0716-West-Colin-Mr-June 16The positive spin-offs of being the best possible dad are hard to quantify yet impossible to deny.

The LADDS and the DUCKS – ‘Loving & Devoted Dads of Currambine’ and ‘Dads Unite for the Children of Kensington School’ are just some of the fathers and father-figures in local schools championing the cause of being a great paternal role model.

Thousands of dads across WA are joining Champion Dads’ Group and having a wonderful time socialising with their peers while heading out for camping trips, bike rides and fishing trips with their children. A happy and engaged father has significant benefits for all concerned – themselves, their children, the school and the wider community.

It’s all part of the wider Fathering Project and its mission to inspire and encourage fathers to be actively engaged in the lives of their children. The school groups are particularly effective and the whole program is supported by research and a website with advice and activities.

0716-LADDS-at-Bunnings-with-their-Billy-Carts-June 16-LADDS at Bunnings making billy carts.The comments from one father with three young boys gives some idea of the positive impact of being a Champion Dad.

“It’s completely changed my life and my outlook on being a dad. I can’t thank the people involved enough.”

Professor Bruce Robinson – a respiratory physician, 2013 Western Australian of the Year and the instigator of the Fathering Project – has a deep commitment to fatherhood that stems from his professional background. The main catalyst for him were his male patients who, on hearing a fairly bleak prognosis, unanimously responded that they wished they’d worked less and played with their children a lot more.

As Bruce says, fathers are the most powerful force in Australia to reduce the chances of our kids falling victim to drugs, suicide and crime.

There are now 70 WA schools, 5000 fathers and 8000 children involved in the Fathering Project School Group (FPSG). One of the outstanding features of the program is its supportive nature within a school environment and many principals have said that it’s impossible to quantify the value of the FPSG.

“Our Champion Dads have been an outstanding feature of our school community for a several years” is a typical comment, this one from Barbara Horan the principal of Booragoon Primary School.

It’s not about being a ‘perfect dad’, but far more about fostering a commitment to create an environment in which fathers can interact with each other and share their knowledge and skills about parenting.

The groups are relaxed and informal and I’d encourage anyone with an interest in this area to become involved.

ED: For questions contact the author at Colin@thefatheringproject.org , 0412 133 375 or www.thefatheringproject.org

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