many of you through these innovative tools.

Then we successfully launched the Upbeat Dad Community Forum. We've had 2 such events thus far. And there's much more to come in this area. Bringing together experts such as family attorneys and family therapists with members of the general public to address matters on fatherhood is very much needed and quite effective.

As we carry out these tasks, other windows of opportunity are opening up. I've had a number of radio interviews thus far - including on BBC radio. And I've had a number of speaking engagements, particularly as of late. I recently spoke at a conference in Miami to close to 300 county officials and employees on the subject: The Importance of a Father's Influence on a Child's Life. I anticipate doing more such engagements as time goes on.

Now here's the highlight of this post: Behind the scenes, we have assembled a team of highly skilled professionals to take our vision to the next level. We've invested much time, money and effort to ensure that we continually "package" the message to share through different mediums.

And it's not just about sharing the message - it's about actively being a part of the solution to the fatherhood crisis. I learned early in my career as an accountant that whenever I identify a problem, instead of running to my boss to tell of the problem, I should think of a solution even before uttering a word. So now, I try to think of solutions instead of just talking about the problems. In my view, this is key as we carry out our vision.

In the coming weeks and months you'll hear more about what we're now doing behind the scenes. So stay tuned because, believe me, it's all about making a difference in a significant way.

And let me add this here: I'm based in the United States but the more I get into this work, the more I recognize the global nature of what we're doing. A friend of mine from the UK was here visiting this weekend and he shared with me that one of the root causes of what we saw with the recent riots and fires was partly due to the fact that many of the kids who were involved in the chaos do not have fathers or father figures. So for some, they display their frustration with issues they encounter in life in counterproductive ways. And one of those ways is disregard for authority and the potential consequences for their actions.

In my view, this is another opportunity to share the message and become a part of the solution. That's what our work is all about - even in unpleasant circumstances.

The platform that I have to share this message is something I'll never take for granted. The lives of many are impacted by what we do and that, to me, is an awesome responsibility. I'm all for doing what needs to be done to ensure that others benefit. And when I think of the innocent kids whose lives are affected by the different issues that we identify, I'm driven even more to do something meaningful on their behalf.

Thanks for tuning in and for sharing our work with others. We're doing meaningful work together and believe me when I say that our labor is not in vain. Stay tuned for more - we're going somewhere good with this.

All the very best to you and yours.

The Upbeat Dad