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On Fathering Together, with Brian Anderson
Dadditude Newsletter #23
Dadditude interviews dads (and mums) from different backgrounds, professional fields and ethnicities to get their insights on what it means to be a parent in the current moment.
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On Fathering Together, With Brian Anderson
Brian has focused most of his career on community building and leadership development, whether as a front line social worker or university chaplain. He currently channels that energy into Fathering Together, a 501c3 non-profit focused on building supportive communities for dads, enriched by resources and storytelling. They have more than 136,000 registered users. You can also find FT on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook of course.
We spoke with Brian recently about Fathering Together and empowering fathers.
Tell us about your kids.
I’m a proud dad of two spirited daughters and celebrated 10 years of marriage in October to my amazing wife, Laura. My eldest daughter Clara (7) is a future CEO, who is constantly analyzing and strategizing how to fill their time effectively with games, storytime, and baking cookies. My youngest, Natalie (5), is a future actress or fashion designer, who is constantly trying on new outfits, hairstyles, and performs stand-up comedy routines that rarely make sense but leave the entire family laughing.
How do you manage to mix work and family?
Since my full-time job is running a fatherhood organization, I’m constantly reflecting on my relationship with my daughters and how that informs our internal operations and our external programs. Because our goal is to empower fathers to be more active and emotionally engaged with their children, I’m constantly assessing that for myself.
Tell us more about your organization Fathering Together
Fathering Together began as a Facebook group called “Dads with Daughters” to connect with other dads, brag about our kids and get advice when dealing with tantrums. Three year’s later as a 501c3 non-profit, we remain grounded in our community, but also seek to bring our community model to other locations. Over the next year, we are building courses for dads to do the internal work (i.e. better emotional awareness and understanding their strengths) and the external work (i.e. building strong relationships and advocating for a more gender equitable world). We’re supporting our members to use these courses in their community, as well as working with corporate HR departments to support their staff who are dads to better translate their workplace skills into homelife strategies.
What do you think is your biggest strength as a parent?
I look for the educational component in daily life. For example, when making dinner, I include my girls in the preparation and cooking and when fixing a broken toy, I have them help with the screws or changing the batteries so they appreciate the work that goes into daily life.
What stresses you out the most these days as a parent?
I hate to say this, but the biggest stressors are things beyond my control. For example, when they are at school, will they make friends? How will they handle fights or bullies?
What side of parenthood do you wish you had invested more time and energy in the past?
Being more present. When Natalie was born, I was away nearly 10 hours a day for work so I missed a lot of the little things.
Can you tell us about an especially favorite/special moment with your kid recently?
Over the summer, both girls learned to swim. Watching them overcome their fear and learn to love the water made my heart soar! So pretty much every weekend, we were at Lake Michigan diving into the waves and building sandcastles and burying each other in the sand!
Thank you Brian!
We’ve enjoyed reading:
The Secret to a Fight-Free Relationship
Conventional wisdom says that venting is cathartic and that we should never go to bed angry. But couples who save disagreements for scheduled meetings show the benefits of a more patient approach to conflict.
Very Personal Computing: In Artist’s New Work, A.I. Meets Fatherhood
Ian Cheng brings his latest piece to the Shed, a narrative animation powered by a video game engine and partly inspired by his daughter.
Involved fathers mean happier families
“When I was growing up, my father would say, ‘I am the man in the house and as I say, so be it.’” Dumitru Dunas, a young father from Moldova, speaks gravely about his traditional upbringing.
Throwback: Dadditude Newsletter #12: On Running Into Fatherhood, With Adam Axford
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